Shame: International orch goes crowdfunding to buy new clarinets

The Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse used to be the pride of French orchestras, widely held to be superior to any Paris ensemble.




But Toulouse has fallen on hard times and, despite lavish state and city funding, has been forced to go begging online for money to renew its ageing stock of instruments. Donors are being offered a signed photograph of the music director, Tugan Sokhiev, by way of reward.

So far Toulouse has raised 4,745 Euros towards a target of 10,000.

We’d offer our support, but this is really not the way to go about sustaining a major orchestra in 2016.

For shame.



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  • Musicians in the UK go into huge amounts of debt to buy instruments.Orchestras can’t afford to buy us instruments.They spend a large part of any funding they receive on astronomical fees for conductors.

  • I shall take another approach. This crowd-funding effort in a country where philanthropy for the arts is not generally part of the culture might be considered as a marketing effort to give donors the chance to invest in something specific instead of the the typical general operations gift.

    The clarinets mentioned are usually in the arsenal of every major orchestra and are not always purchased by every individual clarinetist who is expected to have at least a set in Bb and A. I once owned a beautiful C clarinet and an even rarer D clarinet both of which were purchased from me by a major American orchestra when I no longer needed them (they are still in use by that ensemble). The operas and some symphonic works of Richard Strauss call for just about all of the clarinets mentioned on the shopping list.

    Should Tugan buy them? I think a gift from the MD endowing a chair in the orchestra would be a much better use of his name.

    • +2
      “Should Tugan buy them? I think a gift from the MD endowing a chair in the orchestra would be a much better use of his name.”
      – With an annual salary of €49 000, plus €12 500 per home-concert, €14 000 per tour-concert (according to the ONCT he conducts +55 concerts per season) and €22 000 per annum for expenses, an apartment and car also being provided, one could gift the odd clarinet or two.

  • I was just thinking this was probably for instruments other than standard Bb and A clarinets, which every clarinetist needs from about age 12 and which the musicians presumably are expected to own themselves. Crowdfunding to buy a bass clarinet, or a very rarely used contrabass clarinet might not be a bad idea. And for all those on this blog who like to deride us vulgar Americans, we do donate a lot more money to orchestras and opera houses than people in state-subsidizing Europe, I believe.

  • If it’s alright for international orchestras such as the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Berliner Philharmoniker (with bigger budgets and a higher profiles) to go crowdfunding to acquire new instruments, why is it a “shame” when the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse does the same?
    And speaking of the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, if last year is any indication, I wouldn’t exactly say that they’ve fallen on hard times:

  • Times might not be so hard in Toulouse, since the town pays Tugan Sokhiev (according to press release upon his contract renewal) a yearly $22,000 for daily expenses (in addition to free apartment, car, plane tickets… and salaries of course!). Maybe they could use this money to purchase instruments, and ask generous benefactors to contribute subsistence costs for a needy conductor, who probably works at the Bolchoï for free…

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