The case for shifting subsidy from capital to regional orchestras

There has been much concern in recent weeks about the future of the Copenhagen Philharmonic and Denmark’s radio orchestras, which are facing a severe subsidy cut and structural overhaul.

It is now clear that the money saved will go directly to four orchestras in Odense, Aarhus, Jutland and Aalborg.

This is a coherent policy, and one that might take root elsewhere. Orchestras in capital cities have access to private wealth and international sponsors. With a boost in central funding, regional orchestras can (if well run) begin to compete on a more level playing field.

All too often – as I outlined in my Spectator piece this month – big-city orchestras are allowed to coast on past glories while regional ingenuity is ignored.

In Glasgow, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra is letting in under-18s for free next year. In Manchester, the Hallé is experimenting with robots in partnership with Siemens. In Liverpool, the music director goes to home matches at Anfield and writes a column in the programme. In Birmingham, the players picked a music director who was under 30 (not to mention female and brilliant). And in London it’s same-old, same-old, same-old.

You can now read the full Spectator column here.

UPDATE: Merkel orders more arts money for Berlin.

 

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  • No, there is nothing coherent in this policy. This is about Danish uncultured politicians (too many of them) playing populist games and taking culture hostage.
    Liberal Alliance is a neoliberal party with the horrific neo-liberal agenda as any of them, not resting until any achievements of society and cultural history are demolished and everything is privatized. Basically it’s the party for monkeys WITH money.
    And the other party in Denmark that is abusing cultural achievement for cheap shots to gain populist votes from the bottom of society is Danske Folkeparti. A party now for the monkeys WITHOUT money.
    Sorry dear monkeys.

    • Sorry Slipped Disc, you must dig a bit deeper, perhaps ask some people directly involved. Copenhagen Phil is a travelling orchestra covering rural and regional areas outside Copenhagen where 20% of the population of Denmark live, thus this cut will have minor impact on Copenhagen, but major impact on the Island of Zealand which is Denmarks most populous region.
      These cuts have been made in a clever machiavellian tactic to divide and conquer the countrys cultural scene and articles like this unfortunately play into the hands of excatly these politicians.
      The money we are asked to raise from the region is money they have already paid and are still paying. There are a few more sinister details about the funding, i will go into this on further inquiry..
      furthermore the solution provided will not give extra money anywhere but just help the remaining 4 orchestras over the next 4 years of planned cuts.

      Please Slipped Disc, what we need is a general acceptance of the importance of culture, and more funding. Articles like this miss the mark and play into neo liberalist hands supporting the argument that there is never going to be new money for the culture.

      You are welcome to write me an email if you have further inquiries

      Best regards, and pls rethink the article

      Martin Reinhardt

  • The problem with this article is that it is based on the Danish ministry of cultures press department, ofcourse they hail the move as a very innovative and bold one, the truth however looks remarkably different! It solves nothing and robs music from children and adults on the islands of Zealand, Lolland and Falster. Furthermore it sends the clear message “no matter how great a case you present, it doesnt matter to us” How does this cut inspire others to follow the ideas and directions of the cultural ministery?

    Sorry Slipped Disc, you must dig a bit deeper than this, perhaps ask some people directly involved. Copenhagen Phil is a travelling orchestra covering rural and regional areas outside Copenhagen where 20% of the population of Denmark live, thus this cut will have minor impact on Copenhagen, but major impact on the Island of Zealand which is Denmarks most populous region.
    These cuts have been made in a clever machiavellian tactic to divide and conquer the countrys cultural scene and articles like this unfortunately play into the hands of excatly these politicians.
    The money we are asked to raise from the region is money they have already paid and are still paying. There are a few more sinister details about the funding, i will go into this on further inquiry..
    furthermore the solution provided will not give extra money anywhere but just help the remaining 4 orchestras over the next 4 years of planned cuts.
    Please Slipped Disc, what we need is a general acceptance of the importance of culture, and more funding. Articles like this miss the mark and play into neo liberalist hands supporting the argument that there is never going to be new money for the culture.

    You are welcome to write me an email if you have further inquiries
    Best regards, and pls rethink the article

    Martin Reinhardt

  • It isn’t just orchestras based in a capital city which appear over-funded compared to the regions. In the UK, the idea that the BBC funds orchestras at all, or more than one, is surely an outdated anachronism, in common with many state broadcasters who founded orchestras when there was a real need, but haven’t caught up with changing times.

    • Dear Anon,

      Go to http://www.copenhagenphil.dk and shave a look at what they accomplish for 4 million pounds a year, soon to be 3,2

      Have a look at the videos, the crossover and educational work

      Sorry its far from outdated its cutting edge..2 flashmobs with more than 10 million views each

      Online orchestra project with 360 degree concerts and interactive educational software.

      Popconcerts and documentaries

      New concert formats

      Bringing live music to small villages all over zealand

      At the same time servicing the audience in Tivoli, playing 30 sold out performances of the queens staging of the nutcracker..

      Amongst many other initiatives

      Please scroll through the homepage to convince yourself.

      Best regards

      Martin

    • Anything in the arts that is most precious is an anachronism. So to hell with contemporary art financing. Anachronisms all the way.
      Just imagine what hell holes our cities would be, if it was all contemporary architecture.

  • The Danes really have a big problem with overcoming their cultural minority complex. On one side they want to be meaningful in the world and enjoy culture. On the other side they can’t deny their peasant and farmer non-culture. Most Danes who became something of meaning, did so by being away from the fatherland in exile. At home they would have been cut down to small size. Danes like it small. And that a lot.
    When a neighbor like Germany understands the meaning of the lighthouse effect of a vibrant capital cultural scene by financing it generously, in Denmark it’s the opposite, they count potatoes, and Prime Minister Lars Løkke and his cabinet of mediocrity will not rest, before they do not count equal amounts of potatoes on all fields all over Denmark.

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