Germany puts 11.1 million into orchestra excellence programme

Germany puts 11.1 million into orchestra excellence programme


norman lebrecht

September 18, 2017

The federal culture minister Monika Grütters today activated a multi-million Euro fund to help orchestras improve their overall performance.

The first grants are awarded to the Südwestdeutsche Philharmonie Konstanz, the Bochum Symphoniker and the Jena Philharmonic. Ms Grütters said the aim was to improve diversity in the orchestral landscape.

More here.



  • John Borstlap says:

    One is always a bit cautious in allowing a ripple of joy spreading over one’s afternoon tea on reading such well-meant, positive news.

    “Vielen Orchestern würden wegen der angespannten Kommunalhaushalte Spielraum und Ressourcen fehlen, um neue Wege einzuschlagen und sich wichtigen Zukunftsfragen der Gesellschaft und der Entwicklung der Musikkultur zu stellen, lässt Grütters wissen.”

    Subsidies from local government are under pressure, probably as a result of the immense efforts on integration of refugees and other immigrants since 2015. In the same time, this initiative appears to stimulate German cultural identity as a unique Kulturnation. As such, it is one of the most European countries, let it not be confused with nationalism.

    But recently, a professor in Culture Management at Hildesheim University advocated an approach, on the website of the Goethe Institute (which is meant for international communication about Germany’s cultural endeavors and intentions), which goes against the idea of preserving Germany’s musical heritage, proposing that classical music as a genre should be seen as a service to audiences, so: as a commodity, which is the opposite of the notion of cultural heritage (imagine St Paul’s cathedral being offered to real estate speculants). The sound of ‘diversity’, vague as it is, can easily cover notions of deleting core repertoire from orchestras and replacing it by hip hop arrangements, film scores, Turkisch popular songs and the sounds which accompany computer games, in an effort to adapt classical music to the demands of future pop infested markets. That would be suicidal and destroy any cultural identity that Germany would wish to preserve.

    It is to be hoped that the minister and the executive team know what they are doing and won’t be shy to make sure that the art form as represented by the orchestras will remain intact and not diluted or eroded by commercial nonsense.

    • Nelson'sTomb says:

      St. Paul’s could not be offered to estate agents, it is a Royal Peculiar like Westminster Abbey! Brenda would not allow it.

    • Nelson'sTomb says:

      There are lots of second rate orchestras in Germany like the Westphalian light (horse) Orchestra, shelling out trying to make them diverse will make em worse.

      • Anon says:

        Your thinking is totally flawed.
        It’s a pyramid. You can only have a healthy top, if it is founded on a wide base, which is below it.
        Ivory tower systems (like in the US) only work under the condition, that abroad, where healthier wider based systems exist, talent is raised and then imported.

        • Joe Penhale says:

          No mate you are talking bollocks. They only have about 4 really top ones, wasting money on the others like Wesphalian light horse is mad.

    • Ungeheuer says:


  • Sue says:

    It would be staggeringly naive to think Germany isn’t going to be changed irrevocably by its newly minted immigrant image. And the rest of Europe too, thanks Mrs. Merkel.

    How about I invite millions into my home via Facebook then tell them they have to trample through other peoples’ property to get there, sans their permission of course. Unbelievably bad behaviour.

    • Scotty says:

      Just think about how Sue’s people trampled over the indigenous population, ruining Australia forever.

      Sue and her like should leave immediately. Just not to here, pease.

      • Scotty says:

        errr, please, not pease, or mussy peas.

      • Sue says:

        Shhhhh. Hush now….

        Afghan asylum-seekers in Germany held over rape of teenage girl
        A group of policemen on patrol in Munich, Germany, where there has been a 48 per cent rise in sexual attacks this year.
        A group of policemen on patrol in Munich, Germany, where there has been a 48 per cent rise in sexual attacks this year.
        DAVID CHARTERThe Times12:28PM September 19, 2017

        Two Afghan asylum-seekers have been arrested on suspicion of raping a 16-year-old girl in Bavaria, where there has been a 48 per cent rise in sexual attacks this year.

        The men, aged 27 and 17, were held after a police helicopter pinpointed them with a third Afghan, 18, who also fled the scene of the alleged crime.

        The victim, reported to have a “migration background”, had visited a refugee hostel in the small town of Hohenkirchen-Siegertsbrunn on the southern outskirts of Munich last Friday night. She was attacked after leaving with the three men for the train station to return to Munich.

        Officials said last week that they were investigating why the number of rapes in the state had risen to 685 in the first six months of the year compared with 463 in the same period last year. Immigrants were suspected in 126 cases, up from 66.

        The anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has highlighted migrant crime in its election campaign. It has grown rapidly in popularity since more than a million asylum-seekers were welcomed by Angela Merkel in 2015 and 2016. “Interior security is constantly declining in Germany and has been completely eroded in the last two years,” Alice Weidel, the AfD’s co-candidate for chancellor, said in Berlin yesterday.

        “Public areas are becoming increasingly dangerous, not least for women.”

        The AfD was on 11 per cent in the latest poll, putting it third. Martin Schulz, the Social Democratic Party leader, has denounced the AfD’s leaders as racists but warned against ostracising its supporters. “They must be won back,” he said.

        The Times

        • Scotty says:

          You’re citing and siding with the Neo-Nazi AfD? You really are a lost cause, Sue. Sitting on the other side of the earth, cherry-picking from news reports to support your vile, racist world view. I live in Germany. Immigrants, such as myself, make it a richer, more diverse, place.

          • Suzanne says:

            Thank you, Scotty. I too am an immigrant to Germany and cannot bear to read Sue’s comments on this blog. Feel much safer as a female walking through any Berlin, Cologne or Munich neighbourhood late at night than past the drunken hordes at the Sydney Opera House outdoor bars on a Friday night where anglo-saxon binge drinking culture reigns. The Alice Weidels, Alexander Gaulands, Pauline Hansons, Marine Le Pens and Donald Trumps of this world are NOT the answer to migration pressure. Strange that this comment thread connects to a post on orchestras, which by the way are racially diverse and often include musicians fleeing economic hardship and sometimes political repression. The German orchestras which just received this first grants most likely employ musicians of 20+ different nationalities espousing different religious beliefs, certainly the Bochumer Symphoniker do and are proud of it

    • Anon says:

      Stop watching TV, observe reality more. It’s nothing like you (are made to) think it is.

    • Bruno Dahl says:

      One cannot debate cultural Marxists. They are not interested in migrants as individuals, only in their use as a political weapon against those who dare to nourish conservative values. To see where that leads, go to Sweden. Or other multiethnic Utopias such as South Africa, Zimbabwe, or “great American cities” such as Detroit, Chicago and Baltimore.

      • Anon says:

        You are confused.
        Detroit etc. are a consequence of failed capitalistic policies. Particularly of neocolonialism, where most of the manufacturing base has been shipped out of the country to places where labor is dirt cheap.

        Now immigration was the backbone of any healthy society. A healthy amount of it.
        Too little immigration and influx of new ideas and new capital (monetary and human) and those countries stagnate in their inbreeding.

        Too much immigration by the wrong people can also ruin a country, yes, but that is hardly the case.

        The most dangerous people in our societies are some – mostly Caucasian – parasites, who with their greed turn our countries into neo-liberal cultural deserts.
        Not some immigrants from Islamic countries.
        Those assimilate, as was shown over past decades. Unless the west, mainly the US, fucks up their countries big time, creates refugees and hatred en masse. Maybe with a side-objective to destabilize Europe even?

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    The UK is proud of being multi cultural and has an excellent record over the decades of welcoming and assimilating refugees. We are not all members of the right wing Ukip.

    • Uthal Kamil Masih says:

      On the first page of the Koran, it says:

      “Those who have disbelieved — it being equal to them whether thou warn them or warn them not — they will not believe. Allah has set a seal on their hearts and their ears, and over their eyes is a covering; and for them is a **great punishment**.”

      So if you do not yet believe in Allah, supplicate at your local mosque now to avoid burning in Hell. And you will of course later voluntarily submit to Sharia law as the Muslim population majority groups in London spread to the rest of the UK.

      • Scotty says:

        Oy vey!

      • John Borstlap says:

        The koran is, like the bible and a couple of other ‘holy texts’ a collection of meditations on the human condition, a number of these meditations is obviously nonsense, others are wise and profound, etc. etc. and since these texts are very old, people take-out from them what they like and feel relevant to them. That is what happened ages ago as well and that changes over time. It is nonsensical to think that all muslems believe everything that is said in their holy text, a majority don’t know at all what is in the book, like many Christians have no clue what the bible says and find church going now & then sufficient. Religions don’t make people religious; people with a religious instinct create religious world views and sometimes texts are part of these views. A majority of normal, middle class muslems have the same civilizational, decent values as a majority in the west, which can be observed in many muslem communities living in the West. A minority of cranks should not be seen as representing a complex religious context.

        Syrian refugees fleeing death and destruction and finding a shelter in countries like Germany, are more than willing to adapt a couple of things, if necessary at all, besides learning the language, because in Europe nobody is forcing you to believe this or that. It is crazy to think that every Syrian is a fanatic muslem who wants to practice sharia in Germany. They will become Europeans, and the next generation will simply be Europeans with – sometimes – a muslem background and a little colour which does not need persistent tanning as the whites cultivate.

        • Marmot de Revanche says:

          You are either naive or hopelessly idealistic, or both. Walk through any European town with a significant Muslim population (i.e. virtually all of them) and observe the large number of women forced to wear glorified garbage bags by this “religion”. And the Koran quote above is pretty unambiguous. Nothing meditative about it.

          • John Borstlap says:

            You don’t seem to understand both Western and Muslem culture. I live in Amsterdam, a predominantly ‘mixed’ community, where muslems have become Dutch and youngsters have become so well integrated that they have become a problem in terms of minor crime, behaving badly, bothering people in public transportation etc. , but mainly in their own quarter. The few burkas worn by women here, are not a priory symbols of suppression but the other way around, symbols of freedom to disappear from male gaze, which is no longer necessary in Holland but which gives the women a sense of self in an environment which is culturally so different from the home country. Head scarfs have become a fashion accessory. In Holland, the rightwing voters for the extremist (and very stupid man) Wilders are to be found in the areas where there are no immigrants; in the heavily-populated West where there are many immigrants – of all nationalities – in the big cities, there are hardly any rightwing voters; why? because in the reality of life the overall majority of muslems are not a problem and they integrate well.

            The universality of Western society means that different cultures can exist next to each other under the umbrella of a number of shared values which makes such combinations possible. That is why people from primitive areas of the globe want to live in such society, because it is so much better than monocultures.

            All this does not mean that there are no problems, but they can only be solved in the perspective of modern Western values, and not in xenophobic restricted ideas. When Westerners sink back into monocultural thinking, they break-down their own civilization and demonstrate they are not well integrated in their own society.

        • Rumpole says:

          Syrians learn German! Impossible language way too complex no wonder they all suffer angst.

          • John Borstlap says:

            They come from such a dangerous place that EVEN having to learn German is felt as a safe haven of humanity.

            By the way, German for a Syrian is not so difficult as Syrian for a German. The famous scholar Bassam Tibi lectured at a German university and spoke fluent English, German and French after he settled there. (Ironically, his defense of a German Leitkultur to help immigrant immigrating, got him accused of islamophobia – him being a muslem himself.)

        • Sue says:

          Wasn’t that a “Syrian refugee” who put that bomb onto the train last weekend? Airbrush…airbrush. It amounts to this…we have an ideology and by god it’s going to be found to be virtuous no matter how many people have to die.

          Now, where have I heard that before?

          • Sue says:

            Sorry, I was not directly my angry comment at you specifically but at the ideology which is at the heart of Merkel’s European experiment. Not you personally. The bien pensant ideology of come what may we have done the right thing is proving lethal to innocent people. I’m for the innocent who will continue to die. It just isn’t necessary for people to die because a cross section of the society wants to behave like useful idiots and turns a blind eye to a failed policy. Armchair philosophers.

      • King Billy says:

        Mosques are not allowed in Belfast, they would go up in smoke.

    • Maria says:

      You don’t speak for the UK.

    • Ellingtonia says:

      Britain is not multi cultural, never has been and never will be. The London intelligentsia like to wax lyrical about the city being a hub of multiculturalism (except where the black turf wars take place over drugs and gangs rule) but they live in a dreamworld , and usually all white, areas. Try coming up north to places like Oldham, Bury, Blackburn, Burnley, Bradford, Dewsbury and Batley and see how these places have become toxic ghettoes. And we are talking about second and third generation “immigrants”. The ones that are the worst are the followers if islam, they have no wish to integrate, and want special treatment for their nasty and pernicious religious beliefs as well as cultural norms (and are fawned over by gullible lefties). And no, I am not a racist, but I do live in the REAL world. Oh, and Scotty says that immigrants enrich Germany, I suggest he has a word with all those women sexually assaulted in Cologne by asylum seekers / immigrants. There are none so blind as those that cannot see!

      • John Borstlap says:

        Generalizations are especially unhelpful. Where immigrant communities sink to primitive levels, that is to a great extent due to the neglect and indifference of authorities, policy, locals. Where muslems grow-up in already existing ghettos, how could they be ‘true muslems’ – i.e. decent citizens? They merely pick-up misery and completely distorted ideas and become easy prey to absurd ideologies, as we see now. I just want to say that such quarters in London are not merely the result of immigrants being immigrants: immigration is a two-sided challenge.

        Example: close to where I live, there is a quarter which was, in the eighties, a derelict area rife with crime, drug dealing, violence etc., with hardly any decent shops, it was a place like a drain for the city’s losers – and many of them were immigrants who could not find a life. Then the city council started a program of rejuvination, rebuilding, repairing streets, housing blocks, social support etc., and now it is one of the most popular quarters of the city (and not expensive), with a lively and very mixed (and young) population, a wealth of international shops, library full of children reading books and using computers, terraces in summer time, trendy café’s, greenery, street parties in summer – a multiculti hub and a success in terms of policy. Crime rates have fallen dramatically, poverty has disappeared, populations mix peacefully. Give people the opportunity for a decent life and they recover from misery and discrimination. Nothing hinders integration of immigrants so much as the experience of exclusion at any attempt to build-up a life.

        • Joe Penhale says:

          Multi culture does not work, the Gulf States should have taken them all in but they would have to give equal rights to their slave labour population so they refused.

          • John Borstlap says:

            In the gulf area a multiculti society does not seem to work because they don’t have developed a vision of a society with universal values, within which different groups can live peacefully together. It seems to be too tribal there.

      • Anon says:

        Multi-cultural or mono-cultural. You make it sound like a black or white issue.
        But it never is. It’s a mix of multicultural influences and amalgamation of those into a prevailing culture, that changes all the time.

        Britain is arguably a very multicultural society, since it had many outlandish influences over the centuries. Through trade, through colonialism, through cultural exchange.

        People these days are confused and overwhelmed by the many confusing realities and inflationary amount of information that storm their minds, and they have the tendency to shut down, to be the opposite of curious, to cling to a false image of a past monocultural identity, which never existed as such solitaire in the fist place.

        • Ellingtonia says:

          Britain is NOT a multi-cultural society, it is a society that contains many races and cultures who often live in their own separate worlds. The worst of these are those that follow islam, a religion that dictates that they do not mix, do not have friends who are not muslims and end up using and abusing the good will we often show to newcomers to these UK shores. And could you just explain what “outlandish influences over the centuries” actually means. Will you be levelling such accusations against the Ottoman, Roman, Mongolian and Islamic empires? You are the typical apologist for those that will not integrate, and indeed Mr Bosrtlap suggests that it is the fault of local authorities and the indigenous population for not doing enough to “help” the immigrants…….give me a break!

          • Anon says:

            Accusations? I’m not accusing. I was describing a reality.
            Also, regarding the militant and intolerant Islam we see today. It was not always like that.
            Many immigrants from originally Muslim countries, Iran, Syria, Egypt, etc., have well integrated into the Western societies.
            It is a more recent phenomenon, and it is a blowback primarily to failed Imperialist strategies of the US in that region of the world.
            Afghanistan was on a secular way. Iran was. Iraq was. Libya was. Egypt was. Syria was.
            All thrown back into dark ages, directly and visibly caused by US policies.
            Much has been written about the “Blowback” called effect we see today. That young men (mostly) from those region take cover under the false identity of these extremist ideologies. Last but not least because we have destroyed their secular hopes in their own countries. it’s a bit more complex than that, but not much…

          • Saxon Broken says:

            Um…London is mostly very well integrated. In other parts of Britain, there is much clearer ethnic segregation.

    • Joe Penhale says:

      You tell them all right, Germany will end up a tinderbox for sure.

    • John Borstlap says:

      That is NOT a very intelligent article, to put it politely. A furious debate about muslem immigrants, which this editor apparently wishes, would only stimulate anti-muslem emotions and violence against muslems who had and have nothing to do with terrorism and merely try to carry-on with their lives. Tendentious anti-muslem talk by politicians legitimizes – in the clouded minds of lots of non-muslem people – violence against immigrants and fuel the rhetoric of rightwing extremist groups. That not many people talk about the attacks does not mean that terrorism is not on everybody’s mind. The article demonstrates the worst kind of reaction, and anti-immigrant rhetoric unintentionally helps terrorist groups to recrute perpetrators because it helps them to spread the narrative of ‘the West against Islam’. In these days, muslems feel probably MORE threatened than the European whites, because they not only have the same angst for attacks as the whites (they are as vulnerable as anybody else) but have the additional fear of the violence from that corner. The problem is the Westernization of non-Western immigrants and better programmes exercising it; nothing is achieved by anti-immigrant rhetoric.