Germany lost 70 orchestra jobs in 2017

The number of salaried positions in German orchestras fell last years from 9,816 to 9,746, the German Orchestra Association has announced.

Four orchestras were merged into two – SWR Baden-Baden / Freiburg with Stuttgart and the Thuringia Philharmonic Gotha with Landeskapelle Eisenach. That leaves 129 orchestras altogether.

In 1992, after reunification, there were 168.

Read on here.

pic: Berlin Phil brass

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  • In the right amount of wrong, a certain political context will have the number decrease further, also due to today’s trend that many orchestras wait as much as a few years to fill a tutti position (even a decade or more for principal positions, whereby this is perhaps somewhat understandable with the big ones). And this while many orchestras have academists who receive tuition, as well as a decent number those orchestras’ members teaching in conservatories…

  • This actually looks pretty good on paper, but does not represent the reality. It would be interesting to read how many salaried positions were actually filled in recent years. In practical experience, many positions are being covered by Praktikanten (students who are underpaid and hope that the experience will look good on their resume) and Aushilfen (substitutes).
    I would love to know how many salaried positions are actually filled by a full-time, fully- paid player.

  • The two Thuringian towns who merged their orchestras each have a population of around 40,000 people. These places are tiny: the surprise is that they have an orchestra at all, rather than they now have to share one instead of having one each.

    • on the other hand, it should be mentioned that one of those towns is Eisenach, Johann Sebastian Bach’s birthplace.
      his father directed the town’s music, also Telemann was employed as music director at the court there.

      now this place, so rich in musical history (and also the place where Luther translated the bible into German, and where Wagner’s Tannhäuser is set), has ceased to have it’s own orchestra.

      I hope the newly formed orchestra at least has a sound financial basis for a fruitful artistic future.

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