Thielemann and Jansons return their ECHO awards

Thielemann and Jansons return their ECHO awards


norman lebrecht

April 21, 2018

The conductor Christian Thielemann and his Staatskapelle Dresden have returned their ECHO awards over the latest prize which went to a pair of rappers with an Auschwitz joke.

A statement said: ‘A prize that puts sales above everything, and in a live performance on Holocaust Remembrance Day makes a mockery of the victims of the Third Reich, is a symbol of a form of cynicism which we do not stand for.’

Mariss Jansons and the Bavarian Radio have also returned their Echo award.

Fabio Luisi was the first conductor to do so.

Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) have suspended their record deal with the offending rappers Farid Bang and Kollegah.



  • Sue says:

    Excellent!! There’s obvioiusly a limit to their ability to soak up ‘cultural enrichment’.

  • Petros Linardos says:

    When did BMG suspend their contract with Farid Bang and Kollegah ? How long was the time when they were performing unacceptable texts and were under contract with BMG?

    • PaulD says:

      BMG will use the, “We couldn’t understand the lyrics” defense, as if the recording was “Louie, Louie.”

    • Meal says:

      As far as I know they did “only” one album together. But the situation is not as clear as stated by Norman. The head of BMG is cited “Wir hatten den Vertrag über ein Album. Jetzt lassen wir die Aktivitäten ruhen, um die Haltung beider Parteien zu besprechen” (We had a contract for one album. Now, we suspend the activities to discuss the position of both sides.). Suspend is not the same as stop …
      @Pauld: I assume that they did understand. They might have thought: “There are just a few lines of “bad taste”. They do not mean this seriously, it is just ironic/sarcasm.” What they did not recognize is the mindset which becomes clear if you have a look on their complete public appearance.

      • Meal says:

        Sorry, I have read “stop” in Norman’s post, but he did write “suspend”. So, Norman was completely right. Anyhow, maybe my reply makes a bit more clear that it is not sufficient to “suspend”.

      • Petros Linardos says:

        We shouldn’t underestimate the ability of a record company staff to understand the meaning of lyrics. Sometimes, however, we can easily underestimate their cynicism.

  • Alexander Platt says:

    They did the right thing — for Germany and for everyone else.

  • Player says:

    I do hope the Thielemann-haters will note this well. Doesn’t fit the narrative, but hey…

  • Rob says:

    Thielemann has just released a Mahler disc, to at least one rave review on amazon.

    Even so, his Mahler 8 of a few years ago was not up to scratch imho.

  • Gerhard says:


  • Barry Guerrero says:

    Yes, bravi (or bravo) to both conductors.

  • Andy says:

    Bravi to the orchestras.