Culture crash: Bruckner’s home town cancels orchestra funding

Culture crash: Bruckner’s home town cancels orchestra funding


norman lebrecht

November 13, 2018

The Austrian city of Linz, in the thick os a political war, has abolished its subsidy of seven million Euros to the Landestheater, home to the Bruckner Orchester Linz.

The orchestra faces almost immediate job cuts and a shorter season. Its conductor Markus Poschner has sent this message to the players:

Liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen,


die Meldungen der letzten Tage aus dem Rathaus sind ein Skandal.


Hier wird der kulturelle Herzschlag der Stadt auf dem Altar der taktischen und parteipolitischen Befindlichkeiten geopfert. Und das, ohne zuvor überhaupt in einen Dialog treten zu wollen – keine Konzepte, keine Ideen. Man ist schier fassungslos. 

Dennoch müssen wir nun alles tun, um für unser Orchester die eigenen Visionen und Ziele voranzutreiben und zu verwirklichen. Das könnte auch eine große Chance sein. Es muss uns jetzt gelingen, selbst einen Schritt zu tun und am Ende sogar gestärkt und unabhängiger aus dieser Situation hervorzugehen.
Daran arbeiten wir hinter den Kulissen auf Hochtouren. 

Ich wünsche Ihnen eine gute Woche und uns viel Glück in den anstehenden Gesprächen.  




Markus Poschner


Dear Colleagues,


The messages of the last few days from the city hall are a scandal.

The cultural heartbeat of the city is being sacrificed on an altar of tactical and party political sensitivities.
And that without first entering into a dialogue – no concepts, no ideas. You are almost stunned.

Nevertheless, we must now do everything we can to promote and realize our own visions and goals for our orchestra.
This could be a big opportunity. The orchestra must now take a step for itself and may in the end be strengthened and become more independent .
We are working at full speed behind the scenes on this.


I wish you a good week and good luck in the upcoming talks.



  • william osborne says:

    I hope some local’s will fill us in. This sounds like the usual political theater, this time using the Landestheater as a pawn. In these cases, the funding is almost always restored.

    • The View from America says:

      Arts funding is political — always and everywhere.

      • william osborne says:

        Exactly. And why the Austrian government spends about $200 per capita per year on the arts while the US government spends about $3 if one combines the state and federal appropriations. It’s why small Austrian cities like Linz, Graz, Innsbruck, and Salzburg have full time, year round houses while in the USA even Chicago and San Francisco have half season houses, and all other majors cities excepting NYC have far less than that. Never mind. Let’s create the false impression that EU arts funding is falling so we can feel better.

  • The View from America says:

    More indications that arts funding is a hot mess, regardless of where we are in the world.

    • There are about 30 countries in Europe. Give us some evidence that there is some broad movement to lower arts funding. Americans make this false claim just so that they can feel better about not having a public system of arts funding. It’s fake news, and most often propounded by our mainstream media, and certainly never countered by it.

  • Zacharias says:

    How terrible! Does anyone know if this is an issue with the local government or the national?

    I would have thought “Not Austria, never Austria” with respect to defunding the arts.

  • RW2013 says:

    OOOOLD photo of Poschner…

  • Helen says:

    It is true and it’s horrible.

    I lived in Linz for many years. It is nothing without its music.
    I studied singing at the Bruckner conservatory and went to school there. I am stills connected to the Landestheater on Facebook and see the many posts about this scans – and my father lives
    There still.

    The contract is supposed to end in 2020 if nothing happens.

    Linz has been called the main city of culture for a reason and now they want to end a contract that has been going on for 40 years.

    They just built an amazing theater about 5 years ago and it attracts so many people. Great orchestra, great ensembles with people from all over the world.

    This is no trick, this is reality and It’s a nightmare.

    Helen D

    • Derek says:


      Very well said. The orchestra is excellent and deserves support.
      Linz politicians should think again whilst the people must rally round the Landestheater.

  • Andreas B. says:

    As far as I understand, the city has NOT abolished anything.

    All that has happened so far, is that the mayor – in some form of party political power play – has proposed to the city Council to renegotiate a deal between the city of Linz and the Land Oberösterreich, financing various cultural institutions.

    A vote about this will be taken in December.

    The orchestra does NOT face immediate job cuts and a shorter season as the current agreement is still in place through to 2020 and the Land Oberösterreich will most probably step up its contribution should the city really back out.

    One of many available press articles explaining further:

    Good luck to the orchestra and theatre in the upcoming talks!
    I guess GMD Poschner could be right and they might actually come out of this strengthened.

    • Andreas B. says:

      The vote has now taken place. Sadly, the city has indeed cancelled its contribution.

      However, as was to be expected, the Land Oberösterreich will compensate the loss to the budget of theatre and orchestra.

      No job cuts, no shorter season.