Green music: Concert hall boycotts air travel

From the Helsingborg Concert Hall & Symphony Orchestra in Sweden:

Helsingborg Concert Hall & Symphony Orchestra aspires to be a cultural institution that promotes development in the music industry, seeking new ways forward. During the 2020/21 season, HSO will cease to use air travel to bring in musicians and conductors.

One of many myths in the industry is that classical orchestral music is dependent on the use of air travel to be able to offer high quality concerts.

“We are convinced that there are a sufficient number of competent musicians and artists within the limits for rail, road and sea travel. We are now inviting in soloists, conductors and agencies who are willing to support our belief that even classical orchestra music can be included in sustainable development,” says Fredrik Österling, director of Helsingborg Concert Hall.


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    • Bruce: “If it works, great”?…
      I suppose this orchestra won’t go on world tours at all then, and it won’t exactly gain world status, besides avoiding international artists…
      “Die dumme Grünen”!…

  • No air travel, but train, road and sea travel. I guess using electric cars and ships only. Using the sea travel with conventional diesel engines might be the same in terms of pollution, if not worse.

    • Not all ships can be electric due to the weight and size of batteries, however they can use ships fuelled by LNG, sustainable Biofuels, or Methanol, offering low (for the first option) or zero carbon (other two options) ways of sea travel, with lower pollution as well.

  • I am sure many musicians will walk across the Atlantic propelled only by smug self-righteousness. How very Swedish.

  • It’s a plausible idea but I’d like to see a concert hall or an orchestra, which can regularly afford the biggest international acts, doing this. I’ve checked the current season of the Helsingborg Concert Hall and they seem to invite only a tiny number of household names anyway.

  • The orchestra cannot afford to disregard international artists from overseas if they wish to stay in the national and international competition. And they won’t. The artists will fly to Copenhagen and take the train to Helsingborg. Very green. My suggestion: don’t cover the hotel costs anymore and donate the saved money to climate protection campaigns.

  • Flights account for 1% of the CO2 emissions in the world, so the most effective might be to turn off the heat, turn off the headlights and shut down the entire music business?

    Some basic questions are:

    Will there be less emissions if the artist comes to the audience by bike, rather than having the local audience traveling to the artist abroad?

    Do the swedish artists living in the neighborhood have to renounce all their international assignments for the rest of their lives, if they are to perform one evening at that concert hall? Do they have to promise not to go on holiday with the family for the rest of their lives?

    If the “local musical talent” does not meet the required statistical measures, is it his or her environmental Goodwill that counts then?

    Will the audience and agents come by bike or by a rowing boat? Trains and ferries are not exactly environment-friendly, afterall, they might be powered by coal or a diesel locomotive

    Even if the performing soloist comes from the area, then anyone who plays the piccolo or the third trumpet or anybody who has to replace the soloist or conductor may have arrived with a plane from for instance Copenhagen to replace someone who has become acutely ill. Afterall, substitute musicians act in Force Majeur situations

    Is it okay to fly in a skilled piano technician from Hamburg to look over the Steinway instrument, while maybe the management might have been busy getting the most “environmental” pianist replacement available?
    Perhaps the piano tuner comes from Hamburg to Helsingør by train and then to Helsingborg by boat,.but this kind of transportation is again not exactly environmental either

    In the meantime, China will have build 200 airports by the year 2030, while helsingborgians and other well-intentioned naive environmentalists can swim around their safe pond. This orchestra has certainly proven its outmost provincial “Duck-pond” status.

  • Excellent. We at Helsingborg, after spending the last few years trying have finally well and truly shot ourself artistically in the foot. Of all the other climate initiatives we could have thought of we take the one thing that is essential to the quality and international culturism of our of our product and decimate it. Well done.

  • GE’s investment in new energy sources (renewable) is failing for now, as has the new high speed train from LA to San Francisco. The US’s investment (in spending bills) in non-fossil fuel energy has failed miserably. This is a unforced error on the part of the concert hall management that will surely hurt business.

  • This begs the question. What percentage of arts organization managements would receive a grade of C, D, or F.

  • Lol! Helsingborg van say good bye to the most talented musicians. Off course it can be rounded very easy. Just 1000€ more to the fee so artist can book the flights by them self.

  • Utterly disgusting. Allowing environmentalism to destroy culture. Just what I’ve been dreading. However, I am against air travel in that, one should be in residence where one performs, at least for several days, to feel grounded there and part of the community when performing. You can tell when someone has just flown in and will fly out in the morning, they are disconnected. It’s also highly risky. But also, kudos for supporting regional artists.

  • And what will they do, build bridges over the ocean and run high speed trains? They might as well curb cows flatulence, and once at that, they might as well curb any flatulence from all living creatures including the stupid members of this orchestra!! When we say “green” it should be 101% green!!

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