Massive cuts warning at North German orchestra

Massive cuts warning at North German orchestra


norman lebrecht

June 22, 2020

The German orchestras organisation DOV has put out a warning that the North German broadcaster NDR is planning savage cuts in its chorus and Big Band orchestra.

The main NDR orchestra has taken residency at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie (pictured) and changed its name.

DOV’s Gerald Mertens warns that the chorus, already reduced from 46 to 27 members, would be wiped out by any further cuts. He adds: ‘Instead of slashing artists, the broadcaster needs to restructure itself.’

More here.


  • Alexander Hall says:

    It’s not correct to say that the NDR Symphony “merged” with the Elbphilharmonie. The North German Radio orchestra concluded a ten-year contract to become the hall’s resident band. The Hamburg State Philharmonic, the pit orchestra for the local opera, also gives its own series of concerts in the hall. Nothing is set in stone. Nothing.

  • Hermann the German says:

    There was no mergure of the NDR Sinfonieorchester with the Elbphilharmonie. The NDR orchestra took up residency at the Elbphiharmonie, which is the name of the concerthouse. They added the name of concerthouse to their name like the orchestra of the concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Unfortunately, there is no Royal affix, which we Germans did away with in 1918.

    • HugoPreuss says:

      As one German to another: you do remember that Hamburg was a republic slightly before 1918, right? A “royal” (or any other aristocratic) addition to the name of a concert hall would have been highly offensive to the city fathers of the “Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg”!

  • Musician says:

    To read about those cuts is upsetting especially if you know that the state tv/radio (which the NDR is a part of) just increased the funding by imposing higher fees.
    Forced fees to be exact. Every household in Germany has to pay a monthly fee for the public TV and radio channels no matter if people watching the channels or if there is even a TV or radio at the house. Like an extra tax.
    It’s billions of Euro, lots of bureaucracy and what people get for it is mostly biased coverage of news and politics.
    The funding of the cultural branch with all the predominantly fantastic radio orchestras and choirs is the only justifiable use of those funds.

    • Brettermeier says:

      “what people get for it is mostly biased coverage of news and politics.”

      Two things here:

      1) You’re mostly wrong. You get garbage on most of their far too many TV stations and substations. But it’s not the news and politics but their “entertainment” part which should be completely scrapped. I don’t want to pay for the next “Tatort”, “Fernsehgarten” etc. That’s a) a waste of money and b) not covered by the “Bildungsauftrag”.

      2) I guess you’re right (to some extend) that the news coverage is biased. But as someone who speaks several languages and watches international news, I can reassure you:

      We are FAR better off than for example Americans or Russians when it comes to biased coverage.

      But sure, there’s always room for improvement.

    • jplayer says:

      Yep, their coverage is absolutely biased against populist, anti-democratic tendencies. How dare they provide people with facts! Why are we financing high-brow Deutschlandfunk when simple, straightforward stories unfiltered by elitist mainstream journalists can be obtained free of charge from Russia Today?

      • Brettermeier says:

        “Russia Today”

        Don’t get me started. It’s a well-funded breeding ground for nazis and conspiracy theorists.

        Funniest thing: They complain and rant about “that extra tax” in Germany while being paid for by, of course, Russian taxpayers.

  • Bad news, indeed. The German radio big bands have been on the chopping block for years, and more than half of them have already been eliminated or relegated to only an associate status. The regular German radio big bands are full-time ensembles. They are very high quality groups and extremely innovative. They are doing what we Americans should be doing since it is actually one of the few authentically american genres. Unfortunately, there has not been a single full time big band in the USA outside of the military for decades. And trust me, the military bands are not innovative when it comes to music. It’s not allowed.