Berlin orchestra truckers go bust

Berlin orchestra truckers go bust


norman lebrecht

February 01, 2021

The Berlin trucking company Kanitz, specialising in transporting orchestral instruments since 1953, has gone out of business as a result of Covid inactivity, it was reported today.

Four generations of the same family were involved.

They were the Berlin Philharmonic truckers.





  • Peter San Diego says:

    What a shame that the state support of arts organizations in Germany can’t be extended to those in the arts infrastructure, such as Kanitz.

    Of course, arts support is still much better there than in the US…

    • Barry Guerrero says:

      You think! How could it be any less here in the colonies?

    • Novagerio says:

      I agree. Same with the backstage technicians in any major theater. They are the well-oiled wheels of the whole machinery, and yet they earn the least, they work the longest hours, and they are the first to be hit by any financial crisis.

      • Mecky Messer says:

        Especially those in carnegie hall, making 300-400K a year for turning on the lights and sweeping the floor (maybe) of the stage..

        What is this, The Hunger games?!

      • V.Lind says:

        Not at the Met. And I doubt it is alone — IATSE is a very powerful union and I suspect its members are generally well-remunerated (when they are being remunerated).

  • JussiB says:

    I’m not worried, in a free market a new company will replace them when the need arises again.

    • V.Lind says:

      Oh, and the hell with them — them being all the people laid off and now struggling? Grow a heart.

    • Hayne says:

      Sorry to disagree JussiB but they went out of business(like so many others)because of the state, not market forces. That’s why it’s a shame.

  • Robert King says:

    Tragic. This is exactly the type of fallout which demonstrates what a complex ecosystem exists around the business of orchestral touring. It’s not just musicians on stage who’ve lost their livelihoods. Immediately to mind come a few categories which have been very badly hit by the ripples from a year without orchestral touring:

    – Freelance rehearsal studios;
    – Cafes and takeaways near those premises whose business often partly depends on those orchestral players;
    – Specialist travel agents (the ones who know which aircraft fit which size of timpani box and can get a cello seat correctly booked on every airline, etc);
    – Keyboard technicians;
    – Instrument hire businesses (especially percussion rental);
    – Tour managers (mostly freelancers);
    – Music publishers;
    – Agents and artist managers (and, truly, whatever people may say, there are many, many good ones!);
    – Lighting and stage technicians (often freelancers);
    – Roadies and truckers;
    – Concert programme designers and note writers;
    and so on.

    For each musician who has lost their work, there is probably the same number in “support” services. SD readers will doubtless come up with dozens more categories. It’s heartbreaking to know that good, long-serving colleagues who make music possible are in just as much trouble as are the actual performers.

  • NYMike says:
    I wonder how the major US orchestra transporter is doing….

  • Dave T says:

    For every hundred mentions of the financial and emotional hardship suffered by conductors or musicians due to covid I doubt there is one mention of that endured by the ticket sellers, ushers, fund raisers, and people such as this who make musical performance possible. It’s really about time the focus turn to them.