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Berlin Philharmonic leads mass orchestra strike

Features - Classical Music

Berlin Philharmonic leads mass orchestra strike

by Hallam Fulcher on October 1, 2013 (October 1, 2013) filed under Classical Music | Comment Now
Orchestral musicians around Germany are replacing their instruments with picket signs in a nationwide walkout.

Over 100 German state and local orchestras have gone on strike, protesting against the steady decrease in jobs for orchestral musicians around the country. It is the biggest organised protest for German orchestras since the 1950s.

“Our unique cultural heritage is being seriously threatened,” says a statement released on the campaign protest website. “In the last 20 years, the orchestra count in Germany has fallen from 168 to 131. With 2,500 jobs lost, we now face even further cuts. We, the members of the German orchestras, call out for action: There must be an end to orchestral job cuts in Germany. Let this go no further!”

Boardmember of Berlin Philharmonic Ulrich Knoerzer has expressed a similar unease: "If the base of the German orchestra system crumbles, it puts the future of the top orchestras in danger," he said.

Leading the nationwide protest, members of the Berlin Philharmonic gathered at 10am in front of the Berliner Philharmonie concert hall on Monday, wielding picket signs with the slogan: "Something worth preserving". 

Orchestras of Hamburg, Cologne, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Munich, Dresden and Leipzig assembled in similar, simultaneous protests, as well as many regional orchestras around the country.

Collective bargaining with the German Government on the future of orchestral layoffs and wage increases begins today in Berlin.