Appalling News - A Great German Orchestra Is In Danger Of Folding
The prestigious Southwest German radio orchestra of Baden Baden is in danger of being liquidated by the German government because of financial difficulties . It's hard to believe that this could be the fate of a major German orchestra, but this oculd very well happen . Even Europe, where generous government support for orchestras and dopera companies has long been taken for granted , is no longer immune the the financial difficulties endemic to those of America .
The government run radio stations of major German and other European countries have long supported world-class orchestras with eminent maestros as their chief conductors , and they have made numerous recordings as well as touring internationally . Something like this would unfortunately be impossible in America . The closest we have ever had to it was the legendary NBC symphony ,founded for the great Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini , which played concerts and radio broadcasts in at a studio in Rockefeller center now used for NBC's Saturday Night Live broadcasts from 1937 to 1954 , and was supported by the RCA corporation .
But world class radio orchestras function in Berlin,Munich, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Frankfurt and elsewhere in Germany . The Southwest German radio orchestra is resident at the famous resort and Spa town of Baden Baden, Swabia , and has had renowned conductors such as Hans Rosbaud and Michael Gielen as its principal conductors , as well as numerous distinguished guest ocnductors . The orchestra is renowned for its performances of difficult contemporary music by a wide variety of German and European composers, and even America's most venerable composer , the centenarian Eliott Carter .
Government support allows these radio orchestras to devote ample rehearsal time to difficult works by contemporary composers , a luxiury whcih American orchestras do not have . Unlike those of America, they are not bound by rigid union rules requiring overtime for extra rehearsal and for those rehearsals to last a specific amount of time . Composers appreciate this greatly .
A number of distinguished ocnductors and instrumentalists have signed a petition asking for this orchestra to be saved , and you can add your signature by going to artsjournal.com and checking Norman Lebrecht's blog Slipped Disc . An English translation is available .
Don't sit by idly while a great orchestra is destroyed !