What a crisis looks like
Anne Midgette at the Washington Post points us to a country where the orchestra industry is shedding jobs at a pace über alles:
According to the book Musical Life in Germany, an informational publication put out by the German Music Information Center (MIZ) that just landed on my desk, there were 168 publicly financed concert, opera, chamber and radio orchestras in reunified Germany in 1992. Since then, the book states, 35 ensembles have been dissolved or merged. That’s a lot. There are 2,237 fewer full-time positions for orchestral musicians in Germany today than there were in 1992 – a loss of 18%. As we wring our hands over the loss of orchestras in Louisville, Honolulu, Syracuse, and the Philadelphia Orchestra’s declaration of bankruptcy, imagine what we’d do if we lost 35 of them. The vast majority of these closures were in the states of the former East Germany; some areas, particularly smaller towns and cities, were left without orchestras and opera companies at all. And mergers and closures are continuing to take place.
It’s not surprising that most of the jobs lost were in the former East Germany; the same thing has happened to a lot of enterprises there. But it’s still a pretty shocking thing to be happening in the Vaterland of orchestras.