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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Marin Alsop: It’s over for ORF orchestras “draconian”

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Marin Alsop, Chief Conductor of the Radio Symphony Orchestra
Image: (APA/AFP/A. Wallace)
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As reported, ORF General Director Roland Weißmann wants to cut the orchestra with 88 musicians and a budget of nine million euros in his austerity program.

“It is almost embarrassing for Austria that this terrible and draconian measure is even being considered”, says the New Yorker, who has been at the head of the orchestra since 2019, in an interview with the Austria Press Agency. With its focus on contemporary music, the RSO is unique in Austria. “As a foreigner, it’s shocking to me that the RSO is the first thing they cut.” Vienna is not a city famous for diversity: “But you have an orchestra that consists of 40 percent female musicians, which is anything but typical for Austria.” The RSO is an extremely flexible orchestra that can play standard repertoire as well as film music or contemporary works: “Destroying that would be a short-sighted signal of regression, not progress.”

“Absolute world class orchestra”

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A reduction in the budget is hardly possible because one is already “very conservative with spending” bypass: “And at some point it comes down to quality.” The 66-year-old Maestra wants to start a rescue campaign with it “this treasure RSO will continue to exist for decades to come”. Without the RSO, the cultural landscape would be a lot poorer: “Because the RSO is an absolute world-class orchestra that is committed to its listeners. If that didn’t exist anymore, it would break my heart.”

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