In Tuesday’s (11/12) The Australian (subscription required), Matthew Westwood reports, “Dispatches from Europe tell us that the old culture is in new strife. Arts budgets have been slashed, cultural organisations closed or their activities curtailed…. Britain’s Department for Culture, Media & Sport has slashed projected funding by 8 per cent for 2015-16.… Orchestras have disbanded in The Netherlands, where culture budgets have been cut by 25 per cent. Spanish arts organisations have had a 50 per cent cut, on average…. The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, regularly counted among the world’s best … has escaped the worst of the budget savings, shouldering a 5 per cent reduction to its national subsidy, although the city of Amsterdam has maintained its funding. The orchestra receives €13 million ($18.5m) in public funds, contributing to a budget of about €26m…. Ensembles such as the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic have been disbanded, which means more freelance musicians in the job market. Concert halls are also under pressure, so opportunities for touring may become tighter, [Concertgebouw general director Jan Raes] warns.… Shrinking subsidies are forcing cultural organisations to become more entrepreneurial and to attract investment from the private sector rather than expect a cash stream from government.”

Posted November 13, 2013