“Few would argue with the suggestion that Germany remains dominant in classical music,” writes Hugo Shirley in last Thursday’s (4/4) The Strad. “Its orchestral scene, for example, is second to none, its hundred-plus orchestras and theatres recognized with ‘intangible cultural heritage’ status by Unesco…. Germany might have more orchestras, but it also has more musicians (including those flooding in from abroad) looking to fill positions in them…. Musicians go from one temporary contract to the next in the vain search for the security of a permanent position…. And as in so many industries, there’s a generation gap… Younger players … see the older generation enjoying all the securities while even the very best young musicians have to fight it out for scraps. There’s evidence, though, that the conservatoires in Germany are adjusting…. In many ways this brings them into line with those in other countries already offering training in the practical realities of being a musician in a climate of shrinking funding for the arts. Maybe in Germany we’re seeing the musical equivalent to a First World problem: are German musicians simply having to adjust to a situation that brings them closer to the reality for players in the rest of the world?”

Posted April 12, 2019

In photo: The NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester in the Elbphilharmonie concert hall in Hamburg, Germany, built in 2017. Photo by Michael Zapf