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Say NO to the dismantling of symphony and opera orchestras!

On October 2nd, 2014, the management of the Rome Opera announced the dismissal of 182 orchestra musicians and chorus members, in a scandalous act of cultural vandalism.

In the last few years in Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, The Netherlands and the US, orchestras have been simply closed down, sometimes overnight. In many other countries, they are being threatened with reductions in funding and budgetary cuts.

In the context of the global economic downturn, orchestras in many countries have suffered as have other important sectors of the economy. However, destroying orchestras in the manner that we have seen in Rome will not just impact musicians’ jobs. It will also deny the general public access to the life enhancing experience of attending live performances of great musical works, thus creating a gap in the cultural offer to taxpayers and their families – a gap which will not readily be filled by the commercial sector. It will also tear apart the education and community work that orchestras have developed in many cities and regions over the last decades.

Even where philanthropic giving to the arts has made significant gains, the symphonic art form continues to suffer from austerity campaigns, which deprive citizens from a legitimate access to highly valued cultural gems. These attacks are void of the vision that community leaders possessed decades to a century ago of a tradition of artistic excellence and a foundation for a cultural hub for their community.

Support for symphony and opera music, which are a precious and fragile part of our cultural heritage, is a prime responsibility of national, regional and local governments.

The International Federation of Musicians (FIM) and its member organisations in 65  countries call on political decision makers to honour this responsibility, by providing orchestras with the means that are necessary to pursue their missions and thus contribute to, and enhance artistic, social and economic life.

FIM calls on all musicians and audiences to support this campaign and reject the dismantling of their operas and orchestras.

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