German musicians hold silent protest over lockdowns

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German musicians hold silent protest over lockdowns
Berlin's Philharmonic, one of the cultural institutions which will remain closed during the November lockdown. Photo: DPA

Some of Germany's top orchestras, including Berlin's prestigious Staatskapelle and the Munich Philharmonic, staged protests on Monday, warning that coronavirus lockdowns pose an existential threat to the arts and entertainment industries.


Musicians from the internationally-renowned ensembles in Berlin and Munich, as well as the orchestra of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, staged a minute's silence at the start of their respective concerts set to start at 8 pm, according to video footage posted on social media.


And on Twitter, using the hashtag #ohneKunstundKulturwirdsstill -- German for "without art and culture there is silence" -- a wide range number of artists posted pictures of records turning without any sound.


Ohne Kunst wird‘s still #sangundklanglos #systemrelevant #ohnekunstundkulturwirdsstill

A post shared by Tatjana Mahlke (@tatjana.louxy) on

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They argue that not enough support is being made available to people in the sector as Germany shuts down its theatres, concert halls, opera houses and museums for the next four weeks as part of a wider tightening of measures to try to curb a second wave of Covid-19 infections.

Freelance musicians in particular are finding it difficult to survive as they frequently do not qualify for the furlough schemes introduced for paid employees in other sectors. Germany has set aside extra funding, however, for freelancers in the arts.

Culture Minister Monika Gruetters said she was "greatly concerned" for the industry.

"Even if the new restrictions are understandable" from a health point of view, they constitute "a catastrophe" for the sector, she said.

The German government has said it will make up to €10 billion in additional funding for the hardest hit sectors in the new lockdown measures.


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