Dutch musicians stage flashmob protest

Proposed arts budget cuts under fire

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Dutch musicians have staged a protest concert at The Hague central station. Members of ensembles run by the Netherlands Broadcasting Music Centre (NBMC) gave an impromptu performance to an audience of commuters. It's the latest outcry against the drastic arts spending cuts recently proposed by the Netherland's new government.

The right-wing coalition plans to shut down the Netherlands Broadcasting Music Centre, as well as making a 20 per cent cut in arts subsidies.

An online petition, which now has tens of thousands of signatures, has been launched against its closure; complaints have been made by Dutch councillors and Berlin Philharmonic conductor Sir Simon Rattle has led an appeal in the Dutch press to save the NBMC.

The 65-year-old institution is home to four renowned ensembles, including the world's largest pop and jazz ensemble – the Metropole Orchestra, which is comparable to the BBC Concert Orchestra – and one of Europe's largest music libraries.

Thanks to links between the BBC and Dutch broadcasters, many concerts given by the NBMC ensembles are broadcast on Radio 3. With the Dutch Radio Choir, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic and Chamber Philharmonic Orchestras give a fifth of the concerts put on at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. As well as job losses for Dutch musicians, there's likely to be a knock-on effect in concert income for the Concertgebouw.

 

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