German musicians hold silent protest over renewed lockdowns

Source: AFP Published: 2020/11/3 17:33:40

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 (1900 GMT), 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 of artists posted pictures of records turning without producing any sound.

They argue that not enough support is being made available to people in the sector as Germany shuts down its theaters, 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 the country's other sectors.

Culture Minister Monika Gruetters said she was "greatly concerned" for the future of 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 euros ($11.6 billion) in additional funding for the hardest hit sectors in the new lockdown measures.

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