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Covid-​19 | Response of musicians’ unions

Last updat­ed: 30 April 2020

You will find here­after nation­al reports by musi­cians’ unions on the sit­u­a­tion in their respec­tive coun­tries re. the Covid-​19 cri­sis, its con­se­quences on the music sec­tor and the response that they have devel­oped in sup­port of musi­cians whose jobs and rev­enues are impact­ed by this crisis.

Click on a coun­try to dis­play information

Members of Korea’s National Opera Choir must be reinstated!

Korea National Opera Choir members protest

Korea’s National Opera Choir was dis­man­tled in 2009 by deci­sion of the con­ser­v­a­tive gov­ern­ment of Lee Myung-​Bak, a deci­sion whose arbi­trary and unjus­ti­fied nature has since been brought to light.

Ten years after the event, cer­tain choir mem­bers are still fight­ing to be rein­stat­ed, but are com­ing up against ret­i­cences from the admin­is­tra­tion which car­ried out their dis­missal in 2009 and today fears hav­ing to rec­og­nize its past errors.

Korea’s National Opera Choir was found­ed in 2002 to pro­vide the insti­tu­tion with a choir to match its rep­u­ta­tion and ambi­tions.
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ALERT! Help saving the orchestra of the Flemish Opera!

Flemish Opera Orchestra

The high­ly esteemed and much appre­ci­at­ed Opera and Ballet Orchestra in Flanders is being threat­ened to shut­down soon. Such clo­sure would result in a major part of Flemish cul­ture being seri­ous­ly erod­ed if not com­plete­ly eradicated.

How is this pos­si­ble? It is a direct con­se­quence of polit­i­cal machi­na­tions. An exter­nal report was ordered by the Flemish Minister of Culture, Sven Gatz, then com­piled by Koen Vandyck.

This dam­ag­ing report seems to imply the absorp­tion of the Flemish Opera Orchestra into the Philharmonic Orchestra in Antwerp.
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France | The profession of performer undermined by the government

Assemblée Nationale

Indignation among pro­fes­sion­al per­form­ing artists after the adop­tion at sec­ond read­ing of the “Creation” bill pre­sent­ed by the French gov­ern­ment which makes pro­vi­sion for all com­pa­nies in the enter­tain­ment busi­ness, whether sub­sidised or not, to be able to resort to using unpaid artists.

Under the guise of fos­ter­ing ama­teur prac­tices, the French gov­ern­ment is organ­is­ing the legal­i­sa­tion of negat­ing the trade of per­former, by sug­gest­ing that the work of a musi­cian or actor does not need to be remunerated.

This is a his­toric regres­sion, in a coun­try which has a rep­u­ta­tion for treat­ing its artists worthi­ly.
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Israel | Crisis at Rishon LeZion Symphony: agreement reached

Rishon LeZion Symphony Orchestra

The man­age­ment of the LeZion Symphony Orchestra and the Israeli Musicians Union (IMU) have reached an agree­ment, thus putting an end to the finan­cial cri­sis (see our arti­cle here).

According to this 1‑year agree­ment, the musi­cians’ pre­mi­ums for over­time will be reduced by 4% until the end of 2016, as a con­tri­bu­tion to the reduc­tion of the deficit.

In the mean­time, the salary of the orchestra’s General Manager will be reduced by 15% in 2016. Maestro James Judd, has accept­ed to waive his salary as Musical Director dur­ing the same peri­od.
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Uruguay | International support for the SODRE Symphony Orchestra


The SODRE Symphony Orchestra is Uruguay’s nation­al orches­tra. Founded in 1931, it is Latin America’s old­est orches­tra. A bas­tion of nation­al cul­ture, it has also become an essen­tial bench­mark for the whole of the Latin American region. It has been direct­ed by celebri­ties such as Erich Kleiber, Ottorino Respighi or Igor Stravinsky, to men­tion just the most iconic.

Unfortunately, polit­i­cal lead­ers have set out on a path to grad­u­al­ly elim­i­nate per­ma­nent posi­tions in favour of pre­car­i­ous ones with short-​term con­tracts. Currently, the orches­tra has only 52 posi­tions left for sta­ble jobs, 47 posi­tions being cov­ered by pre­car­i­ous ones.
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Financial crisis at the Rishon LeZion Symphony Orchestra

Rishon LeZion Symphony Orchestra

The IMU (Israeli Musicians’ Union) is deeply involved in the ongo­ing nego­ti­a­tions between the Rishon LeZion Symphony Orchestra’s man­age­ment and the 80 musi­cians who are employed under a col­lec­tive agree­ment and rep­re­sent­ed by the Union. The orches­tra car­ries a heavy deficit and as gov­ern­ment and city sup­port, though not cur­tailed, are not going to grow, the man­age­ment has put on the table a dras­tic cut in the planned 2016 budget.

The musi­cians are asked to agree to a 10% cut in their salaries. Next two weeks will be cru­cial and it is hoped that a work­able solu­tion will be reached.
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Petition to support the National Orchestra of Belgium

Orchestre National de Belgique

“As the result of pol­i­tics, our National Orchestra is threat­ened with extinc­tion in the near future. In fact, a scheme from Minister Reynders cab­i­net aims at the absorp­tion of the National Orchestra of Belgium by the Royal Opera Theatre “La Monnaie” to strength­en its programming.

We feel how­ev­er, that backed by a long tra­di­tion of near­ly eighty years, the NOB ful­fils its cul­tur­al mis­sion very well, both by the seventy-​some con­certs it per­forms each year and by its cul­tur­al radi­ance abroad as a much appre­ci­at­ed guest orches­tra on the inter­na­tion­al scene.
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