In the Wake of Austerity, Europe Grapples with Arts Cuts

Experts Debate Whether American-Style Funding is Next

Monday, August 06, 2012

The headlines from Europe this summer are as persistent as a bad sunburn: the Dutch government has slashed arts funding by 25 percent, Italy’s La Scala opera house has announced a $9 million shortfall, and Madrid and Barcelona's main opera houses have both implemented cuts in productions and staff. Portugal abolished its ministry of culture altogether.

Yes, dire news about arts organizations isn’t just for Americans any more. Throughout much of Europe – most notably in Italy, Portugal, the Netherlands and Spain – generous public arts funding is being slashed as governments impose severe austerity measures.

What will this mean for classical music? Will more arts organizations turn to private donors and corporations for support? Could there be an upside, as groups are forced to be more self-sufficient? In this podcast, three experts join host Naomi Lewin to debate the future:

Johannes Grotzky, a journalist and director of the radio for the Bavarian Broadcasting System (Bayerischer Rundfunk) in Munich

Norman Lebrecht, author, blogger at and a cultural commentator for the BBC

Andreas Stadler, the director of the Austrian Cultural Forum here in New York and former president of the New York branch of the European Union National Institutes for Culture.  

Weigh in: Would American-style funding best preserve Europe's cultural heritage? Please leave a comment below.


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Comments [1]

Bernie from UWS

It would be unfortunate if Europe's opera houses had to start relying on private funders, whose tastes are often questionable and drive what kind of art gets produced. That's the problem we have in the US - opera companies are beholden to stodgy ticket buyers and funders and as a result we have conservative productions across the land. And don't even get me started about orchestras.

Aug. 07 2012 11:39 AM

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WQXR looks deeper into the issues affecting the classical music landscape. 

Conducting Business is hosted by Naomi Lewin and produced by Brian Wise.

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