In the Wake of Austerity, Europe Grapples with Arts Cuts

Email a Friend

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 Artsjournal.com 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.