When the Greek government last week closed the country’s public broadcasting network, ERT, and laid off all of its nearly 2,700 employees, among the casualties was the Greek National Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.
The closure was part of the cost-cutting measures demanded by Greece's international creditors. Along with the 75-year-old radio orchestra, the national contemporary music ensemble, founded in 1954, was also shuttered. On Friday, the orchestra released a video of what is said to be the group's final performance. Shot in a sweltering rehearsal room (the air conditioning had been turned off), it shows musicians, some teary-eyed, playing Elgar's stirring "Nimrod" from the Enigma Variations.
The video, which was posted Friday on Norman Lebrecht's Slipped Disc blog, has received more than 150,000 views.
Although the Greek government has said the broadcaster would resume some operations in a few months -- and legal challenges are also pending -- the fate of the music ensembles remains uncertain. Greece is in the third year of its worst financial crisis since World War II.