How do you see the future of the orchestra?
In my opinion, there is no future in new music for the symphony orchestra. It will disappear, just like the dinosaurs disappeared.
With modern digital technology a new kind of technology has developed which offers totally different possibilities than the conventional orchestra.
You mustn’t forget: more than 90% of what is broadcasted today under the name of music, has not seen a conventional musician.
At present, this still more or less concerns pop and light music but it is only a question of time, and these developments will spill over to classical music, and there they will bring out remarkable performances of interpretation which will put everything that we know today, as a conventional orchestra’s interpretation of classical music, in the shade.
But here, too, this benefit of artistic performance will probably only play a secondary role in abolishing the symphony orchestra, because, as I have mentioned beforehand, taking part in a conventional orchestra is extremely hazardous to one’s health.
On the one hand, the musician’s ear is damaged with the noise of the orchestra, which exceeds the medically permissible level by far with 135 decibel by 32fold.
On the other hand, playing in an orchestra demands enormous concentration from the individual musician, because during the performance of harmonious music which applies to all classical music a single wrong tone played by a single musician will immediately be heard by everybody.
The musician cannot stand this pressure for long. The system of today’s orchestra involves that a coductor’s mistakes are not perceived at all by the audience.
But nevertheless, he has managed to rise to this position where he monitors the situation that no musician is allowed to make a mistake. And if it so happens that a musician frequently plays a false tone, he might as well look for an other job. In this respect, the musician in an orchestra is under constant pressure.
He has a family, he has children to take care of, he also has his personal worries and hardships just like anybody else, but he must do a perfect job. In the long run, he is bound to fail.
The realisation of this system of conventional orchestra organisation, and the perverse performance situation which simply ignores human inadequacies, drives the musician step by step to frustration, and together with the increasing strain of aging, many of them turn to alcohol, stimulants or become addicted to pills.
In the end, all this will make him ill. This applies especially to the women in an orchestra, who, on the whole are even more sensitive than their male colleagues already are, and who are therefore even more susceptible to the stress and strain.
We mustn’t forget: the system of the orchestra is a relic from the times of dictatorship. For this reason, the question of a musician’s freedom, his well-being, his health and of his being overtaxed, his mental strain and frustration was historically not taken into consideration at all.
He had to function like a soldier. Today, this is different. In our democratic world of today we must indeed take care of the soldier’s health, and the same will have to be done for the musician in an orchestra.
But with the question of the musician’s health and its medical answer at the latest, the conventional symphony orchestra will come to an end at least in the way it is functioning today.
That, however, does not necessarily mean the end of the musician.
Here, an enormous area of digital opportunities are available to him, and if he has enough love of music in him, and is open-minded, he will learn to use these means, and he will come up with interpretations that will completely astonish the listener.
In this case he will become the free mediator between the classical music creator and the listener without any inspectors whatsoever.
The places of music training, i.e. the music colleges, music academies and conservatoires are not at all prepared for this situation perhaps that is better so. Then they can’t disturb this process of development in an incompetent way.
But therefore, at the same time, this process will bring the end of these music institutions. So, your question “Can one learn music in a place of training?” has been settled in a natural way.
I can still remember: when I was small, many people made their way briskly to the Ruhr Valley like to the Promised Land to participate in lucrative coal-mining.
This gold-digging spirit has not only long gone, but other developments have taken over coal-mining in such a way, that these people are faced with great problems, as to how they will earn a living.
This whole scenario, from the beginning to the heyday until the end, has not even lasted 50 years, and nobody will doubt that, according to today’s level of knowledge, conventional coal-mining in the Ruhr Valley no longer has a future.
The same applies to the symphony and/or opera orchestra only that here, the artistic end will probably not be the decisive element, but the end due to health reasons.
The orchestra’s future is therefore not a musical or artistic problem, but a medical one.
And in a time when people are concerned with a general reduction of costs in the medical sector, these efforts will not stop for the orchestra.
Just as coal-mining in the Ruhr district, whilst at death’s door, is nowadays still being artificially subsidised from outside, and discussions about the end of these subsidies make people’s feelings run high, the symphonic or operatic orchestra is also artificially subsidised from the outside in the same way, and with discusssions about the subsidies their end is foreseeable.
Many individual fates are involved in these developments in coal-mining as in the symphonic orchestra , but it’s no use turning a blind eye on the facts of new developments.
It’s much more worthwhile to adjust and adapt in time. Music existed prior to the symphonic and operatic orchestras, and it will go on existing. There is no need to mourn for music.Huebner