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Children's music saved, but relationship between North Brabant and philharmonie zuidnederland remains 'cool'

What exactly was said remains unknown for now. That there was considerable discussion is clear. In any case, the result is clear: the Philharmonie Zuidnederland (which does not want to be written with capital letters) is back in business with the arts education projects in North Brabant. The brass band and kettle music, with which the Limburg-Brabant merger orchestra earlier announced it was abandoning all the little kids, along with three smaller youth theatre institutions, has been silenced.


The wording in the Philharmonic's letter is funny though: 'Parties agree that discontinuing educational activities - although understandable from the orchestra's uncertain financial perspective for that year - is undesirable in all respects. Management and Supervisory Board of philharmonie zuidnederland have therefore reached out to get out of the impasse that has arisen. The orchestra has pledged to offer its cooperation in programming educational projects of the partners in the year 2020 from February 2019 to ensure its continuity in North Brabant.'

Playwrights see a dialogue emerging here of someone who has to retract a rather malodorous wad, but is happy to sell it as a generous gesture. The response from the Province of North Brabant makes that clear: 'We share your view that the discontinuation of educational activities by philharmonie zuidnederland is undesirable in all respects (we do not, incidentally, share your view that this choice is understandable).'


The end of the story is that the philharmonic gambled wrong with its spontaneous revenge on the province's subsidy cut. One hoped for an election-time political crisis, one got a bad reputation as a child bully. Either way, philharmonic had no leg to stand on, governance-wise. So the main purpose of the 31 January conversation was to facilitate a withdrawal with as little loss of face as possible.

Yet the orchestra is still hoping for a miracle at the State elections. When the orchestra states that it still expects at least €1.5 million in subsidies, it calls this a "risk": 'We realise that this takes a certain risk. After all, a decision on the amount of your province's contribution will only be taken by the newly constituted States. With this, however, we underline the importance we attach to the educational function of philharmony in Brabant society attach.' 

Since the orchestra hopes that in a next College the SP will no longer be about culture and the much more favourably disposed CDA and GroenLinks will reverse the cut, there is no real risk. Of course, it remains to be seen whether the existing order will not be shaken by climate denier Baudet. Although he is rather averse to music written after 1900. 

Sometimes civil service plays are more fun than an evening of drama. But all is well, then. Although the temperature in the relationship still offers the prospect of a southern Dutch elfstedentocht, sometime this summer.

Good to know Good to know

Here are the letters. First, the one from the orchestra:


and here those of the province:


Wijbrand Schaap

Cultural journalist since 1996. Worked as theatre critic, columnist and reporter for Algemeen Dagblad, Utrechts Nieuwsblad, Rotterdams Dagblad, Parool and regional newspapers through Associated Press Services. Interviews for TheaterMaker, Theatererkrant Magazine, Ons Erfdeel, Boekman. Podcast maker, likes to experiment with new media. Culture Press is called the brainchild I gave birth to in 2009. Life partner of Suzanne Brink roommate of Edje, Fonzie and Rufus. Search and find me on Mastodon.View Author posts

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