From all the scenarios about the temporary and permanent solution of shutdown public broadcaster ERT, not a single one refers to the musicians of the symphonic orchestra, the music ensembles and the choirs. Some guys in the government – incl. the so-called minister of culture – consider that Greeks do not need quality music. What do they know about culture? They fairly have no idea what a 4/4 or a 1/8 La is!
For many Greeks and me personally the ERT radio orchestra was a part of our lives, especially before the private broadcast companies set foot in Greece and bombard us with unbelievable music and horrible lyrics. I don’t know, if it has to do with the fact that I was lucky to enjoy a music education in elementary school and was member of the choir. All this because our teacher had happened to be also a violinist. On the side note: Decades later, we still meet and sing together, even if not all of us….
With a repertoire from Greek quality compositions up to classic music … listening to ERT radio was a must. We had to listen to radio and train our ears and the …voices. And it deeply hurts me that part of my culture is not allowed to perform anymore.
The Musical Ensembles of ERT include:
- National Symphonic Orchestra
- Contemporary Music Orchestra
- ERT’s Chorus
- ERT-3 Orchestra
- Children’s Orchestra
Information and technical departments of ERT can be trimmed down allegedly to save costs, but the Orchestras and the choirs cannot. I heard earlier on ERT online pirate program that the total number of people is 90.
“They don’t realize what they do.”
In a wonderful report in spuddings.net, Vassilis Liakos, the principal cellist of the ERT orchestra said that “the ERT is close to the people of Greece; it is our main cultural project.” He is shocked about the shutdown. “The ERT orchestra, established in 1938, is the only radio symphony orchestra in Greece. If we’re gone, there is no more radio symphony orchestra in this country.”
The ERT orchestra is not the only casualty. There’s also the folk orchestra, established in 1958, and the chorus, founded in 1977. The disbanding of these three musical outfits will mean that Greece has lost 25% of its orchestras overnight
“If the orchestra is really closed then we might start by ourselves. We have long friendships and a lot of experience here.”
But starting an orchestra is no easy feat, especially in Greece’s current economic crisis. “People want to listen to our music, but not to pay. As the state orchestra we were able to sell tickets to our concerts at a very low price – €3.50 or €4. How will people afford to go to concerts now?” (Must Read Full article here)
Another musician from the ERT Orchestra, Yiannis, a violoncello player for the past 22 years, started a petition in hope to prevent the dismantling of one of Greece’s main culture products.
Why is this important? Please, read and sign the Petition
Save Greece’s national orchestra
Why this is important
I’m Giannis and I’ve been a violoncello player for ERT’s orchestra for the past 22 years. Last week, the Prime Minister A. Samaras decided to shut down ERT, Greece’s national broadcaster. Despite the Greek government now saying ERT will resume some operations, the fate of the orchestra remains uncertain.
While our political leaders are taking crucial decisions about the future of ERT and our national orchestra, I’m writing to you from the occupied studios of ERT which remains shut. This is my workplace; where we rehearse, record and broadcast our concerts but it’s very likely that we will all lose our jobs very soon.
ERT’s classical and modern orchestras as well as the choir are national treasures. They serve the Greek national broadcaster ERT just like other european orchestras serve broadcasters like RAI and the BBC. ERT’s orchestras are currently the only opportunity for thousands of Greek citizens to experience classical music through their TV and radio for free.
We produce recordings, live concerts, radio shows and educational concerts for thousands of school children across Greece. My biggest fear is that by closing ERT’s orchestras, every Greek kid, every Greek citizen will lose this unique opportunity to experience classical music through ERT.
In an era where Greek people are constantly bombarded with ‘fast-food’ music, I’m scared that if ERT’s orchestras go, many people will lose their only connection with classical music.
For me, the orchestra is my home, and my colleagues are my family.
The only way we can save ERT’s orchestras is if we all take action now.
Our voices are the only tools we have to put pressure on our political leaders who, in the name of austerity, are diminishing any form of culture that remains in Greece. Only a massive public outcry and the fear of not being elected again should, and will, stop Samaras from extinguishing Greek culture.