Harpa Defends Symphony Orchestra - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Harpa Defends Symphony Orchestra

Published October 7, 2011

In the wake of young conservatives calling for state funding to be cut, Harpa Music Hall has issued a public statement defending the support of the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra.
As reported, the Youth Organisation of the Independence Party of Iceland (SUS) is delighted that musicians for the orchestra may strike, as they contend they receive too much money from the state. They believe rather that the orchestra should be able to subsist on ticket sales alone, and the state money saved could go instead to the hospitals.
In response, Harpa has forwarded the following statement to the press:

45 delegates from 10 countries hosting more than 900 festivals agree on the following statement:
We, directors of art festivals in the Nordic and Baltic countries, underline the importance of and strongly support the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, now that the Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre has finally opened. It has never been more essential to strengthen the already vibrant musical life of Iceland and to secure its future.

The 85 musicians – most of whom have five-year degrees and years of experience – make an average of 348,000 ISK per month, but this includes evenings, weekends, travel expenses and rehearsals, among other things. This wage average is also pulled upwards by a few of the higher-paid musicians; newly beginning musicians make 219,000 ISK.
Negotiations between the musicians and state officials are still pending.

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