European orchestras respond to Syrian migrant crisis

Posted on: September 8, 2015

Iván Fischer, music director of Hungary’s Budapest Festival Orchestra, “opened a concert in Berlin on Friday with an impassioned plea to European leaders to welcome migrants seeking asylum in their countries,” reports Brian Wise on Monday (9/7) at New York classical radio station WQXR. “Before conducting a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 7, Fischer delivered a speech in which he condemned ‘old, obsolete rules’ and called on government authorities to release migrants and refugees who are being held in chaotic border camps…. Fischer’s speech (in German) was filmed and posted to YouTube and Facebook. It began with a welcome to Syrian guests whom he had invited to the performance…. The [Hungarian] government, trying to stop the influx of migrants, has erected a barbed wire fence along its more than 100-mile border with Serbia. Despite this, thousands more migrants staggered into the country on Monday…. Meanwhile, the Vienna Philharmonic said Tuesday that it will give a benefit concert for Syrian migrants on Sept. 28. And a concert is being planned by the Syrian Expat Philharmonic Orchestra—which describes itself as ‘the first symphony orchestra for the Syrian professional musicians who live in European Union countries’—on September 22, in Bremen, Germany.”

Posted September 8, 2015

Pictured: On September 4, conductor Iván Fischer speaks before a concert in Berlin about the migrant crisis in Europe.