The fraught nature of one word in a German orchestra program

Posted on: April 26, 2016

“A German orchestra said on Saturday that Turkey attempted to pressure it and the EU to keep the term ‘genocide’ out of a concert marking the massacres of Armenians by Ottoman forces during World War I,” states an unsigned article in Sunday’s (4/24) The Local (Berlin). “The controversy centers on texts that will be sung or spoken during the April 30 show in the eastern German city of Dresden, as well as the event’s program.… ‘It’s an infringement on freedom of expression,’ said Markus Rindt, director of the Dresdner Sinfoniker orchestra. Turkey has long rejected Armenian claims that the killing of up to 1.5 million of their kin as the Ottoman Empire fell apart be classed as a genocide.… Rindt said Turkey’s delegation to the European Union demanded the European Commission withdraw 200,000 euros ($224,500) in funding for the concert. The commission ultimately maintained its financial support, but asked the orchestra to not mention genocide and has removed any mention of the event from its website, Rindt said.… The show was first put on in 2015 to mark the 100th anniversary of the killings, and is performed by both Turks and Armenians. It was envisioned as an act of reconciliation by its creators.”

Posted April 25, 2016