In Europe, many challenges for Mahler Chamber Orchestra, dependent on touring and ticket income

Posted on: April 16, 2020

“Michiel Commandeur, a Dutch violinist, sounded surprisingly upbeat when he said his income had fallen to zero since the coronavirus pandemic began,” writes Alex Marshall in last Wednesday’s (4/8) New York Times. “Mr. Commandeur, 50, is a member of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, a group that has plenty of acclaim, but no home concert hall or rehearsal space. Though it has an office in Berlin, the musicians only meet to go on tour.… ‘We’re people from about 20 different countries,’ Mr. Commandeur said…. Orchestras … like the Berlin Philharmonic or the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam receive state funding, so are in a relatively good position to deal with the crisis. But … over 90 percent of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra’s income comes from ticket sales…. José Vicente Castelló, the orchestra’s principal horn player, who lives in Barcelona, … said he was hopeful that things would go back to normal … Mr. Commandeur said he could not see the orchestra playing together ‘before Christmas.’ … Its members … have been checking in on one another every Saturday morning, at first using Zoom then other apps, and sharing their experiences of the crisis. ‘It’s been a little bit like therapy,’ Mr. Castelló said.”