German researchers issue recommendations for socially distanced orchestra rehearsals and concerts

Posted on: May 15, 2020

“Scientists at the Charité [university hospital] in Berlin have issued a 13-page paper, at the request of seven Berlin orchestras, advising the distances to be observed in rehearsal and performance for the foreseeable future,” reads an unsigned article in last Friday’s (5/8) The Strad (U.K.). “Recommendations for orchestral arrangement depending on the group of instruments: String spacing 1.5 m.… [Woodwind] spacing 2 m, liquid removal and instrument cleaning with disposable wipes (to be disposed of) or wipes (to be cleaned). Brass with additional plexiglass protection. Drummers with a chair spacing of 1.5 m, avoid sharing instruments and accessories. Harps and keyboard instruments 1.5 m apart. Conductor distance from the orchestral musicians at least 2 m for rehearsal and 1.5 m for concert…. Prof. Stefan Willich, Director of the Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics at the Charité said: ‘This statement creates an important basis for rehearsals and concerts…. The game should initially be carried out in compliance with clear protective measures, including 1.5 meters for strings and 2 meters for wind players.’ ” The recommendations were provided at the request of several leading German orchestras. The study includes recommendations for general protective measures and notes that security measures for audiences must be determined separately.