The original letter from July 2011
Dear Sir / Madam,
I would like to draw your attention to the following:
Mark Rutte, prime minister of The Netherlands, is a dedicated amateur pianist. After leaving school, he contemplated pursuing a musical career but instead became the most important politician of The Netherlands. Despite his alleged devotion to culture and music, he is now in charge of a government that wants to impose draconian cuts to The Arts in The Netherlands. Overall, the cuts are as much as 30% of the total budget and among the many victims will be four of the current twelve professional orchestras as well as the majority of the institutions that currently generate and develop talent. All postgraduate academies, unique to the Dutch arts scene, are to be completely axed. If this goes ahead, a major part of our cultural heritage will get demolished and will have no chance ever to be rebuilt. As the cuts are announced to take place as early as 2013, none of the institutions will have time to anticipate this.
On June 26th and 27th there were massive protests in Holland, with thousands of people taking to the streets in support of The Arts. Prominent members of the international community who have shown their support include Vladimir Ashkenazy, Wolfgang Rhim and Kent Nagano, and many international orchestras have joined in by supporting the campaign “Soldier of Orange for the orchestras of The Netherlands”.
The formula is simple: as many orchestras as possible play and record on film a one minute passage from the film score of 'Soldier of Orange', a 1977 film about the Dutch resistance in the Second World War. The tune, composed by Rogier van Otterloo, is very famous in The Netherlands and can be said to stand for our national identity.
The recording could be made during a rehearsal, conducted by whoever is leading the orchestra in that period and could be accompanied by any short commentary. As the fragment is only one minute long and very easy to play, this should only take a maximum of five minutes. The clip will then be spread widely via our network of institutions currently dealing with the protests against the cuts. It would be ideal if the recording could be made as soon as possible, as the debate about this matter is currently in progress.
The music (scores and parts
) is obtainable in pdf format and can be sent out straight away. I very much hope there will be a massive response, so we can show the Dutch government that everywhere people involved in the cultural sector show their disapproval of what is going on in Holland, a development that hopefully will never occur anywhere else in the world.
Orchestras that have participated so far are the Philharmonia Orchestra, WDR Cologne, The London Philharmonic, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Aachen Symphony Orchestra, under conductors Esa-Pekka Salonen, Vladimir Jurowski, Myung-Whun Chung and Leonard Slatkin who also express their condemnation of the situation in Holland.
For more information, score and parts, please send an email
Gijs Kramers, viola player in the Philharmonia Orchestra, London and artistic director of the Ricciotti ensemble, Amsterdam