Hans-Heinrich Grosse-Brockhoff, State Secretary for Culture of the German State of NRW
Hans-Heinrich Grosse-Brockhoff // 26.05.2009
Nations Come Together //
Everyone’s talking about the crisis. But the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) remains convinced of the necessity of funding cultural activities. Together with the Arts Foundation of North Rhine-Westphalia (Kunststiftung NRW), the state will fund and support the MCO’s three year residence in NRW. ON TOUR speaks with Hans-Heinrich Grosse-Brockhoff, State Secretary for Culture of the German State of NRW.
In May 2009, the MCO begins a three-year residence in NRW. What results does the state government expect from this project? Hans-Heinrich Grosse-Brockhoff: The MCO residence is a great opportunity for all involved. With it, we have succeeded in creating something unique: three concert halls, all active on the international scene, came together to make this residence possible. Each hall will benefit from enriched programming without losing its individual character. This is a huge advantage for the audiences and for the orchestral performance scene in NRW. A project like this also sends a message about the importance of culture as a whole in our state.
NRW enjoys a very varied arts and culture scene. In what ways can the MCO make a contribution to this scene? Hans-Heinrich Grosse-Brockhoff: The residence of the MCO is possible precisely because North Rhine-Westphalia does have such a large concentration of internationally renowned venues. Here, you find several large concert halls within one hour’s drive of each other that can build a platform for an idea like this. On the musical side, the MCO has, in dialogue with the venues in Essen, Cologne and Dortmund, created a programme that is an additional enrichment from the point of view of all three venues.
In recent years, NRW has gone through notable structural changes that have also altered the image of the state. How does the MCO match with this new image? Hans-Heinrich Grosse-Brockhoff: This kind of experimental and interesting orchestra is a perfect match for the mood of cultural innovation here in North Rhine-Westphalia. With its musicians of more than 20 nationalities, the orchestra stands for the same kind of a coming together of nations as we find in the history of immigration that has shaped the cities Essen and Dortmund here in the Ruhr Area.
What role does public funding for culture play today, especially in these times of financial crisis? Hans-Heinrich Grosse-Brockhoff: In times of economic crisis, many consider art and culture to be luxuries. We don’t share this opinion – it’s just the opposite. In times of crisis, we need more art and culture, not less. That’s why we are standing by our plan to double our budget for culture.
Apart from monetary support, how else will the state be involved in the residence project? Hans-Heinrich Grosse-Brockhoff: In addition to fiscal support, the state has also set up the necessary political structure to make the project possible. The state government brought together all of the players to make this happen, and it will follow the residence closely during the next three years.
In addition to the three concert houses in Dortmund, Essen and Cologne, the Orchesterzentrum|NRW is also involved. What role will these efforts to support young talent play in NRW? Hans-Heinrich Grosse-Brockhoff: A central and, for me, an essential role! The collaboration between the MCO and the Orchesterzentrum|NRW holds additional potential: it means that the young musicians of the MCO can pass on their knowledge to the student musicians of our state. A very important aspect of this project is that students will have the opportunity to take part in the rehearsals, concerts and tours of the MCO. Projects like «An instrument for every child» are particularly valuable for us. Every child in the Ruhr area will be given the chance to learn an instrument of his choosing.