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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 March, 2004, 12:14 GMT
Violinists' fury at 'pay fiddle'
Violinists are seeking an extra 60 per rehearsal or performance
Violinists in a German orchestra are suing for a pay rise on the grounds that they play many more notes per concert than their colleagues.

The 16 violinists at the Beethoven Orchestra in Bonn say they work much harder than their fellow musicians.

But orchestra director Laurentius Bonitz said it was unreasonable to compare playing a musical instrument to other jobs.

Mr Bonitz said the claim, which goes to court in May, was "ridiculous".

The violinists say they should receive an extra 60 per rehearsal or performance from their employer, the city of Bonn, to reflect the "extra notes" they have to read and play.

They also claim that a collective bargaining agreement that gives bonuses to soloists is unjust.

Leading roles

German musicians earn basic monthly wages of up to 4,100, about twice as much as their British counterparts, according to the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

The musicians deny being pedantic. "We could have calculated the surcharge per semi-quaver, but we chose to take an easier course," one violinist said.

But Mr Bonitz argued that it was soloists and musicians in other leading roles, such as the orchestra's two oboe players, who should receive a pay rise.

"Maybe it's an interesting legal question but musically, it's very clear to everyone," he said.

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