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Friday, 6 July, 2001, 10:23 GMT 11:23 UK
Berlin Philharmonic wins funds dispute
Sir Simon Rattle
Sir Simon has won his battle for the Philharmonic's musicians
A stand-off over the future funding of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra has been resolved - clearing the way for Sir Simon Rattle to take over as conductor next year.

The conductor would not sign his contract until he received assurances of better pay for the orchestra's musicians - who are paid less than most of their German counterparts.

I think we can be optimistic about the future

Berlin Philharmonic spokesman
Sir Simon was also supporting those who were trying turn the orchestra into an independently run foundation, with more say over its own finances.

Now the Berlin Parliament has passed the necessary laws to turn the orchestra into a foundation - and promised it more money.


A spokesman for the Berlin Philharmonic told BBC News Online: "A law has now been passed by the Berlin Parliament, and the law says the Berlin Philharmonic will be a 'Foundation of Public Law'.

"And an additional draft contract has passed the Berlin parliament - a contract between the Berlin Philharmonic and the County of Berlin, guaranteeing the orchestra subsidies of DM27.2 to DM28.8m (8.3 to 8.8m).

"It has only to pass a committee of the Berlin Parliament, any day now - it's 95% done."

The moves have been a priority of the new Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit, after progress had been delayed by the recent collapse of the city's ruling coalition.

Berlin's town hall
Berlin's town hall, where the orchestra's future funding has been assured
The orchestra spokesman said: "Of course we are happy - we have to see the final documents but I think we can be optimistic about the future.

"This has been one of the conditions that Sir Simon Rattle made, to sign the contract.

"He is now set to take over in September 2002."

Sir Simon's spokeswoman in Britain declined to comment on the situation.

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