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Last Updated: Monday, 13 September, 2004, 09:14 GMT 10:14 UK
Rattle rails against funding cuts
Sir Simon Rattle
Sir Simon Rattle took over the orchestra two years ago
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra's chief conductor Sir Simon Rattle has attacked the German capital's decision to cut arts funding.

The British conductor described the situation as "catastrophic" and "cultural dismantling" in an interview with the weekly Der Spiegel magazine.

The capital city faces debts of 47bn euros (US $57bn).

The orchestra is an independent foundation but the city has cut support for other cultural institutions.

Appeal jeopardised

Sir Simon, who took over the orchestra two years ago, told the magazine: "I can see the hopeless situation of the city, but on the other hand, this cultural dismantling is an incredible shame for Berlin."

"Culture and, within culture, music are the best and most fascinating thing that the German capital has to offer internationally. It is putting that at risk."

The arts generally receive generous public funding in Germany.

Earlier this year, conductor Christian Thielemann left his post as general director of the capital's Deutsche Oper in a dispute with the city government over funding for its orchestra.

This followed years of arguments over the future of the city's three opera houses.

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