1st International Congress of Musicology

Athens Goethe Institute, 25-27 February 2002

Paper Abstracts

Nikos Tsouchlos

Contemporary Questions regarding the Public and Private Support of Musical Life in Western Europe. From the Cult of Institutions to the Cult of the Event

During the early post-war years the conviction that the support of culture, especially of the representational arts, constitutes an essential obligation of the state has prevailed. Thus, in the period under consideration, a complicated system of subsidized organizations, such as the opera houses, the radio stations and orchestras, is consolidated. This system absorbs state funds, which were unheard of in the pre-war days. In the framework of this subsidized world intense activity is developed, which concerns both the reproduction of the repertory of the past and contemporary creation.
This system is nowadays in a critical state; we may follow its roots in the beginnings of the ’70s and trace its development by means of phenomena such as the influence of the subsidized spectacle or sound of the international discography market; we may also trace it in the more general contestation of the distinction as to the valuation between “high” art and “minor” cultural activities.
The European cultural spectacle is nowadays changing rapidly, while new phenomena are observed, such as the deep crises of the disc and the evident influence of the economic logic in the very content of musical activities. In the long run the gradual fall from the cult of institutions to the cult of the “event” and the crises in the public subsidy of great organizations of primary production (such as symphony orchestras, radio stations and opera houses) is unavoidable.

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