© Oliver Baurhenn
ICAS Radio vom Communikey Festival aus Boulder, Colorado.

Veronica Kaup-Hasler (director of steirischer herbst) did write the following open letter to the Director General of the public broadcaster Österreichischer Rundfunk ORF about the future of the musikprotokoll festival:

Dear Dr. Wrabetz,

As you informed us over the last few days, you are planning a budget cutback for ORF musikprotokoll 2014, with the ORF cutting its present share by almost 50%.

Although this means that the threatened complete axing of ORF musikprotokoll at steirischer herbst has not occurred, this reduction of the budget nevertheless implies a substantial weakening of this platform which is so important for the Austrian and international music scene. The consequence is that commissioned works and concerts will have to be considerably reduced, and this reduction of the programme will mean that it will no longer be possible to obtain the present amount of EU funding, which will worsen the precarious situation of the music festival even more.

More than 4000 people have signed the petition launched online in June 2013 rettetdasmusikprotokoll.mur.at to protest against these false economies. Almost 800 statements from national and international figures from art and culture, but also politics and all spheres of society attest to the importance of ORF musikprotokoll as an essential vehicle of culture for this country.

This budget cutback by the co-production partner ORF is very regrettable and incomprehensible to us, given the fact that, with relatively little commitment, this has given ORF the unique opportunity to do justice to its politico-cultural mission to produce new art, as codified in the ORF Act.

We can only regard this as a one-off saving in an exceptional year and hope that ORF, as the organiser of the festival, will not only leave its budgeted support at the present level but, on the contrary, will even increase it in future. Indeed, this must be the case if you manage to negotiate back refunding of license fees, the reason given for this economy measure.

What is more, a multi-year agreement is needed to allow the festival to plan ahead on a reliable basis, which is necessary so as to be able to commission works from composers and musicians. The aim is to allow musikprotokoll to continue its work – even boosted by this crisis – as an incredibly important platform and to act as a springboard for many international careers in new music.

We would like to thank all those who have lent their support to this cause and continue to hope for the necessary enhancement of the status of ORF musikprotokoll by its organiser, ORF, and thus by you, Dr. Wrabetz.

Veronica Kaup-Hasler
Director of steirischer herbst
Graz, 13/02/2014