norman lebrecht

September 15, 2023

An open letter from the orchestra, written in dismay to Europe’s worst railway:

Dear Deutsche Bahn,

We are still speechless, even three days later: what is wrong with you?

For us there is nothing more beautiful: to delight people with music, whether in Munich or on tour. And sustainability is important for us, we want to make our travels as climate-friendly as possible.

A tour from the 9th to 13th September should have taken us by train to Lucerne, Cologne and Berlin. Should have..! For Mahler 2 we took over 200 people. Three locations, three train rides, and none of them went as planned. We forgive you for the first two, but with the last trip from Cologne to Berlin on Tuesday you scored a massive own goal.

We should have started in the morning at 9.30 am at the Cologne main station. After three failed ICE and no information on how, when and if we would move on at all, we finally started three hours late. Thanks to further delays we arrived in Berlin 4.5 hours late and completely exhausted after 10 hours on the go. The concert was 25 minutes late, a radio broadcast from the Berlin Philharmonic had to be cancelled – the Berlin audience responded wonderfully, we gave everything, they thanked us.

Dear Deutsche Bahn Personenverkehr: we absolutely want to protect our climate! We were happy to rely on you, trusting you. Despite repeated negative experiences, we have defended and protected you, time and again. Yet you stab us in the back, you fail us. We can’t count on you. We can’t take it any more.

When are you going to wake up?

The Munich Philharmonic Orchestra

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