…the musicians of the Cologne New Philharmonic are young freelancers who get to travel and perform live, the public pays less for tickets, and another small step is taken toward fulfilling the vision of the founders of the European Union: free movement of people, goods and services.
They also don’t take government subsidies, but the response has been harsh:
…the influential French and German musicians’ unions contend that his use of mostly Eastern Europeans at nonunion wages amounts to exploitation.
While France is the only country where he has faced charges, several English churches have denied him the right to play there. And although he is allowed to operate as usual in Germany, the musicians’ union has waged a persistent campaign against him.
[In Strasbourg] French officials – tipped off by the union, Hartung says – sent about 80 police officers to arrest him.
The German union has gone as far as to call work in Hartung’s orchestra "a kind of modern slavery."
The unions say a unionized German or French musician would be paid $120 to $180 a day. Hartung says he pays $95 to $120 per concert.