Downfall. Orchestra Style.

In what might be one of the funniest things to hit the field since Ryan Gosling, Arts Administrator, an orchestra version of the long running Downfall meme hit YouTube on 10/11/2014. If you aren’t already in the know, the Downfall meme is a series of videos based on the climactic scene from the 2002 German film Der Untergang (Downfall), a movie about Traudl Junge, the final secretary for Adolf Hitler, recounts the Nazi dictator’s final days in his Berlin bunker at the end of WWII. Sure, it may not sound like fodder for a string of parody videos, but creativity knows no bounds.

In the original scene, Hitler learns of Germany’s impending defeat from his remaining generals and that a counter-offensive he ordered never took place. The scene includes a powerful performance from Bruno Ganz playing Hitler as he undergoes a nervous breakdown in front of his highest ranking generals. Here’s the original scene:

Now here’s the same scene with a new set of subtitles that change the context to Hitler’s generals telling him he can’t be concertmaster. I won’t spoil the reveal but I can say it, and the subsequent gags, genuinely separates the orchestra geeks from the casual concert goer.

The More You Know

One of the first big viral hits was in 2007, when Hitler is informed that his gaming account has been banned from XBOX Live.

There was even one for the subprime mortgage bust in 2008

They are so popular there’s a website to easily create your own parody. So, do you think you can come up with a funnier orchestra version?

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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