Dont play for free at the BBC

Dont play for free at the BBC


norman lebrecht

April 11, 2015

This little zero-pay offer is going around town. Your views?


Dear strings


Might you be interested to play in the event detailed below?

Wed 15 April: Gershwin / Laura Mvula
The Angel Orchestra is looking for extra string players for a one-off rehearsal on Wednesday 15 April.


Venue:                 St Silas Church, Risinghill Street, N1 9UL (Angel tube)

Times:                   7.30-9.30pm

Music:                   Gershwin songs (arr. Troy Miller)

Conductor:         Troy Miller

Singer:                  Laura Mvula

Payment:            We don’t pay you and you don’t pay us J


Laura Mvula is a well-known soul singer – I am waiting for confirmation that she is definitely coming, but it looks likely …
Troy Miller is an American composer and music producer who has worked with the likes of Amy Winehouse (he is Laura Mvula’s producer).

This rehearsal is in preparation for concerts they are doing with the Philharmonia and the BBC Concert Orchestra.

Please let me know if you can make it:

Please feel free to forward this request to others who might be interested. Thanks.



  • Mark Stratford says:

    The title here is misleading. It’s not play for free at the BBC but play for free IN PREPARATION of a BBC concert.

    Can’t see what the problem is.

  • Anna Norris says:

    It looks like the Angel Orchestra is an amateur ensemble, is it not? They’re looking for more amateur players who might want to join in and would enjoy themselves. There is nothing inappropriate about this at all.

  • Halldor says:

    It’s an amateur orchestra: it states so very clearly on its website. Amateur orchestras don’t typically pay (clue’s in the name). Plenty of professional soloists and composers (or in this case, arrangers) try through new repertoire with amateur bands – I’ve played in them myself and been glad of the chance to rehearse with artists of that calibre. Win:win. Nothing new or remarkable here.

  • Ellingtonia says:

    I think it is called “exploiting musicians” by asking them to play for nothing, no doubt it will be classed as “work experience” If they need extra “staff” then damn well pay them for their time and skill.

    • Halldor says:

      So, every single amateur or youth ensemble in the UK is ‘exploiting musicians’? Please.

      • SVM says:

        Unlike most amateur orchestral work, the people who sign up for this “opportunity” will not get to actually perform the repertoire in public, not even with a less prestigious soloist.

        • Halldor says:

          How does that make any difference? And plenty of professional soloists ‘try out’ stuff in rehearsal with amateurs. No-one in any of the amateur groups I play with has ever complained when a major name has joined them for the night.

          No story here!