The cost of Brexit for classical musicians: an update

The cost of Brexit for classical musicians: an update


norman lebrecht

April 11, 2018

Labour MEP Richard Corbett has posted a paper, outlining the real and present danger that Brexit poses to the classical music community:

Only 2% of people in the music world thought that Brexit would be good for their industry. Recent reports show the government has done little to win over the other 98%. As the Tories rush to drive us over the Brexit cliff edge, the government’s “creative” solutions fail to address the scores of issues facing classical musicians and orchestras across the country….

Read on here.



  • Player says:

    An update from a Labour MEP? Tenters…. whatever will it say?

  • Schwalde Hockhüst says:

    “Only 2% of people in the music world thought that Brexit would be good for their industry”

    I’m surprised only 98% in the music world are left-wing liberals. I thought it would be more than 100%.

    • Sue says:

      As Jordan Peterson concludes from his research..”progressives are high on openness and low on conscientiousness; the reverse is true of conservatives”. That’s a general set of traits – of course there are many who don’t fit either category or who fall somewhere in between. But it’s been enough to cause liberals/progressives to start screaming. That’s always amusing.

      • Player says:

        You do realise that your beloved Carlos Kleiber was not a conservative? Awks.

        • Lunchtime O'Boulez says:

          Only conducted when his fridge was empty as H v K used to say!

        • Mike Schachter says:

          Is that why he didn’t bother very much with, you know, conducting?

          • Player says:

            He was wonderful, but I just felt the need to point out to Sue that even her own heroes do not always fit her Olympian judgements.

            He was that rare breed, the lazy perfectionist.

            The only way to make life tolerable therefore is to work little, but make it bloody count when you do!

          • The View from America says:

            The conductor’s equivalent of Anatol Liadov.

  • Alexander says:

    It’s not my experience that all classical musicians are “left-wing liberals.” I can only speak to the American context, but I know quite a few politically conservative orchestral players – including some who voted for Trump. I’m guessing far fewer than 98% of British musicians voted Labour. Doesn’t make Brexit right or wrong, but I think you may wish to reconsider your assumptions

  • buxtehude says:

    Agree with Alexander. Part of the tragedy of this looming slow-motion long-term disaster is that neither your political party set-up or even the language of politics seem to address it in any way. And only Leave seems active, with its senseless slogans, its bullying, its wilderness of lies to rival our own fabulous present-day Washington.

    Up ahead: a smaller poorer world within those shores, except for some animal spirits up on top getting ready to prey on the rest of you with fewer restraints. It’s Their country which They are taking back. They’ll get that trickle-down money trickling back up again even faster than at present. Land of the pay-day lenders, high streets humming with Fixed Odds Betting Machines. A fresher fatter VAT. Privatized tube.

    But it just might be your new trading partners (DEVELOPING — yet to be located) who’ll really pick you clean.

    Not all back & white — at least the foreigners will flee the NHS, so you can have British doctors and nurses only. Good luck.

    Of course Europe will be hurt too but it’s finally growing so sick of the English, of their boasting, their threats, their insistence of special treatment in everything — that they’ll be glad to see the back of you.

    And guess who’s laughing?

    I’ve been reading about this — how long has it been, almost two years now and I’ve hardly been able to believe my eyes. The UK has let itself be tricked and divided into a kind of paralysis.

    It’s such a shame.

    • Allen says:

      How do New Zealand and Australia get by? Do they realise what they’ve been missing in their appalling, isolated sovereignty?

      As for Europe (I think you mean the EU) being glad to see the back of England (actually the UK – Wales also voted to leave), then why so many objections?

      You haven’t a clue, have you?

    • Player says:

      Buxtehude? Schmuck’s just rude(r)…

  • John Rook says:

    Labour MEP…

    That’s when I stopped reading.

  • Sharon Beth Long says:

    As I mentioned in the Catalonian post I believe a strong case can be made for local hiring, especially when government funds are involved, and especially in the arts.

    However, regulated international trade and tourism, and much tourism is to experience the arts in other places, helps support the arts and therefore benefits everyone.

    From my experience in researching this in the US few immigrants take jobs away from anyone. What they DO do is keep industries alive, such as manufacture and caring for the elderly and disabled, that would probably collapse or become much more expensive without immigrant labor.

    A lot of pro Brexit sentiment, in my opinion, was based on fear of cultural change and just plain old racism.

  • fred says:

    the brits always had a very nationalistic approach to classical music

    • Player says:

      Er, how do you make that one out?

    • tomas says:

      You are talking bollox.
      It didn’t seem to worry them too much between 1939-45 did it?

      Also you completely get it wrong.
      Brit = ENGLISH.

      Get used to it, there are 3 other nationalities within the confines of the Island.
      The Welsh don’t seem at all bothered, continuing to churn out top quality singers & harpists, in Europe or out, makes no difference.

      The Scots and northern Irish are doing fine, and there are plenty of Eastern Europeans, French, Russians present on the island from guess when?
      At least 150 years ago, from the many migrations of the past.

  • John Rook says:

    Only 2% of people in the music world thought that Brexit would be good for their industry.

    The truth is that nobody knows what it’s going to be like. This idle speculation is a waste of everyone’s time.

  • Pablo C says:

    Isn’t the main point that there are a lot of sector specific issues that need answers to avoid major problems post-Brexit? Without those answers and the ability to plan, performing organisations, promoters, festivals, commissioners and many composers are going to suffer.
    If you don’t work in the sector and have first hand knowledge of this then maybe it would be wiser to think about it and not comment.

    • Player says:

      Leave it to the experts, eh?

      Not a good idea.

      Even in those areas where one is an expert, one should never expect everyone blindly to follow or to defer. Those days are gone.

      We do however need a few conductors and orchestral managers who have some of Tim Walker’s spirit: let’s get on with finding solutions to the situation in which we find ourselves – it could even be a stimulus to finding something better.

      Much better than wallowing in a self-indulgent fit of the vapours, and virtue-signalling.