Branson is back in classical

Branson is back in classical


norman lebrecht

May 21, 2019

Those with very long memories may faintly recall the early days of CD when Richard Branson launched Virgin Classics.

It was fun while it lasted.

Now the high-flier is coming back to classical roots to perform an Environmental Symphony in Australia. All aboard, last chance to save the universe.


press release:

ABC Classic presents The Environmental Symphony, an ambitious and epic work that spans five billion years, from the formation of the planet through to the devastation of our current age.

Released on United Nations World Environment Day, Wednesday June 5, The Environmental Symphony sounds a warning of what will happen if we don’t act boldly and decisively to address our climate crisis, but ends with an optimistic vision of a greener, cleaner future.
With music by the genre-bending Dr. Allan Zavod, words by Australia’s chief scientist Dr. Alan Finkel, narrated by Sir Richard Branson, and performed by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and conductor Benjamin Northey, this recording is a major international release that lends some musical muscle to the ongoing political and environmental fight against climate change. 


  • Styalianos Madrid says:

    So how many “green energy” companies heavily subsidized by governments and taxpayers does Branson currently have shares in?
    They had to rename “globull warming” to “climate change” after the former was completely discredited, and are now looking for other ways to take money out of your pockets.

  • Allen says:

    “The Environmental Symphony sounds a warning of what will happen if we don’t act boldly and decisively to address our climate crisis”

    From the man who wants to send rich people on leisure trips into space in rockets?

    The hypocrisy is breathtaking, as usual.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      Not hypocrisy, but just dumb. Fundamentally, he doesn’t think he will have to change his behaviour: it is something other people will have to do, obviously.

  • Mike Schachter says:

    The previous 5 billion years were fortunately quite uneventful.

  • Bone says:

    “All aboard, last chance to save the universe.”
    I love this take!

  • Caravaggio says:

    Like P Domingo, there is no bottom for this man’s egomania, buying his way into everything his little heart desires.

  • Cubs Fan says:

    Hypocrite. Virgin Atlantic has done a heck of a lot of environmental damage. How many fuel guzzling flights are there daily, each spewing tons of pollutants into the air? If Brandon really wants to help he’d shut VA down. Loved Virgin Classics, btw.

    • Lone Msuk says:

      Exactly, all transcontinental flights like London-Sydney should be replaced by rail.

      • Cubs Fan says:

        Or ship, sail boat…took longer. Likely more dangerous. But much, much less environmental pollution with Captain Cook.

  • fflambeau says:

    “Tony Sigi Yun, 18, a Canadian pianist enrolled in the pre-college division of the Juilliard School, made his debut in 2014 with the China Philharmonic Orchestra in Beijing and Shanghai. He went on to play with the same orchestra in the televised 2019 CCTV New Year’s Concert.

    In other words, he is a local favourite.”

    With the crowd, probably yes. With the 11 judges, only one of whom came from China, probably not especially since the judges were almost all winners of major contests themselves.

    I said earlier that the final 3 contestants were all very good. The conspiracy theorists and Julliard haters will continue as they have regardless of real life and regardless of facts.

    There’s a wonderful interview of Richard Rodzinski, overall adviser to the China piano competition and long-time head of the Tchaikovsky competition in Moscow, and son of the famous New York Maestro, Artur Rodzinski, in which he says this about competitions:

    “EH: You’ve stated that “It is absolutely critical that competitions be conducted in such a manner so as not to be perceived as some sort of entertaining spectacle or as a sporting event,”. What are some of the great misconceptions about competitions like the Van Cliburn or the Tchaikovsky ?

    Rodzinski: One of the biggest dangers and misconceptions is that the gold medalist is going to be the greatest thing since sliced bread, that he or she is going to be “better” than the winners of the second and third prizes, and that he or she is fully prepared for a major international career. The public must understand that a winner is simply someone who a particular jury liked most during a particular period of a week or two.”


    That has been forgotten if it was every understood by the bashers here.

    The full interview is a “must read” and should also be read by NL (not that it will change the “thinking” of the bashers).

  • Greg Bottini says:

    Lotsa good performances on Virgin Classics, I’ll tell you…. I’ve got many of those CDs in my collection.
    I’ll remember that label with fondness.

  • Rob says:

    Human’s are not the cause for planet earth getting warmer. The truth is the sun is getting closer, and there is nothing we can do about it.

  • Patricia Yeiser says:

    I can go the rest of my life without hearing this. It doubtless will immediately forgettable.

  • Kolb Slaw says:

    He can go to the moon, but he can’t support classical music?