Silliest Covid orchestra headlines

Silliest Covid orchestra headlines


norman lebrecht

August 23, 2020

The latest in today’s Telegraph:

Orchestras will face talent shortage due to Covid rules on music lessons, Royal Philharmonic warns
(No they won’t; they’ll just appoint more foreign players.)

Also in the Telegraph:
School orchestras replace wind instruments with ukuleles as they adapt to post-Covid rules
(Expect a new generation of stand-up comedians)
And from CNN:
A blind musician can feel a conductor’s movements, thanks to a high-tech baton



  • Allen says:

    “Orchestra headlines” – two words we don’t see used together very often.

  • Music lover says:

    “A blind musician can feel a conductor’s movements, thanks to a high-tech baton” – having read the whole article, I think it’s a really interesting attempt to make music-making more accessible for people with disabilities. It seems insensitive for NL to dismiss the headline as being silly rather than celebrating it.

    • AngloGerman says:

      So much (and perhaps all the most important aspects) of conducting is based on eye contact and facial expression, rather than specifically baton technique (though undoubtedly essential, and too often unfairly maligned…).

      • M. L. Liu says:

        Well said.

        Pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii, born blind, has been performing with orchestras for decades now, as can be seen in his many YouTube videos. Nobu can sense the movements of the conductor as well as the orchestra members — without any high-tech help. He can hear the breathing of the maestro, and knows when the string sections raise their bows.

        But I do applaud efforts to make music playing available to all.

  • SVM says:

    I was under the impression that the government had (in England, at least) recently relaxed the extra restrictions specific to wind/brass instruments and singing (i.e.: the ‘standard’ distancing of 2 metres is acceptable, rather than an ‘extended’ distance). At least, that is what the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) appears to have reported:

    Have I (and/or the ISM) misunderstood?

  • Gerry McDonald says:

    At least the ukes will mean a stop to ghastly, pointless,antimusical whole class recorder (as opposed to serious recorder lessons) but I can’t see it being any more useful. Why not try something really adventurous like singing and serious percussion!

  • Alexander Hall says:

    Have I made a mistake in the calendar? Is this April Fools’ Day?

  • Dave Flynn says:

    There’s nothing silly about enabling blind and visually-impaired musicians to play with an orchestra. In fact it’s something that has been done by The Irish Memory Orchestra with 26 blind/vision-impaired musicians/singers, without the need for a high-tech baton!

  • Henry P says:

    I’m afraid the silliest Covid headlines have been on this website.

  • Rachelle Goldberg says:

    What’s wrong with teaching Stringed Orchestral instruments? The Wider Opportunities Scheme started at the beginning of 2000 is still continuing. It is possible to teach violin, viola, cello and mini bass in a class of thirty The players are socially distanced with their bows!!!

  • It won’t be quite so easy to ‘book foreign players’ after Brexit i.e. 31 December 2020!

  • Edgar Self says:

    If blind or visually-impaired players can read or memorise the music, perhaps tech batons could deliver prods to inattentive, sighted colleagues. All is not lost. I foresee brisk sales to conductors, though the unions might quibble.

  • grabenassel says:

    Where is the connection to the photo? (Showing DSO Berlins musicians playing on a bus at different locations in Berlin)