400 freelance musicians in UK Parliament protest

400 freelance musicians in UK Parliament protest


norman lebrecht

October 06, 2020

Nicola Benedetti said:

‘Many musicians are facing retraining, many are talking about leaving the country. That’s not just fabrication, that’s a real-life situation that we don’t want to see happen. This is not just about saying we want hand-outs, it’s about everybody talking and finding a way out of this that is safe, but that looks to preserve music [and] performance long-term.’


And in Birmingham:


  • yujafan says:

    I hear that Tasmin Little was there also. Does she not have such a “camera-friendly” face, as one photographer told me a while back? Personally, I think that’s cr*p, they’re both lovely women, and great advocates for their instrument and music generally.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    The fault-lines of Covid protection occur around those in secure, mostly public service jobs, and the people in small business, hospitality and entertainment. The former want the place shut, while they draw their usual wage, and the latter are hapless victims.

    Covid-19 is not going away and a vaccine will prove elusive. Do something, and don’t sacrifice the economic futures and prosperity of younger generations to save old/er people.

    I’m personally furious about it.

    • Karl says:

      We should be giving disability payments to people with conditions that make them vulnerable so they can stay isolated. Then we can let everyone else do as they please. The overwhelming majority will return to life as normal and ignore the 0.003% chance that they could die from covid.

  • seriously says:

    No one cares and no one, of importance, will notice. There are far bigger issues facing the world than a couple out of work jobbers.

    • Craig says:

      How’s solving world poverty going? Should we wait to let the musicians go back to work until you’ve sorted it out?

  • Disgusted desk partner. says:

    Check out the Musical Chairs website. This morning Opera North is advertising for Asian, Black and Ethnic Minorities only for a position. This is a new low, the UK surely hires on “best person for the job?” Makes the protest yesterday futile – music is a great leveller .

    • Derek says:

      For information, this is Opera North’s Resonance program for professional composers or musicians from black, Asian or ethnic minorities.

      In summary, it offers a week of rehearsal space and residency in March or April 2021, a grant of up to £3,500, technical and specialist support and the opportunity for a “work in progress” live performance.

    • Scottish Musician says:

      Look at the job description and do some research about the project – there’s a damn good reason for that specification, and it contributes to the long term goal of making the need to boost participation for various demographics unnecessary.

    • Jake says:

      Why don’t you take it up with Opera North. Nothing can be done here.

    • Patricia says:

      This is just plain discrimination. Are there not laws in Britain about this?

  • Rachel says:

    Why is it never understood that all members of the LSO.LPO.RPO and Philharmonia are “freelancers”! They didn’t choose to be taxed as self-employed, HMRC made that decision for them. This is what is in jeopardy here. Ask any classical musician about the gig economy…..it was invented long before Uber and Deliveroo.

    • Anon says:

      Rachel, this is not strictly accurate. The musicians to whom you refer – and their Union – made strong representation (with the ABO and others alongside together) to HMRC to remain self-employed as this was their preference. HMRC’s ESM4140 document shows the results, but while HMRC may have made the decision, it was a decision campaigned for by freelance musicians as much as others.

  • Jake says:

    I’d take her more seriously if she kept her mask on.

    • Simon Scott says:

      If you mean Nicola Benedetti then she was the only sensible person there.
      Bloody masks, a total waste of time. Look at all the money made out of all this paranoia. Sickening

  • Garry Humphreys says:

    Oh, dear . . . politicians know the cost of everything and the value of nothing. They will rue the day . . . (If they’re running short of money, start by cancelling HS2 – all that expenditure, destruction of heritage and of the natural and built environment, all to get to Birmingham twenty minutes more quickly. None of these things are of value to a Conservative Government.)