How musicians are getting around shutdown

How musicians are getting around shutdown


norman lebrecht

October 03, 2020

Our friend David Conway runs a festival in Slovakia, where the Government has just slammed down the brakes. Here’s his report:

Our international music festival at Levoca, Slovakia was planned for 2-6 October. We arranged for all musicians who had to cross the borders of Austria and Czechia to have appropriate documentation. Early hits were musicians from the USA and France who would have had to quarantine on arrival. Then on Monday evening came the announcement out of the blue that all public gatherings, including music performances, were banned from 1st October.
Theodore Kuchar, who was going to conduct a performance for us on the 2nd with the Slovak Sinfonietta of Zilina, heroically pulled out the stops to arrange a performance in Zilina on 30th September, just before shut down, and equally heroically, the Japanese Arata Yumi hopped over by train from Lepizig, arriving at 1.30 am on the day of the concert, where he played the Beethoven concerto (with the drum cadenza that Beethoven wrote for the piano version of the concerto). Brillant boldness all round, and the last orchestral performance that will be heard here for some while….
In the meantime, on Wednesday the government had second thoughts and said  that it would allow performances where not more than 50 people were present (which rules out orchestral performances anyway). This was apparently under pressure from the Church and from sports organizations. But it was in any case too late for us as our performers from France, Czechia and elsewhere had lost their opportunities to rehearse together. So as a small consolation, we are organizing a free livestream piano recital on Sunday 4th afternoon (15.00 UK time, 16.00 continental time) by Jonathan Powell, who has just won the German Record Critic’s 2020 award – Beethoven (of course), Chopin, Granados and Scriabin – Everyone is invited!


  • Music is dying says:

    They went from a 5 day festival to one under rehearsed concert and a livestream piano recital. So no one’s ‘getting around’ anything, then. Just another tale of shutdowns and cancellations.

    • Philip says:

      I hope that no criticism of the organisers is the gist of your comment. Musicians are trying to keep going in the face of governments around the world trying to make our lives “unviable” in the words of Rishi Sunak.

  • Hilary says:

    “Jonathan Powell who has just won the German Record Critics 2020 Award ”
    Richly deserved . Jonathan Powell is a remarkable talent . I was bowled over by his recital comprising all of the Scriabin Sonatas ( by memory).