Exclusive: EU slams new curb on UK orchestras

Exclusive: EU slams new curb on UK orchestras


norman lebrecht

February 14, 2021

There have been several meetings about orchestra touring between UK and EU officials and the Association of British Orchestras (ABO).

The outlook is as bad as it can be.

The EU insists it will impose “cabotage” on UK orchestra, which means no UK orchestra can visit more than two destinations during the same tour, and both must be within the same EU member state. That means, quite simply an end of EU touring for orchestras which rely on multiple venues to cover their costs.

An ABO source tells Slipped Disc it’s not entirely unexpected.

Apparently, Britain while in the EU, was already subject to a cabotage rule of three laden journeys. However, orchestras and concert hauliers simply ignored it and immigration officers just waved them through. No more free rides now. The ABO is warning that vehicles with UK plates are more likely to be pulled over by roadside police and have their details checked.

Either way, the Europe touring days are over and UK orchs will have to seek new markets.


  • Paul Dawson says:

    No surprise at all, but spiteful deprivation of pleasure for both EU audiences and UK orchestral musicians. However, I’ve always been troubled by the economics of orchestral touring. Given the financial impact of the pandemic, does it not behove the orchestras to be cutting costs for the foreseeable future?

    • Robert King says:

      More often than not, certainly for the chamber and period instrument orchestras, it was those EU tours that generated the surpluses that enabled the (loss-making) UK concerts.

      Then add that almost all UK orchestras (the exceptions largely being the salaried BBC and opera orchestras) are made up of freelancers – even being a member of the London Symphony Orchestra (let alone all the wonderful chamber and period instrument orchestras) brings no salary: performers are only paid, by the day, when there are rehearsals and/or performances.

      For many of those freelancers, up to 50% of their income came from European touring. That isn’t going to be replaced by concerts in the UK – they are already the loss-making concerts. That’s because the UK arts funding model sits way beneath that of almost every mainland European country.

      The UK music industry used to generate more than £5 billion (yes, billion) for the UK economy, much of it coming in from Europe (pop, jazz, classical – they are all similarly affected by these new restrictions).

      Then factor in loss of profile: if you don’t tour, you don’t get the exposure and PR, so your recording income and airtime reduces. That also directly affects income streams. Then factor in the “ripple” effects – less work means technicians, rehearsal venues, travel companies, truckers, editors, publishers, even the cafes next to the rehearsal premises: all these lose income too.

      So, even setting aside the less immediately quantifiable loss to culture, all this amounts to significant financial losses for the UK economy. There are no winners here.

      • Clare says:

        “The UK music industry used to generate more than £5 billion (yes, billion) for the UK economy, much of it coming in from Europe”

        I’d be interested to know the orchestras’ contribution to that.

        • Robert King says:

          The ABO may be able to give a figure. But the losses are not just going to be for classical: these restrictions are just as damaging for pop, jazz and all the wider performing arts as they are for classical. If the truck can’t get there (and don’t forget the extra costs and time involved in getting visas for each EU country, plus carnets – amounting to hundreds of pounds per performer per tour) the show can’t go on, and UK income and employment is lost.

          To show the extent of the wider issue in front of us, here are some stats published in 2019 by UK Music:

          – The UK music industry contributed £5.2 billion to the UK economy in 2018;
          – The Live Music sector contributed £1.1 billion in 2018;
          – Employment in the industry hit an all-time high of 190,935 in 2018;
          – The total export revenue of the music industry was £2.7 billion in 2018;
          – Music tourism alone contributed £4.5 billion spend to the UK economy in 2018;
          – Overseas visitors to UK shows and festivals in 2018 was 888,000;
          – The recorded music sector contributed £568 million in GVA [Gross Value Added] to the UK economy, and £478 million in exports.

        • Do your own research says:

          Look it up.

      • Philharmonia viola says:

        Robert is 100% correct, and these posts today are just the latest in a terrific onslaught on the unnecessary mess caused by this Brexit shambles. Our government could do much worse than just give Robert a job at the DCMS. We should all be very glad to have him batting for us.

        • Robert King says:

          Dear Philharmonia viola,
          That’s very kind of you. I try to be absolutely apolitical in my comments, and simply to state it as it is. I’m sure that there are people far better qualified than I to advise the DCMS. Though, there again, I am completely free at the moment and – like most freelance musicians – after a year with no earnings would really, really welcome the income!

    • Victoria says:

      That is how orchestras make money…dude it isn’t a charity. They SELL tickets

  • OfficerKrupke says:

    The EU hasn’t slammed anything, or anything new, on the UK or UK orchestras. The UK is no longer a member state and it is therefore respected accordingly. There is no illegality. It is what the UK voted for. Considering the manner in which this exit was achieved, it can hardly be a surprise that any past “good faith” exceptions are no longer upheld.

    • christopher storey says:

      Did your career include both the geheimestatspolizei AND the stasi, Krupke

      • Riccardo R says:

        What a silly comment, Christopher. Now you are no longer in the EU, you have lost the privileges you once enjoyed. When you stop paying your gym membership did you write to complain you were no longer welcome to use the facilities? If you cancel your priority pass, do you complain when you have to go to the longer queue with everyone else? It is that simple.

      • La plus belle voix says:

        You might as well get the German right if you are going to indulge in slander Mr Story: Geheime Staatspolizei, i.e. Gestapo.

    • Micaelo Cassetti says:

      “Gee, Officer Krupke, krup you!”

    • Alexander Hall says:

      “It is what the UK voted for”!!! Let’s start with simple statistics. The current population of the UK is around 67 million. Not everybody voted in the 2016 referendum, for reasons we do not need to explore here. Seventeen and a half million voted for what the New York Times called “an act of collective madness”. The margin of victory was less than 4 per cent. So please work out for yourself whether by any twist of mathematical logic that can justifiably be called a majority vote. Scotland voted by a huge margin to remain in the EU, Northern Ireland by a smaller margin. The triumph of narrow-minded English nationalism has produced this huge mess that the four nations are now required to accept and say amen to. I along with many others refuse to do so.

      • Les says:

        The NY Times is a shadow of its former self. Regardless of what you might think, it IS what the UK voted for. That is how it works – and you conveniently leave out the fact that the Conservative Party was subsequently given a huge majority in a general election.

        People did not vote out of “nationalism” any more than those countries that chose to stay out of the EU did. Countries, BTW, that have not subsequently changed their minds and applied to join. People voted to leave because their livelihoods were being adversely affected. This was of no concern to the virtue signallers here and it is amusing to observe their reactions now that the boot is on the other foot.

        The UK will not be the last to leave.

      • OfficerKrupke says:

        I made no mention of the UK’s internal politics. The democratic result was a vote to leave, irrespective of the margins. The UK is no longer a member state of the EU, and it is treated accordingly. The UK has left the EU, not just those who voted to leave. It is a great shame but the content of articles like the current one cannot be considered anything other than to be expected. I suspect we share similar sentiments and frustrations about the situation but sadly it has happened, and whether it is accepted or not, whether the margins were minute, it is here to stay – irrespective of our feelings.

      • Irrelohe says:

        The trouble with this sort of argument (which we get all the time) is that even though less than half the population voted to leave, the number voting to remain was even less, so that with the system of majority voting in force in the UK those voting to remain – including myself – are stuck with the decision to leave, unless and until that decision is superseded by a future referendum or otherwise. I entirely concur with the view that the decision to leave was “an act of collective madness” but there is unfortunately no cause for complaint. Of course, the consequences of this madness are now beginning to be seen (to the surprise of absolutely nobody who voted to remain). I think it is pretty obvious that many who voted to leave (or did not bother to vote at all) will come to regret their (in)actions; I would be very surprised if anyone who voted to remain comes to conclude that his/her decision had been wrong.

      • Bill says:

        It’s what a plurality of those who bothered to vote voted for. Unfortunate that more didn’t turn out to vote, regardless of where they stood on the matter. Better if more Remain votes had turned out, but even if the Leave faction won, at least it might have been a decision made by a majority of those who could vote.

  • Matias says:

    “while in the EU, was already subject to a cabotage rule of three laden journeys. However, orchestras and concert hauliers simply ignored it and immigration officers just waved them through”

    Doesn’t say much for the way the EU operates, does it? Bureaucratic, inconsistent, childish and spiteful.

    Same goes for Intrastat declarations – some countries just ignore them, others obey the law.

  • Franz1975 says:

    Glad the UK got the control back. Enjoy it!

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    What will happen if EU orchestras wish to come here to play?

    • Ulrich Brass says:

      EU orchestras will lose a very small market (3-5 orchestras visiting the Barbican and the SouthBank during the year plus another 3-4 during the summer for the Proms and Edinburgh Festival). They will still have 26 other countries to freely tour

      • Derek H says:


        I welcome European orchestras to the UK and I am sure Europeans do the same for British orchestras.
        There is not a need for excessive visits but it is so good to see other great orchestras perform live.

        I want to see the VPO, Concertgebouworkest or Gewandhausorchester Leipzig etc. come to the UK and it good for us to share.

        • Ulrich Brass says:

          Derek, that is my point.
          As an example during the 2018/2019 seson only the LSO did way more visits to EU than all the European Orchestras visited the UK.

          2018/2019 season european orchestras visits to the UK:
          -Gewandhausorchester Leipzig on 8th and 9th Oct 2019 at Southbank Center
          -Le Concert Spirituel on 25th Jan 2019 at the Barbican
          -Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra on 26th Jan at the Barbican
          -Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra on the 20th Feb 2019 at the Barbican
          -Les Arts Florissants on the 19th March 2019 at the Barbican
          -Orchestra of Santa Cecilia on the 25th May 2019
          -Collegium Vocale Gent on the 14th Jun 2019
          -Bamberg Symphony Orchestra on the 20th Jul 2019 at the Proms
          -Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra on the 30th and 31st Jul 2019 at the Proms
          -West–Eastern Divan Orchestra on the 12th Aug 2019 at the Proms
          -Komische Oper Berlin on the 15th and 17 Aug 2019 at the Edinburgh Festival
          -Orchestra and Chorus of Deutsche Oper Berlin on the 22nd Aug 2019 at the Edinburgh Festival
          -Orchestre de Paris on the 23rd and 24th Aug 2019 at the Edinburgh Festival
          -Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra on the 23rd Aug 2019 at the Proms
          -Orchestre de Paris on the 26th Aug 2019 at the Proms
          -Vienna Philharmonic on the 3rd and 4th Sep 2019 at the Proms
          -Staatskapelle Dresden on the 5h Sep 2019 at the Proms
          -Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen on the 7th Sep 2019 at the Proms
          -Czech Philharmonic on the 10th Sep 2019 at the Proms
          -NDR Radio Philharmonic Orchestra on the 13th Sep 2019 at the Proms

          2018/2019 season London Symphony Orchestra visits to EU:
          LSO: Madrid 16th and 17th Oct 2018
          LSO: Paris 20th Nov 2018
          LSO: Paris 17th Dec 2018
          LSO: Budapest 14th Jan 2019
          LSO: Warsaw 15th Han 2019
          LSO: Wroclaw 16th Jan 2019
          LSO: Krakow 17th Jan 2019
          LSO: Antwerp 30th Jan 2019
          LSO: Rotterdam 30th Jan 2019
          LSO: Baden-Baden 3rd Feb 2019
          LSO: Cologne 4th Feb 2019
          LSO: Vienna 19th and 20th Feb 2019
          LSO: Essen 21st Feb 2019
          LSO: Hamburg 23th Feb 2019
          LSO: Luxemburg 24th Feb 2019
          LSO: Paris 18th Mar 2019
          LSO: Munich 2nd May 2019
          LSO: Dublin 14th Jun 2019
          LSO: Paris 2nd Jul 2019
          LSO: Santander 11th and 12th Aug 2019
          LSO: Lubeck 13th Aug 2019
          LSO: Neumünster 14th Aug 2019
          LSO: Wiesbaden 15th Aug 2019
          LSO: Rimini 23th Aug 2019
          LSO: Kurhaus Meran 24th and 25th Aug 2019
          LSO: Riga 30th and 31st Aug 2019
          LSO: Bucarest 2nd and 3rd Sep 2019
          LSO: Luzen 9th and 10th Sep 2019
          LSO: Belin 11th Sep 2019

  • Derek H says:

    Prior to Coronavirus, (and accepting no touring until safe), American, Russian and Asian orchestras arranged tours to Europe. European orchestras toured to the U.S.A. and Asia.

    Given that, although there is a case for reducing the number of tours anyway, why should it be any different for UK orchestras to tour in Europe, or vice versa?

  • Clare says:

    Brexit is not about orchestras, nor should it be, and no doubt the sneering one-liners are piling up already. However, I think this issue raises questions about the primary function of subsidised orchestras within the UK – a matter which successive governments and the music establishment should have been addressing before Brexit became an issue (apologies if it already is).

    I am not opposed to subsidy, far from it, but it’s reasonable to ask why orchestras, which are subsidised by the British taxpayer, are having to depend on tours on a continent which is not short of orchestras of its own and where, in many instances, subsidies are far more generous than in the UK. There are parts of the UK which rarely if ever see a professional orchestra. Yorkshire, the largest county in the UK, has not had a full time professional orchestra since 1955 (and yes, I know about the orchestra of Opera North, which can’t be in two places at once, and recent attempts to resurrect the Yorkshire Symphony).

    I’m sure that the “cabotage” issue will be resolved in due course but, really, is hopping from venue to venue in a truck the best way for an orchestra to perform?

  • John Bakewell says:

    When I was briefly with the Halle in 1960 we regularly performed in Bradford, Huddersfield, Sheffield, Hanley, Stoke and other cities in the north. These concerts were subsidised by grants from the various local authorities. Unfortunately past governments have squeezed those same authorities so much that they are running out of money to pay for growing social needs. I do believe that this kind of touring is what our orchestras should be doing, serving local needs, unfortunately we no longer live in enlightened times.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    Having fun yet, Brexiteers?

    • norman lebrecht says:

      Stop trolling.

      • bobo says:

        Stop complaining, y’all got your covid vaccine way before Europe, what more do you want?

        Plus, the Proms can get back to its all UK roots: no EU orchestras invited next year.

        • La plus belle voix says:

          The opening work (after the National Anthem) at the first of “Mr Robert Newman’s Promenade Concerts” on August 10, 1895 was Wagner’s Rienzi Overture. And don’t forget Friedrich Adolph Borsdorf, that renowned German horn player.

          • Herbie G says:

            Will we still be allowed to play the National Anthem at the Proms (or anywhere else for that matter)? It might offend a few people so it must now be banned.

      • HermantheGerman says:

        Actually, the British „please“ is missing, Norman.

      • CSR says:

        Said the pot to the kettle.

    • V.Lind says:

      No point in carping, Greg. Brexit is a done deal and every business and interest in the UK has to start facing it and learning to deal with it. I’m afraid some of the short-term fallout is affecting industries more essential than music-making, and they, too, are going to have to figure out alternatives to the way things were last year.

      • Bill says:

        Never too late to encourage more people to pay attention and vote! And now there’s a handy example to point at when mentioning what can happen when you don’t.

        • V.Lind says:

          Problem with Brexit is, they did vote, and in big numbers. And the majority in the last election was, to put it mildly, alarming. Brexit is a fact of life and the sooner former Remainers accept it, the better for all.

          But your point is well taken. I would also encourage more question-asking, reading and thinking through before choosing where to park your X.

  • Michael Fine says:

    Transfer the instruments to lorries with EU number plates. But seriously, Brussels needs to make an exemption for culture. Are Russian and Asian orchestras similarly restricted? I had nothing like this to deal with when I was working with the Seoul Philharmonic …

    • Scottish Musician says:

      I think the point is that an agreement has to work both ways. Ideally there would be a red-tape-free mechanism for us to tour in the EU (or work as freelance guest players), and vice versa. Russian and Asian countries have agreements with the EU that facilitate this (as does the USA). The UK’s agreement doesn’t.

    • Mike Gibb says:

      The EU offered 6-month working visa exemptions for musicians, but the UK govenment rejected it. According to Caroline Dinenage, our Minister for Digital and Culture, it was rejected because it went against “the manifesto promise of controlling the borders”.
      Clearly if the UK musicians were able to tour Europe, the quid pro quo would bring EU musicians into the UK, with the danger of us being contaminated by all of that nasty European culture.

      • V.Lind says:

        As no orchestras, nor many artists, even big pop bands, are likely to need a visa for more than 6 months, it’s time the artists started lobbying where it counts: the moronic government that pushed them into this situation and is mismanaging it at every level since.

        And Greg Bottini: in case this looks like a volte face: no, it’s what I meant by dealing with it. In the case of culture, it looks as if most of the problems have been caused by small-minded, ill-educated political intransigence. I’m a little surprised that it was Dinenage, who has been reasonably effective, but she is only Minister of State and may have been sent out to do Dowden’s dirty work. Dowden is such a know-nothing it is astonishing when he appears in the Commons with matching socks. She’s the one to lobby — aside from being a know-nothing, OD is a do-nothing.

        This should be an easy one. The artists should get it together. The Vienna Boys’ Choir, Anne-Sophie Mutter, the Berlin Philharmonic really, really do not intend to settle in Stoke and take away British jobs while jabbering in foreign tongues and introducing restaurants full of wienerschnitzel and (pity) Sachertorte.

  • Miko says:

    Your source in the ABO:
    Mark Pemberton.
    Recent freedom of information request to the DCMS requesting correspondence with the ABO concerning quid pro quo narrative over brexit impacts(FOI c/o the Euflagmafia, who care deeply about the huge self inflicted damage brexit causes to the music industry): blocked by secrecy. Note the ABO inviting Caroline Dinenage MP as guest speaker to their conference in March.
    The ABO needs either to grow some balls and snarl at this corrupt government, or get out of the way. Brown nosing with charlatans will only sneer at the countless musos whose careers are fast disappearing.
    Over the past 15 years, with one temporary exception, no musicians are invited to the board of the ABO. Who are they, who do they represent, what are they for?

    • Will says:

      All board members are ‘temporary’. The ABO is doing a fantastic job in representing the sector on this issue. The fact Caroline Dinenage is speaking at the conference speaks not to brown-nosing but to the fact that the ABO is constructively engaging with government, as it has done for many years.

      • miko says:

        Your words:
        “The ABO is doing a fantastic job in representing the sector on this issue.”
        “The ABO is constructively engaging with government, as it has done for many years.”

        And look where its got us.

        To “represent”, a body needs to be accountable. No musician has the oppurtunity to vote for the ABO board; they appoint themselves “to represent”.

        Mr Lebrecht, and his “ABO source”, presenting this story as the EU “slamming” UK orchestras with “obstacles”. Precisely the opposite is true: The UK itself has imposed barriers on the freedom of movement, the key plank of this government’s brexit manifesto. It is shameful that the ABO considers “constructive engagement” in the light of such wilfully inflicted damage.

    • Mark Pemberton says:

      Chi-chi Nwanoku served 5 years on the ABO board, followed by Catherine Arlidge for 6 years. Both orchestral musicians.

      • Miko says:

        The only token exceptions to an otherwise consistent rule, and you know it.
        How preposterous that “the musician” isn’t leading direct engagement. Instead, a self important, self appointed coterie of orchestral admins (often with inflated job titles) form a club, pander to power (where has that got us?), utterly convinced that they “represent” the industry.
        Who exactly gave you the mandate for that?
        Not me, not any of my colleagues, not the industry:
        No accountability:
        just entitlement.

      • Backdesklondon says:

        Mark Pemberton. Token appointments in the ABO, all orchestras have a diversity team, thanks to your outfit, the ABO. Whatever happened to the Best Player for the Job? Music is a meritocracy! You don’t represent us, as really you don’t have an inkling what it is to be a jobbing musician. (Agree 100% with Miko on this thread.) Useless regarding the Brexit negotiations with OD. You all have salaried jobs, pensions etc…on the back of self employed musicians. An industry run by suits indeed.

  • Alexander T says:

    Somehow I don’t think Nigel Farage will be losing any sleep about this.

  • henry williams says:

    let us hope they tour the north of england. about time.

    • Will says:

      The Halle, Manchester Camerata, Royal Northern Sinfonia and Opera North already regularly tour the North of England. Orchestras are unlikely sadly to be able to substitute additional loss-making UK touring for the profit-making EU touring.

  • DONALD says:

    1. As the UK government has chosen to leave the EU, the EU and/or it’s member states are perfectly entitled to impose requirements for visas, work permits and cornets or other documents required for the transport of instruments across borders. It is pointless to criticise them for exercising their own rights when the UK has exercised its rights to leave the EU.

    2. According to reports when this issue first emerged the EU was willing to allow quite a lot of touring by British musicians and British but the UK government rejected that because it would impinge on the sovereignty of the UK. Has the accuracy of these reports been confirmed.

    3.British orchestras have for some decades now made European touring a useful source of income.

    3. That has been said to be unsustainable in the era of climate change but tours can sometimes be managed without the use of flights within Europe.

    4. What is perhaps surprising is that none of the commentators who have preceded me have mentioned the artistic benefits of touring over a period not limited to a short return trip. Read Richard Bratby’s recent history of the CBSO and you will find endorsements of this by players and others.

  • Matthias says:

    Wouldn’t hiring haulers from the EU for transportation solve this problem? Or am I misunderstanding this ‘cabotage’ business?

  • Patrick G says:

    Strange so when the Chicago Symphony goes to Vienna they cannot to Paris after ?????

  • Dreamer_49 says:

    What has happened here was not an inevitable result of Brexit.

    However angry you are with the vote and what has happened to date, you must bear in mind that this was due to a failure of this Government’s understanding of our industry and failure in the negotiations with the EU, in which both parties are at fault.

    The Government’s allergy towards free movement is an incorrect understanding of the vote. Brexiteers were not against temporary travel. They were, and remain, against being able to live and work in another country free of any restrictions.

    Therefore, this extension of the idea to tourism is asinine and really wasn’t part of the argument, and it’s tragic that music has suffered for this.

  • The disunited Kingdom says:

    I’m a high profile classical musician. I’m not leaving my name here.

    The UK is fast becoming a cultural backwater. You can feel it happening right now. European’s working here are leaving the country. There is no point for them to come here in the future as the Arts are already woefully paid and the buzz of working here was the internationalism and open-mindedness. The British have decided to close their minds, well, 17m of the worst of them decided for the rest of us, persuaded by gutter press and Nazi Farage.

    The UK culturally is more interested in drinking alcohol than anything else. The hard working arts can’t prop it up any longer.

    Bye bye UK, you were once a great place to live…

    • Helen Meyer says:

      You can’t “feel it happening right now” because, not surprisingly, very little is happening due to Covid. Your dismissive attitude towards 17m people, petulance, narcissism, silly reference to Nazism, and general rudeness, suggest that you might not be as missed as you think, “high profile” or not.

      And learn how to use the apostrophe.

  • Freelancer says:

    While it is a shame that free movement for performing artists and their entourages now costs money and time, has anybody thought about how much touring is actually necessary?

    Before I go any further, I must mention that I did not vote for Brexit and I have also earnt a lot of money from touring as a freelancer with many of the UK orchestras.

    Whilst I realise that I have been very privileged to see the world via orchestral touring, the issue that bothers me now as to regards touring is climate change. Surely as an industry, we should be limiting tours – not encouraging them.

    The other issue here is the funding and education of the arts in the UK in comparison to mainland Europe. Quite simply, the arts are considered to be fundamentally important on mainland Europe, hence why UK orchestra trips pour money into the coffers of orchestras. On mainland Europe an orchestra can turn a profit, in the UK they cannot. It must also be considered that we are just people, we are not special. Just because we can play an instrument well does not mean that we automatically should have the right to freedom of movement in order to earn money. This has to be negotiated and maybe some musicians need to realise this and be more grateful for what we have had in the past. Of course I support the idea of a Visa waiver programme for musicians, but is it going to happen? Indeed, should it be argued that touring should become less frequent and becomes more climate conscious.

    Unfortunately the only way around the two issues that I have mentioned is to reduce the number of orchestras in the UK so that the funding availble can support those adequately thus also avoiding the need for so much international travel. This is all without even considering the impact that Covid may continue to have on the industry.

    We are at a crossroads in the industry, some will survive and thrive and some will struggle. New ideas may well flourish and the musical landscape will look very different at the end of this century. I wish I had the answers to the questions that have been thrown up, for now creativity should be encouraged and celebrated and we should also be kind and supportive to our fellow players that have fallen on hard times.

    • Miko says:

      Above all other touring, European trips can be climate friendly. I have been on many tours that relied heavily on rail.

      You wish to be “kind and supportive” to colleagues who “have fallen on hard times”…in the same breath as saying that the number of UK orchestras should be reduced to allow adequate support of the survivors?
      I suspect you are lying about one, or both, of the following:
      a) “You are a musician”
      b) “You didn’t vote for brexit.”

      • Freelancer says:

        I am just trying to inject some realism into the situation that we find ourselves in.

        I would much rather orchestras could sustain their previous workload, members and all the freelancers that rely on them but is this actually possible? Some would say that the decline of the orchestras started in the 90’s – by this I do not mean in quality, but in sustainability.

        I did not vote for Brexit, I remember the day of the results all too well. I went into work as an extra player with one of the London orchestras completely shell shocked, as was everybody there.

        What is actually sustainable?
        Why is music considered so unimportant in main stream schooling now? Although I would suggest the removal of access to free music lessons and an instrument for all, started that particular rot.
        For now, the young players that are coming out of conservatories are getting better and better, but are there any sustainable jobs for them to go to? Should we be training so many musicians for a diminishing pool of jobs?

        What I am trying to point out is that Visas are not the only problem that musicians are facing at the moment. There are other issues, which combined with the Visa issue is making the future of classical music as we know it very precarious. I am sure that the true creatives will survive, but there will be casualties over the next couple of years. I would love to be proved wrong, but the combination of Covid, lack of long term funding, global warming, Brexit and a recession makes life uncomfortable for many. We are living through extraordinary times.