Simon Rattle: Music faces a bleak future unless Brexit bureaucracy is reduced
The government’s Brexit deal has been criticized for failing to negotiate visa-free travel and EU-wide permits for musicians and crew.
A recent deal with 19 countries and ongoing talks with 13 others has not calmed criticism. The conductor, who is musical director of the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO), said freelancers and newcomers to their careers were going through “a desperate time”.
When asked if he would advise a young musician to turn professional, he replied: “Of course you want to tell everyone that we need you, we need art more than anything. , but what are the odds right now? It’s very, very dark.
Sir Simon said that many people are making the ‘difficult’ start of their musical life by touring, including in Europe, and ‘these are the things that are made so much more difficult now’.
He said the LSO was shielded from the worst effects of Brexit by its size and status as one of the main orchestras in the world, but had diverted staff from other jobs to cope with increasing bureaucracy. He said: “The whole visa problem is a colossal amount of work and often it costs so much that there is no point in going there.”
The conductor was speaking at an event organized by the charity Help Musicians which has supported musicians for more than a century.
Since the global pandemic, it has donated £ 18million to help around 19,000 musicians affected by the effects of lockdown and social distancing which have taken their toll on live performances.
Sir Simon, whose family is based in Germany, applied for a German passport and said any musician with only a British passport was at a disadvantage. He said: “People who are normally hired by organizations overseas are told, ‘I’m sorry, we just don’t have the capacity to bring someone in from the UK, that’s too complicated and too expensive “.”
Sir Simon said he had no doubts that the problems could be solved in the long term, but added: “What worries me is how much music will have been lost, how many bright young musicians will be unable to. not do what they do, how many artistic lives will be ruined?
The government said: “We have spoken to all EU members and 19 have confirmed that musicians do not need visas or work permits for short tours.”