Simon Rattle on devastating impact of pandemic/Brexit on U.K. freelance musicians

Posted on: April 8, 2021

The idea for an April 9 London Symphony Orchestra concert broadcast “came from LSO musicians who wanted to support colleagues who have found life hard during the pandemic,” reads an unsigned article in Sunday’s (4/4) Financial Times (subscription required). For many freelance players, “ ‘It was the first gig they have done this year or for longer,’ says music director Simon Rattle…. ‘Many musicians have already left the profession because they can’t bear the uncertainty…. and rates of depression have risen sharply.’ … For Rattle, the plight of freelance musicians is the burning issue of the moment…. ‘Some people have been looked after, while others have been left to sink or swim.… LSO players are better off … but for freelancers each concert now is like a drop of water in the desert.’ Brexit has also hit at just the wrong time … making multiple stops on [a U.K.] orchestra tour [in the European Union] difficult or impossible…. Says Rattle, ‘Brexit has not had any upside in the arts.’ … He remains upbeat. ‘I would like to pay tribute to the positive attitude musicians in the UK have kept up throughout this.’ ”