Brexit drives out first British orchestra

The European Union Baroque Orchestra, which has been based at Woodstock in Oxfordshire since 1985, is to camp to Belgium in the wake of the decision for Britain to leave the European Union. Others may follow.

General manager Emma Wilkinson said the uncertainty of the future outside Europe, fears for the free movement of performers between the UK and the Continent, and the European orchestras will not want to invite British musicians to lay with them because of the complex bureaucracy had forced the decision for the orchestra to move to Antwerp. Its last concert here before it goes will be in May.

The acclaimed EUBO draws recently graduated young musicians from all over the world auditioning 1200 a year and picking up to 25 for training and performance.

Others may follow. Marshall Marcus, former head of music at the Southbank and now running the European Union Youth Orchestra, said they too were considering relocating to Europe. “It is really difficult to see how British musicians will be able to continue to take advantage of the opportunities that the EUYO and other EU initiatives have been able to offer generations of European musicians” he told The Observer, listing EU worker protections, customs unions, import documents for instruments and visa requirements as potential nightmares. “No one I know in the music industry – here or on the continent – wants to have to return to the bad old days of filling in more forms, taking up more time and spending more precious money in order for musicians to be able to perform for audiences on both sides of the channel”.

Timothy Walker, CEO of the London Philharmonic, said there was also worries about change sin residential rules and the effect they will have on the ecology of music in the UK which has become an international cross-roads for performance and recording.


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