We know the Brexiteers do not like experts, but here are some inescapable facts from an industry that is remarkably efficient and has gathered in outstanding talents from many new generations since 1945. Richard Corbett MEP has pointed out that only 2 per cent of people in the music world thought Brexit would be good for the industry. Today our musicians travel freely; connections are essential in the global creative world. Post Brexit there will be no guarantee of free movement across Europe. In 2016, our orchestras made 96 visits to 26 different EU countries, according to the Association of British Orchestras – impossible to imagine after Brexit.
The post-Brexit visa system will result in a situation that has been graphically described in a well-researched article by the composer Howard Goodall. His work takes him all over Europe at a day’s notice by means of a ticket from Heathrow. This will now take him weeks to organise, and that will deter many of those in this country from going to Europe by reason of expense. The reverse is also true. Musicians from the EU play a crucial role in the day-to-day make-up of UK orchestras and are often called on at a couple of weeks’ notice, which the new system will make impossible. Between 20 per cent and 25 per cent of musicians in some orchestras are from other countries in the EU. There are around 14,000 EU citizens in the UK music industry.