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Brexit, Music & Tradition

Noted composer Howard Goodall believes that the consequences of Brexit would be disastrous for the music industry.
Soon after Goodall shared the view with the public via Twitter in the first week of August, his message got at least 1.6 million views, about 8,500 re-tweets and nearly 19,000 likes. As Goodall touched a nerve, pro-Brexit British Parliamentarian Nadine Dorries asked the composer to explain why would the impact of Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU) be so negative. In reply, Goodall published a 3,400-word article in his blog in which he clearly mentioned that the majority of the people, especially in the music industry, were not permanent. So, according to the composer, they would prefer to work in a country that is stable.
A couple of days after Goodall explained the scenario, the European Youth Orchestra confirmed that it would relocate its office from London to Ferrara, Italy before the Brexit. “You can’t ask for EU funding and then not be in the EU,” said Chief Executive of the Orchestra Marshall Marcus. Marcus is of the opinion that it will be difficult for the British music industry to survive in the absence of free movement within Europe. Then, British musicians will have to arrange visas to attend concerts outside their country. European musicians working in Britain, too, will face the heat.


Howard Goodall

Europe had experienced similar crisis in the past. Many centuries ago, invading barbarians had triggered the fall of the Roman Empire and established their rule in Rome and its adjacent areas. As a result, all the scholars left Rome and took refuge in Constantinople. The development enriched Asia culturally.
With the seizure of power by the Nazis and the expulsion of both Jewish and democratically minded physicists from the Göttingen University in the 1930s, the German educational institution’s golden era came to an abrupt end. A number of renowned scientists – like Max Bourne, Victor Goldsmith, James Franck, Eugene Wigner and Leo Szilard – were forced to leave the university.


The European Youth Orchestra performing in Ferrara

In both cases, the scholars enriched the places where they took refuge. On the other hand, places, left by the scholars, took decades to regain their lost pride. So, it could be a great loss for Britain, if the musicians start leaving the country.
Even tradition is not permanent, as there is nothing constant, but the change. And we need to learn from our mistakes. What artists create is for the entire world…..but only sensual people can enjoy their creations. Creations, like ‘We shall overcome’ or ‘International’, have been translated into many languages because of their universal acceptance. Rulers can’t confine creators and their creations to a certain space or time.

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