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British musicians: the Polish plumbers of world orchestras

By Helen Right  

In Saturday’s Financial Times, Andrew Clark describes British orchestras’ manic touring schedules, and claims that British musicians are the hardest working rootin’ tootin’ band the world over, beating the idle Germans into a cocked hat. I should know.

I am currently a dynamic harpist-about-Europe. I’m all too familiar with the extras that touring can involve; excellent initiatives, like playing to sick children. But the main reason we musicians do it is pure, crispy wonga. British orchestras receive much less public funding than their German rivals. Musical Brits, therefore — saving the orchestra money on sick pay, holiday and pensions —…

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