Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Classical music behaving badly

'Glencore, the multi-billion pound commodity giant, stands accused of profiting from child labour in a mine in the Congo, and paying the associates of paramilitary killers in Colombia, following a Panorama investigation. Undercover filming showed children as young as ten working in the Glencore-owned Tilwezembe mining concession. And sales documents show a Glencore subsidiary made payments to the suspected associates of paramilitaries in Colombia' - BBC News April 16
Last night's Panorama on BBC TV was an investigation into multi-national commodities trader Glencore. Using the title 'Billionaires behaving badly?' the company was, to quote the BBC, "accused of reckless greed" - programme image above, watch the documentary here. As was highlighted On An Overgrown Path last week, Glencore sponsors the Lucerne Easter Festival; among the artists appearing this year were Claudio Abbado, Bernard Haitink, Mariss Jansons and András Schiff, and next year's festival is headlined by Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. It did not need a Panorama investigation to tell classical music's great and good that Glencore's money comes with grubby strings attached, because all is revealed by just a few minutes googling. Yet another example of classical music behaving badly.

Also on Facebook and Twitter. Image credit BBC TV. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk

3 comments:

P. M. Doolan said...

Did you find the programme convincing? I found the evidence pretty weak e.g. a ten year old working in a Glencore mine that has been shut down; a truck with copper from that mine sold to a company that also does business with Glencore?? Is that it? No minors to be found in actual Gencore mines?
As for classical musicians enjoying the benefits of Glencore, what about every pensioner in Britain? Didn't all pension funds buy a piece of Glencore?

Pliable said...

The evidence of this programme together with reports in virtually every other authoritative publication is overwhelming - Glencore is ethically compromised. Anyone that pretends otherwise is in denial.

British pensioners have no control over where their pensions are invested. Musicians have total control over where they perform. Classical music needs to start planning how it can survive without depending on funders such as Glencore. Which almost certainly means maestro Abbado giving up his private jet.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2007/aug/22/classicalmusicandopera.proms2007

Philip Amos said...

I must wholly second your resonse to Mr. Doolan, Bob. The Panorama documentary was not entirely breaking news. Their various high crimes and misdemeanors have been known for a long time, and there is a paper trail. There would likely be a cyber trail as well, if I did not suspect they are assiduous in deleting it and compacting the computers when necessary.

But on one point I must have doubts, and it is not an insignificant one. If Abbado refused to perform at Lucerne and similarly compromised events, I doubt if he'd lose his plane. The fees sucked out of the system by the megastars will still keep them in jets and Ferraris, I do believe. Others, such as Schiff, are people of principle who I think would be pleased to withdraw from these events if they did but know the truth of the matter. They may not be informed of this issue, they should be, and they should be persuaded to boycott the events involved.