Friday, April 10, 2015
Don't shoot the pianist, shoot the music industry
There is little point on expending many words on the fiasco in Toronto, other than to say that both pianist Valentina Lisitsa and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra behaved unwisely, with predictable results. What does deserve attention is the bigger picture. Valentina Lisitsa may play fast and loose on Twitter, but she is well connected and an adept exploiter of YouTube and other social media. That header photo of Ms. Lisitsa playing at the 'alternative' Bristol Proms appeared here last year, and many paths lead from it. She is managed by IMG Artists which describes itself as "a global leader of performing arts management", and she has an exclusive recording contract with Decca. That label is, of course, part of the Universal Music empire. As explained here previously, the Bristol Proms are managed and promoted by U-Live, which is also part of Universal Music. Last year Sinfini Music - which is likewise owned and controlled by Universal Music - ran a a video interview with Valentina Lisitsa by their regular contributor Norman Lebrecht. More recently Norman and others connected with the Sinfini/Universal nexus have been doing a sterling job of defending Ms Lisitsa's corner in Toronto, and in the process, coincidentally supplying yet more vital oxygen of publicity. All of which is above board and an accepted part of classical music in 2015. You do not need to read the offending tweets about the Ukraine to understand the Toronto fiasco. You just need to read the recent Guardian profile of UK media celebrity Katie Hopkins. There is an old saying that you should be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it. For years classical music has been fervently wishing to become part of the entertainment industry. What happened in Toronto shows that classical music's wish has finally come true.
Also on Facebook and Twitter. Any copyrighted material is included as "fair use" for critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s).