Friday, September 02, 2016

Classical music shoots itself in the baton


On An Overgrown Path has been preoccupied recently - some would say obsessed - with the absence of black conductors at the BBC Proms, and recently highlighted this Sunday's admirable concert at the Festival Hall by the Chineke! Orchestra, a professional orchestra made up entirely of black and minority ethnic musicians. So a big splash by Tom Service in the Guardian about Sheku Kanneh-Mason, the soloist in Sunday's concert, should be be good news. But instead it simply provides another example of how classical music is shooting itself in the baton. Tom Service is employed by both the Guardian and BBC. (Some would argue that the Guardian and BBC are one and the same). So in his article Tom Service mentions the BBC in the sub-head seen above, in the opening paragraph, and four more times in the body copy. The immensely talented Sheku Kanneh-Mason is of course a BBC property as he won the 2016 BBC Young Musician competition and is the subject of a BBC Four TV documentary later this year. But just days earlier the Guardian had run a pious editorial lamenting the paucity of women conductors in London. However the paucity of black conductors is not on the Guardian agenda. So Kevin John Edusei who conducts Sunday's concert and holds appointments with the Münchner Symphoniker and Konzert Theater Bern but has no exploitable BBC links, does not merit a single mention in Tom Service's piece. In a recent post I opined that the classical music suffers from excessive levels of intermediation and is riddled with self-interest. I rest my case.

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2 comments:

Kevin Scott said...

While the article is very important about the soloist, it would have been nice to have mentioned Mr. Edusei, even in passing, unless the editor at The Guardian put the kibosh because the article was too long, and the primary focus was on the soloist, not the orchestra nor the conductor.

I don't know if you can email Mr Service or not, but it would be nice if one could and get more of his reactions about black conductors in general. One even wonders if he has read your blogs!

Pliable said...

Kevin, the reality is that most of the Guardian readers are prosecco activists and black conductors are not on their agenda, but women conductors are. Tom Service and his peers in the mainstream media only go where their readers go. So the likelihood of him holding anything other than a token view on the paucity of black conductors is, I am afraid, remote.