Max Hole is right, classical music is an elitist club

Universal Music ceo Max Hole has used the launch of the Bristol Proms to once again denounce classical music as "an elitist club". And he is right, classical music is an elitist club, and there is no better example than the Bristol Proms. This new concert series, which is hailed in the Guardian as "revolutionary", is managed and promoted by U-Live in conjunction with the Bristol Old Vic". U-Live is part of an elitist club otherwise known as Universal Music which controls, among other things, more than 50% of the recorded classical music market, and U-Live is simply a vehicle for giving Universal Music artists maximum exposure on concert platforms. Which means that almost all the leading musicians at the Bristol Proms are signed to Universal Music labels - Bryn Terfel (Decca), Lisa Batiashvili (DG), Daniel Hope (DG), Avi Avital (DG), and Valentina Lisitsa (Decca), while two of the other artists/ensembles, Ji Lui and the Sacconi Quartet, record for a label owned by co-promoter Classic FM. So, despite what Max Hole says, if you are a musician and want a gig at the Bristol Proms, joining the elitist club of a top classical label is highly recommended.

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Anonymous said…
I don't like the current trend to use elitist as an all-purpose pejorative. I understand that it can have negative connotations, but those specific cases should be outweighed by the positive aspects. The term has become (perhaps particularly in US politics) the preferred insult to hurl at anyone who actually has some qualifications or experience relevant to the topic. And I doubt whether most of those who favour that "insult" could actually explain in coherently if challenged.

One particlarly silly example is the idea that you couldn't sit down and have a beer with so-and-so; he's an elitist, after all. Personally, I prefer my leaders (political or otherwise) to be better educated than I am, more knowledgeable, more experienced, more energetic, and so on. Doesn't mean they'll always be right, but it's not a bad place to start.

Retire the "insult" elitist, I say ... but I suspect that I'm pis... sorry, barking up the wrong tree.

(And I agree with a fair bit of what Hole says, but I don't think he expresed things particularly well.)

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