Classical music's marriage with politics is a done deal
Arguments about whether classical music and politics should be mixed are futile. Because the two are irrevocably intertwined. As is shown by yesterday's press release from the City of London Corporation pressing the case for a new concert hall in London's newly designated 'culture mile'. This press release makes much of the Crossrail transport link that will serve the proposed hall. One of Crossrail's non-executive directors is Michael Cassidy. As readers of my previous posts on the subject will know, Michael Cassidy - who, incidentally, is a practicing lawyer - holds a number of influential positions in the City of London Corporation. He is also non-executive chairman of Askonas Holt; this is the management agency that represents both Simon Rattle who is a leading advocate of the new hall, and his new orchestra the London Symphony Orchestra which is expected to be resident there. Daniel Barenboim is also managed by Askonas Holt and he and Simon Rattle have both taken public anti-Brexit stances.
Yet another of Michael Cassidy's roles is chairman of the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, a major commercial and residential development in the south of England. Ebbsfleet International Station is a major gateway for travellers to the EU and plans for the area include a £3.5 billion theme park with Europe's largest indoor water park, live music venues and hotels one mile from Ebbsfleet station - see header graphic. It is not unreasonable to suggest that the commercial potential of these projects may be adversely affected by Brexit.
All the foregoing is in the public domain and I am confident it conforms to the relevant corporate governance regulations. There is a cogent argument that London needs a new concert hall. and it can be argued that Britain's exit from the EU has significant downsides. It can also be argued that conductors are entitled to use the podium to air personal political views. But I would also argue that a better understanding of the bigger picture is needed.
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