The COVID-19 Pandemic has had a catastrophic impact on the Arts. As a professional violinist with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, I am experiencing this first hand, being a self-employed musician. The consequences of the last 8 months will undoubtedly be deeply distressing and challenging for all of us in the profession, as we attempt to leave Lockdown behind and move towards to a very different landscape. With venues struggling to imagine any sort of viable re-opening with audience restrictions in place, we still have no clear idea as to when or how any sort of 'normal' existence can resume.
Classical PopUps brings incredible professional musicians together from major orchestras, West End shows and a huge pool of talented freelancers, along with collaborative artists, such as poets, painters and dancers. We create events that are accessible and community enhancing. The music we play covers a huge spectrum of genres, including classical, contemporary, film, jazz and brand new arrangements.
My vision: I would love, during this difficult period to continue offering beneficial events in slightly unusual venues, such as bandstands, parks, gardens, car parks, deserted shops - there are so many options. This would bring culture to communities but also provide much needed performance opportunity and support to artists that are temporarily without work or income. I already have support and enthusiasm from many South London locations and would love to venture further afield as well! The concept of pop-up events is, more than ever, a popular way to dip your toe into something that is new - a little taster session of live music in this instance. Without financial support, our industry is in danger of being abandoned and events like this will no longer exist.
I would aim to pay all of my artists a set rate, which would possibly be lower than any sort of ‘normal’ fee but a highly valued income nonetheless. Many of my colleagues do not qualify for financial aid from government schemes and are struggling to survive. It would be an incredible situation to be in to alleviate even a little of the stress experienced at this time.
Classical PopUps normally functions, relying on ticket sales and on collaborations with venues and partners, providing the necessary backbone of finances which enable payment to musicians. None of this can currently be relied upon, especially with restricted numbers in audiences.
Professional musicians deserve to be paid for public performance and their talents respected. My aim is to play a small part in making this happen.
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