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Gareth Malone: Musicians face financial destitution amid coronavirus outbreak

The choirmaster said he is worried his friends will not be able to make ends meet.

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Gareth Malone has warned musicians face financial peril (Matt Crossick/PA)

Gareth Malone has warned musicians face financial peril (Matt Crossick/PA)

Gareth Malone has warned musicians face financial peril (Matt Crossick/PA)

Gareth Malone has warned musicians face “financial destitution” as concerts are cancelled and venues are closed amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The choirmaster and composer added it is “a frightening time” for those in performing arts.

He is launching a digital music project, The Great British Home Chorus, to allow both amateur and professional performers around the country to sing together while social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak.

He told the PA news agency: “I have literally nothing else to do, all my work has been cancelled.”

Classic FM Live with Viking Cruises – Royal Albert Hall – London
Gareth Malone (Matt Crossick/PA)

He added: “A lot of people are being asked to work half rates or for free. If they have got employers that is great, but if you’re like me and you’re a freelancer then it’s a frightening time for musicians because most musicians are fairly hand-to-mouth, apart from the top 5% or something really tiny.

“All concerts are cancelled, all gatherings, all recordings, rehearsals, and there is only so much you can do on your own over the internet.”

He added: “I’m worried about organisations and orchestras.

“I just got off the phone with the managing director of the London Symphony Orchestra and they are having to think the same thing – what do we do?

“I think the Berlin Phil went in to the venue and performed just online to a completely empty concert hall, which is unprecedented, but that might stop. The advice might actually be they can’t get into the venue at all, we can’t have people gathering.

“I am very worried for the financial destitution of my friends.”

PA