Pay discord not the Olympic ideal - letter in The Stage

Published Friday 24 August 2012 at 11:49 in The Stage:

Deborah Annetts, ISM Chief Executive, said:

We have seen historic events over the last few months, whether it be the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee or the Olympics. Musicians were, of course, involved in both these activities, from the wonderful music performed at the Thames Jubilee Pageant by members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal College of Music Chamber Choir, to the thousands who performed during the Games.
Of course, these events were not without their challenges. At the Jubilee celebrations, composers were concerned that the BBC had given just a few seconds’ coverage, or none at all, to works that had been specially commissioned for the celebration. At the Olympics, the Incorporated Society of Musicians worked hard with musicians and the Musicians’ Union to persuade the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games to pay for their services. Not only was LOCOG trying not to pay some musicians, but it had also told performers, “You are not permitted to use or associate yourself with the London 2012 logo or the Olympic Games or promote or advertise that you are performing at the Games.”

The LOCOG debacle has been worrying. The idea that musicians should perform for free is one we need to stamp out. If you are a musician, you absolutely have the right to be paid for the work you undertake, even if it is at the Olympics. Given that we would not expect chefs, lawyers or nurses to work for free, and that we would not expect professional musicians to work for free at the BBC Proms either, why should musicians have faced this sort of treatment at the Olympics?

ISM will continue to campaign for decent pay for musicians. Musicians working for nothing is not the legacy the ISM wants to see.

More on this subject

Support Olympic musicians petition - LOCOG: Ensure the payment of arts practitioners performing for Olympic events