“One of Britain’s most successful orchestras is moving to Belgium amid fears that its musicians may be among the victims of a post-Brexit crackdown on immigration,” writes Stephen Pritchard in Saturday’s (2/18) Guardian (London). “The European Union Baroque Orchestrahas been based in Oxfordshire since 1985, but will give its last UK concert in its current form at St. John’s Smith Square, London, on 19 May, before moving to Antwerp…. The European Union Youth Orchestra … based in London … is making contingency plans to move to the continent [amid concerns about] EU worker protections, customs unions, import documents (carnets) for instruments and visa requirements … The Chamber Orchestra of Europe … has no current plans to move but with 85% of its members living on the continent … is keeping its options open…. The director of the Association of British Orchestras, Mark Pemberton, has been lobbying Whitehall about touring: ‘Imagine a large van full of instruments. Outside the customs union every single instrument on that van would be subject to a carnet, as it is when orchestras tour to the Far East or the US. Currently, we do not know whether a single carnet might cover all EU countries … or whether separate carnets would have to be prepared for each country.’ ”

Posted February 21, 2017