Musicians protest Brexit tensions with Beethoven's 'Ode to Joy' in London

27 June 2016, 12:51

A demonstration of musical and cultural unity by a scratch orchestra of musicians from both the UK and EU.

A group of musicians has turned to Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 to make their voices heard about the United Kingdon's decision to leave the European Union.

On Friday evening, after the referendum's result was announced, musicians assembled outside St-Martin-in-the-Fields in central London for a spontaneous performance of the Ode to Joy from the finale Beethoven's Choral Symphony. 

The hymn, which is the official anthem of the European Union, is often performed as a call for freedom, unity and solidarity. Protesters in Chile sang it during demonstrations against the Pinochet dictatorship, and it was famously conducted by Leonard Bernstein after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

This is Friday night's performance: 

Many musicians and arts leaders have expressed their concerns for the future of music and culture in a United Kingdom outside of the EU. On Friday both Chief Executive of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Stephen Maddock and the Association of British Orchestras called for the continued freedom of movement across Europe’s borders for orchestras, artists and orchestral musicians. 

Deep concerns have also been raised about the impact of post-Brexit financial markets and the repercussions it may have for arts and culture funding. 

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