Catherine Manson – ISM / MU
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Catherine is a violinist specialising in period music as a soloist, chamber
musician and orchestral leader. She founded the London Hayden Quartet
in 2000, where she is first violinist, and has been the leader of the
Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra since 2006.
As a violinist, I have worked for several decades touring, giving concerts, recording, broadcasting and teaching
masterclasses all around the EU. I have been the leader of the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra since 2006 but
earlier this week the orchestra management told me that I will not be able to participate in the orchestra’s
next tour in March/April (assuming concerts can happen and that travel is possible by then). The reason for this
is that they will now need to apply a work permit on my behalf. If they were to apply now, in good time, the
application would be refused as a result of the travel restrictions currently in place, but if they wait, hoping that
the restrictions are lifted, it will be too late to apply for a work permit. My place will instead be taken by another
violinist who lives in the Netherlands and I will have lost all my income for this season.
Typically, this orchestra brings musicians from all around Europe, meeting approximately eight times per year to
rehearse a programme in the Netherlands and then setting off to tour around Europe, giving up to ten concerts
per project in different countries. For me to procure a work permit for each one of these events would place an
enormous and unreasonable burden on the orchestra management. If each of these applications involved leaving
my passport at each different embassy, I would also be unable to travel for any other concerts.
Normally I would also give another twenty concerts annually around Europe with my quartet, the London Haydn
Quartet but as a result of Brexit, EU concert promoters are justifiably nervous about the expense and time
involved in bringing a UK group, and so we have no further concerts booked in Europe.
And this is not to even mention the carnets I would also need in order to travel with my violin.
Essentially, I am professionally paralysed by Brexit and have no idea how I can continue my career. I desperately
need some resolution to this problem.’