A series of post concerning problems in the business of Greek classical music starts with this post. While written in random order, that is in the way they just pop up in my head, I'll try to concentrate at first on those problems that arise from the professionals and the afficionados alike.
So, there's no. 1 problem for today's post. The attitude of the fans, aka concert-goers, listeners, "clients". What I recently heard, concerns me personally, but I had a good time laughing with it, since it's about an incident that happend 2,5 years ago.
I won a Greek piano competition back in October 2004, in Thessaloniki. At the award ceremony, about two hours after the performance of the final, I appeared with a dark red shirt. As I just recently heard, this seemed to upset the local community. In fact, they considered it a disrespect for the competition -and themselves. Now, not everyone has seen me playing, and I have to say that I sweat a lot when on stage. It doesn't need to be Prokofiev's 2nd piano concerto, like in that evening, it can just be a small set of variation by Mozart.
Funnily enough, this kind of reactions from Greek "music lovers" don't surprise me anymore. But here's a photo from the winner of the last International Paulo Cello competition, in the outfit he played in the final...
Problem no. 2. A good friend and colleague called me a couple of months ago. This person just had played an important concert, and he asked me about the fee: in fact he didn't negotiate with the organizer beforehand and they just called him to sign the contract -with a fee they decided- after the concert... Now, this good friend is older than me, and I was surprised by this lack of professionalism from both sides. He/she doesn't have an agent (like most of us) and yet didn't try to negotiate. Does it need lots of time and effort to figure that out? Of course I advised him what I thought he should do, but after the concert... So, "professional" musicians not defending their rights:problem no. 2.
Couple of years ago, I had a serious disagreement about my fee with a certain artistic director of a Greek organisation. After arguing with him, it was clear to me that the fee was for several "reasons" not negotiable. He did however raise it a day or two before the concert; the raise was considerable, and the final fee was almost what I asked for. I understand that they might not invite me for several years, but I had to stand for what I believe is right; and I learned that in this business, if I don't do it for me, nobody else will.
to be continued... jatkuu... συνεχίζεται...