Can a violinist play cello?

Not according to the folks over at the National Symphony Orchestra of Great Britain (NSOGB). No one was given anything close to a license to operate in their city, and so they couldn’t even put a cello player in front of an orchestra.

As The Telegraph puts it: “The ban has meant that the string-blending world has never seen anything like the world-class ‘cello repertoire’ that was available in their beloved city before. This is despite a legal ruling, which states that players can hold down jobs to pursue their passion.”

A similar situation appears to be in progress across the U.S. where many professional violinists (most of whom have been barred from performing in city parks due to having licenses to play music outside of their home city) are forced from work and home. The reason cited by the folks from NSOGB for their ban: Violinists are too busy “screwing up the city” and “creative business practices” with their cello playing. The ban was lifted after a court ruling in September 2013 which found violins played on viola or cello are “inherently creative,” “highly valuable,” and “not inherently dangerous.”

While the NSOGB may be looking to the courts, the U.K. has its own issue of cello licenses and playing time: “Since July 2004, when the UK licensing system was revamped, over 600,000 musicians with a licence to play cello, bassoon and trombone have put down their instruments for better jobs,” writes Dave Lister for The Spectator. And the reason for that? A shortage in cello repertoire.

The same article notes that:

“As it stands, a huge number of highly skilled concertinas, violas, cellos and all the other instruments now available for rent at auction are being rented out each month. But despite the glut in repertoire, the current cello student quota is at 50 per cent.”

(Image via Shutterstock)

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