ARTS: Angst in the orchestra stalls

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Depression among musicians is running at "unbelievably high levels" according to a new survey. And overbearing conductors are cited as one of the causes of musical angst. A survey by the British Performing Arts Medical Trust, detailed at an international conference in York yesterday, also said that problems for musicians can be caused by who they sit next to on the concert platform.

The research, conducted among 56 world-class symphony orchestras, reveals that 70 per cent of orchestral musicians suffer performance anxiety which affects their playing. This occurs more than once a week in one out of every five players.

The research said that RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) suffered by musicians is linked far more to mental stress provoked by incompetent and overbearing conductors, inadequate or disorganised rehearsals and incompatible desk partners than any of the physical demands of playing.