28th Apr '14
With the sad news that one of Britain’s top cellists, Julian Lloyd Webber is forced to quit at the height of his career due to a professionally related health issue (read the story here), makes me think that even those in the limelight are not ‘immune’ to the constraints of a very demanding profession and are clearly not getting the support that an athlete of equivalent standing would obviously have.
Injuries and even simple ‘wear & tear’ are a reality of performing careers, perhaps now even more so than a few decades ago when life wasn’t quite so fast-paced and it wasn’t necessary for musicians to have two and very often three jobs to be economically prosperous. Yet the industry as a whole is still very hush about professionally related health problems. Musicians won’t speak openly about their issues, agents and managers don’t want to hear about injuries (potential and real) and the sort of support system musicians would need is not getting addressed because of this.
There has to be an ‘openness’ to talking about these issues and accepting that they can come at any time during a career and are not always the end of the road…
We can only hope that Julian Lloyd Webber’s ‘forced’ retirement sparks off a much needed conversation to address the growing need for a structured support, in line with the sports industry, so that in the future we don’t have to loose more artists to professional health issues.