HC Deb 26 February 1958 vol 583 cc351-2
16. Mr. E. Fletcher

asked the Minister of Labour how many orchestral conductor posts in this country are held by foreign-born musicians.

Mr. Iain Macleod

The only information available is in regard to foreigners for whom permits have been issued under the Aliens Order. Two conductor posts are at present occupied by holders of such permits.

Mr. Fletcher

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is concern at the continued employment of foreign conductors in the very few official posts in this country? There are, for example, Kubelik at Covent Garden, Schwarz at the B.B.C. Symphony Orchestra and Tausky in charge of the B.B.C. Concert Orchestra. Will he bear in mind that the vast majority of music students in this country are trained at the public expense and therefore are profoundly disappointed if they are denied the few official posts that are available?

Mr. Macleod

There are, as the hon. Member indicated, a number of others of foreign origin who may be naturalised and who are not covered by the figure I gave. Yes, I am aware of the concern. When we are asked for a permit and consider whether we should issue it or not, we take those considerations into account.

Sir A. Gomme-Duncan

Does my right hon. Friend realise that it is necessary to cut right across nationality to get the best musicians?

Mr. Edelman

Will the right hon. Gentleman assure us that he will not discourage performances of foreign-born composers like Beethoven and Mozart?

Mr. Macleod

It is a difficult balance to keep. It is one of the things that have descended upon my Ministry. We are trying to balance the point made by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Perth and East Perthshire (Sir A. Gomme-Duncan) with the one in the Question.

Forward to