Jon Snow on Fugata Quintet

Original title:  A Business Start-Up With Lessons For Us All 

As if to gird my loins for today’s terrible financial news – deeper debt, longer, more sustained recession, my wife and I took ourselves to the formal launch at the Purcell Room of the Fugata Quintet.

Belting down to the South Bank from the Channel 4 News studios as fast as I could pedal, I still experienced the frustration of joining a concert late. I got in just before the last number in the first half – the Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla’s sumptuous Adios Nonino.

The hall was packed – standing room only – a whole range of ages and ethnicities was present. Suddenly I fell to thinking what this singular event told me about the London, the Britain, we inhabit in these economically troubled times.

This quintet came together when they were students at the Royal Academy of Music in 2007. Only one of them is British – the double bassist, James Opstad. Two are Greek – the truly exceptional violinist, Anastasios Mavroudis, and the brilliant guitarist, Antonis Hatzinikolaou. The hauntingly versatile accordionist, Zivorad Nikolic, is Serbian. Finally the beautiful and extraordinarily powerful and expressive pianist, Anahit Chaushyan is Armenian.

Now that they are launched upon the professional music scene they are literally a new small business start up, with huge potential. In effect, they have come together to forge a British entity from their disparate roots – some from within the EU, some from beyond.

British teaching, British resource, British opportunity in what is increasingly the cultural capital of the world, combined to bring about one completely memorable and emotionally overwhelming evening.

Nothing stirs the heart strings so much as the rhythm and cadences of Latin American music. Within its sounds are conjured the joy of life, the grief of loss and oppression, the exuberance of revolution and change, and above all, the constant thread of romance. All were present last night in the Purcell Room. Had I stood on the roof I could have heard the political hubbub across the river in Westminster. But I did not. Instead I was a world away.

But it did make me think that there is a creativity, a capacity, often ignited and facilitated through the collision of migration that renders Britain extraordinarily economically fertile – not just in music and the arts, but in manufacturing, in business, in academia, and more.

We can so easily grind ourselves into the mire of economic depression. Perhaps we should take a bar or two from the staves of Fugata’s exceptional performance last night and recognize that in each of us there is another way, there is something extra we can give and achieve.

Follow Jon Snow on Twitter: @jonsnowC4

original post: Snowblog on Channel 4