Addicts Symphony: drink and drugs ‘widespread in classical world’, says cellist


I’m certain that there is substance abuse in the music world, but I’m pretty certain there is substance abuse in nearly every profession. I’m not certain it’s as widespread as some might say, but maybe I’m just naive.

I do understand the need to address the issue, especially reading that the film is the “brainchild of James McConnel, a composer who fought his own battle with alcoholism. His son, Freddy, a friend of Peaches Geldof, died from a heroin overdose aged 18.” So there’s that. He wants to bring this to the attention of others and that’s understandable and, I’m sure, important.

I’ve known musicians who have come to work after drinking too much. I had heard of someone who, during breaks of a musical I was playing in (many years ago), went to the rooftop to smoke marijuana. As far as I know I’ve not had any friends who were addicted to drugs. Perhaps I’m just clueless. I wonder.

I am not opposed to alcohol, but I have a policy of not drinking if I have work. It’s just a bad idea. I like to be in control and I don’t think having alcohol in my system would make me feel that way. In addition, I don’t want to start thinking the alcohol is relaxing me or making me play better. It’s just not a good idea to go there.

1 Comment

  1. patti with an i

    Yes, there are substance abusers in every profession. Classical music is a profession (cue the gasps of “really?!?” from the uninformed), ergo there are substance abusers in classical music. I’ll alert the media! Oh, wait, she already did. Perhaps CNN will stop talking about missing airplanes for a bit and focus on this piece of serious breaking news. Yawn.

    But lumping beta-blockers in with other substances is not useful, and shows a lack of understanding about how they work. There is certainly no physical dependency on them as there can be with alcohol etc.

    Must have been a slow news day.