A world-famous orchestra is leaving Britain because of uncertainty surrounding the residency rights of its foreign members in the midst of Brexit.
The European Union Baroque Orchestra (EUBO) will relocate from Oxfordshire to Antwerp, where it has been based since 1985. The decision has been made to ward off any difficulties that a potential immigration ban would confer on its members.
The critically acclaimed group selects exceptional young musicians from around the EU, including Britain, to train and perform together each year. Its alumni have filled major posts in prestigious orchestras around the world.
General manager Emma Wilkinson believes other British-based orchestras may soon follow suit. In addition, she said that British musicians may fail in their bids to be recruited by organisations from the remaining EU nations while Brexit negotiations take place.
She told The Guardian: "I do worry that European orchestras will not be inviting talented British musicians to work with them. It will just be too bureaucratically difficult."
EUBO will perform in London on 19 May – their last concert before moving to Belgium. Wilkinson admitted that any future restrictions on the movement of people between the EU and Britain could jeopardise the group's ability to perform in the UK.
"That's the problem with the uncertainty around this whole issue," she said. "We just don't know."
The UK government have been under pressure to guarantee the rights of EU nationals residing in the UK before Brexit negotiations begin.
Last year Minister for International Trade Liam Fox was criticised for describing EU nationals living in the UK as "one of our main cards" in the forthcoming bartering process.
The European Union Youth Orchestra (EUYO), based in London since 1976, is also reported to be considering a move to mainland Europe.
Chief executive Marcus Marshall said: "For some time we have been forming our plan to be ready to relocate, if and when this becomes necessary. Or indeed simply advantageous."
He added: "If we do land with a hard Brexit it is really difficult to see how British musicians will be able to continue to take advantage of the opportunities that the EUYO and other EU initiatives have been able to offer generations of European musicians."