From The Independent:
Or rather, what it adds up to is the rampant anti-intellectualism that I found Sir Peter Maxwell Davies raging against, when I visited him at the Royal Academy of Music. The Master of the Queen's Music has just been listening to David Cameron's Desert Island Discs choice on BBC Radio 4, and he's not amused. "In any other European country," he says, "a politician who chose that sort of garbage would be laughed out of court. The anti-artistic stance of our leaders gets up my nose. Their main aim is to turn us all into unquestioning passive consumers who put money into the bosses' pockets. That is now the purpose of education." As it happens, Max has put his money where his mouth is for his own Prom this year, by splicing a children's choir with orchestra and military trumpets in his setting of the Poet Laureate Andrew Motion's poem, "The Golden Rule", to create A Little Birthday Music for the Queen's 80th. As he puts it, "One must look to the future."
Two things: Angela Merkel is looking ever-better as a modern European leader. I keep making references to her comments on the Parsifal productions of both Lehnhoff and Schlingensief - like a moonstruck admirer - but read them. Incisive and intelligent. Second, why doesn't the United States have a music commissar this honest or this perceptive?
Wait, I don't know what came over me. This is, after all, the United States. I'm not even sure if we have a "composer-laureate" or some such other position.