Culture is inextricably linked with politics. Artistic expression rarely exists without some kind of subsidy, and the disposition of tax monies on all its forms is habitually scrutinized and challenged with a fervour grossly disproportionate to the total expenditure.
Instruments represent the number one capital expenditure of any Sistema initiative, even very few purchase them new. The default option, the “instrument donation drive,” has evolved into a rite of passage as part of a program launch. It’s excellent publicity, and it reduces start-up costs considerably, although not entirely. There’s no such thing as a free viola: the instruments that are donated always require some degree of maintenance or repair, especially strings. Even once restored to playing condition, they continue to need constant care, especially strings. They’re also extremely fragile…especially strings