Reeves to ABO: orchestras must earn their government funding

Posted on: March 3, 2010

In Sunday’s (2/28) Herald (Scotland), Edd McCracken writes, “In a broadside of Wagnerian proportions, Richard Reeves, director of the influential think tank Demos, told the Association of British Orchestras (ABO) during a conference in Glasgow that: Orchestras should receive significantly less public money; That orchestras unfairly steer money away from projects in working class areas thanks to powerful middle class lobby groups; That orchestras should spend the funds they do receive from the public purse on education and schools programmes, rather than putting on performances for affluent urbanites. Reeves described the response to his dressing down from the world of classical music as ‘mixed’. The ABO called it ‘a wake up call’ for the sector, but senior figures from within Scotland’s orchestras said Reeves’ thinking was ‘extraordinarily shallow and facile’ and ‘deeply patronising’. … According to Reeves, the annual public subsidy to the London-based orchestras is more than £6 million. In the next financial year the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) will receive £4.32 million as one of the national companies. The Scottish Chamber Orchestra will receive £2.17 million. Reeves argued more of this should be spent on educating young people about classical music, to help break a ‘vicious cycle’ of subsidising an art form with appeal limited to the middle classes.”

Posted March 3, 2010