Australian orchestra officials dispute government report

Posted on: July 25, 2011

In Thursday’s (7/21) Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), Joyce Morgan writes, “A report on Australia’s pit orchestras has been dubbed ‘WorkChoices for orchestras’, which will lead to falling artistic standards for opera and ballet performances. ‘It’s an accountant’s view of orchestras,’ says the national officer for the Symphony Orchestra Musicians Association, Howard Manley. He was commenting on an Australia Council for the Arts report that looked at options for the Sydney-based Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra and its Melbourne counterpart, Orchestra Victoria. … While the report is short on recommendations, it canvasses several controversial options, including axing Orchestra Victoria, making its musicians redundant and using Sydney musicians to play Melbourne seasons. … The report, prepared by the Anzarts Institute, follows a federal government decision not to increase funding for orchestras. … The report says Opera Australia no longer requires a standing orchestra be engaged for the entire year. The chief executive of Opera Australia, Adrian Collette, disagrees. … The company continued to need a full-time ensemble. Its orchestra was the busiest in Australia, delivering 260 performances a year. But he expected to discuss with the orchestra the need for flexibility around repertoire requirements.”

Posted July 25, 2011