Opinion: More support is needed for British orchestras during pandemic

Posted on: April 15, 2020

“There’s no easy way of saying this: the Covid-19 emergency has placed the UK’s orchestras in a critical position,” writes Mark Pemberton, director the Association of British Orchestras, in last Tuesday’s (4/7) Music Week (London, U.K.). “British orchestras are heavily dependent on earned income from ticket sales, international tours and commercial activity such as recordings, at an average of 50% of turnover…. With the forced closure of entertainment venues and recording studios, that income has plunged to zero…. Arts Council England’s … support package [will bring] much-needed money flowing to offset cashflow problems…. But … it will not solve the long-term damage…. To help, the ABO is liaising on a daily basis with the Department For Digital, Culture, Media & Sport to … push for further support to help the survival of the UK’s orchestral sector…. We are liaising with HMRC to ensure that our members can maximize Orchestra Tax Relief…. We are in regular communication with the Musicians’ Union and other support organizations to ensure that we have a shared agenda on helping musicians survive the shutdown…. It is in all our interests to make sure that when things finally return to normal, the music hasn’t stopped.”