Orchestra audiences ‘on the rise’

Courtesy of The Orchestra of the SwanAudiences for orchestras in Britain have increased, a new report has found, rising by 16% since 2010 despite cuts to public funding, with over 4.5 million people seeing live orchestras play in the UK every year.

Furthermore, over 660,000 children, young people and communities are reached annually in education and outreach programmes, the study by the Association of British Orchestras (ABO) revealed.

“Britain’s orchestras are doing better than expected in difficult circumstances. They are reaching a growing number of people in concerts and performances, and taking music to hundreds of thousands of children and others in the community,” chief executive of the Liverpool Philharmonic and chair of the ABO Michael Eakin said.

“But funding cuts and falling income from tickets and hires are making it harder and harder for our orchestras to protect their core product: their world-leading artistic excellence. So far, they have succeeded in increasing donations and sponsorship to partly plug the hole, and most have been able to keep their head above water for another year. But this leaves orchestras ever more vulnerable. Donations and sponsorship are more often tied to be spent on a particular building project or education programme, so there is less to go round for the rest of what orchestras do. Without the guarantee of public funding, we will see more orchestras struggling to maintain the quality of their work.”

It was also found that over 2,000 musicians have regular or full-time positions with orchestras in the UK, with British orchestras touring to 35 countries outside the country last year.

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