Author: G. Devlin and J. Ackrill
Organisation/Affiliation/Publisher: Arts Council England
Challenges to overcome: A decline in the number of orchestral concerts presented in the main cities of the region and (in many instances) in the public and promoter enthusiasm for them. The lack of a full-time professional orchestra in the region, compounded by the fact that incoming orchestras do not have as strong a relationship with key venues as they might (and perhaps have had in the past). The demise of a once valued consortium of orchestral promoters in the region. Aspirations for stronger orchestral series in some cities (Sheffield, Hull, Bradford), without clear agreement as to how to move forward. A partly rural region with many small communities, poorly resourced (often seasonal) promoters, and a lack of appropriate venues for larger scale orchestral work (and sometimes, also, for chamber orchestras). As with the larger scale, relationships with regional or incoming orchestras are not as strategically developed as they could be. A decline in audiences in several places (including in venues where commercial managements have been introduced). This can be attributed to a number of factors (e.g. cultural change, ageing un-refreshed audiences, difficulties with travel, perceptions of city centre security problems etc) and threatens a potentially downward cycle. Actual or potential redevelopment of existing major concert halls; whilst this may offer a long-term opportunity, it also brings with it uncertainty and short term difficulties. A decline in local authority support for this sector and lack of funds within Music Services. A ‘people issue’; some non-specialist promoters in the region (like their peers in other parts of the country) do not have a great deal of knowledge or experience in presenting classical music and are accordingly nervous and/or conservative in their approach to the task.