Thursday 22 November 2007

A busy Britten Sinfonia day

Chatham House rules preclude me sharing any anecdotes, but the Association of British Orchestras' Development and Sponsorship Managers' group had a particularly lively meeting at the Wigmore Hall yesterday. Our first guest speaker John Holden provoked much debate as he described his recent work as Head of Culture at think-tank Demos. He has been researching and reporting on a wide range of arts-related topics, including cultural diplomacy, the value of culture, and the relationships between publicly funded culture and the creative industries. His reports are well worth reading, and are available for free download.

Dr Willi Steul is Regional Broadcasting Director of SWF in Stuttgart, having had a distinguished career as a foreign correspondent and political journalist. His passion, though, has been the setting up of Young Euro Classic, a festival of international youth orchestras which has been taking place in Berlin since 2000. What is of interest is the financial model on which it is based, which is unusual for Germany: close to 95% of the funding comes from corporate and commercial investment.

Finally, we had a discussion led by Michelle Wright, Development Director of the London Symphony Orchestra, on international sponsorship for orchestral tours.

It was a busy day all round for Britten Sinfonia yesterday: some of our players were travelling back from a concert in Cockermouth on Tuesday; Thomas Gould, Joy Farrall and Huw Watkins launched our new Britten Sinfonia at Lunch series in the Town Hall in Birmingham (next concert on 17 December); and the soloists flew in to London from the USA and Spain ready to start rehearsing In the Spirit of Gil and Miles for concerts in London on Saturday and in Birmingham next Tuesday.

John Bickley

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