Wednesday 28 January 2009

Private Investment in the Arts

Arts & Business launched its latest research into Private Investment in the Arts yesterday: positive news on the whole, in that overall investment is up 12% on the previous year, with a slight decline in business investment, but significant increases in individual giving and support from trusts and foundations. The full data will be published in February, but you can read the headline points here. There is, however, a huge 'but': the research covers 2007/08, so the period before the worldwide financial turmoil really kicked in. What will the results be next year, covering the current months? There is, not surprisingly, a certain trepidation amongst the arts development community about how this essential private investment will hold up, with 2010 likely to be the crunch year. The Culture Minister, Barbara Follett MP, gave a reassuring speech, urging us not to panic, but acknowledging that everyone would need to work harder to retain their current levels of support: she is - at least - a fan of orchestral music!

Monday 19 January 2009

800th celebrations in snow-dusted Krakow

Cambridge alumni from Krakow and Warsaw joined Britten Sinfonia for the world premiere of Ryan Wigglesworth's Tenebrae yesterday, commissioned with funds from the University of Cambridge to celebrate its 800th anniversary. The concert was followed by a reception at the Radisson SAS hotel, where Britten Sinfonia's partnership with the Academy of Music in Krakow was also marked. Nicholas Daniel stayed on to give an oboe masterclass in a Creative Learning programme funded by the British Council.

Friday 9 January 2009


Happy New Year! Our first commission for 2009 is Tenebrae by Ryan Wigglesworth, which receives its premiere in Krakow on Sunday week, before touring to Cambridge, London, Birmingham and Norwich. It has been commissioned with funds from Cambridge and is one of the first events marking the University's 800th anniversary.

Ryan has written: 'Tenebrae is familiar as the Christian service which takes place on the three consecutive evenings of Holy Week leading up to Easter Sunday. The service is characterized by the gradual extinguishing of fifteen candles, interspersed with the reading or chanting of psalms. As the close of the service, after the last remaining lit candle has been put out and Psalm 22 concluded, the congregation makes its way out of the church in darkness.

Whilst certain aspects of this ritual inform my piece, it is perhaps the more literal sense of the word tenebrae – ‘shadows’ – that provides the work’s generative idea. Shadows, only most obviously appearing in the guise of string tremolandi or woodwind fluttering, are cast in various ways around principal melodic figures and lines (at the opening provided by the cor anglais). These shadows lengthen and recede, double and transform, divide and combine, and at times even proceed to develop along their own independent paths.'