The London Mozart Players: Threatened orchestra plays on, managed by its own members

Croydon Council’s withdrawal of core funding pushed the chamber orchestra to the brink of bankruptcy

An internationally renowned British chamber orchestra has been taken over by its players after the withdrawal of council funding pushed it to the brink of bankruptcy.

The London Mozart Players (LMP), the longest-running chamber orchestra in the UK, had battled through years of financial cuts but Croydon Council’s withdrawal of core funding threatened its future.

Yet, it has vowed to battle on, with the unusual step of members of the orchestra taking control of “management and strategic direction” in a new organisational structure. They hope this will slash costs and keep the 65-year-old orchestra going until long-term funding can be secured.

Viv Davies, managing director of the new organisation, said: “The orchestra could have wound down, it was a precarious situation. It’s sad in many ways, but it’s also the beginning of a new adventure which many of the musicians are committed to.”

The LMP was not able to support its regular season at the Fairfield Halls this year.

To continue playing, the LMP has been forced to establish an independent body separate from its charitable trust operation. “Because of the severe funding cuts the orchestra faced, it had to make a decision whether it could remain trading or not,” Mr Davies said. “It chose to establish an independent company.”