CLASSICAL MUSIC / Upbeat: Slugging it out

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The Independent Culture
YOU have to give them credit for persistence. When the Association of British Orchestras set up their annual conference, which has brought the nation's arts managers to Bournemouth this weekend, they had the idea of getting Bryan Magee to open it with an address on the purpose of arts funding. That's the same Magee who last week joined the long trail of resignations from the Arts Council's music panel. He promptly rang the ABO (from a call box in Surrey, says a mole) to say he wanted to continue with his address. And so they agreed that he would, never mind the massed presence of Arts Council staff and their soon-to-be-ex music director Kenneth Baird, more or less guaranteeing that any single view of a purpose for funding would recede into a distant memory but that the prospects for entertainment would rise steeply.

A more concrete result for the ABO has arrived in the form of a national concert series which will involve 12 orchestras all playing the same new work by James MacMillan. The LSO has the premiere at the Barbican on 21 September, and the remaining dates follow through the autumn in other British cities. Each date will involve a 'meet the orchestra' workshop. The scheme has been set up as the start of a three-year sponsorship from BT.