Upbeat: Plus ca change

IT'S true, now, that the Arts Council won't be shifting funds from orchestras to other areas of music. The council's secretary general Anthony Everitt made this week's latest policy quite clear at the announcement of the main grants. It's also true that in September, the council's music department was busy seeking comments on a proposed Three-Year Plan which described the deal for concentrating on two orchestras as follows: 'The consequent saving will not only be invested in these two orchestras, but will be used to support other major clients, including regional orchestras.' Another paper cited a figure of pounds 626,521 as available - being 'the London orchestras surplus' plus pounds 80,000 for 'new work'. With that scenario, the so-called pounds 2.4m super orchestra might never have been on the cards.

It's not the only thing off them now. We wait to see what damage is done among smaller clients by the concentration on an artistic 'heartland'. Nearly all the bigger ones are on a standstill grant. The one thing the music department has salvaged from its dreams is a pounds 100,000 increase for the Bournemouth orchestras, reflecting the big area of England over which they work. Two weeks ago even that was at risk, so at least the protests in the meantime have achieved something, however partial.

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