So, what does it cost to run an orchestra the size of the CBSO? In 1993, this much:
Orchestra pounds 2,877,404
Administration pounds 704,183
Guest Artists pounds 649,712
Expenditure Abroad pounds 503,311
Travel pounds 231,012
Rehearsals pounds 213,193
Others pounds 588,616
Total pounds 5,767,431
So, if no further funding becomes available, how will the CBSO balance the books? This is one of many questions now being contemplated by Ed Smith, the CBSO's chief executive: 'Seventy per cent of our outgoings are on people, we have a contract strength of 101 players,' he answers. 'It would be in people that we would have to start making significant adjustments. If we have to make cuts, we have to reduce the quality of the artists we work with, or alternatively start looking at staff cuts.'
But wouldn't this threaten the very nature of the orchestra? 'If you're talking about orchestras not being able to do Mahler or Strauss or big works of that nature, then yes, you change the nature of a symphony orchestra. It's part of the fundamental repertoire of any symphony orchestra.'
What about cutting rehearsals? 'This is a very dangerous road to go down because audiences now are very sophisticated, they're used to the quality of CDs. Less than well-prepared programmes would start a descending spiral: people will choose not to come and you will lose your audience as well. That would be a false economy.' Or cutting the annual free performance in Cannon Hill Park? 'That's very important. Last time we had about 40,000 people.'
Smith says he will continue to fight the Arts Council for the money; Simon Rattle, the music director, says he 'will not lead my orchestra into decline'. Something has got to give before the full cost can be counted.
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