Arts Council backtracks over orchestra funding: Anger at Philharmonia as music panel's advice is ignored

THE MONTHS of controversy over the future of London's orchestras descended into farce last night as the Arts Council ignored its own music panel and came up with a funding formula which barely changes the present situation.

The decision taken by the full council yesterday has enraged the Philharmonia orchestra, which the music panel recommended should take the London Philharmonic's pounds 1.2m funding rather than its own pounds 700,000, following an investigation by a committee under Lord Justice Hoffmann.

Instead, the council, which said at the start of the exercise it wanted to find a new super orchestra for London, fund it properly and deprive two others of all public funding, has decided to fund the Philharmonia and the London Philharmonic at the same level, pounds 700,000, but to give a further pounds 400,000 to the South Bank Centre for the residency at present held by the London Philharmonic.

In other words, the LPO's funding will stay pretty much at its present level and the Philharmonia, which was judged by the Arts Council's music panel to have won the contest, will not have its funding increased. The third orchestra involved, the Royal Philharmonic, will have its funding reduced from pounds 400,000 to a minimum of pounds 300,000 and encouraged to be a regional touring orchestra.

Last night David Whelton, managing director of the Philharmonia, said the decision was the result of 'bully boy tactics by the South Bank Centre', which houses the Royal Festival Hall where all three orchestras play.

Christopher Lawrence, managing director of the London Philharmonic, welcomed the Arts Council decision, acknowledging that it represented a complete change from the original objectives. He said: 'This has been a long and difficult period for the musicians in all the orchestras. We are happy that no player's job is now at risk.'

The Arts Council issued a statement after its meeting yesterday which said that the Hoffmann committee had found it impossible to make a recommendation between the Philharmonia and London Philharmonic on the basis of superior merit. It therefore concluded that parity of funding between the two orchestras was the correct course with a further pounds 400,000 for the South Bank residency.

However, two members of the five-man Hoffmann committee did recommend the Philharmonia, saying that 'those respects in which the Philharmonia is superior are those which carry the greatest weight'. The council's own music panel recommended the Philharmonia.

The Hoffmann report, made public only last night by the Arts Council, was also sharply critical of both the council and the South Bank Centre. It revealed that a section of the South Bank submission to Hoffmann 'was devoted to explaining in somewhat dramatic terms how the selection of any orchestra other than the London Philharmonic would 'destabilise the centre's finances', 'undermine the national and international reputation of the Royal Festival Hall' and cause it to lose audiences 'for all time'. '

Nicholas Snowman, the South Bank Centre chief executive and artistic director, said last night that the Arts Council decision was 'welcome news'. He looked forward to the London Philharmonic's continuing residency, adding: 'We will continue to welcome all the London orchestras to the South Bank.'

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
footballA colourful discussion on tactics, the merits of the English footballer and rebuilding Manchester United
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Travel
The shipping news: a typical Snoozebox construction
travelSpending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Coordinator

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Embedded Linux Engineer

£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...

Senior Hardware Design Engineer - Broadcast

£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz