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.'

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Tottenham legend Jimmy Greaves has defended fans use of the word 'Yid'
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West, performing in New York last week, has been the subject of controversy as rock's traditional headline slot at Glastonbury is lost once again
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living