Letter: Musical value

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Sir: David Lister has missed an important point in his article on Arts Council orchestral subsidies ('Sound and fury', 7 December). 'Proven ensembles with international reputations made over decades' exist in early music, jazz, folk music, regional orchestras, Asian music, African and Caribbean music - the London orchestras are babies in comparison with most of these areas.

Audience figures for orchestral concerts are dropping, while they are rising in these other areas, and unless orchestras find ways of getting young people into the concert halls this trend will continue. There is no better way to do it than through music education and through music that young people identify with. So a long-term vision of education is in the orchestras' own interests, quite apart from its intrinsic value.

I don't believe that these areas have to be funded at the expense of anything. They demand funding in their own right. By the same token, they should not go underfunded just because the orchestral lobby is more powerful.

Yours faithfully,




8 December

The writer resigned from the Arts Council Music Panel earlier this week.