Letters:Papering over empty seats

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The Independent Online
Sir: For all orchestras who are in receipt of revenue grants from the Arts Council there are mandatory guidelines about audience returns which make a very clear distinction between paid attendance and complimentary or reduced-price seats. There is not an "official cover-up" over this matter.

All orchestras which regularly promote concerts in the UK are in receipt of some form of public grant. Raymond Gubbay uses orchestras for his promotions which would not exist if it were not for public subsidy. The judgement of the ethics of using subsidy to run a ticket scheme to bring young people into concert halls or, for example, play new and challenging repertoire, is not an easy one. Public grants fund many institutions - art galleries, libraries, museums and theatres - which otherwise could not exist and whose artistic, access and ticket pricing policies reflect their funded status.

JOHN SUMMERS

Chairman

Association of British Orchestras

London SW1

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