Orchestras beyond the concert hall

Posted on June 2, 2009

A new briefing paper from the Association of British Orchestras unveils the extent of orchestras’ work outside traditional performance venues.

Beyond the Concert Hall says that British orchestras are reaching towns and villages all over the country and playing in venues from airports, race courses and libraries through village halls and shopping centres to ice rinks and castles.

The reports states that in 2008, Orchestras Live worked with 20 chamber orchestras to deliver 59 concerts to more than 14,000 people in rural areas across England, and that in the last two years, the UK’s leading professional orchestras have performed in all 40 counties in England, 34 counties in Scotland and 13 counties in Wales

ABO director Mark Pemberton said: ‘There’s a lot of work going on outside major cities and orchestras are touching the lives of thousands of people up and down the country – both through concerts and tailored workshops and education work.

‘But there are real challenges ahead; especially in the current economic climate. Taking orchestras and ensembles out of urban areas can be costly and there’s a danger that this touring will fall victim to resource constraints. That’s why the continued support of local and national government, sponsors and funders – and of course the enthusiasm of local promoters is so crucial.’

Beyond the Concert Hall is the first of a series produced by the ABO to showcase the work of the orchestras, highlights their ambitions to do more – and offers best practice guidance for other arts organisations wanting to develop their work in hard to reach areas.

Future briefings will cover areas such as innovation, international reach and the environment.

Story taken from Classical Music Magazine. The full report is available on the ABO website.