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Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra in desperate need of cash as administration looms
An 89-year-old orchestra could fold in less than two weeks unless it finds £70,000 in emergency funding.
The Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra has suspended all payments to players and launched an emergency appeal.
It has blamed falling ticket sales, sponsorship and fewer than expected legacies for its dire financial situation.
The fund has already secured £34,000, mostly from the orchestra’s 600 members.
A final decision on whether to call in administrators will be made at a board meeting on August 19.
Chairman Karen Platt said: “We’re still hopeful that we can secure the orchestra. We’re almost halfway there which is very encouraging. The level of support has been very positive and shows that the people of Brighton want us to continue.
“If we’re unsuccessful then there will be no more orchestra. It’s made up of freelance players and there’s no permanent orchestra as such, so the players would continue but we would fold, and Brighton would lost part of its cultural heritage.”
The distinguished orchestra played a Mid Summer Concert, at Hove Cricket Ground on June 22 but had insufficient funds to cover the costs of the event.
The financial situation deteriorated further in subsequent weeks and the board took a decision to suspend all payments.
Players have been left “anxious” about the lack of payment, the orchestra admitted.
Keith Motson, of the Association of British Orchestras, said: “Hopefully when people realise just how financially fragile orchestras are, and that things they take for granted could disappear, that will galvanise people to support.
“It’s a real delicate balance with enormous cost overheads because of the number of players. A lot of the time concerts barely break even.”
Music director, Barry Wordsworth, said: “Orchestras everywhere, indeed the Arts in general, are facing interesting challenges during the economic circumstances in which we are placed, but I am hopeful that with people’s support, we will survive the current situation, and emerge stronger as a result.”
Ricardo Zwietisch, former principal viola, said: “This is devastating news.
“In all my years living in UK, the Brighton Phil was the most enjoyable work I have done.”
An appeal has been made to those due to bequest to the orchestra in their will to consider donating part of this early.
Contact Brighton Philharmonic on 01273 622900, email@example.com, or send cheques payable to Brighton and Hove Philharmonic Society to 41 George Street, Brighton, BN2 1RJ by August 17.
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