Orchestra appeals for previous funding to be restored

Dunedin Symphony Orchestra general manager Philippa Harris (left) and board president Megan...
Dunedin Symphony Orchestra general manager Philippa Harris (left) and board president Megan Bartlett speak to their submission at the Dunedin City Council’s 10-year plan submission hearings on Monday afternoon. Photo" Gregor Richardson.
Classical music fans in Dunedin may lose out in the face of funding cuts for the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra, a representative says.

Last year the orchestra had a 30% reduction in its Dunedin City council grant funding, and councillors heard it may need to reduce its activities if funding could not be reinstated.

Dunedin Symphony Orchestra board president Megan Bartlett, speaking after presenting the orchestra’s submission, said if funding was not restored the orchestra might need to cut back its output.

The orchestra’s submission said a reduction of 20% in core concerts offered could be necessary.

Cr Steve Walker said the submission indicated that if the grant was not restored the orchestra’s Creative New Zealand (CNZ) funding could be at risk.

He asked how a reduction in their grant could effect potential future funding from CNZ.

Dunedin Symphony Orchestra general manager Philippa Harris said as this was the first year they had had such a substantial cut in their council grant they had not yet seen what the outcome would be with CNZ.

“If we are in a situation where we can’t sustain our level of activity, that’s going to have an impact, and we don’t know what that outcome is yet.”

In its submission, the orchestra said CNZ funding is dependent on it presenting ‘‘a regular programme of quality, live orchestral music being available for audiences in the city’’.

There was an expectation from CNZ that “local government and/or other publicly funded organisations” should contribute at least 20% to a city orchestra’s revenue.

The submission said in their case this represented funding of $200,000.

Cr Andrew Wiley asked for elaboration on a point raised in the submission, that increased rents for the town hall had exacerbated the reduction in grant funds.

Ms Harris said that town hall rents had increased by $44,000 since 2013.

The orchestra has requested its funding be increased to slightly more than it previously received, a total of $120,000.

- Andrew Marshall

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