Scottish Philanthropist Gives Ô£500,000 to Help Clear Edinburgh Festival's Debt

Classic Arts News   Scottish Philanthropist Gives Ô£500,000 to Help Clear Edinburgh Festival's Debt
 
The cash-strapped Edinburgh International Festival has received a Ô£500,000 donation from Carol Colburn Hogel, a former concert pianist, reports The Scotsman.

Hogel, who was raised in Chicago, is a major arts benefactor in Scotland and often bails out local orchestras and opera companies, according to the paper. Hogel has been a major benefactor of the Edinburgh Festival for about ten years.

Her music-loving father founded an electrical company in the U.S.; the Dunard Fund, financed by the family business, has distributed money to the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and Scottish Opera's recent production of Der Rosenkavalier. By the end of this year it will have given away around Ô£1.5 million to arts institutions, according to The Scotsman.

"As a supporter of the arts personally and professionally she is a model 21st-century philanthropist, and she has done a tremendous amount for Scottish Opera and many, many other arts organisations in Scotland," the newspaper quotes Roberta Doyle, Scottish Opera's director of external affairs, as saying. "She has brought an enormous amount to Scotland in the cultural field and she deserves as much recognition as possible."

The Dunard Fund's gift is to ensure that incoming festival director Jonathan Mills "did not have this horrible thing hanging over his head", Hogel told the paper. That "horrible thing" is a total debt of Ô£1.5 million accumulated over three years; the Dunard Fund money and a matching grant of Ô£500,000 from the Scottish Arts Council will clear two-thirds of that amount.

Mills has said he will build up a contingency fund, worth 7% of the festival's Ô£8.5 million budget, to cover unforeseen expenditures and avoid future debt, according to the paper.

This year's festival, the last under Brian McMaster, saw ticket sales soar by 30%, but also saw high technical costs.


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