Report Suggests Downsizing Three Australian Orchestras

Classic Arts News   Report Suggests Downsizing Three Australian Orchestras
A report on the financial viability of three Australian orchestras recommends that all three be reduced in size, the Australian reports.

The report was drafted by former Qantas head James Strong, and is meant to address the deficits posted by all three orchestras. Some state politicians, however, claim that the aim is to consolidate the arts in Sydney and Melbourne.

According to the report, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra would be downsized from a full orchestra with a minimum of 47 players to a 38-member chamber orchestra; the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra would be reduced from 75 to 56 musicians; and the Queensland Orchestra would be cut from 85 to 74 musicians.

The Australian government will consult with the three affected states, and decide the fate of the orchestras.

Tasmanian arts minister Lara Giddings was "appalled" by the report, and told ABC News that she was was confident that the government could be persuaded not to accept Strong's recommendations. "[I]f Tasmanians get behind this, get behind the TSO. . . the federal government will not be able to make this decision at all."

John Hill, assistant arts minister in South Australia, said that for the government to act on Strong's recommendations would be "an act of vandalism."

Greg Barnes, a commentator in the Mercury thought the opposite. "The days of full-sized symphony orchestras in smaller parts of the world are gone," he said.

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