A campaign to raise £70,000 in less than two weeks in order to save the freelance Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra has claimed success, after garnering pledges of £72,200. The orchestra will now continue with its planned eight-concert 2013/14 season under music director Barry Wordsworth.
The orchestra had blamed poor ticket sales and a reduction in legacy giving for the deficit in its budget and had said it would not be able to meet committed payments, including to musicians, if it could not raise the money.
Orchestra staff are now collecting cheques from those who have pledged support.
The freelance orchestra was on course to be disbanded, said organisers, and had been forced ‘to rely on an injection of cash to guarantee its survival’.
The orchestra’s general manager, Judith Clark, told CM the decision to launch the high-profile, short-term campaign was made after advice from fundraisers outside the sector on the ‘enormous benefit to a concentrated short campaign which gives even more power to the message’.
Asked about the orchestra’s long-term stability, Clark said: ‘The funds that have been raised give us the financial confidence to present the forthcoming season in its entirety, during which time the board will also be restructuring the way we operate, including having less dependence on the prediction of legacy income. Legacies will continue to play an important role in our income portfolio, but in actual terms and not in predictive speculation. We will therefore be working hard to increase other areas of our fundraising portfolio such as sponsorship, donations and other forms of income.’
Barry Wordsworth said that the success of the public campaign represented ‘the greatest display of trust I can imagine’, and would ‘inspire all of us with a new enthusiasm and dedication for our work’.
‘This is an important achievement not only for the Philharmonic,’ he said, ‘but I believe will also be recognised as a matter of civic pride, as it preserves an important part of the character of this great city.’
Karen Platt, chairman of the orchestra’s board, said: ‘It is with great pleasure that I am able to announce that we have had an excellent response to our appeal and have secured over £70,000 in pledges, which means the Brighton Philharmonic will continue and we can present the 2013/14 season as published.’
Tickets for the next concert season, starting on 6 October with an all-Beethoven programme with piano soloist Jayson Gillham, can be purchased from The Brighton Dome Box Office on 01273 709709 or www.brightondome.org.