Chamber orchestra the London Mozart Players has announced that it is to become a player-run organisation, with its current managing director, Simon Funnell, to leave at the end of March 2014.
The move is the result of ‘a major funding problem’ which, says a statement released by the orchestra, ‘necessitated a re-evaluation of the way in which the management of the orchestra operates’.
The orchestra has been reliant in its current form on Croydon Council, but council money had been secured only until April 2014. ‘The orchestra has become increasingly dependent on local authority grants that are no longer sustainable,’ says the statement.
The orchestra is to become player-run, taking on ‘freelance and project work’ with a new administration team under Viv Davies, chief operating officer of the Centre for Economic Policy Research. Further details of the orchestra’s plans are to be released ‘at a later date’.
Funnell told CM that the group would be honouring all commitments and that ‘it is, to all intents and purposes, business as usual’.
‘Clearly the action that the board and the players have taken is designed to secure the long-term future of the orchestra.
‘Croydon Council has very generously supported the LMP for exactly 25 years and we should praise them for their steadfast support. They were the ones that stood behind the orchestra in 2008 when ACE disinvested the orchestra.’
The London Mozart Players was founded in 1949 by Harry Blech, as the UK’s first professional chamber orchestra. Its current music director is Gérard Korsten, with associate conductor Hilary Davan Wetton and leader Marieke Blankestijn.
Full statement below.
“The London Mozart Players has a major funding problem that has necessitated a re-evaluation of the way in which the management of the Orchestra operates. The Orchestra has become increasingly dependent on local authority grants that are no longer sustainable. The Board has concluded that it has no option but to implement future operations on the basis of freelance and project work. The present Managing Director, Simon Funnell, has therefore decided that this is an appropriate moment, after five years in the post, for him to step away from the Orchestra to explore other career opportunities. The board is grateful to Simon for his success in steering the Orchestra through this difficult period and for maintaining its reputation and artistic quality.
Simon Funnell will be leaving the orchestra at the end of March 2014 after which plans are in place for the Orchestra to become a player-run organisation, with the new team to be led by Viv Davies. Further details of the Orchestra’s new plans will be released at a later date.”