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London Mozart Players announce details of new structure

- 12 February 2014

London Mozart Players: 'Major funding problem'

London Mozart Players: ‘Major funding problem’

Croydon-based chamber orchestra the London Mozart Players has announced details of what will become its new structure after its current managing director, Simon Funnell, leaves at the end of next month as the result of ‘a major funding problem’.

As announced last month, the statement says that the orchestra is to become player-run. Current principal conductor Gérard Korsten will not to be replaced when he leaves the orchestra at the end of the current Fairfield Halls series in May. Instead, ‘a core group of orchestral members’, led by management consultant Viv Davies, will ‘take up collective responsibility for the management and strategic direction of the orchestra’.

‘In support of the management team will be an impressive and experienced group of player ambassadors, led by Marieke Blankestijn, that will advise on the artistic direction of the LMP.’

The major reason for the changes is the loss of the orchestra’s regular season at Croydon’s Fairfield Halls which, says Davies, ‘was underpinning the administrative support for the orchestra’.

The statement sets out an indication of future possibilities for the orchestra: ‘The LMP’s niche lies in interpretive research and understanding of performance style, but with the advantages of instruments designed for the modern concert hall and audience.

‘Its mission is to perform classical music to the highest standards of excellence and to take music to communities where access to live concerts is limited.

‘The orchestra is also committed to devising workshops for schools and hospitals, creating projects that bring people together and enrich lives through a shared musical experience. New plans and initiatives are now underway as the LMP is set to build exciting new partnerships within these communities.’

A gala fundraising concert featuring soloists Howard Shelley, Tasmin Little and Laura Van der Heijden will take place on 29 April in Kensington.

Administrative staff contracts expire in May and are unlikely to be renewed under the same terms with project-by-project offers most likely. ‘After [staff contracts expire] we are hoping very much to retain their services,’ Viv Davies told CM, ‘in all likelihood in a freelance or project-by-project basis, and so it’s likely that there will be reduced hours. But we can’t say for certain yet because we haven’t got to that point, and anything can happen between now and then. We’d love to keep them on for as many hours as we can.’

‘The only difference at the moment in the orchestra’s profile is it doesn’t have a confirmed series at the Fairfield Hall for 2014/15. But there are other projects happening, we have a tour of China, community projects will be going ahead in the South East over the coming months, there’s a fundraising gala concert [on 29 April]. We are already discussing potential series with other promoters and sponsors, so in many ways the life of the orchestra goes on, but under a different management structure.

‘We are having to move on to a project-based funding cycle because we don’t have that permanent, assured income from the Fairfield Hall. But nevertheless we still have our office based there, and we have every intention ‒ I have been discussing already with Fairfield Halls and Croydon Council the possibilities ‒ of re-engaging with them in the new season for 2015/16.’

Asked what had changed between April 2013, when Croydon council talked up ‘a bid to support these much-loved local cultural institutions [Fairfield Halls and LMP] and safeguard them for future generations’, and the current situation, Davies said: ‘I wish I knew the answer to that. It’s the felicities of councils and their funding choices, and I can’t fathom them, personally. I don’t understand why the funding was stopped ‒ perhaps it was because the concerts weren’t making enough revenue ‒ but also, perhaps it’s because of a policy by Croydon council to provice less money for the arts.’

Davies, a former freelance orchestral trumpeter, has been working as a freelance management and economics consultant since stopping work as chief operating officer of the Centre for Economic Policy Research in November. He clarified his role with the orchestra: ‘I’ll be overseeing the management as well as the development and fundraising aspect of the orchestra, I’m sure in the short term and who knows in the long term. As such I don’t have a specific title at the moment but I’m advising the new management team and the existing board on how best to manage the transition and future direction of the orchestra.’

Full statement below.

www.lmp.org

 

Full statement

The London Mozart Players, the UK’s longest established chamber orchestra and considered by many as one of Europe’s finest, is to become self-governing in a bold but characteristically creative move to counter recent funding cuts.

As of May 2014, when the LMP’s current principal conductor, Gérard Korsten, rests the baton at the final concert in their 2013/14 Fairfield Halls series, a core group of orchestral members led by Viv Davies, a former classical musician turned economist with 20 years senior management experience in the non-profit sector, will take up collective responsibility for the management and strategic direction of the orchestra, drawing upon a wealth of professional experience from within the ranks of the LMP.

Current members of the management team include Paul Archibald (Projects), Jo Harris (Education) and Peter Wright (Operations). David Wilson (General Manager), Jenny Brady (Concerts Coordinator) and Martin Sargeson (Orchestral Librarian) will continue to provide crucial administrative, management and logistical support.

In support of the management team will be an impressive and experienced group of player ambassadors, led by Marieke Blankestijn, that will advise on the artistic direction of the LMP.

The LMP’s niche lies in interpretive research and understanding of performance style, but with the advantages of instruments designed for the modern concert hall and audience. Its mission is to perform classical music to the highest standards of excellence and to take music to communities where access to live concerts is limited. The orchestra is also committed to devising workshops for schools and hospitals, creating projects that bring people together and enrich lives through a shared musical experience. New plans and initiatives are now underway as the LMP is set to build exciting new partnerships within these communities.

There is unanimous commitment to ensuring the LMP will continue to occupy an exciting and dynamic position in the musical life of the UK and on the international stage. One of the LMP’s first engagements as a rejuvenated organisation will be a tour of China in May. In the meantime, a gala fundraising concert featuring Howard Shelley, Tasmin Little and Laura Van der Heijden will take place on 29 April in Kensington. Discussions are also underway with sponsors for concerts through 2014/15, and for a range of community-based projects in the south-east and around the UK.

After that we are hoping very much to retain their services, in all likelihood in a freelance or project-by-project basis, and so it’s likely that there will be reduced hours but we can’t say for certain yet because we haven’t got to that point and anything can happen between now and then. The thing is we’d love to keep them on for as many hours as we can.

One Response to “London Mozart Players announce details of new structure”

  1. Judith Van Ingen says:

    I wish the LMP well with its endeavours. I should point out that there are other organisations (such as ours – the 18th Century Concert Orchestra) who have always worked in this way and are still here after many years!.

    Lucky LMP to be able to call on well known and loved musicians to help them at this time.

    Judith Van Ingen

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