Friday 10 March 2023

Britten Sinfonia's Play On appeal

Britten Sinfonia at Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden (Photo: Tom Lovatt)
Britten Sinfonia at Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden (Photo: Tom Lovatt)

Britten Sinfonia has launched a £1 million appeal to help secure its future in the wake of the cut to its Arts Council Funding. The orchestra was an Arts Council Portfolio Organisation from April 2020 to April 2023 but has been removed from the list for the following period. It has secured transition funding until October 2023, but then has a significant short-fall in budget.

The orchestra has always used a mixed funding model with 50% of its income coming from ticket sales and engagements, with the remainder (approximately 25% each) from Arts Council funding and the orchestra's independent fundraising efforts.  The orchestra’s annual turnover is typically in the region of £1.5 million.

Whilst the orchestra has a strong presence in London, it is an associate ensemble at the Barbican, it also has an important presence in East Anglia and Essex. It is resident at Saffron Hall and gives regular seasons in Cambridge and in Norwich, as well as performing at the Aldeburgh Festival and the Norwich and Norfolk Festival.

Outside the concert hall, Britten Sinfonia musicians work on creative and therapeutic projects with pre-school children, teenagers, young carers, people living with dementia, life-time prisoners and older people at risk of isolation. The orchestra also has two talent development schemes for composers: Opus 1 and Magnum Opus.

Those lending support to the Play On appeal include a range of musical figures close to Britten Sinfonia, including composers Steve Reich, Master of the King’s Music, Judith Weir, Sir James MacMillan, Thomas Adès and Nico Muhly,  singers Dame Sarah Connolly and Roderick Williams, trumpeter Alison Balsom, harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani and pianist Benjamin Grosvenor. 

Read our recent coverage of Britten Sinfonia events, including The Golden Road to Samarkand and Holst's Savitri.

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