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Mirga’s orchestra receives huge anonymous gift

September 11, 2017 by norman lebrecht

22 comments.


press release:

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) is delighted to announce it has received a legacy of £800,000 from a generous donor – one of the largest legacy gifts in the organisation’s 97-year history.

The legacy was left by a frequent CBSO concert-goer and supporting member who lived in Lichfield.  It will support the CBSO’s activity in the UK over an eight-year period, meaning that as the CBSO passes its centenary in 2020 he will have helped to ensure the CBSO continues to thrive for music lovers of the future.

CBSO Individual Giving Manager Eve Vines shares the story behind the gift:

“Our recent £800,000 gift was given by a gentleman who was very special to us, and who first started supporting the Orchestra in memory of his wife. In addition to coming to concerts to hear the full Orchestra perform he really valued the work which CBSO musicians did with young people around the region. I’m quite sure that it was this, together with his friendship with a number of the musicians, that inspired him to leave a legacy.”

Chief Executive Stephen Maddock OBE adds:

“This important legacy represents a significant contribution to the £15-£20 million we need to raise from the private sector over the next eight years.  Support from generous private funders enables us to maintain and build upon the CBSO’s world-class artistic standards and the breadth of its work in the local community.  Without such support every aspect of our work would be diminished beyond recognition. Gifts from generous individuals, companies and trusts are all part of the mix, and so too are legacies of all sizes.  I am always touched and humbled when I learn that someone has chosen to remember us in this way: in doing so they ensure we can continue to offer musical inspiration for generations to come.”


Comments (22)

  1. Una says:

    How wonderful! Great news for Birmingham – and for outside London too! And I speak.as a Londoner …

    1. Frederick West says:

      Since when has Ilkley/Yorkshire/Ireland been in London?

      1. Una says:

        I have not lived here very long, and was born and educated in inner-city London in the east end where my home was for 57years! I am culturally a Londoner. I will never become or would be accepted as Yorkshire, and I am in London a lot when I can afford to.

      2. Una says:

        But neither am I English! I am British and don’t have any English blood I me whatsoever. How about telling us where you come from???

        1. Ellingtonia says:

          I am an Englishman (more specifically a Lancastrian) who happens to hold a British passport, I see nothing contradictory in that.

  2. Theodore McGuiver says:

    Or will the money just be used for more cringeworthy Mirga photo shoots?

    1. Zelda Macnamara says:

      I can’t stand her. I couldn’t stand her predecessor either. The CBSO seems to love conductors who twitch, wave their arms about, and in Mirga’s case, jump up and down. Like Hoffnung’s cartoons. OK they get the results from the orchestra but it is dreadful to watch.

      1. Max Grimm says:

        The former Metropolitan Opera’s principal horn Julie Landsman had the perfect advice for such cases, be you audience member or player…..”Don’t look up very much”.

        1. Bruce says:

          There’s an instruction we write in our parts sometimes as a reminder to keep our eyes on the music: LUFU. Stands for “Look Up – Fuck Up”

      2. Halldor says:

        No, they love conductors who are superlative musicians, who inspire them, and whom they respect.

        The hand-wavy stuff? That’s not for your benefit. All that matters is the results it generates, and if you need to close your eyes to appreciate that, so be it. And if you’ve missed out on Mirga’s concerts so far – and missed the phenomenal things Andris Nelson achieved – on such a superficial basis, it’s possible that you’re using the wrong one of your five senses. Clue: music is aimed primarily at the ears.

    2. Bruce says:

      Well, even if they do, it will free up £800K from the “Mirga photoshoot” budget to use for other things.

    3. Halldor says:

      Suggestion: don’t look at the pictures. Try listening to the music-making.

  3. Scottish Musician says:

    Good to listen to though, and they both have tremendous respect for the musicians. It’s amazing how many conductors look good from the audience but are completely useless (/destructive) from where the orchestra sits. And vice versa…

    1. Zelda Macnamara says:

      Personally I don’t want to be aware of the conductor conducting. At a recent concert in Hamburg (which I watched outside on the live stream), the conductor was Jos van Immerseel. Now that is a conductor I could live with – total control with minimal movement and lots of eye contact.

      1. Bruce says:

        Sounds like you were very aware of him conducting.

        1. Zelda Macnamara says:

          Only because of the way the cameras were showing the performance!

      2. Una says:

        Oh, close your eyes, Zelda, as I did once! I’m delighted for Birmingham, After all, she isn’t getting the money.

      3. Petros Linardos says:

        Jos van Immerseel is a great fortepianist and conductor. The real deal.

  4. Derek says:

    A most generous legacy is made to the CBSO and instead of expressing good thoughts and delight at the news (which Una did), it is an opportunity to criticise conductors.

    The headline did not need to mention Mirga, she is not the news here!

    1. Una says:

      Thanks Derek, and then I get quizzed and asked to justify myself and nationality! This is not about the conductor but about the orchestra having the funds in a not so well-heeled part of Britain to carry on the great and the enormous work they have done, and to mention the schools’ outreach. Pays in life to be generous in this life.

      1. Derek says:

        Agreed 100% Una. A good news story calls for a positive reaction.


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