Breaking: Liverpool faces 20 percent orchestra cut

Breaking: Liverpool faces 20 percent orchestra cut


norman lebrecht

February 17, 2011

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, which learned earlier today that its chief conductor Vasily Petrenko its taking a second job in Oslo, has been hit by a 20 percent funding cut from the city council. That’s on top of whatever chunk Arts Councol England carves out of these budget.

Taken together, these twin tidings spell disaster for Britain’s most improved orchestra. There will be a good deal of local lobbying and protests before the council edict is confirmed, but I would urge anyone with influence in one of the world’s great musical cities to think long and hard before they risk jettisoning its reputation.
Press release follows:

                                                             Photo: Liverpool Daily Post

Liverpool Philharmonic


News Release


1800hrs Thursday, 17 February 2011


Vasily Petrenko and Liverpool Philharmonic Responds to Liverpool City Council’s Draft Budget Proposals


Liverpool Philharmonic responded today following the publication of Liverpool City Council’s draft budget proposals which propose a 20% cut to its revenue grant for 2011/12.


The music organisation, often referred to as the jewel in Liverpool’s cultural crown, at the centre of which is the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, faces a reduction in funding of £284,000 on its current revenue grant of £1.42 million pounds from Liverpool City Council. 


In October 2010, Arts Council England announ
ced a cut of 6.9% to its rev
enue funded organisations for 2011/12, which in real terms for Liverpool Philharmonic represents a loss of grant of £166,000.  With the proposed 20% cut in revenue from Liverpool City Council, Liverpool Philharmonic faces a reduction in revenue of £450,000 in 2011/12, with further cuts likely from other local authorities.


Responding to the budget proposals, Vasily Petrenko, Chief Conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra said:

“We are grateful for the confidence and investment that Liverpool City Council gives to this organisation.  It has enabled us to deliver great music to thousands of people every year here in Liverpool, across the UK and internationally. We have achieved a huge amount together and there is still a lot more we can achieve for ourselves and for the City and people of Liverpool, but all this could be lost very quickly with a reduction in funding of this scale. The most successful orchestras in the world are those which have artistic ambition fully backed by their local City. It is only with this backing that we can continue to achieve world class standards and give Liverpool the economic and artistic benefit we have been providing in recent years.”


Michael Eakin, Chief Executive of Liverpool Philharmonic added:

“We understand the difficulty of the task that Liverpool City Council faces and fully accept that we must share the pain of cuts along with others in the culture sector and indeed, every other area of Council services. However, despite that fact that we generate two thirds of our own income through our own activities, a cut of this magnitude threatens to undermine all that this organisation has achieved in recent years, supported by the City’s investment.  It jeopardises our ability to stay on track and sustain a world-class professional symphony orchestra in Liverpool.


“Liverpool Philharmonic is delivering music-making of the highest quality through its symphony orchestra led by Chief Conductor Vasily Petrenko, one of the most sought after classical music artists in the world today; through Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, one of the UK’s premiere venues and through a Learning programme that is using the unique power of music to improve health and well-being, aid educational attainment and contribute to community transformation and regeneration.


“Liverpool Philharmonic has led on behalf of the City the bid now under consideration to be nominated as a UNESCO City of Music and our artistic success has enabled us to secure significant sponsorship and private philanthropy and deliver further investment directly into the City.  In the last three years, we have successfully bid for and won £730,000 over three years to deliver the Department for Education’s In Harmony music programme in West Everton; secured over half a million pounds of ERDF funding to develop the former Friary church in West Everton into a second rehearsal, recording and education venue, also used by In Harmony and the West Everton Children’s Orchestra; and with other cultural partners in the City, secured £2.4 million to deliver the Find Your Talent scheme for young people.  These and a number of our other initiatives are having positive impacts across the City’s cultural, social, education, health, regeneration and economic agendas.”




Further information from


Jayne Garrity

Head of Communications

Liverpool Philharmonic


Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

Hope Street


L1 9BP


  • Naomi says:

    I spent 10 years in the youth choir in this wonderful organisation and still remain a regular attendee to the concerts the orchestra treat us to – I can’t believe that now the Phil finally has the reputation it deserves that it could all be pulled out from underneath them. So much for Capital of Culture 2008, that’s a very distant memory now.