Arts Minister: ‘It’s not my job to save orchestra’

Northern Ireland’s Arts Minister Caral Ni Chuilin, a Sinn Fein member, has never attended a symphony concert. Faced with the abolition of the Ulster Orchestra, which will run out of cash in four weeks’ time, she says it’s ‘not my job’ to help out. Read here.

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  • She makes it sound like the problem is falling attendance (“It’s not my job to drum up support for the orchestra. It’s the orchestra’s job.”). Is that true? Or is the main problem mis-management?

  • Does anybody want to explain why it IS her job to fix this? Is it the government’s responsibility to prop up failing organizations that are nearing insolvency due to large-scale mismanagement?

    It’s a shame she’s never been to an orchestra concert, truly. But she isn’t the minister of orchestras. She’s the minister of arts, which is an awfully broad category.

    • Um, yeah — and, within that Northern Ireland Arts scene, the Ulster Orchestra would be at the very top of the list……clearly the minister in question is a political hack who should never have been given the job in the first place.

    • If the Ulster Orchestra failed, NI would be without a full-season professional orchestra. In view of this, it would be irresponsible for the culture minister not to assist in securing funding for the orchestra — the arts are a public good, and the people of NI deserve to have access to orchestral concerts.

      • You’re making (valid, in my view) assumptions about the value of an orchestra and the arts in general. But those assumptions are not shared by much of the population, and certainly won’t wash with hard-nosed ignorant politicians.

        A more useful way of approaching it would be to point out that the Ulster Orchestra shows NI in a very positive light not just in the UK but around the world. This isn’t/wasn’t some 4th rate scratch band, but a serious world-class orchestra capable of producing excellent performances of very interesting repertoire with very good conductors on top record labels.

        That sort of publicity for a region like Northern Island can’t be bought by advertising and marketing. To scrap the orchestra for ignorant, philistine reasons is to ignore the extra-musical value it provides for the region…and of course the money which would flow from that.

  • I wonder what she believes her ‘job’ actually does include? (Other than riding around in a limo and fiddling her expenses, of course).

    • What is it about the classical music and opera fraternity that they think those genres of music are “untouchable.” All other forms of music, rock jazz, folk have to be self sufficient and get little or no funding (other than the odd £5.00 the jazzers get) and if there is no audience then they don’t perform. Moroever, they have to charge prices that the potential audience will pay. And yes the Stones will charge £95.00 a ticket but then they have built up a mass following over 50 years without ANY subsidy.

  • Not long ago the NI culture minister Caral Ni Chuilin said that during three years in office she’d never once been to a UO concert. In fact she had been – she’d just forgotten.

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