Conductor refutes reports that young players slept on the floor

Conductor refutes reports that young players slept on the floor


norman lebrecht

October 24, 2017

The conductor Ross Gunning has responded to our earlier report that young members of his unpaid Glasgow Philharmonia were left to sleep on the floor while performing in Northampton. He writes to Slipped Disc:


I respond on behalf of the Glasgow Philharmonia Orchestra, who were awarded Charity Status on the 3rd October 2017 – SC047789


The Orchestra, founded in 2013 by myself has the ethos of giving young aspiring musicians opportunities at no cost to themselves and this still remains the case. Since 2016, any event produced by the Orchestra themselves such as Movies to Musicals and Glasgow Philharmonia Does Variety has ensured that orchestra members are being paid.


The article misrepresents the facts.


Scott Holden, head of the Chellington Centre said:


“I don’t recognise the comments you have shared with me today as that of the Chellington Centre! I do not know why someone would say that

The entire building was refurbished with a 2005 extension is under floor heated and temperature controlled and I see from our records it was 20.5 degrees Celsius the evening of your arrival.

It is double glazed throughout.

There are no damp areas whatsoever in the building.

As I understand it 30 guests slept in beds, six in custom-designed sofa beds (see picture attached) in the 2016 refurbished chancel and three in the Ibbett Room, this is fully insulated both floor, glass and ceiling (see picture attached of this room, in day use without the blinds in use)

The fold-out Futon Mattresses are certified to Crib 5 (Hostel standard)

Full linen, a 10.5 tog duvet and pillows were provided (all purchased in September 2017) for all of your x39 guests.

Additional futon padded x 5 mats were available to double-up but I do not think they would have been needed as it would be like sleeping on two mattresses!

There are seven contemporary tiled toilets and 5 showers all were available for your group to use with regulated free hot water at 44.5 degrees Celsius, considered a comfortable temperature and to prevent scalding.”


Members of the orchestra themselves have commented.

David, Horn Player

“The Glasgow Philharmonia orchestra is a wonderful orchestra run by a very hardworking and talented conductor. Through playing in the orchestra I have been given many opportunities to play with many great musicians and get through repertoire that for people at the same age as me would not have gotten through. The atmosphere at rehearsals is always friendly but we are worked hard to deliver high level concerts. The accommodation, although small provided everything that we needed for the weekend (kitchen, beds/bedding and was dry)”

Aodhan, Violinist 

“The accomodation we were provided with was fantastic, beds and bedding were provided and allowed for 2 excellent night’s sleep. Couldn’t recommend the chellington centre any more highly”

Megan, Flute Player 

“We slept at a hostel that was a converted church – each dorm had about four beds with sheets and duvets – the accommodation was basic but had all the necessities”

Matt, Trombone player

“I slept comfortably in a shared dorm in a single bed with linens, duvets pillows etc, which was warm and Completely dry”

Samantha, Trombone Player

“We slept in a church in beds, and had a great weekend performing with amazing musicians.”

Jack, Flute Player 

“We were accommodated in the Chellington Centre with actual beds, a kitchen, heating and appropriate facilities

This article is completely misleading, during the festival, we were accommodated in the Chellington Centre with beds, heating and more than adequate facilities. The Glasgow Philharmonia provides people with a FREE performing platform, something that any other orchestra / band I have played with does not provide. I have in fact been paid by this orchestra to perform to filled concert halls. Although comprised of a large number of aspiring young musicians, the orchestra is also inclusive of older, experienced musicians”

Andreas, Horn player 

“The things stated there are completely false”

“The Malcolm Arnold Festival was a very good experience. We stayed in a youth centre with proper bedding and such on beds. The centre was quite nice as a place. It was a very good opportunity and I am pleased to have taken part in it.”


Chris, Trombone player

“The Malcom Arnold weekend was incredible. Being my first time on residential with the orchestra, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but besides playing an amazing repertoire of music, we got to live under the same roof, in an amazing residential centre we had to ourselves. Which really helped the orchestra get to know each other more. We had such a blast hanging out and would definitely do it again.”


Hannah, Clarinet Player

“The church was converted into a hostel type accommodation and shared rooms with separate beds were provided for each player”

Ben, Horn Player:

“As a member of the orchestra I can confirm that this article is completely unfounded, there was no damp, nobody slept on the floor. Bedding and beds were provided for all by the Chellington Centre and they would be contactable for confirmation. Ross is a fantastic, supportive conductor coming under unnecessary fire, initiated by players who are upset about not becoming a part of the orchestra through unprofessional attitudes or substandard musical ability.”


Ross Gunning, Conductor of Glasgow Philharmonia says:

“I want to thank the Chellington Centre for their great hospitality. We arrived at the accommodation on Friday 13th October and all the linen, beds, pillows, and even tea, coffee and hot water were ready for our arrival. Scott looked after us very well.

The Malcolm Arnold Festival were very keen for the orchestra to play at their festival, but with their restricted budget, all travel, accommodation and subsistence costs were met. Thanks to the Malcolm Arnold Festival, the Chellington Centre, Sams Travel, the Orchestra, we were able to give young players an opportunity to play at this prestigious festival in front of Malcolm Arnolds Family.

I want to thank the musicians for their support, enthusiasm and musicality that they bring to every performance. I look forward to continuing to work with them as more exciting opportunities arise.”



  • Hector says:

    No mention of chaperones or child performing licences…!

    The saga continues!

    • Halldor says:

      Only necessary if members are aged under 18. Inexcusable (and very naïve of the organisers) if they are – but I’ve seen nothing on here that confirms that any of them were.

  • Kate says:

    “Since 2016, any event produced by the Orchestra themselves such as Movies to Musicals and Glasgow Philharmonia Does Variety has ensured that orchestra members are being paid.”
    What and how much are they being paid. Is it recognised Union Rates or even minimum wages rate? No doubt that now it has charity status, everybody will be able to see the accounts and what is being to paid to whom.

    • Robert says:

      I doubt it. I performed a gig for the orchestra as a favour to a friend for £25 when i discovered that conductor, for the same amount of work, received £250.

      On top of poor working conditions and no attempt to provide food for certain dietary requirements. Disgraceful.

      • Halldor says:

        Hang on, you’re shocked that a conductor earns more than an orchestral player?

        Don’t ever become a professional orchestral player then. I’ve got bad news for you…

        • Music Lover says:

          This isn’t a professional orchestra. He isn’t a professional conductor, he works on the amateur circuit. There is nothing wrong with that, but it’s fairly disgraceful to take such a high fee when your paying your musicians only slightly more than the MU instrument porterage fee.

          No one can bash Maestro Gunning’s enthusiasm for what he does, but I fear he is trying to do too much too soon with little in the way of rescources.

          Does the group report to the PRS? I would certainly be interested to know given they regularly orchestrate and perform numbers owned by commercial licensors without permission.

  • Analeck Kram-Hammerbauer says:

    The dog never apologizes after biting the wrong people.

  • amy maclean says:

    This is a ridiculous article. We spent the weekend in lovely accommodation down in Northampton. It was small but we all had comfy beds and everything we needed. It was a fantastic experience. I have been playing with this orchestra for years and everything we have done has been fantastic. We are always well looked after.
    Ross Gunning is an inspiration. To be so talented and so young is just awesome. Any bad word said about the orchestra or ross is not true!

  • Rob van der Hilst says:

    This seems to be a dog-bites-man-like pressreport, not a man-bites-dog-one. Mistake? Or what is really going on?

  • Anonymous says:

    Bizarre. The man in question quotes himself in a statement.

    A nod to the narcissistic personality disorder that has most likely contributed to these problems.

  • Ross says:

    As comment was deleted

    For and on behalf of Glasgow Philharmonia SCIO.

    To clarify a few points:

    This orchestra isnt a professional orchestra and we never say we are. We originated as a group of musicians who wanted to get together to play and have opportunities. It actually started as a charity orchestra to raise money for Malawi. £1600 was raised on one night.

    The musicians decide what events they want to do. They agree with the fee that is quoted and they confirm that they are happy to play for whatever fee named.
    The last person to be paid is Ross and only if everyone else is paid in the whole production – solo singers, production team, musicians, kids cast directors etc. All other money goes straight back into the account for use of the next event. (Non profit organisation)

    All staff at Glasgow Philharmonia are PVGd, especially members who are in contact with the participants. This is always the case. At the Malcolm Arnold festival there was only 6 under 18s. Everyone else was 18 and above. There were PVG members also within all the persons there. Any unders, their parents agreed for their child to go.

    Every event we do as Glasgow Philharmonia, we pay PRS. This has been at every single venue and every event.

    Knowing young organisations, the social staff are all PVGd to be there. Having spoken to our child protection officer and, many other child protection advisors, as long as PVGs are in place with staff this has been fine. This is the same in other organisations the team have worked with.

    The rehearsals are run in a fun manner, with inputs coming from all players in the orchestra. This is how this orchestra runs and we know that any of us will never always be right and everyone’s input is fully appreciated all round.

    In the past we have secured string quartet gigs and wind trio and they decide their fees with the contact that we introduce them too. We never take a fee for that, any meetings we do, any admin stuff etc carried out. Ross has actually put money in personally – especially in 2014 when we made a loss from an event and he paid the loss!

    The players now involved with Glasgow Philharmonia are happy. They all put in feedback which is fully listened too and taken on board and we try make everything happen that they ask.

    With only 4 years of playing as a group of musicians, more money will be offered by clients as the orchestra get known more and more experienced. As the money comes in and goes up, the players fees will always go up. I (Ross) understand i get a name from it, but what I get more is the satisfaction that the musicians get – of all ages.

    The Royal Albert Hall event is with the Music Man Project, a charity who give disabled and special needs people opportunities to perform music. They asked the orchestra to support their students by performing at the event with them. They feel this would do so much for their students.
    After attending their event at the London Palledium this month, it is a very touching event and as a charity event this will be very humbling and a credit to be involved with.

    This is always a learning curve and still in an early stage of the orchestra, you always learn loads. With a full board behind the orchestra now, with many strengths – lawyer, PR, social, logistics, members of orchestra etc, things are firming up and moving forward. we have read every comment, taken it fully on board and actioned every point mentioned by everyone.
    We know whole heartedly that there is a need for improvements and this is why the team has been brought on board.
    We will always look at feedback and comments with more sincerity and we want to thank anyone who has given us constructive feedback. This has been taken on board.

    • Kate says:

      There are so many contradictions in this statement it’s hard to know wher to start! Let’s deal with one.“This orchestra isnt a professional orchestra and we never say we are.”
      “The members agree their fee” I’m afraid if there is a fee paid then the musician are deemed professional and as such should be submitted with their tax returns etc. The fact that the fee is probably not a MU agreed fee is another matter and is again a worrying development. There are many admissions of mis-management in the statement that the only obvious solution for all is to stoop until all these shortcuts that have been taken are sorted out. A business (a charity is a business and a heavily scrutinised one) should not tell its employers that it’s ok we will do everything by the book next time and that everything we have doing up till now is a bit dodgy but that’s ok. I think this statement is an admission of, if not guilt, then certainly questionable practise on so many fronts.

    • Kaiser Soze says:

      It’s Additional Support Needs not ‘special needs’, that is an offensive term to use.

      Everyone knows you are exploiting children to further your own conducting career. If you truly cared for the musical education and wellbeing of these children you’d be doing what the rest of us are. Working in education, working in youth work, working in social care. Or more simply put working in the service of others rather than to serve yourself. Or even address the accusations that you haven’t sought the correct licences.

      Also, you don’t have to put ‘SCIO’ after your name. In stead of impressing folk it has quite the opposite effect. I say this as a trustee of two Scottish Charities.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ross, stop saying you listen to everyone’s feedback. If anyone gives any negative feedback about your attitude or how the orchestra is run (and plenty of people have), you’ve completely ignored them and not asked them to play again until you become desperate for players, and then they say no because they don’t want to work with you.
      Stop saying ‘the orchestra’ as if it’s the same people playing all the time – it isn’t, because people work with you and then decide they don’t want to come back because of your attitude.
      It is not cool to boast on Facebook about how you “know everyone in the industry” and you can “ruin people’s careers” if they annoy you. This is extremely unprofessional and has unimpressed a large number of people.
      You’ve never apologised for anything you’ve done wrong, because you never actually believe you’re wrong, or if you do you try and cover it up. Start facing up to reality, do things properly and treat people with the respect that they deserve to be treated with – don’t walk all over them in your attempt to be ‘successful’.

      • Wendy says:

        I second this.

        Ross, another person playing in your orchestra asked me to play in his section during a concert many years ago. I agreed to do it as a favor to my colleague, not realizing what it was. When another friend pointed out that it was for your orchestra, I backed out. I had heard too many horror stories. This was back in 2014.

        I can understand you being upset with me for cancelling, but you never once contacted me until it was a problem for you. No Facebook message to say thanks for helping you out, not even a simple text to confirm. You made no effort to reach out to me personally until I told my (freshman) colleague I wasn’t available anymore, which sent you into a tirade. You blew up my phone, left me multiple nasty voice messages which I will never forget, stating that you would ruin my future career because this was unacceptable to you. When I pointed out that it actually cost me to play with you considering the porterage fee of my instrument and the distance I had to travel to get to the venue that day, you chose to ignore it. And for that, I will never speak well of this establishment or recommend that any musicians – UK or abroad – be involved with it. It’s a shame, because I have known so many talented people that deserve to be recognized that have played for your charity. Their talents should have been developed, not exploited for your benefit.

  • Julie says:

    1. Are you a licensed official chaperone for under 18s?

    2. Do you apply for child performance licenses at least 21 days before the event?

  • Anonymous says:

    Stop quoting yourself! It’s no wonder nobody can stand you.

  • Richard Turner says:

    “3. Performance licences and supervision for children

    A child may need a licence if they’re under school leaving age and taking part in:

    films, plays, concerts or other public performances that the audience pays to see, or that take place on licensed premises
    any sporting events or modelling assignments where the child is paid
    The person in charge of running the event must apply to the child’s local council for a child performance licence. Ask the council if you’re not sure you need one.

    Supervision for the child
    If the child won’t be with their parent, school teacher or home tutor, they must be supervised by a chaperone approved by the council. Chaperones can apply for approval from the council.”

    A PVG is not good enough – it is law that you require a licensed chaperone!

  • Anonymous says:

    From your orchestra’s own social media:

    “Glasgow Philharmonia is an orchestra for young professional musicians”

  • Concerned parent says:

    Is there any way to contact Mr Gunning for a response to these allegations?

  • Concerned Parent says:

    Thank you Hilda. I will pursue this at once!