Orchestra chief under fire for leaving musicians to sleep on the floor

Orchestra chief under fire for leaving musicians to sleep on the floor


norman lebrecht

October 24, 2017

There has been a little Scottish firestorm running on Facebook around a performance by the Glasgow Philharmonia at the Malcolm Arnold Festival in Northhampton.

The orchestra, brainchild of the conductor Ross Gunning, is composed of school and conservatoire students from Scotland, mostly unpaid.

Arriving in Northampton, their overnight accommodation turned out to be the floor of a damp, cold church with just one toilet for the entire ensemble. The musicians brought their own sleeping-bags.

A Facebook post, since removed, was shared more than 400 times and liked more than 3,000, a very substantial number for a small Scottish issue.

One of the young players wrote: ‘I feel like this was one of the most embarassing things I’ve ever been involved in. Yes, socially I made some great new friends, but musically, one rehearsal to play what was in some ways very challenging Malcolm Arnold music was not enough at all. Not in any way was this the musicians’ fault at all.

‘Also, it feels as though everything that the Glasgow Philharmonia is involved in isn’t for the musicians, but it exploits them for the benefit of the conductor’.

A Scottish musician writes: ‘We are a close-knit classical music community in Scotland and as you can imagine it has made serious waves…. No licenses by Local Education Authorities have been sought for Glasgow Philharmonia’s paid performances by compulsory school age children and therefore no adequate chaperone supervision has been put in place.  New laws were put in place in 2016 to protect young performers from being taken advantage of and these have been wholly ignored.’

The sleeping arrangements were sufficiently unusual to be mention in a review here. ‘The orchestra members, who had travelled by coach from Glasgow the previous day and had spent the night in sleeping bags in a local church hall, were fresh as spring.’

UPDATE: We asked Ross Gunning for a response. He replied with this denial.


  • Rodrigo says:

    Great preparation for the real world. There are prof. musicians working under such conditions on a regular basis. Eastern European “opera companies” and “symphony orchestras” often tour small venues in Europe and offer so little for hotels and food, that orchestra players make do just as these young people did.

    In the city where I live, the orchestra of a touring Eastern European opera company – highly touted with posters and announcement everywhere – I think it was Traviata – were found sleeping in their tour bus at night, parked in the parking lot of a large department store chain. Local police, one of whom had attended the performance the night before, were shocked, but had to ask them to move on. The musicians explained that their wages did not cover the cost of hotels at night.

    • Callum says:

      This kind of condition is in no way acceptable for for any musician to be in. Least of all kids under the age of 18.

    • Scott Holden says:

      I don’t recognise the original comment on this post, I do not know why someone would say that as it is so untrue.
      The entire building was refurbished with an extension in 2005 and is under floor heated and temperature controlled and I see from our records it was 20.5 degrees Celsius the evening of orchestras arrival.
      It is double glazed throughout and there are no damp areas whatsoever in the building.
      As I understand it 30 guests slept in beds, six in custom-designed sofa beds in the 2016 refurbished chancel and three in the panoramic Room (this is fully insulated both floor, glass and ceiling
      The three fold-out Futon Mattresses are certified to Crib 5 (Hostel standard) and suitable for occasional use.
      Full bed linen including duvet, fitted sheet and pillow/ slip were provided (most purchased in Autumn 2017) for all of the orchestra guests.
      Additional futon padded x5 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 toilets and 5 showers all were available for your group to use
      I hope this gives further clarity to this conversation
      The Chellington Centre

  • Julie Smith says:

    The activity of the Glasgow Philharmonia has been gravely worrying since it was founded 5 years ago by RSAMD drop out, Gunning. Thank you Norman for helping to spread the word and potentially bring light to the questionable activity. Gunning needs help but won’t listen to those closed around him.

  • Tish says:

    As the Northampton Symphony Orchestra did not do the festival this year for some reason, could not the members have been asked to put up the Glasgow musicians? Was any attempt made to try this?

  • Anon. says:

    I don’t play with this orchestra but believe the statement from one of the players sums up the ethos of this organisation.

  • Lianne Paterson says:

    My daughter asked me to perform with the orchestra last year, as a health and safety officer, I dug a little deeper, no chaperones, no consent forms – all agreed over Facebook. Never again. Long live NYOS and our national youth ensembles who provide these opportunities in a safe environment.

  • Ungeheuer says:

    Not to mention the audience …… zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • Kathryn says:

    Regarding the first comment the youngsters in the Glasgow Philharmonia were not professionals and had no choice. I wonder if their parents had known the situation whether they would actually have given permission for them to be treated like this. I am speaking as the mother of two musicians well on their way to becoming professional who have gone through the system of youth orchestras and I have no doubt benefitted from it. But all these projects were organised to cover the pastoral duty required to look after youngsters. I reciprocate these youngsters were not given a choice and were treated appallingly.

  • Patrick Davidson says:

    I would be interested to know if child performing licences and the various insurances were gained for any Glasgow Philharmonia performance.

    Ross’ naievity is astonishing – the boy needs help but his actions have closed the door to all respected professionals in the industry. Scotland is a small place and if this orchestra goes to the Albert Hall to represent Glasgow and scotland it is a sheer embarrassment when you have RCS, NYOS and RSNO doing that well and with the government backing.

  • Tom says:

    I love performing with Glasgow Philharmonia and Ross is a inspiration. Who cares about the standard of music making we are kids and do it for the love and most importantly to help Ross ❤️

    • Anon. says:

      That is all well and good and great to hear but it is his resonsibility or that of the orchestra to ensure that children (under 18’s) are performing in a safe environment and the appropriate checks and balances are in place. It is a legal requirement and there will be big repercussions for him and the orchestra if those have been breached. Unfortunately in today’s society health and safety including the welfare of children and performers has to come first.

      • David Reid says:


        I bring to light the above article.

        “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.”

        He has had over 400 children performing in paid public events – has a licence been gained?

        • Callum says:

          As far as I am aware no. I took part in the first ‘Movies to Musicals’ concert in Glasgow where we were recorded. Prior to the rehearsal we were not told that we would be recorded, only when the rehearsal started were we told about the cameras.

          These videos of the concert then started to appear on social media and youtube without our consent. So we asked Ross to take them down and he relcutantly did. Since then however these videos have managed to work their way back on to social media.

          • David says:

            Thanks Callum – that is deeply concerning. And I see that another event takes place early next year.

            Consent must always be given my the musicians for recording.

  • Anon. says:

    As someone who performed with the orchestra in Northampton, I can confirm that we did not sleep on the floor or in sleeping bags. We slept in beds in a hostel which had been renovated from a church. There was two bathrooms, one male and one female, each with three toilet cubicles and two showers. It was called the Chellington Centre. Please do your research first.

    • norman lebrecht says:

      This is an anonymous comment from an untraceable email. We have reports from named persons that they did, indeed, sleep on the floor. If the commenter will sign his or her name from a genuine email address, the comment might have more credence.

    • Anon. says:

      Did the minors have a separate bathrooms from the O18s? If not. That is illegal.

      • Bill says:

        I would suggest this is nonsense. Public toilets have no seperate areas for minors, nor do public pools have seperate areas for showering. If this was a ‘legal requirement’ then every council in the country would be in trouble.

    • Katrina says:

      As another performer at this event, I can also confirm that we did not spend the night in sleeping bags on the floor. There was also more than adequate facilities. I found the whole experience incredible- the fact that this orchestra has no financial barrier means it is open to anyone, something no other youth orchestra provides. I feel incredibly privileged to have been part of this amazing experience that Ross worked so hard to organise so well.

  • Anon musician says:

    I was one of the musicians playing in this and I can guarantee we DID NOT sleep in such accommodation!!!

    We slept in a converted church hall which had small dorm rooms WITH BEDS AND BEDDING and there was a fully kitted out kitchen. There were also toilet and shower blocks.
    The accommodation also had a table tennis table and table football.
    It was clean, warm and dry and absolutely nothing to complain about!

    I can’t believe such nonsense has been made up about this weekend away!

    • norman lebrecht says:

      This is an anonymous comment from an untraceable email. We have reports from named persons that they did, indeed, sleep on the floor. If the commenter will sign his or her name from a genuine email address, the comment might have more credence.

      • George Stokes says:

        However this is not an anonymous source from an untraceable email, I was playing there. Anon Musician is correct, your article and sources are talking shite. If you’d actually research what you’re reporting on next time that’d be nice x

  • Joanna says:

    I took part in an early Glasgow Philharmonia concert. The standard of music making was an embarrassment, back then at the tender age of 15, I thought it was great. Now that I study and play semi-professionally I look back at the concert with sheer embarrassment. Payment was promised. It never came. Why has it taken 5 years for this to come to the attention of the media. The activity of Glasgow phil is a disgrace to the next generation of musicians – I was just glad I wasn’t put off by my first orchestral experience and kept playing

  • Anonymous says:

    Accommodation aside (we have all slept on floors of church halls – boosts the immune system). The worrying comments that Norman’s article has highlighted is the protection of the children. I have looked further into the “Glasgow philharmonia” – before today I had never heard of them.

    The government clearly state “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.”

    The government also state “ There are several restrictions on when and where children are allowed to work.

    Children are not allowed to work:

    without an employment permit issued by the education department of the local council, if this is required by local bylaws
    in places like a factory or industrial site
    during school hours
    before 7am or after 7pm
    for more than one hour before school (unless local bylaws allow it)
    for more than 4 hours without taking a break of at least 1 hour
    in most jobs in pubs and betting shops and those prohibited in local bylaws
    in any work that may be harmful to their health, well-being or education
    without having a 2-week break from any work during the school holidays in each calendar year“

    I bring to the attention the after 7pm rule – Gunning’s “movie to musicals” shows start at 7.30pm. THIS IS ILLEGAL WITHOUT A PERMIT AND PERMISSION.

    I close my comment with great worry – employment “paid or unpaid” is a difficult issue and he needs to be careful.

    All quotes sourced: https://www.gov.uk/child-employment/restrictions-on-child-employment

  • Anonymous says:

    The boast is that these events are FREE for the musicians to take part in but, as they are still studying, it’s also not a fee paid professional engagement. There are many reasons that other organisations offering the like must charge (heavily subsidised) fees to take part including INSURANCES, staff wages for necessary supervision not to even begin on adequate food and accommodation…and world class tuition and conducting…If there were indeed school age children there then I don’t think it’s overly dramatic to suggest that some of this particular project could be illegal. Especially under the banner of an organisation with newly registered charitable status.
    Also decent venues for rehearsal before the actual day of the gig tend to cost just a little…
    Heaven forbid something happen, the law suit could be devastating. The sheer naivety is staggering.

  • Benjamin Hope says:

    Accommodation aside – the issues raised on child protection are far more worrying!

  • Aodhan says:

    As another musician who performed with Glasgow Philharmonia at the Malcolm Arnold Festival this year, I am more than willing to challenge this account of the accommodation. We arrived late on Friday night to a warm and welcoming church-turned-hostel with comfy beds and clean bedding provided to all – nobody was instructed to bring sleeping bags as a result. There were separate bathrooms for male and female members of the orchestra, with cubicles in each. At no stage was anyone left to sleep on the floor, and there most certainly was not “just one toilet for the entire ensemble”. These allegations are completely baseless as any other musician present that weekend will confirm.

  • Bill says:

    This appears to be a hatchet job by people with a perceived grievance against Glasgow Phil, and an issue with its founder. Before anyone starts I’m not a child nor a student. I was in Northampton with the orchestra at the Malcolm Arnold Festival. I slept in a bed at the Chellington Centre I used the showers in the morning which for anyone who cares to listen were single units with lockable doors, solid not opaque. The building was warm, dry and secure. To my understanding the majority of musicians were university/college students which I consider to be adults.

    The ethos of the orchestra is to give a platform for young (and older) musicians to perform. There are too few outlets for performing in any genre so until the critics can offer better opportunities I would suggest they get off their high horse and put their money where their mouth is. This was a successful event. Enjoyed by the audiences, organisers and musicians. I for one was happy to play with them and will be happy to do so again.

  • Ben Fourie says:

    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.

  • Hope says:

    I played with the orchestra at the Malcolm Arnold festival and I can confirm that we didn’t sleep on the floor of a cold and damp church. Had we been sleeping on the floor of the church Ross would have done so too as we are a team. Our accommodation was a converted church with rooms off the main body of the church which had bunk beds in it, while staying there we were also provided with pillows and duvets and we didn’t have to bring our own sleeping bags. I’ve now played with Glasgow Philharmonia for a year and have done a number of performances with them during this time and I have enjoyed every single one of them. What Ross has done in the past 5 years of this orchestra is incredible, the opportunities we have had and continue to have are phenomenal, and I look forward to our continued success.

  • Megan Porter says:

    I was one of the musicians and 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 – we did not sleep on the floor!

  • Rachel Hope says:

    I played in this festival with the orchestra and we slept on beds in a converted church that was warm and not damp. There were 3 bathrooms for the females, I presume the same for the men, plus at least one disabled. I believe there were 8 showers in total too. Everyone in the orchestra gets on so well and we feel like we’re a family. We didn’t have to bring our own sleeping bags as the place provided us with bed sheets, duvet covers & pillows. Ross has put so much into this orchestra between organising what we play, accommodation, travel and I’ve loved every concert I’ve done with this orchestra since I joined over a year ago. Everyone who has ever taken part in the orchestra has done it because they wanted to, that’s all the consent you need

  • Ross Gunning says:

    Please see a response to the article from today.

    Response from Ross Gunning

    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.”

    • Anonymous says:

      39 guests. 30 in beds. 6 on sofa beds.
      Where are the other 3?

      On the floor according to your accommodation manager.

  • Anonymous says:

    “No licenses by Local Education Authorities have been sought for Glasgow Philharmonia’s paid performances by compulsory school age children and therefore no adequate chaperone supervision has been put in place. New laws were put in place in 2016 to protect young performers from being taken advantage of and these have been wholly ignored.”

    I’d like to see a response to these allegations. The rules are very clear and this is far more concerning for parents of these young players than the crib rating of a futon.

  • K McKeown says:

    “The ethos of the orchestra is to give a platform for young (and older) musicians to perform.”
    I would suggest the whole reason for the “orchestra” (I use the term loosely) is in fact to satisfy the narcissistic tendencies of Mr Ross Gunning. If you check their website or Facebook page there is only one person who features on it and that is Mr Gunning. The young musicians are doing themselves and their, hopefully future careers, no good whatsoever. The Orchestra and it’s founder are held in total contempt by professional and semi-professional musicians. He is asking young people to prostitute their hard worked for talents in order to benefit the pimp that is Mr G. I wish these young musicians who have commented here would understand their worth to the world in general and to themselves primarily. Would any of them expect an apprentice electrician to come and re-wire their house for free and just for the “experience”. The Malcolm Arnold Festival cannot escape criticism here either. If they cannot afford to put on a properly funded festival then they should not have it. They have exploited young people to perform for a paying audience just for the experience. Wonder what their day jobs are?

  • Andrew says:

    As a member of the orchestra playing at the Malcolm Arnold festival, I would firstly like to add to the numerous comments here refuting the allegations surrounding the quality of accommodation. The input of the Chellington Centre manager regarding their 2005 refurbishment should be evidence enough, however I can confirm that all members of the orchestra were supplied with a dry, comfortable bed in a warm and secure building. Furthermore the toilet and shower facilities were of an exemplary standard; the account given in this article bears no resemblance to the reality.
    I would also like to challenge the unnecessary criticism being dealt to Ross and the Glasgow Philarmonia in general: along with the vast majority of the players from the festival, I am a student eager to be presented with any musical performance opportunity, paid or otherwise. At no point in my time with the Glasgow Philarmonia have I felt exploited or mistreated; only part of an enthusiastic community of musicians who are involved purely for musical experience and time spent with new and old friends.

  • Amy says:

    My sister plays with this orchestra and every time she plays with them she comes back glowing and excited. This orchestra does what others cannot, it allows kids from all backgrounds to participate. With Glasgow Phil it doesn’t matter where you are from or where you learnt your instrument, you are welcome. I am not a classical music fan, but the concerts I have been to I have loved and they’ve been great experience’s. The first thing my sister told me about when she came back after the festival was about the room (see room, not floor) she stayed in and how comfy the beds were. I would love to see your sources and your research because it seems like a pile of made up pish. These are young people working their hardest to do what they love and sharing it with others. Comments like this belittle their talent and the hard work they put into it. Really, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

  • Amy says:

    So it seems like my last post that I put up was deleted, but its all right I have excellent recall. It might have had something to do with me calling the sources and research for this a pile of made up pish. These kids work incredibly hard and posts like their belittle their talent and can destroyed their confidence. My sister who is an active member of the orchestra loved this recent event and raved about their accommodations. She went on about how lovely the rooms were how comfortable the beds were (note rooms and beds, not the floor. This orchestra is open to everyone and it doesn’t matter where you grew up or how you learnt your instrument. I don’t enjoy classical music but the concerts I have been to I’ve loved and you can see how much the kids love it. Fingers crossed this post makes it this time, because this is a democracy and free speech is a thing

  • Kim says:

    As a recently joined member of the Glasgow Philharmonic Orchestra, and one of those that travelled down to Northampton for the Malcolm Arnold festival. I along with the rest of the orchestra can say that we stayed in a venue called the Chellington centre; we all had singular beds in dorms in the renovated church, as well as a kitchen, toilet and shower blocks. Extras included a table tennis table, and table football. The church had been renovated to have underfloor heating and was kept in really good condition. We all greatly appreciated the trip and I personally love that the orchestra is free to join as this is so unlike every other orchestra/band I’ve played/sung in. I loved it and we have to thank Ross for all his hard work – Thank you

  • Amy Maclean says:

    I was one of the musicians playing at the Malcolm Arnold festival. The accommodation was in a newly refurbished church that was made into a conference/ events accommodation type of place – just look at the website! We all had warm comfortable beds, hot water, food making facilities, clean toilets and showers- plenty of them. Ross Gunning is passionate about giving young musicians opportunities to perform and he is a fantastic role model. Also some people on here seem to think the orchestra is made up with children but the majority are in their twenties- I’m 29 myself.

    • Kate says:

      Are you now a professional musician? If so, should and would you not want paid for the work you do? If you are an amateur musician then that is fine but missing in this whole debate is whether the Orchestra is amateur of professional. If amateur then it should say so and stop pretending that it’s something it is not. Professional musicians have worked long and hard to have a standard that is very high and for which they are rightly remunerated for. This shabby organisation is trying its very best to undo these conditions that pros make their living from.

  • A Morrison says:

    I was also playing in the orchestra and I will confirm what has been said about the accommodation by my fellow players in the above comments. The claims are bizarre. Glasgow Philharmonia to be unique in that it offers fantastic musical opportunities to all people by not having prohibitive costs as many other youth orchestras are astonishingly expensive to play in. In the Philharmonia we are mainly students and studying all kinds of subjects not just music. Everyone is very greatful for the fantastic opportunities and for the extremely dedicated work of Ross Gunning who I have found to be a very genuine and honest person who has puts very commendable effort into creating these opportunities for young musicians and he should be given the respect that he deserves for this.

    • Kate says:

      “Glasgow Philharmonia to be unique in that it offers fantastic musical opportunities to all people by not having prohibitive costs”
      By no means is this unique. Where are you living? There are many good Amateur orchestras that will give you this experience and will be upfront and honest as to what they are. Not a pretence!

  • Amy says:

    So my sister has just told her orchestra pals about this and I have permission to keep going. Apparently people don’t want to hear the truth. These kids work incredibly hard and have achieved so many things. To be the ages they are and to have played the places they have its incredible. And the royal Albert hall????? That’s amazing. They were invited to this festival as guest’s. They stayed in a beautiful setting and slept in beds(!!!!!!!! How many more times do I have to repeat this?????) And were treated wonderfully by everyone. The orchestra is a family and I am this close to jealous of their friendship’s. I’d rather go to a club than a classical concert but I love going to their performances and I’m incredibly proud of them. All of them. They work so hard and every time my sister comes back from rehearsals she comes back glowing and excited and totally inspired. I can’t wait for their next concert and I’ll be sitting in the front row. You should be ashamed of yourselves belittling their performances and talent. Third times a charm this should hopefully be public. And let’s all remember free speech is our friend and I have a fully charged phone ready to go 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    I have played in the Glasgow Philharmonia twice and have known Ross Gunning for years. He ignores people who try and give him legitimate advice about anything to do with the orchestra, he has recorded performances and published them online without the orchestra’s awareness or permission, and has no protection or insurances to work with and look after young people under the age of 18.
    The ‘orchestra’ itself is never all the same people playing, and Ross would uninvite younger musicians to play in favour of more experienced people (all over Facebook), showing no loyalty to those who had considered themselves ‘members’ of the orchestra and essentially having a scratch band for every time he has a gig. I can guarantee that most people who have played in the orchestra before have not returned for the reason that they do not want to work with Ross’ arrogance, and that he does not bring any inspiring knowledge to rehearsals, just rattles through repertoire. The worst thing is that the young people playing for him and jumping at an opportunity to perform genuinely believe they are working with someone who can help nurture their talent, when in reality, yes they may get to play some good repertoire, but Ross’ only interest is himself. These are just a small collection of reasons as to why I do not have anything to do with the orchestra. Many professionals condemn Ross’ actions and have never taken him seriously, although he is actually potentially damaging character to have around young people.
    I would like to see a response to the allegations about child protection and I would also like to see the accounts for the fees that Ross has given himself over the years, especially after the promise of payment to the players that never came and him claiming he hasn’t taken a penny (seen on his Facebook page within the last week).

    • Callum Reid says:


    • Anonymous says:

      In addition to this comment, I have to say that the real issue is not the accommodation, but the treatment of the players, or ‘members’. During rehearsals, Ross would blame the orchestra for his own under preparation and, when he was called out for it, quickly brushed it under and moved on. When he emailed the players asking for feedback, I gave him my calm and truthful feedback and received no reply. When I asked him in person about receiving my email, he said he had too many emails to remember. And I know that when other people have badmouthed him, he has ignored them and put it down to jealousy. He manages to rub most people up the wrong way and I think the number of negative comments towards Ross have to count for something. His arrogance is unrivalled.

    • A says:

      Having known Ross Gunning for many years, and having played with Glasgow Phil in the past I would like to second the above sentiments regarding his shortcomings as a conductor and his tendencies to take these out on the members of his orchestra (whom more often than not he treats as a means to an end).

      Had Ross taken the time to cultivate his conducting skills and experience over the years, he might have been able to gain an alright reputation as a conductor, but he has thrown himself into the position of maestro with very little real conducting experience or knowledge, and an alarming lack of awareness of how events involving children are supposed to be organised and regulated.

      Glasgow Philharmonia is a lawsuit waiting to happen

  • Anonymous says:

    This attitude devalues a profession that is already tough enough to survive in.

  • Gregory John says:

    With some errors in the old mathematics I think it’s time we let them off for the Accommodation situation. What is mind boggling is the sheer lack of knowledge to child protection and the welfare of these young performers.

    Administrators across the land spend hours getting it right and so too should the Glasgow Philharmonia SCIO.

    Does anybody have any advice on how to follow up these allegations which I fear are true. The chaperone licences should be attainable as well as the child performing licences… ?


    • Kaiser Soze says:

      Report them to OSCR. They are the governing body for charities in Scotland and can follow up any of these allegations. I will be reporting them.

  • Audrey says:

    The whole tenor of this debate is appalling. I have had the pleasure of working with Ross Gunning and the Glasgow Philharmonia and can confirm that they are a bunch of highly talented young musicians led by an enthusiastic conductor whose passion for music and inclusiveness towards performers is second to none. He is still a young man himself and is an inspiration to many.
    The suggestion that his efforts are purely self serving is utterly mean-spirited and untrue, and I would conclude that the writer of those comments is probably envious of a young person who has made the most of every opportunity to give the orchestra as many incredible opportunities as possible.
    I’m quite sure that those of you who have chosen to make such personal attacks cannot say the same of yourselves.

    • Callum Reid says:

      The person who wrote those comments is signifcantly younger than Ross. Still in school infact, I know him relatively well as we play the same instrument. He is in no way ‘envious’ of Ross. Just pissed off with how he treats his orchestra.

      Glasgow Phil used to be full of members from the RCS senior department but this is now no longer the case as Ross showed his true colours during rehearsals and treated us worse than dogs. We did not and still do not want to work with someone who treated his peers and “friends” in such a manner.

  • Robert Hairgrove says:

    “The sleeping arrangements were sufficiently unusual to be mention in a review…”

    If there was a mention of the sleeping arrangements in that review, it appears to have been removed by now … please correct me with a hint as to where to find it if not!

    • Anonymous says:

      “The orchestra members, who had travelled by coach from Glasgow the previous day and had spent the night in sleeping bags in a local church hall, were fresh as spring.”


      • Mickey says:

        I can second the above comment. I’ve worked with Ross before and I will ever work with him again and that is very much my choice. I am absolutely not envious of Ross I would not want to be as deluded to think I was as talented as he thinks he is. I also wouldn’t want that shambles of a orchestra or rather scratch band. I’m very happy in my job working with children and actually giving them life changing experiences for free in a safe and regulated manner. You cannot even begin to fathom the amount of educator, musicians and youth workers that saw the original post and were delighted someone so young had finally spoken out about Ross and the way that orchestra is run. If you think the comments on Ross are mean-spirited you might want to see Ross’ Facebook posts from a year or so ago when he gloated he would ruin someones career because they pissed him off. This is a shambles and I’m glad it’s come to light.

        • Callum Reid says:

          If anyone is in doubt about Ross’ facebook posts I have photographic proof

          • Worried parent says:

            Calum as a concerned parent I would like to see these posts as he plans to take our children away to rehearsal for 2days overnight

  • Anonymous says:

    These defences read like TripAdvisor reviews from hotel management. Irrelevant and misleading.

  • trolley80 says:

    I was in a rather high-profile college choir (50-60 people) in the US, and we would occasionally do touring gigs or other events that involved this exact kind of scenario – sleeping bags on the floor of a church hall or something. There is nothing necessarily wrong with that especially if you are working with student musicians. However, it never came as a surprise to us when this was going to happen, and we all knew that we had signed up for occasional experiences like this. If these musicians were led to believe they would have proper accommodations, this is clearly unacceptable.

  • Concerned parent says:

    Calum as a parent of a kid taking part in ross movies to musicals I would really appreciate seeing the face book posts as Iam beginning to worry about my child being involved with this man . As he plans to take these children away to a two day camp for rehearsal .

    • Calum says:

      Sure. Send me an email and I’m sure something can be arranged.

    • Calum says:

      Also as a worried parent are you sure your concern should be with these facebook posts? Or should you be concerned about all the rule breaking Ross does in terms of child security and safety?

      • Concerned parent says:

        Iam totally concerned by it all . I was lead to believe that this man was of good standing and reputation and was doing everything by the book .
        from what I have read here Iam very concerned about his ability to keep my child safe .
        And also the fact he is not actually qualified to the level he has said he is, and is beginning a theory class my child is meant to be attending is concerning. I feel we have been taking in by a fraud disappointing if this is to be the case.

        • QUEEN B says:

          Intersting, I abosoluley agree with you you I am completley shocked that this has happened.


          Concerned parent, Should it not be YOUR responsibilty to check what you are sending your child to? If you have such a high opinion of what your child is doing, then surely as a responsible adult you’d be tasked with doing some background research?


          I think Ross is completely in the wrong and is almost using child labour to further his reputuation in the community, which (sorry folks) he is doing. As much as the trained classical musos are turning in the orchestra pit! I too am GAAAAGING at this!

          • Concerned parent says:

            @queen b you are 100% correct it is my responsibility.
            And believe me I did ask the questions but was clearly lied to !
            The mistake on my part was I took word of mouth from another performance teacher he works with .
            This man states he has the proper qualifications and definitely talks a good talk! And even other promotors :teachers/ industry officials used him soo I really thought he was the real deal !