BIRMINGHAM 〓 City of Birmingham’s subsidy for orchestras will be zero by 2025

2024/02/24

Facing financial ruin, the city of Birmingham, England, has decided to end subsidies to the city symphony orchestra and other arts organizations. It will cut 50 percent this year and 100 percent in April 2025.

Birmingham is an industrial city in the Midlands of central England. The city grew rapidly during the Industrial Revolution through the iron industry, and with a population of approximately 2.3 million, it competes with Manchester, which has a population of the same size, for the second largest city in the U.K.

Financial restructuring will not wait, with a 21% increase in citizen taxes over two years and the sale of 1.25 billion pounds worth of assets. At the same time, they will cut spending by 300 million pounds in two years, the largest spending cut in the history of local government. As a result, they will cut all subsidies to arts organizations and close 25 of the 36 libraries.

The cut in subsidies will not only affect the orchestra, but also the Birmingham Royal Ballet, the Birmingham Opera Company, the Birmingham REP Theatre, and even the Cathedral. The orchestra will lose £630,000 a year in grants it has received for 104 years, and the ballet company will lose £154,000 a year.

The City Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1920 and is one of the leading orchestras in the UK, with conductors such as Simon Rattle, Andris Nelsons, and Milga Grazinite-Thyla serving as chief conductors. Kazuki Yamada has been serving as music director since 2023.

PHOTO:City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra


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