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Manchester’s original ‘band’ in crisis

Halle Orchestra recruit new instrument: alarm bells

Published on December 7th 2010.


Manchester’s original ‘band’ in crisis

Bosses at the Halle have admitted to a ‘major concern’ over its funding in the wake of government spending cuts.

The way in which the Halle engaged with the private sector was improving according to Summers, and the society has snapped up Stockport-based PZ Cussons as a major sponsor.

The concert society’s accounts were filed over the weekend, and in the notes accompanying them, chairman David McKeith said the cuts had been ‘depressing’ and had led to a drop in the number of companies supporting the Halle.

“We are already changing our plans in response to the policy decisions which have been announced, but we in a period of considerable uncertainty,” he said.

“Any cut in our funding inevitably means we will need to seek resources elsewhere, or to reduce the scope of what we do. I sincerely hope we are not forced into retrenchment and an undoing of the tremendous gains we have made over the last ten years.”

McKeith said 2010 had been “a story of two halves” and said the Halle had enjoyed an “outstanding’ year artistically and said that it was still in a strong enough financial position to avoid ‘a repeat of the problems of the late 1990s”, when it nearly went bust.

During the year, the Halle brought in £8.6m, up from £7.8m the previous year, and spent a total of £8.4m, including £190,000 from by its fundraising arms. As well as a residency in its home city of Manchester, at the Bridgewater Hall, the Halle also has residencies in Nottingham and Sheffield.

John Summers, chief executive, said the Halle had stuck with a “high profile but riskier” artistic programme in 2010, although had failed to make much progress with plans to establish a rehearsal and education base at St Peter’s Church in Ancoats.

Both Manchester City Council and the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities have increased their grant support in 2011. The way in which the Halle engaged with the private sector was improving according to Summers, and the society has snapped up Stockport-based PZ Cussons as a major sponsor.

Manchester’s Halle Orchestra was created by Charles Halle in 1858 following a successful trial run at the previous year’s Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition. Nicknamed ‘Halle’s band’, it can thus claim to be the first permanent professional orchestra in history. The first concerts made just a few shillings in profit but convinced Charles Halle to continue. As those first concerts illustrated, precarious financing would be a continuous theme in the orchestra’s history.

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Eddy RheadDecember 6th 2010.

And so it begins...........

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