Belfast-based Ulster Orchestra Temporarily Reprieved

This past week it has been reported that Ulster Orchestra has finally managed to assemble enough money to secure its existence for the near future.

Due to the disastrous situations last year, it seemed as if the orchestra would exist for few weeks. However, the latest reports should bring some kind of hope and cheer in Irish music-lovers, and, of course, the 17 staff and 63 musicians in the orchestra.

Even with the £100,000 windfall from Belfast City Council along with the £400,000 premium from Stormont, there is a feeling that the orchestra’s future is still uncertain. Although the aids help the orchestra deal with their deficit, they do not secure their long-term plan. The running expenses of the orchestra are £4.5 million each year. To make sure that Ulster Orchestra get the proper support, there should be a collective effort from the funding association that includes “Belfast City Council”, “Arts Council of Northern Ireland”, “the BBC”, and “Department of Culture, Arts, and Leisure”, who jointly provide the orchestra with £640,000 each year.

The only positive for the orchestra is the persistent conversation around getting rent-free contracts for the Waterfront Hall and Ulster Hall, which are worth £300,000 per year. However, unless there is a sustainable, meaningful financial plan for their near future, questions about their position will be raised. In the meantime, the music is going on with the Burns Night extravaganza on Saturday January 24. Rafael Payare also conducted Tchaikovsky at Ulster Hall on January 23, when Jennifer Pike played Violin Concerto.

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