Closure of Ulster Orchestra too dreadful to contemplate

Operating Room''Accident and Emergency, A+E, A&E, Hospital.
Operating Room''Accident and Emergency, A+E, A&E, Hospital.
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Your editorial on Thursday expressed eloquently the problems which would arise from the closure of the Ulster Orchestra.

Also Professor Sir George Bain, the Orchestra’s acting chief executive, warned that the orchestra may soon go into administration.

Such a prospect is dreadful to contemplate. The Ulster Orchestra is the only professional musical ensemble of its size and type in Northern Ireland. Without it professional orchestral music will die in this province.

For nearly fifty years the orchestra has provided pleasure and enlightenment to audiences both in Belfast and elsewhere; my first experiences of orchestral music as a young boy came from its concerts in Enniskillen.

As my early experiences suggest, the orchestra plays an important role in the musical education of young people here; that is a role which its new Venzuelan conductor, Rafael Payare, a product of his country’s “Sistema” music education programme, may wish to continue and develop if the orchestra is allowed to survive.

The orchestra can often be heard on Radio 3; it has performed at the Proms in London; its recordings have intoduced audiences to the work of Ulster-born composers such as Sir Hamilton Harty; it has accompanied the acclaimed recent performances of Opera Northern Ireland.

It is impossible to imagine a greater potential blow to cultural life here than the end of this group.

May I ask your readers to make representations on this subject to their local politicians?

The Ulster Orchestra survived the Troubles; it would be a great pity if it failed to survive the indifference of our political leaders.

C.D.C. Armstrong

Belfast