A new discussion paper on orchestra funding provokes fears of major cuts to New Zealand’s major ensembles

New Zealand’s Culture and Heritage Ministry has released a discussion paper on the current funding model for the orchestral sector, arousing fears of impending cuts to the country’s major ensembles.

According to the report, the sector has seen a 32 per cent decrease in ticket sales between 2007-2010. The paper calls for the sharing of players and headline performers throughout the industry to increase efficiency. The New Zealand government is now calling for public submissions on the report.

New Zealand’s Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Christopher Finlayson said, “’If orchestras were to work as an integrated system it could improve the sector’s overall viability and productivity, but would require players to work flexibly in a variety of settings, sometimes at relatively short notice.”

The sharing of jobs between ensembles could mean cuts to permanent orchestral positions. Among the organizations affected would be the Auckland Philharmonia, Vector Wellington Orchestra, the Christchurch Symphony, the Southern Sinfonia and the country’s national touring orchestra the New Zealand Symphony (NZSO).

Under the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra Act 2004, the NZSO operates as a Crown Entity, acting as a national...