Major gift creates £200,000 endowment for CBSO chamber music

A major donation to the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s endowment will secure the future of the orchestra’s chamber music programme, which showcases the individual talents of the world-class Orchestra’s players through performances by small groups of musicians.

The Osborn Chamber Music Programme will be funded by a £100,000 endowment gift from philanthropist and CBSO board member John Osborn, which will be matched pound for pound by Arts Council England through its Catalyst scheme. The interest earned on the endowment will contribute towards the cost of staging the Centre Stage series of around 20 lunchtime chamber concerts per year at CBSO Centre.

The gift from Mr Osborn is a substantial boost to the CBSO Development Trust’s fundraising efforts. The CBSO’s public funding has been reduced by 24% in real terms since 2010. Private funders have never been more important in securing the orchestra’s world-class excellence – and in addition to raising £1 million per year through annual sponsorships and donations the orchestra is seeking to raise an endowment to secure its longer-term future. Gifts made to the endowment before July 2015 are being matched by Arts Council England up to a total of £1 million, of which £700,000 has been raised so far.

Mr Osborn, a long-term supporter of the CBSO, has served on the organisation’s board since 2012 and on the CBSO Development Trust since 2013. In addition he has contributed to the cost of violinist Gabriel Dyker’s position in the orchestra for a number of years.

John Osborn said: “The CBSO is a terrific institution; I have loved it ever since my first concert nearly 60 years ago and I believe having a world-class Orchestra based in the city helps Birmingham to punch above its weight. All arts bodies are feeling the financial pinch and belts are being tightened – we have to support them if we want to keep them.

“I have had the good fortune to get to know some of the Orchestra players over the years and have the greatest respect for them all; they are a group of immensely bright, passionate and committed individuals and I know chamber music concerts are very close to their hearts. I am delighted to be able to support this particular strand of the CBSO’s work and I hope this might also encourage others to become similarly involved in the long-term support of this outstanding Orchestra.”

CBSO Director of Development, Simon Fairclough, said: “This is wonderful news for the Orchestra: John Osborn’s generous gift is testament to the admiration and support which our musicians inspire. With pressures on the public purse becoming ever more acute the need for support from private donors and funders is set to grow year by year. Income from the Endowment will augment the generous annual donations of thousands of CBSO donors, funders and sponsors: we are thankful for the support of all those who want to see our world-class orchestra flourish in the years ahead.”