Since March we have lost nearly all our performance income as a result of the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. We have been very fortunate to have received generous support from our donors and loyal ticket buyers, we have received support from the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which ends this month, and our employees have taken a significant reduction in pay.
This grant from the Culture Recovery Fund – along with support from donors to our £12.5 million Sound of the Future fundraising campaign – allows us to return to giving live concerts in a safe and Covid-compliant way: we have just announced a series of ensemble concerts at CBSO Centre, and we are working towards restarting larger-scale concerts at Symphony Hall. The funding also enables us to share more of our work on digital platforms, and to increase the reach of our community work at a time when many people may find it hard to attend concerts in person.
By getting back on stage, we will be able to start engaging freelance musicians and guest artists, and we will also help other parts of the live music sector – agents, publishers, venues and other suppliers – to start earning as well.
Stephen Maddock, Chief Executive of CBSO said: “This is great news, and a huge relief for the CBSO as we mark our Centenary this year. The government’s support, and its #HereForCulture campaign, is a very welcome vote of confidence in the arts as we find creative ways to reimagine and restart our activities. At the CBSO, we can now get back – in a Covid-compliant way – to our mission of providing great music to the widest possible audience. Alongside our colleagues in the arts and cultural sector, we do still expect significant challenges as the current crisis drags on into next year, and we will still need the ongoing support of our generous supporters and all other CBSO stakeholders as we bring the organisation through these difficult times and well into our second century in the strongest possible shape.”