- 23 Nov 17
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Arts & Culture, Niamh Smyth, has called on the Culture Minister to reaffirm Government support for the retention of RTE’s two orchestras.
Deputy Smyth is due to meet with the RTENSO Union Committee. She plans to discuss the genuine concerns that are held over a possible merger of the symphony and concert orchestras.
“I have been engaging with members of National Symphony Orchestra who have expressed serious concerns about the downgrading of RTE’s two orchestras over the past number of years. The amount of funding allocated over the past five years has been significantly reduced and members say that colleagues who have left the orchestras have not been replaced. Key vacancies such as the General Manager of the RTE Concert Orchestra and Principal Conductor remain unfilled and members are worried that this is part of a wider strategy to merge the two orchestras”, explained Deputy Smyth.
“We cannot underestimate the role that these orchestras play in our cultural offering, and as such should be cherished and protected. Over the past number of years the orchestras have been making very real attempts to broaden their audience and attract younger people. A series of concerts in conjunction with DJ Jenny Greene, as well as collaborations with classic movies have opened up new audiences".
“The idea that the Government will allow any merger of the two orchestras is worrying and I am calling on Minister Heather Humphreys to give assurances that no such move will be tolerated”.
Earlier this year, RTE orchestras brought the story of hip-hop to Electric Picnic - accompanied by guest vocalists including Jafaris and Jess from BARQ.
This week, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar expressed the same concerns over ‘any diminution’ of RTÉ orchestras and said he also plans to raise these issues to the Minister for Culture.