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Global Perspectives on OrchestrasCollective Creativity and Social Agency$
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Tina K. Ramnarine

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199352227

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199352227.001.0001

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The British symphony orchestra and the Arts Council of Great Britain

The British symphony orchestra and the Arts Council of Great Britain

Examining the Orchestra in its Economic and Institutional Environments

(p.282) 15 The British symphony orchestra and the Arts Council of Great Britain
Global Perspectives on Orchestras

Benjamin Wolf

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the relationship between British symphony orchestras and the Arts Council of Great Britain. Combining archival research with institutional sociology and cultural economics, it describes how the Arts Council’s demands changed between 1946 and 2000, and how financial and ideological constraints prevented the successful execution of some of these demands. Between 1946 and 1980, symphony orchestras were encouraged to focus on professional performances of the ‘fine arts’ and the performance of music by living composers. Subsequently the 1980s and 1990s witnessed a collapse in traditional ideas of artistic value and a growth in bureaucratized management, with symphony orchestras undergoing time-consuming appraisal procedures, expanding their educational activities and demonstrating limited support for the arts of ethnic minorities. Overall, the chapter suggests that the ideologies of subsidised support were in tension with each other, leading to only partial achievement of the goals that were set out by the Arts Council.

Keywords:   Arts Council, Great Britain, symphony orchestra, institutional sociology, cultural economics

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