“Conductor says art’s at risk when funders call tune”

Here is a recent piece from the Western Mail, based mostly on an interview I did with them a few weeks ago. Current Arts Council of Wales guidelines only support funding commissions of new music if it is for dance.


Keith Griffin, of music umbrella body Ty Cerdd, said: “I don’t think we treat our composers as well as they deserve.

“There’s nothing like the same lauding of individual artists as there is in, say, literature or the graphic arts.”

He said the ACW was covering more artistic activities than in decades past, but its funding had not increased to reflect the greater diversity. That left funding for new music at its lowest since the Second World War.

An ACW spokeswoman said: “The ACW’s scheme for commissioning new music is currently conditional on the music accompanying dance.”

Peter Reynolds, artistic director of the Lower Machen Festival, near Caerphilly, said “to have that as the only commissioning scheme seems madness to me.”



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American conductor, composer and cellist Kenneth Woods is Principal Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director of the Colorado MahlerFest and cellist of the string trio Ensemble Epomeo. He records for the Avie, Somm, Nimbus, Signum, MSR and Toccata labels.

Learn about Kenneth at www.kennethwoods.net

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2 comments on ““Conductor says art’s at risk when funders call tune””

  1. Bill Brice

    But… haven’t art’s patrons historically had a lot of say over the kind of art they commission? Certainly, the Church was never likely to commission a mass that calls into question its own dogma. And when did a duke or king ever commission a piece that didn’t, at least indirectly, enhance his own stature?

    I recognize that it’s a different ballgame when the “patron” is government, or a board of directors. But, still…

  2. Kenneth Woods

    Hi Bill

    Thankds for the comment. I’m delighted to hear from you.

    I hear this argument a lot, but I wonder why we always like to look so much at the past in our industry. Doctors don’t look back longingly to the 1800s as a model of how to fund scientific research.

    Also, the main concern of the article is that the Arts Council of Wales is currently not funding composition directly at all- they are only funding commissions of new music for dance, which seems to seriously underestimate the importance of music….


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