Friday, August 06, 2004

Gillinson goes west

Blimey, this really is news.

Clive Gillinson is leaving the LSO and is going to be head of Carnegie Hall

Clive Gillinson has run the LSO for yonks. So why exactly is he leaving now? Of course Carnegie is the tops and you can't blame anyone for jumping at that particular opportunity. But it does feel ironic, since the LSO, the most moneyed orchestra in Britain, hasn't been in such great financial shape recently thanks to the costs of building St Luke's (education/rehearsal centre in City church).

As a majority of my readers seem to be overseas, I should point out that in dear Little Britain, it is almost impossible for any arts organisation to get any government money for anything unless it's seen to be doing Something Socially Useful. An extreme example would be that orchestras wanting to put on Mahler 9 with a world-class maestro will only get any money towards that if they are also teaching Newham schoolkids to play Twinkle Twinkle. Demoralising, perhaps, but true. People in Britain still seem to feel they have to apologise for the fact that classical music is a good thing in itself, that it enriches life in a way that nothing else can...well, we've said all this before. But I wouldn't blame any top arts administrator for wanting to get the hell away from this country with its political footballs, its double standards, its hypocrisy...

Apropos of the Guardian's report (see above link), good old Charlotte just had to get in a dig at the LPO, didn't she? 'had to look as far afield as Australia...' For your information, dear colleagues, half of London's music is now run by Aussies: the Wigmore Hall, the South Bank Centre, English National Opera as well as the LPO. The press stands by, daggers at the ready, waiting for them to do something wrong. But they don't. They are bloody marvellous, most of them, full of creativity and spark, and they're here because a) there's not much for them to do down under, b) we need them because our old boys' network can occasionally make a pig's ear of things if left to its own devices. The only Aussie who boomeranged was the guy who came over to run the Royal Ballet a few years ago.