Saturday, 22 August 2009

The Leader's Farewell

I attended yet another BBC Summer Invitation Concert at the Ulster Hall in Bedford Street, Belfast, last night. We had a full house: I could see very few vacant seats.

In a sense, it was a special evening; certainly for the erstwhile Leader of the Ulster Orchestra at least, David Adams. Mr Adams has been offered a position as Leader of the orchestra of Welsh National Opera; so this evening he gave his valedictory performance for us with his very fine Johannes Gagliano violin dating from 1800. He was the soloist in Berlioz's Rêverie et Caprice.

He is a wonderfully accomplished violinist and I wish him well in his new position at Cardiff.

I wonder if a new Leader has been selected yet? We were informed, by the Management last night, that Lucy Drennan - the Associate Leader - is suffering from an eye condition and shan't be back for three months.

The Ulster Orchestra must be suffering from an acute shortfall in sponsorship or sales of seasonal subscriptions because, during an interlude when David Adams was presented with a framed picture of the orchestra, a manager urged us to support the orchestra by any means possible; viz. subscriptions and even legacies. He elaborated by explaining that 50% of funding comes from the Arts Council; 30% from the BBC; and the rest from sponsorship and subscriptions - or something like that.

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