IAM Feature on Orchestra of the Swan
Monday, February 25, 2013
Posted by: Nicole Merritt
This month, ISPA partner organization International Arts Manager (IAM) wrote a feature on ISPA member Orchestra of the Swan. Read the feature below on how Orchestra of the Swan is capitalizing on the fame of one of Britain's greatest culture figures of all time to expand their programming and tour aboard. The article below is from Volume 9 No 3 and can also be read on the IAM website in full here.
A small UK chamber orchestra is channelling
the fame of its hometown to cultivate its international profile. Based in Stratford-upon-Avon – Shakespeare’s
birthplace – the Orchestra of the Swan is bucking the trend of downsized
budgets and slashed programming, with an award-winning season, multiple
recordings and plans to use the famous bard to its advantage.
Despite its size – up to 35 musicians and just
four administrative staff – the freelance chamber orchestra is weathering the
financial storm remarkably well, having recently signed a sponsorship deal with
Turkish Airlines. It received accolades for its 2012 recording Spring Sounds,
Spring Seas and was awarded a certificate of achievement from the Delius
Society in recognition of its performances of the composer’s work last season.
The orchestra also won the Pride of Stratford Arts Organisation of the Year
award in 2012. But with the 450th and
400th anniversaries of Shakespeare’s birth and death coming up in 2014 and
2016, artistic director David Curtis (ISPA member) now has his sights set on audiences
got a unique opportunity to capitalise on these anniversaries,’ he told IAM.
‘We see this as a fantastic opportunity to get the orchestra [abroad],
particularly to the US and China, where Shakespeare is incredibly well known
and very highly revered.’
Airlines provided Curtis with flights to China last Autumn where he met with
promoters, potential sponsors, and was broadcast to an audience of 10m on
Chongqing Music Radio.
are working closely with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in developing educational
projects around those anniversaries,’ said Curtis, ‘and we’re commissioning a
lot of new music and large-scale works, particularly for 2016.’
of those projects will see the ensemble commission British-Bulgarian composer
Dobrinka Tabakova to write a work for chamber choir and orchestra based around
pencil sketches that the painter JW Turner made of Shakespeare’s home town in
seems as though we are bucking the trend at the moment,’ said Curtis, ‘but you’re
always walking on very thin ice and we’ve been working very hard. I do think supporters want to support successful
organisations. Swan is quite a good analogy actually; hopefully it looks
beautiful and serene and calm on the top whereas underneath we’re paddling like
heck to keep things going!’