RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra to Come Under Remit of National Concert Hall

RTÉ NSO musicians

RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra to Come Under Remit of National Concert Hall

Minister for Culture to establish oversight group to begin discussions on orchestras report recommendations.

The Government has announced (5 July) that the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra will move from RTÉ and instead come under the remit of the National Concert Hall.

The decision follows the publication of an external report on the two RTÉ orchestras – the RTÉ NSO and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra – in April, in which it was recommended that the RTÉ NSO should become a separate national cultural institution ‘in its own right or within the National Concert Hall’.

The Government has now agreed in principal on the second option. The NCH has been the performance home of the RTÉ NSO since the Hall opened in 1981. The orchestra performs most Fridays at the NCH from September through to May and has just announced its new season. The National Concert Hall also promotes performances by other orchestras in its International Concert Series.

Oversight group
Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan said that she will now also establish an oversight group to begin discussions on the move and the report’s other recommendations. 

Among them are that ‘RTÉ should enter into a broadcasting relationship with the NSO…’ and that ‘RTÉ should pay a fee in recognition of these broadcasting rights, with the remainder of the costs of NSO’s operations… met by direct Government funding (of c. €4m a year).’

The new model of funding, the report argues, would meet the costs of ‘restoring the NSO to its historical levels of staffing and activity (regional performances and educational programmes).’

According to the report, which was produced by Helen Boaden and Mediatique, the RTÉ NSO currently has 68 full-time players, with 11 vacancies.

RTÉ Concert Orchestra
The report also recommends that the RTÉ Concert Orchestra should continue to be part of RTÉ, ‘functioning as a classic “radio” or PSB [public service broadcaster] orchestra, on the model of many such orchestras worldwide.’

It states that the RTÉ COshould be restored to its historical levels of staffing and activity and tasked with maximising commercial returns (without sacrificing integrity of repertoire) in addition to providing content to RTÉ TV, radio and online.’

According to the report, the RTÉ CO has five vacancies. Neither orchestra has a full-time principal conductor and there are also a number of management and administrative vacancies. 

The National Concert Hall has welcomed the announcement, stating that ‘The Government’s decision today underpins and strengthens the commitment to the future of orchestral music in Ireland and reinforces the role the National Concert Hall plays in enhancing that provision for the benefit of the Irish public.’

Download the full RTÉ orchestras report below. 

Published on 6 July 2018

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