Mozart Players’ cut-backs forces managing director to leave

A further signal of how Croydon Council’s mishandling of the arts is having a detrimental impact on the whole of the local cultural scene – even among those organisations which benefit from the backing of the Town Hall Establishment – came through today with the announcement that the London Mozart Players are to lose their managing director.

Simon Funnell: is standing down as managing director of the London Mozart Players

Simon Funnell: is standing down as managing director of the London Mozart Players

Inevitably, funding is the issue, and the generous annual grants from Croydon Council (£94,000 in 2010; £284,000 in 2011) is no longer sufficient to sustain the Fairfield Halls’ resident orchestral group. Unfortunately for the London Mozart Players, the association with Croydon means that they are also effectively cut off from other sources of funding from the likes of the Arts Council, who last provided LMP with a grant six years ago.

Simon Funnell has been the orchestra’s managing director since February 2009.

In a statement issued today, the organisation said: “The London Mozart Players has a major funding problem that has necessitated a re-evaluation of the way in which the management of the orchestra operates.

“The orchestra has become increasingly dependent on local authority grants that are no longer sustainable. The board has concluded that it has no option but to implement future operations on the basis of freelance and project work,” the statement continued.

“The present managing director, Simon Funnell, has therefore decided that this is an appropriate moment, after five years in the post, for him to step away from the orchestra to explore other career opportunities. The board is grateful to Simon for his success in steering the orchestra through this difficult period and for maintaining its reputation and artistic quality.

“Simon Funnell will be leaving the orchestra at the end of March 2014 after which plans are in place for the orchestra to become a player-run organisation, with the new team to be led by Viv Davies.”

Had Croydon Council’s takeover of the Fairfield Halls gone through “on the nod”, as the likes of Dudley Mead might have liked without a challenge from the Charity Commission, the LMP would have been taken over at the same time.


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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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1 Response to Mozart Players’ cut-backs forces managing director to leave

  1. mraemiller says:

    They came for our Chinese Ceramics and I signed a petition saying it was good idea in order to invest in the Fairfield Halls for I am Musician with no knowledge or appreciation of fine art or understanding that it is just a symptom of an deep rooted ideological hatred of all the arts.

    They came for the Mozart players and no one did anything because art lovers do not listen to classical music enough.

    Rather than sitting on wealth that cannot be used, we support the Council’s decision to not raise taxes but instead use the resources we have at our disposal to improve the much-loved Fairfield Halls. Even if there are no longer any state subsidised musicians to inhabit it.

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