Fanfare For The Common Man



Supporters of orchestral music believe the USA will become the top location for UK orchestras to tour in the years following Brexit. At a time when Britain needs to forge new international relationships with non-EU countries, new research from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) reveals that 75% of music enthusiasts believe there are exciting opportunities for the UK’s leading ensembles to expand beyond the EU and to act as cultural ambassadors for Britain on the world stage.

With Britain’s exit from the EU weeks away, the RPO asked a nationally representative sample of 1,462 classical music lovers how they thought British orchestral music would fare once the UK left the EU. The findings suggest that many people think UK orchestras will be adversely affected by Brexit. Many people were worried that touring in the EU would become financially unviable because of increased taxes/costs (27%) and red tape - such as visa and border issues - (27%). Further, 21% of respondents thought UK ensembles would have greater difficulty attracting the highest calibre of musicians from the EU to come and perform in the UK.

Despite the perceived Brexit challenges for orchestra ensembles, the majority of respondents saw new opportunities for UK orchestras to adapt and broaden their global footprint. Asked to predict where UK orchestras would tour in the future, the top 10 locations included:

  • Australia/ New Zealand 40%
  • Other Commonwealth countries 34%
  • Non-EU European countries 30%
  • China 29%
  • Far East 21%
  • The Middle East 17%
  • South Africa 13%
  • Latin America 13%
  • North Africa 6%

The USA was the top choice for music enthusiasts of all age groups. The top choices for young people (aged under 25) comprised of the USA (47%), non-EU European countries (23%) and Australia/ New Zealand (22%). Whilst the USA also came top among older people (those over 55), they were also more likely to see opportunities for UK ensembles in China (48%), Commonwealth countries (38%) and the Far East (26%).

James Williams, Managing Director at Royal Philharmonic Orchestra said: “There is no question that Brexit uncertainty has affected British brands across all industry sectors, including the arts. That said, music is one of Britain’s greatest exports to the world in cultural and economic terms - and the UK has some of the finest orchestras in the world.

“At the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, we seeking new markets, looking for opportunities wherever they exist. We are currently about to embark on a month-long tour of the USA and we are working on new artistic partnerships in other regions of the world where no UK orchestra has played before. We do look forward to performing concerts in the EU, but the orchestral genre today is a global phenomenon that is growing in popularity. The digital revolution has introduced a new generation to the orchestral genre and our ambition is to play in the best venues in the world. Many of these happen to be outside the EU and this is a sign of the global reach and appeal of the genre today.”

Vasily Petrenko, in-coming Music Director of the RPO adds: “In 2019 there were more than 106 million streams of RPO music spanning 79 countries. Culturally, orchestral music has global appeal: it is a universal language that has the power to unite people of different languages, beliefs and backgrounds. At a time of division in many parts of the world, the power of orchestral music to remind people of what they share, of what they have in common, should never be under-estimated. The RPO is playing a significant role in taking orchestral music to new audiences. The Orchestra tours abroad extensively and is often the first British ensemble to visit new markets, representing the best of British arts to the world.”

For more information, further data tables or to arrange interviews, contact:

Guy Bellamy / Tara Nuttall - elephant communications

Tel: 01342 870142 / 172 or 07766 775216

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CLICK HERE for details of the RPO’s concerts for its January North American tour.

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