Music funding under fire

CALLS for an arts funding debate over Scottish opera to be widened to include all music genres were made yesterday.

A group of leading Scottish musicians and record label promoters criticised the lack of financial contribution to talented young players and composers across the country and urged the "problem" to be "addressed as a matter of urgency".

They believe more money needs to be ploughed into the Scottish music scene which they describe as "unique" and "exciting".

While Scottish Opera receives around 53 per cent of a 14 million Scottish Arts Council (SAC) cash pot and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra around 1.5 million, jazz receives only 3 per cent despite being listened to by 13 per cent of the population.

SAC officials last night said they intended to "move towards a state of provision, which reflects all styles of music" with a priority to traditional music and cont-emporary styles such as jazz. Tom Bancroft, the director of Scottish jazz record label Caber Music, said he had joined the 59-strong petition so that all music genres could be recognised equally.

"We have nothing against Scottish opera, it is just that we feel the debate needs to include all music and not just one type.

"I am annoyed that the media debate is only centring around Scottish opera when there is a bigger problem that needs to be addressed urgently. It is very frustrating.

"Our feeling is that there is some really unique music and talent here which, if properly supported, could be a really positive export industry to promote Scotland.

"It is imperative the government addresses all musical genres and their needs in the current funding crisis."

Nod Knowles, Head of Music at the SAC, said: "Our Music Strategy, published two years ago, states we intend to move towards a diversity of provision, which reflects all styles of music."

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