Musical influence

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It WAS good to see Ken Walton (Weekend Life, 10 May) drawing attention to issues that would need to be considered in the classical music world should Scotland vote for independence. Perhaps some context would be useful though, as he provides little evidence for the future that he paints.

I am studying in Denmark, a country with an almost identical population to Scotland. It has two opera companies, which produce perhaps four times the output of Scottish Opera between them. Danish Radio runs a symphony orchestra, a chamber orchestra, a big band and a chamber choir. There are five full-time orchestras based in different cities and numerous other full-time chamber ensembles and contemporary groups in towns across the country.

Almost all of these groups perform in brand new concert halls and work with conductors and soloists of an equivalent standing to those working in Scotland currently.

A country of Scotland’s size has no problem in having an international standard music scene and, if anything, it is currently punching below its weight. However, it is all a question of priorities. If Scotland wants to invest its money into making sure there are high level arts organisations based across the country, then it has that choice, under either devolution or independence, and in the process it could help invigorate local economies and civic pride in places outside the Central Belt. 

Iain McLarty

Sandersons Wynd
Tranent, East Lothian