Is this the first of the thousand cuts that will kill contemporary culture in this country? Certainly it’s a significant and deeply concerning one: Birmingham City Council has decided to withdraw all of its funding for one of the UK’s greatest new music ensembles, the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.
From the BCMG website:
This 100% cut comes as a complete shock and will undoubtedly have a critical impact on our internationally renowned and award-winning performance and learning programme.
We appreciate that the Council is under severe pressures, but a 100% cut to a company which has brought international acclaim to Birmingham and changed the lives of countless young people in the city runs counter to the Council’s desire to promote Birmingham as a modern, dynamic place in which to live and do business.
Ten other companies, mostly working within contemporary arts, are similarly losing all of their funding; larger organisations within the city are facing cuts of up to 23% of their funding. Clearly there’s an issue of prestige involved here, but BCMG – founded by Sir Simon Rattle, no less – is one of the most prestigious ensembles of its kind, and gives Birmingham a international profile in new music year-round that very few places in the UK outside London can boast.
It’s an ideological coup against the core of everything valuable in civilization, to sustain everything which is rancid and peccant about it