Derby Cathedral has led a partnership with Sinfonia Viva which has secured investment from Arts Council England’s National Lottery-funded Grants for the arts programme.
This will enable the staging of two major, professional classical music concerts that would otherwise have been cancelled due to the ongoing closure of the Assembly Rooms following the fire.
The cathedral, supported by Derby-based professional orchestra Sinfonia Viva, and in association with Derby LIVE, successfully applied for just over £23,500 which, with match funding from other sources, will fund the cost of producing two concerts by Viva in January and March 2015.
“This will help the cathedral build its credentials and capabilities for staging future concerts.
The funding will support a number of costs, including those associated with the venue developing as a professional concert space in the future.
For example, it will allow the purchase of much-needed, modern and flexible portable staging.
“The funding will also allow for one of the concerts to broadcast nationally.
And the additional funding will open more doors to the cathedral to work with other cultural partners in the city, offering an alternative venue for exhibitions and performances.
The Dean of Derby, The Very Rev’d Dr John Davies, explained: “We worked with Sinfonia Viva to stage their concert in July, which had been cancelled due to the fire and subsequent closure of the Assembly Rooms.
“The concert was a huge success with excellent feedback from the orchestra and audience alike. This sparked the conversations about whether we could build our capacity to stage large-scale performances such as these.
“Derby Cathedral has a proud musical tradition and attracts nearly 60,000 people a year, not just to worship but also for recitals, concerts and events.
“With this funding in place, we can step into the gap provided by the closure of the Assembly Rooms to provide an opportunity for Derby and Derbyshire residents to attend classical concerts within their locale.
“This is our opportunity to create the foundation for a new partnership between Sinfonia Viva and Derby LIVE that can offer audiences and arts organisations an alternative venue to access and support our ambition of engaging more fully with the cultural sector of Derby.”
Sinfonia Viva’s chief executive Peter Helps continued: “We are delighted that Arts Council England has recognised the need to support our combined plans to keep an orchestral music offering in the city in the coming season.
“This funding, along with a host of other support including from colleagues at Derby LIVE, ensures that classical music concerts will continue for Derby audiences.
“Sinfonia Viva is based in Derby and has been performing in the city for more than 30 years.
“The complex staging requirements of an orchestral concert means finding an alternative venue to the Assembly Rooms has not been easy and Derby LIVE and the cathedral were fantastic in their support to help us to re-schedule our concert earlier this year.
“With this funding in place, we can now forge ahead with the plans for the concert in January, which will premiere a new commission by the orchestra and the March concert, which will be broadcast nationally, raising the profile of the arts to a far wider audience.”
Cllr Alison Martin, Derby City Council cabinet member for leisure and culture, added: “Derby Cathedral is a wonderful music performance space and I very much look forward to seeing Sinfonia Viva perform there again in 2015.
“I am pleased that the Derby LIVE has been able to work with the cathedral and Viva.”
Arts Council England Area Director Peter Knott added: “I am delighted that the Arts Council can invest in Derby Cathedral’s ambition to become a viable location for staging concerts and performances.”
Mr Knott added: “Derby has an exciting cultural scene with strong partnerships between arts organisations – bringing more and more great art and culture to the city each year.”