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Thursday, February 5, 1998 Published at 11:32 GMT


Halle saved from bankruptcy
image: [ The rescue was negotiated by the orchestra's trustees and the city council ]
The rescue was negotiated by the orchestra's trustees and the city council

Britain's oldest orchestra, the Halle in Manchester, has been saved from the immediate threat of bankruptcy.

A rescue package was hammered out between the orchestra's trust fund and Manchester City Council during a two-and-a-half hour meeting.

BBC Correspondent John Thorne says the new package will undoubtedly change the way the orchestra is run (1' 44').
A stop-gap payment of around £400,000 is believed to have been made.

The Halle is facing a deficit of more than a million pounds and made losses of around £600,000 in the last financial year alone.

An independent report on the orchestra's financial state, due to be released later on Thursday, blames the crisis on poor budgetary control.

The Halle's annual Arts Council grant has been frozen for the last five years and no extra money is being made available because of its difficulties.

The report from accountants KPMG will recommend a radical change in management, renegotiation of musicians' contracts and a review of ticket pricing.

Since its cash crisis was made public, the Halle has received hundreds of messages of support and offers of money.

The widow of conductor Sir John Barbirolli, who in the 1950s and 1960s led the orchestra to international stature, is one of those who stepped forward to help.

Last year the orchestra moved into its new home, the £42m Bridgewater Hall. The move was regarded as successful, with audiences averaging higher than 80%.

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Relevant Stories

04 Feb 98†|†UK
The Halle: 140 years of musical tradition under threat

03 Feb 98†|†Business
Wrong note for Halle Orchestra

Internet Links

The Association of British Orchestras

The Arts Council of England

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