IT WOULD be a tragic day for the South African arts scene if the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra had to snap shut its violin cases and close up shop for good.After instituting business rescue proceedings, the orchestra has six months in which to either secure public-sector funding from the Department of Arts and Culture or the National Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund, or from the private sector, or all of the above.Running a city orchestra is hellishly expensive. Receipts from ticket sales alone will not cover musicians’ salaries, and then there’s venue hire and other operational and production expenses.In 2000, a new, independent, artist-run city orchestra was formed from the ashes of the disbanded National Symphony Orchestra. Running a full-time orchestra as a Section 21 company was never going to be easy, yet the Johannesburg Philharmonic managed to lure corporate sponsors such as Anglo American and the JD Group. In recent years, it secured Lottery funding — the most recent...

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