Over the past few decades Classical music, as an established art form, has increasingly struggled world wide as a sustainable industry. The music preferences of the general public have been moving away from the traditional symphonic concerts, and both public and private sponsorships have been diminishing. In South Africa, orchestras moved from fully government subsidised organizations to self-sustaining companies after closure of almost all orchestras in 2000 due to new political leadership and cultural funding redirections. The South African government’s policy on Art and Culture has been completely restructured in the view of the post-apartheid government’s new priorities. The creation of a National Arts Council saw the end of separate provincial art councils and centralized the distribution of private funds. The annual ring-fenced funding for the three orchestras in three different provinces was eventually established. The Department of Arts and Culture realized that funding of all cultural institutions in the country cannot be achieved by government alone and therefore created various companies and trusts, such as National Lottery, to generate additional funding. The private sector is also being encouraged by the ministry to provide assistance and collaborate in supporting of arts and culture. The three full-time orchestras - two established post 2000 - that have persevered in the new conditions and are functioning to this day are KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, Cape Philharmonic Orchestra and Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra. All three had to adapt to new work loads and undergo a difficult transformation into money-earning business way of conducting their day-to-day operations. New concepts for the running of an orchestra, such as budgeting, advertising, planning, audience creation, outreach education, management reconstruction and fund raising, were slowly taken up and old mentalities associated with how orchestras were previously ran were finally discarded. This dissertation describes the status quo and traces the history of South Africa’s orchestras over the past fifteen years.
Dissertation (MMus)--University of Pretoria, 2010.