June 20: Yorkshire orchestra will need another kind of notes

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From: J Graham Walker, Otley.

I WAS interested to read your article (The Yorkshire Post, June 16) about a move to create a new professional orchestra in Yorkshire. Whilst I applaud conductor Alex Conway’s vision and without sounding too negative, I fear that, without sponsorship, such an innovation could meet with the same fate that the Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra suffered many years ago.

When one considers the huge costs involved, such as the hire of suitable venues, the hire of music, players’ fees, publicity, transport etc. and without any funding, Mr Conway’s dream could become a pipe dream.

I also take issue with him and the Arts Council who state that the Yorkshire region is not represented by orchestras. The fine Orchestra of Opera North is based in Leeds (funded by the Arts Council) and the county has several amateur orchestras, viz. Leeds Symphony Orchestra, Leeds Sinfonia, Airedale Symphony Orchestra, Harrogate Symphony Orchestra, Huddersfield Philharmonic, West Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra, York Symphony Orchestra, plus several small ensembles.

All these amateur orchestras are self-funding and exist largely due to subscriptions paid by their members. In other words they ”pay to play”. If Mr Conway’s players are going to be “paid to play”, then I have serious doubts as to its long-term future.

From: Derek Hollingsworth, Roman Road, Carton, Barnsley.

YOUR page three headline “Orchestra puts an end to 60 years of silence” (The Yorkshire Post, June 16) presents a somewhat blinkered view of the provision of orchestral music in Yorkshire.

For about 40 years Yorkshire has enjoyed the presence of a very fine symphony orchestra, resident and working within the county.

Like the Vienna Philharmonic, the Orchestra of Opera North functions successfully in both the opera house and in the concert hall. The orchestra plays regularly in the Leeds International Concerts and provides the backbone for the excellent Kirklees Council concerts, held in the town halls of Huddersfield and Dewsbury.

As part of the partnership with Kirklees, the Orchestra does outreach work into schools in the area.

Only time will reveal if the Yorkshire Philharmonic Orchestra will be a success, but they will have to achieve and maintain very high standards to do so.

From: ME Wright, Grove Road, Harrogate.

NEWS of the Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra’s reincarnation recalls a memorable introduction to great music at Leeds Town Hall. For what was probably one of their last concerts, a tram, packed with school kids and a grandly designated ‘Special Car’, took us there.

However, your reference to “60 years of silence” cannot go unchallenged. The Leeds Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1890 (the southern upstarts usurped the LSO acronym some years later) and continues to delight. And let’s not forget the Leeds Sinfonia, Ripon’s St Cecilia, Harrogate’s Symphony and Philharmonic Orchestras and several others.

Welcome back YSO. Though you’ve been missed, we’ve continued to be well served musically. What a pity something similar cannot be said for the trams, which the same myopic council dumped a few years later!

City in sky fell down to earth

From: Geoffrey Searstone, Moor Lane, York.

YOUR property article (The Yorkshire Post, June 13) about Sheffield omitted to mention that most of Sheffield’s city architect J Lewis Womersley’s visions of “A city in the sky” were financial disasters for the city and most citizens hated them.

In 1964, while I was working at Viners silversmiths, some of the last of the city’s “back to back” houses were being demolished. Grim as they were they had served their purpose well, the last ones were built in 1856 and were replaced on the site by another one of “Womersley’s Wonders”, a pre-cast, grey pebble dashed concrete block. No less than Princess Anne officially opened it.

After five years, damp was seeping through badly sealed joints and within 10 years the occupants were complaining of illness caused by damp and the subsequent mould problems and after 15 years the entire block had been turned into rubble. A fate that befell too much of Sheffield’s house building of the 1960s.

Like all architects, J Lewis Womersley never lived in one of his visionary creations. The term “built in obsolescence” could have been coined to describe his career.

Did Lizzie risk bike tumble?

From: Keith Handley, Scotland Way, Horsforth, Leeds.

MY commiserations to Lizzie Armistead following her crash at the conclusion of Wednesday’s opening stage of the Women’s Tour. It appears that it happened at high speed moments after her sprint victory when she veered into a photographer, with several other riders crashing immediately afterwards.

The following morning, you published a photo of her crossing the finishing line at high speed, sitting upright on the bicycle, with her hands in the air.

Could there possibly be a connection between the two incidents?

MPs mind Ps and Qs at last

From: Coun Charles C Wraith, Burton Road, Monk Bretton, Barnsley

YOU kindly published an email from me regarding PMQs on December 18, 2013. This week I watched Prime Minister’s Questions and at long last the questions of Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn and the answers from George Osborne could be heard.

How refreshing that both conducted themselves in a manner fitting and worthy of the positions they hold and treated one another with respect.

David Cameron and all other members of the baying pack of loutish members who behave in a disgraceful manner, please take note.