Orchestras and cultural priorities


Sir, – Just a few statistics might put Ireland’s orchestral provision in a wider context. This country has a population of about 4.7 million and, according to 2016 figures, is 14th in the list of richest countries. We are served by the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and the independent Irish Chamber Orchestra.

Denmark has a population of roughly 5.7 million, and is 21st in the list of richest countries. Orchestral provision comes from the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra, the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, the Copenhagen Philharmonic, the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, the Odense Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Danish Orchestra and the Danish National Chamber Orchestra.

Finland (with a population of 5.49 million) has at least eight orchestras. Austria with a population of 8.7 million has at least 12 full-time orchestras.

And some in this country wonder if we can afford our two main orchestras! Can we really claim we are a cultured people ? – Yours, etc,


Dún Laoghaire,

Co Dublin.