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Ulster Orchestra's funding secured as new managing director is unveiled

By Alf McCreary

Published 25/02/2016

The Ulster Orchestra has appointed Richard Wigley its new managing director as it confirmed funding is secure for the 2016-17 season, when it marks its 50th anniversary
The Ulster Orchestra has appointed Richard Wigley its new managing director as it confirmed funding is secure for the 2016-17 season, when it marks its 50th anniversary

The Ulster Orchestra has appointed Richard Wigley its new managing director as it confirmed funding is secure for the 2016-17 season, when it marks its 50th anniversary.

Mr Wigley has worked with some of Europe's top ensembles and will take over in Belfast at the end of this month.

Sir George Bain told the Belfast Telegraph that, in the medium-term, the orchestra's future is secure following four years of financial cuts which threatened its existence.

The organisation's chairman added: "The orchestra is stronger today than at any time since its core funding began to be cut from 2011-12."

He warned, however, that the orchestra has still not obtained long-term financial security.

"But we hope to make significant progress towards this goal after the Assembly elections in May this year," he added.

Sir George warmly welcomed the appointment of Mr Wigley.

"Richard brings with him a wide experience of orchestral management at the highest level, and has worked with many of the world's leading orchestras and conductors," he said.

Sir George also paid tribute to Trevor Green, the body's professional consultant since 2014.

He said: "Trevor is moving on after making an immeasurable contribution to the restructuring of the organisation, and we wish him every success."

The appointment of the new managing director was also welcomed by chief conductor Rafael Payare.

"Richard's knowledge and experience will be a huge asset to the orchestra," he said.

"I know he is going to love working with this group of musicians."

Mr Wigley said: "Great countries and cities have great orchestras and this is certainly true of the Ulster Orchestra, and with its dynamic chief conductor Rafael Payare it is playing its part in building Northern Ireland's bright image across the world."

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