Grammy-nominated Sinfonia Viva, which is based in Derby and the only professional orchestra in the East Midlands, has secured support as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF).


The £72,123 grant, announced today (Saturday October 17) by the Culture Secretary, will enable the Orchestra to secure its future and the livelihoods of freelance artists that it works with by developing two key areas of its work onto digital platforms – concert giving and creative outreach programmes.


The Orchestra is now planning to produce videos of three ensemble performances in local historical settings over the coming months as well as a concert programme of Viennese music.  This will replace Viva’s annual gala concert which is usually performed in front of a sell-out audience at Nottingham Royal Centre on New Year’s Eve. 


All recordings will be BSL interpreted and available online with audiences being asked to donate to Orchestra funds.


The grant will also enable two choirs run by the Orchestra to continue online – Sing Viva - Derbyshire carers’ choir and SOfa choir in rural parts of Lincolnshire as well as people from Sweden and Denmark as part of an international partnership.  Both choirs provide a vital creative outlet for people deeply affected by the pandemic.


Sinfonia Viva chief executive Peter Helps said the grant would help the creative team and freelance musicians develop the vital digital and performance skills needed to re-engage with audiences and local communities.


He explained: “We have worked hard as a lean and flexible organisation to ensure our resilience to the restrictions placed on us until such times that we can return to concert giving in venues and engaging with local communities to create and perform music.


“Our biggest concern has been the lack of opportunities to work with and, of course, pay the freelance musicians, composers and workshop leaders who are such an important part of our organisation.


“In the short term, the funding will enable us to support our creative family by delivering high quality classical music and continuing the choirs that have been a lifeline to everyone involved in these turbulent times.


“It also gives us the means to up-skill and explore different ways to address the challenges we all face in the orchestral world both now and in the future.”


Since lockdown Sinfonia Viva’s activity has included short online performances by solo musicians, new music performed as part of Darley Park At Home and a performance by Sing Viva of ‘Lean on Me’ on Youtube


Sinfona Viva is one of 588 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support – with £76 million of investment announced today to help organisations face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future.


This follows £257 million awarded earlier in the week to 1,385 organisations, also from the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.  Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks.


Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “This is more vital funding to protect cultural gems across the country, save jobs and prepare the arts to bounce back. Through Arts Council England we are delivering the biggest ever investment in the arts in record time. Hundreds of millions of pounds are already making their way to thousands of organisations.


“These awards build on our commitment to be here for culture in every part of the country.”


Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said: “Culture is an essential part of life across the country, helping to support people’s wellbeing through creativity and self-expression, bringing communities together, and fuelling our world class creative industries. 


“This latest set of awards from the Culture Recovery Fund builds on those announced recently and will help hundreds of organisations to survive the next few months, ensuring that the cultural sector can bounce back after the crisis.  We will continue doing everything we can to support artists and cultural and creative organisations, with further funding to be announced in the coming weeks.”