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Performance notes

London may not have the best orchestra in the world, but with its four permanent subsidised symphony orchestras it has the best orchestral life

By Martin Kettle   October 2007

A golden age of stick-waving?

Those meddlesome people who like to straighten things out have always been offended by the untidy arrangement under which London has four permanent subsidised symphony orchestras. London does not need so many orchestras, they say. Can’t it make do with just two or three, like other places? And surely fewer would mean better?

There is no logical answer to these questions. If you were designing London from scratch, you probably wouldn’t give it four symphony orchestras, any more than you would allocate it 11 railway terminuses or five airports. But the plain fact is…

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