History of Scottish Music Funding Part 1

Matt Rooke was Head of Music from 1991-1997. In this interview he talks about:

  • taking over from the Christie Duncan era, which lasted 25 years,  in which music funding had been seen as primarily for building a  'classical' music sector and when 98% plus of funding went to 'classical' music when there was  public debate about the similar audience figures for jazz, classical, and folk at that time.
  • getting jazz, classical, and traditional musicians and organisations "in the same room" at a conference in Stirling in 1991 which was a precursor to  starting to fund classical and traditional properly albeit in an era where overall music funding was increasing so he didn't have to cut too much to add in new stuff
  •  the hugely different life pathways and career and education options in Scotland at that time for someone who plays classical violin versus traditional violin and the role of the state in that
  •  the issue of national opera and classical orchestras beig seen as a badge of european statehood BUT that in Scotland these organisations weren't getting enough funding to do that job properly even when they were getting all the music funding. He mentioned Ireland deciding they couldn't afford a National Irish Ballet and just cutting it because it wasn't a national priority,
  • How during his period in charge the move began to move the National Bodies (Scottish Opera, RSNO, SCO, etc)  to direct funding and management by government - which he feels was a good thing and why - partly because it took up so much time.
  • How during his period in charge there was a clear leadership role and strategy in shifting how arts funding was spent and a recognition og the value of specialist knowledge within the funders.
  • He also says that the trends that became apparent later - 1) move from specialist to generalists within the finding agency and 2 ) retreat from a leadership role were already starting.
  • How it was a soul - destroying job but one that he enjoyed and feels is one of the best things he ever did.

He felt his key achievements were:

  • getting a much wider and fairer group of key players " in the room", starting to fund traditional music and jazz, Enterprise Music Scotland, increasing commissions and recordings funding, starting the move of National Bodies to direct management

His unfulfilled ambitions were around:

  • making the recording side stronger, developing business training in the sector

 

 

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