A new national survey commissioned by the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) has found that the Australian public values symphony orchestras as an important part of our culture, with most respondents saying that they would support maintaining or increasing government funding.

However, the survey also found that the major performing arts categories, including classical music, opera, theatre and ballet, are failing to attract most of the public to their events.

Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. Photo courtesy of ASO

The online survey, conducted in July, reached 800 people. The results were released last weekend at a conference organised by the Sydney Orchestra Musicians Association.

In a healthy endorsement of Australia’s orchestras, 83 percent of those surveyed said that they believed that government funding should either stay at its current level of $2.50 per person per annum, or be significantly increased. Only 11 percent would defund Australia’s state orchestras. Forty-eight percent identified classical music as an important part of Australian culture, and 50 percent felt it was important that school children learn classical music. In terms of the financial aspect, 70 percent viewed orchestras as an important part of the economy, acknowledging the provision of jobs...