- About Us
- Members' Directory
- Members' Area
The Association of British Orchestras was founded in 1947 as the Orchestral Employers' Association, primarily to negotiate with the Musicians' Union and other bodies on behalf of its membership, which consisted almost entirely at that time of those orchestras receiving annual funding from the newly established Arts Council of Great Britain. In 1982 the Association took on limited company status, becoming the Association of British Orchestras. It continues to negotiate the ABO/MU Freelance Orchestral Agreement with the MU and represent its membership in discussions and negotiations with a number of other national organisations.
The past decade has seen a substantial development in the organisation in terms of its size (an increase from 35 in 1989 to over 150 organisations today) and its role, which has expanded to include a diverse range of activities designed to support the development of the UK's orchestral life. The ABO now has an extensive programme of Events from Specialist Manager Meetings and training to Seminars and the Annual Conference.
In past years, the Association of British Orchestras has developed a role as co-ordinator of various national projects, including two major sponsorship programmes involving the participation of a large number of member orchestras. As a champion of the education and community work of the UK's orchestras, one of the ABO's key objectives has been the support and development of this core area of work. A series of nationally co-ordinated education projects over the past years resulted in a well established Orchestras in Education programme, which existed to promote the education work of member orchestras and to develop the relationship between schools, teachers and orchestral players.
The Association of British Orchestras has also mounted a number of research initiatives, with a series of important industry reports being produced, such as a comprehensive statistical survey of the UK's orchestral profession, Knowing the Score, and the highly influential report on noise damage to musicians, A Sound Ear.