In Monday’s (1/2) South China Morning Post, Vivienne Chow reports, “Hong Kong has been cultivating home-grown professional performing arts groups since the 1970s, but the city’s orchestras and dance troupes are still far too understaffed by local talent, according to its cultural managers.… ‘We want to hire more locals, but we can’t—there’s no one around for us to hire,’ says Margaret Yang, chief executive of the Hong Kong Sinfonietta.… Michael MacLeod, chief executive of the Philharmonic Orchestra, agrees…. for arts and culture in general, government spending in the current financial year is more than HK$2.82 billion—or 1 per cent of annual government expenditure. That includes more than HK$264 million dedicated to the nine flagship performing arts groups,” among them the Philharmonic, Sinfonietta and Chinese Orchestra. Despite government support, managers say that low pay for local musicians mean they must turn elsewhere for work. “At the end of the day, Hong Kong’s arts scene should not rely on importing foreigners, Yang said. ‘It’s not just the arts, but also for any other businesses. You simply don’t want expats who can leave the town at any time. You want people who have an attachment and loyalty to this place.’”

Posted January 6, 2012