Herefordshire-based philanthropists Clive and Sylvia Richards have made a £250,000 gift to support the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s extensive educational programme over the next five years.
The gift has been made in celebration of the appointment of the orchestra’s new Music Director, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla – ‘conducting’s next superstar’ in the words of The Telegraph – whose initial concerts with the orchestra have attracted universal acclaim. It will enable Mirga to play a leading role in the future development of the orchestra’s educational programme, and will contribute to the cost of around 30 concerts per year for young people, an extensive programme of musical activities in schools, and the orchestra’s work with gifted and talented young musicians which includes the CBSO Youth Orchestra and the CBSO Youth and Children’s Choruses.
The first instalment of the gift was made as Mirga conducted schools’ concerts at Symphony Hall, Birmingham for 8,000 local children on 30 and 31 January.
Welcoming the gift, Mirga announced that the Clive and Sylvia Richards Charity will be named Principal Supporter of the CBSO’s work with young people. She said, ‘We are thankful that Clive and Sylvia Richards share our desire to inspire young people with a love of music. Their incredible gift will enable us to offer musical experiences for tens of thousands of children every year, whether at our concerts for young people, in schools, or through our world-class youth ensembles. We are very grateful’.
CBSO Chief Executive Stephen Maddock added, ‘Clive and Sylvia Richards’ exceptionally generous gift is an important contribution to the £8 million which we will need to raise from the private sector over the next five years to realise our ambitions under Mirga’s leadership. We hope that by supporting the CBSO so generously Clive and Sylvia will inspire others to give whatever they are able.’ Clive Richards was educated at Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School in Sutton Coldfield, and began his career in the Birmingham office of Peat Marwick Mitchell & Co (now KPMG). After a period as Group Finance Director of NM Rothschild & Sons he has spent the last four decades based in the City of London as a serial entrepreneur, establishing and investing in numerous companies.
The Clive and Sylvia Richards Charity was established in 1986, and has since then provided millions of pounds in support to healthcare, education, heritage and artistic causes in Herefordshire and the Midlands and around the UK. Clive was awarded the OBE for charity in the millennium honours list. He is no stranger to orchestral music, having previously served as a board director of the London Symphony Orchestra.
Clive Richards said ‘My wife and I are delighted to support Mirga in the music education of young people in the greater Birmingham area. Undoubtedly Mirga will captivate and inspire all the young people who come into orbit as she already does with her older admirers.’