Bequest supports Sheffield chamber music

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SHEFFIELD-BASED chamber music promoter Music in the Round has been given £150,000 from the will of a London music lover.

Altogether, Diana Ruth Kurzman, who died in 2003, left £925,000 to be distributed by Arts Council England “for the benefit of orchestras and the performance of chamber music and opera”.

Music in the Round will use the money over five years to reach new audiences, promote higher profile artists and larger ensembles and support young chamber musicians.

Miss Kurzman, who lived alone, had particular passion for the piano, insisting on having one with her wherever she lived. Other bequests are going to Orchestras Live and to a partnership of the Royal Opera House, Opera North and Aldeburgh Music for new large-scale works for opera.

Music in the Round chair Paul Allen said: “This legacy is extremely important to us financially at a time when public investment in the arts is likely to continue to decline for the foreseeable future. The Arts Council’s choice of Music in the Round to receive it is a huge vote of confidence in the quality of our work and the passion with which our musicians present it.

“But for me it is also very moving that a woman of whom we know little other than her own passion for the piano and classical music should share our commitment to giving more people the opportunity to be swept away by music to which currently they may have no access.

“When you accept a legacy there is, I think, an obligation to remember and honour the giver. The sheer joy and spiritual excitement of the greatest chamber music, experienced close-up, will I hope do justice to Diana Kurzman and others whose support for us is critical.”

The first project to be supported by the legacy is a tour by resident group Ensemble 360 with a programme including a new commission from associate composer Charlie Piper in response to archive film footage about the making of stainless steel.

It will be premiered at the Showroom Cinema during Music in the Round’s 2013 May Festival, and live-streamed to other cinemas around the country before touring nationally from October 2013.