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St James' world class classical acts ticket sales are 'catastrophic'

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IT IS a last chance saloon for classical acts at St James after 'catastrophic' ticket sales could mean the cancellation of two world class acts unless a sponsor can be found or local concert goers change their booking habits.

Renowned classical performers in the Maxwell Quartet and Warwick Piano Trio are due to perform in the island this month.

However, the expense of bringing these performers to Guernsey cannot be offset by the current ticket sales and as a result cancellation cannot be avoided.

This also results in the loss of important educational resources for children as many performers also visit local schools.

However, this is not a new problem for the concert hall.

Performers such as pianist Pavel Kolesnikov and violinist Aleksey Semenenko - both of which are musicians who have performed to sell out audiences at venues such as Carnegie Hall and the Wigmore Hall - only achieved sales of 58 and 63 tickets in Guernsey.

Executive director of St James Jon Bisson said that decisions to cancel the concerts would be met with a heavy heart. especially the Maxwell Quartet which was to perform to schools and deliver an educational workshop.

'It is no secret that St James has been financially stricken and from the outset my mission has been to turn this around whilst honouring and respecting the values the Founders of St James instilled in the business,' said Mr Bisson.

'It is therefore with a heavy heart that we find ourselves in this position. We know that people do not want to see a demise in the classical performances, but sadly people do not support this notion by attending the events. We have now reached a critical juncture where people must support it or lose it.

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Ticket sales need to more than triple for these events to take place.

'This is not an impossible task as we know that the audience is out there,' he said.

'Certainly, many [concerned] voices were heard when the idea that classical might not continue a couple of years ago.

'Dare I say Guernsey audiences are generally lethargic and expect that these types of events will always be available to them. Sadly, this is no longer the case.'

The Maxwell Quartet and Warwick Piano Trio are due to perform at St James on the 10 October and 23 October respectively.

Tickets are available from www.stjames.gg.

Yves Le

By Yves Le
News reporter

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