It costs around £30,000 per year to run ERSO. We generate income through a combination of players’ donations, ticket sales and through generous financial support from the Ernest Read Trust. However, these sources do not always fully meet the significant costs involved in running the orchestra and we also run an active fundraising programme to enable us to maintain our ambitious musical programme and unique place in London’s music making.

ERSO’s Big 90th Birthday season!

Our 2020/21 season will mark the orchestra’s 90th birthday and we have big plans to celebrate the orchestra’s amazing history and Ernest Read’s contribution to music.  Our Birthday Gala concert in spring 2021 will give children from Camden, many from disadvantaged backgrounds, the unique chance to play and sing in a concert with ERSO in the beautiful Duke’s Hall at the Royal Academy. We will also be giving a young composer the chance to have two pieces premiered and recorded, including a piece they will create for the 2020 winner of the ERSO Soloist of the Year competition. This will be a huge boost to the CVs for the young composer and soloist at the start of their professional lives.

We’re asking all of our friends, families and colleagues to help us make the 90th birthday a great success and any donations will make a big difference to ERSO and the young musicians we work with.

If you would like to donate, click this link: Donate to ERSO’s 90th Birthday cycle challenge

You can also help us in the following ways:

Raise money for ERSO when you shop on Amazon Smile!

Music Illuminated, the charity which runs ERSO, is now set up on AmazonSmile and we’re ready to start raising a bit more money!

AmazonSmile is basically the same as ordinary Amazon – same selection of products and prices – but when you shop through the URL, they will donate 0.5% of the net purchase price (excluding VAT, returns and shipping fees) of eligible purchases to a charity.

Its super simple to get set up: follow this link and select Music Illuminated as your charity and shop away! When you shop on Amazon make sure you are on

Donations by Members

ERSO 2019-20 Donation Recommendation

The Ernest Read Symphony Orchestra managed by a company called Music Illuminated which is a charity. It does not have a formal subscription system but members of the orchestra are encouraged to make donations, in place of a subscription, to help towards the running costs and enable us to be able to afford to do more interesting and challenging works.

Recommended Annual Donation

The suggested annual donation is £100 or £25 per concert. There are several ways to pay. Direct payment into our bank account (details below) is the preferred method, a cheque made payable to Music Illuminated or cash are alternatives – please see Colin Foan our treasurer. Many members prefer to pay by monthly standing order, the recommended monthly payment is £8 per month.

  Standard Donation


Annual £100.00
Per concert £25.00
Monthly standing order £8.00

These are only recommendations and some members donate more or less as they feel appropriate. The orchestra understands that pensioners, students and those who are unemployed etc. are likely to find making any donation difficult and thus we emphasise that there is no obligation to donate. Our primary objective is to get people to play in the orchestra.

Please raise any questions with the committee.

How do I pay?

  • Cash
  • Cheque (to “Music Illuminated”)
  • Electronic transfer to Music Illuminated R/C (sort code 089299, account 65050778). Remember to include your name in the “Reference” field.

Music Illuminated is a registered charity and we are able to reclaim income tax paid on subscription donations. If you are a UK tax payer please complete the GiftAid declarations form on the schedule and hand it to our Treasurer.

Search and shop online through Easyfundraising

You can raise funds for ERSO at no extra cost to you by choosing us as your beneficiary charity.  Go to, register as a user and choose a beneficiary charity. You will then be given a URL through which you can search the internet. Every time you use the service to search and/or make purchases, you raise funds for ERSO as your chosen charity.