IT’S often said by people in the arts industry that classical music in Britain is “under threat”. It is said so often because it is so frequently true.

But it should make us wonder quite how some of Britain’s finest ensembles have continued to promote new music, gain new audiences and reach new heights of international standing and fame over the last two decades.

After a choral concert I sang in last week, one renowned British singer stood up on the chairs and delivered an impromptu speech lamenting the plight of their industry, but also the “ecstasy” of experiencing the sheer brilliance of the best ensembles across the nation.

Government cuts and a lack of general public interest have not hit standards so far. But money talks, even in the most high-flown industry of classical music.

READ MORE: Stone of Destiny finally has a home that does its story justice

Its saviours are focusing their energies on London, and on England. In Wales, mismanagement and cuts have imperilled the future of its greatest opera company and the futures of the best orchestras of Scotland’s two largest cities really do lie in doubt.

Cuts in local government funding and the capricious support of the arts councils form part of a pattern seen across the country but one vital factor has prompted little comment –the lack of recognition in England of the musical scene north of the Border.

While petitions and debates keep attention focused on the biggest institutions in London, audiences across the nation are missing out on the richness and diversity of Scottish orchestras. It’s a cultural disconnect that threatens musical life on both sides of the Border.

Scotland’s orchestras are something of a musical melting pot.

Maxim Emelyanychev of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra learnt his trade in the traditional academies of Russia, while Thomas Sondergard spends his time jet-setting the globe while still being music director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

Mark Wigglesworth is a renowned composer as well as a visionary conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

Yet the bands are bastions of the places in which they are based – in their concert halls and in their community. That relationship with the community and location is in the nature of a 21st century orchestra. And it’s under threat.

READ MORE: Scottish stars join celebrities urge Government to act on Sudan

The exposure given to these orchestras on a UK level usually amounts to an occasional performance at the BBC Proms.

The BBC Scottish features noticeably less than its Welsh counterpart in national broadcasts and its platform on national radio is relatively paltry.

The National:

It all means that the recent news of cuts to funding – however unsurprising – will not be backed up by the same national campaign which met the reaction to the crippling cuts to the English National Opera or the BBC Singers of the last two years. Scottish orchestras – which are much more than their star-studded conductors – are not getting the attention they deserve. And attention is another thing that orchestras of today depend upon.

Orchestras across Britain walk a cultural tightrope. They are pressured to introduce new and challenging music to bring in new audiences, but are urged and feel the financial pressure to wheel out old favourites to fill the seats just as much.

That’s certainly reflected in the RSNO’s current programme – a mix of film tunes and Romantic classics. It makes truly original work and innovative programming almost impossible. As a result, these bands do not have the reach and the stability that would enable them to forge part of Scotland’s own cultural identity.

The answer, though, does not lie in isolation, but in the greater integration of the British music scene. That’s the only way that the talk of the threats to classical music across Scotland and elsewhere can be made into an opportunity.

Patrick Maxwell is a writer and journalist and a historian and singer based at New College in Oxford