BBC Singers Shuttered as Part of a New Strategy for Classical Music in the UK

The dissolution slashes 20 jobs, while English orchestras cuts 20 percent of salaried roles.

By Chris Ruel
Photo: Mark Allan

Citing the need for agility, the BBC has unveiled a new strategy to bolster it’s purpose for classical music, and it’s causing quite a stir.

The BBC will invest in choral singing across the UK, but that decision shutters the BBC Singers, eliminating 20 jobs.

On the orchestral front, the BBC aims to create agile ensembles. However, that agility comes at a cost in terms of reduced salaried orchestral posts. These will be slashed by approximately 20 percent  in the BBC English Orchestras–Symphony, Concert, and Philharmonic.

On the bright side, funding for music education will provide more opportunities for people to engage with classical music and build audiences.

“This new strategy is bold, ambitious and good for the sector and for audiences who love classical music,” Charlotte Moore, chief content officer at the BBC stated on the BBC website.

She continued, “That doesn’t mean that we haven’t had to make some difficult decisions, but equally they are the right ones for the future.”

The Musician’s Union (MU) had a statement of their own on the website.

“The BBC is the biggest employer and engager of musicians in the UK and it plays a unique role in the ecosystem of our music industry,” MU’s General secretary Naomi Pohl said.

“From Glastonbury to the Proms, from Jools Holland to BBC Radio, its coverage, support and promotion of British musical talent nationally and internationally is unrivalled.

“It is because we appreciate the BBC’s role so much that these proposed cuts are so utterly devastating.”

Pohl also stated that the union would “fight for ever job.”

The new strategy will also focus on the distinctiveness of the BBC’s five unique orchestras, and create a single digital home for its orchestras.