The BBC has carried out a detailed review of its classical music output, involving interviews with many stakeholders including the MU.
The report since published refers to the ‘resilience and creativity’ of the UK’s classical music sector and ‘the BBC’s unique and integral role’ within it. The report highlights the work of BBC orchestras and choirs across the UK, the role of Radio 3 as broadcaster and commissioner, BBC television coverage and the BBC Proms.
The MU warmly welcomes the review which emphasises the importance of the BBC's orchestras and its crucial role in the wider classical music ecology. The report highlights key areas of focus for the BBC going forward including music education and widening access, as well as the creation of a new Head of Orchestras and Choirs position.
Five highly experienced and uniquely skilled broadcasting orchestras
MU National Organiser for Orchestras, Jo Laverty, underlined the importance of the report:
“The MU always welcomed the BBC’s Classical Music Review as an opportunity to explore and bring forward into the light the huge asset they have in their full time orchestras. Also to celebrate how the BBC’s size and funding structure allows it to cement the UK as world leader in classical music.
“To have five highly experienced broadcasting orchestras who are uniquely skilled to deliver the range of output not just in terms of concerts and broadcasts but also in education and community settings is invaluable. The BBC has this resource on tap at a fraction of the cost of having to source this from outside the BBC.
“The introduction of a Head of Orchestras and Choirs role is very welcome and we hope will give a well-deserved level of focus and attention to Union negotiations and strategy across the five orchestras.”
Reinforcing the incredible work of the BBC’s performing groups
MU General Secretary Naomi Pohl commented on the report:
“We welcome this report from the BBC and applaud the care and attention that has been given to the orchestras, choirs and BBC stakeholders during the process.
“The report contains statistics and narrative that reinforce the incredible work of the BBC's performing groups and the unique role they play in the British classical music ecosystem. We are pleased to see the BBC focus on issues such as music education and diversity as well as on the role played by the BBC orchestras in communities across the U.K. They are irreplaceable and of enormous value.
“We are also very pleased to see the creation of a new BBC Head of Orchestras and Choirs role which should provide an overall strategic vision and we hope will also mean a new advocate for musicians' pay and conditions within the BBC.”
You can read the research report in full on the BBC’s website.