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Musicians and Supporters Rally Behind BBC Singers and Orchestras Facing Job Cuts

Musicians and supporters are rallying behind BBC Singers and Orchestras affected by proposed job cuts – taking action, sharing on social media, and keeping the issue in the press.

Published: 10 March 2023 | 11:39 AM Updated: 13 March 2023 | 1:03 PM
Members of the BBC Singers performing in a concert
“It’s about people who had what they thought were quite secure jobs. They’ve got mortgages, they’ve got families, they’re very concerned about the future.” Photo credit: Shutterstock

The MU is in urgent talks with the BBC to save musicians’ jobs after proposals to cut employed posts across BBC Singers and three orchestras were announced on Tuesday 7 March.

Musician and supporters are rallying behind BBC Singers and orchestral players affected, and there has been an outpour of shock and support both on and offline. Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra Sakari Oramo, Olivier Award winner Rebecca Trehearn, and MPs including Barbara Keeley and Apsana Begum have spoken out against the proposals.

Conductors and artists in residence working with most of the BBC’s Performing Groups have signed a letter expressing their disbelief at the plans and asking the BBC to reconsider. “Excellence must be fought for, and lovers of classical music must be prepared to fight with fierce determination for what they hold dear,” the letter says.

Trade unions ASLEF, BECTU, Equity and The Writers Guild have shared their solidarity with MU members. The Trades Union Congress has also called on the whole movement to take action in solidarity with MU members.

Keeping cuts to BBC Singers and orchestras in the news

Press coverage includes a segment on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row featuring MU General Secretary Naomi Pohl alongside BBC Head of Orchestras and Choirs Simon Webb.

“Obviously it’s totally devastating. It’s been a really emotional day,” Naomi told Front Row host Samira Ahmed.

“It’s about people, it’s about people who had what they thought were quite secure jobs. They’ve got mortgages, they’ve got families, they’re very concerned about the future – and we’re here to support them individually, but also to think about the wider impact of this on the sector and the BBC, which is the biggest employer and engager of musicians in the UK,” Naomi explained.

“We’ll be trying to save as many jobs as possible,” she added.

Reaching as many people as possible

More press highlights include:

  • BBC News: “BBC cuts to classical singers and orchestras labelled 'utterly devastating'”
  • Guardian: “BBC Singers to close in corporation’s ‘major review of classical music’”
  • The Times: “Axing BBC Singers is cultural vandalism, broadcaster told”
  • Daily Telegraph: “The decision to axe the BBC Singers is a total assault on classical music”

The BBC is the single biggest employer of musicians in the UK. Any attack on their music provision – from orchestral music to BBC Introducing – affects us all.

Show your support – take action now!

Take action now to protect BBC Singers and orchestras from the proposed cuts:

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