BBC Singers and Orchestra cuts

The Royal Musical Association expresses deep concern about the BBC’s plans to fold the BBC Singers and reduce salaried orchestral posts by 20%.  This is another blow to professional classical ensembles in the United Kingdom, coming in the wake of Arts Council England’s cuts to opera and other ensembles.  It is a threat to the livelihoods of current and future musicians and reinforces the increasingly precarious working practices professionals in the creative industries face.  The decision appears also to reinforce the announcement last year that the performing arts are no longer priority areas for government higher education funding. As the oldest and largest scholarly association for music in the UK, the RMA believes that the BBC’s decision will permanently damage the UK’s long-established international reputation in choral singing, orchestral playing and the performing arts more generally. We urge the BBC to reconsider its proposals.


  1. The disbanding of the BBC Singers is a disaster from multiple points of view. Quite apart from the amazing standard of musicianship demonstrated by the Singers individually and collectively, both in terms of technique and sightreading, the BBC Singers have brought to our ears the widest range of repertoire, often works not likely to be easily heard elsewhere as well as more standard repertoire, disbanding the Singers demonstrates the disregard for cultire in general and classical music in particular increasingly displayed by the BBC. Classical music is not just the annual jamboree of the ‘Proms’ – at which historically the Singers have over the years played an enhancing part – it is an ongoing, perennial manifestation of some of the high spots of Western culture. Classical music lovers are also licence fee payers, and as a sizeable section of fee payers deserve to have their interest recognised. If the BBC wishes to maintain its reputation at home and abroad, it will be well-advised to reconsider this appalling decision. I write as a music researcher, performer and entrepreneur who has on occasion engaged singers from the BBC Singers for concerts with his ensemble, Café Mozart …

  2. This is just the latest example of the philistinism which is a feature of modern British society.

  3. The people in the BBC making these devastating and ridiculous decisions know nothing about music and how it works. This is abundantly clear from the language they use. What hope is there for the Arts with people like this deciding the future of music in our country?
    It is all very depressing.

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