The BBC has turned around and decided not to lay off the BBC Singers, Britain’s only full-time professional choir.
The corporation was forced to back down after a widespread angry reaction to its plans to ditch classical music equipment.
The broadcaster said it has agreed with the Musicians Union (MU) that it will suspend the cut while it looks at financing solutions offered by a number of organizations that, if viable, could secure the ensemble’s future.
The BBC also confirmed that the in-house chamber choir will appear at the BBC Proms this year.
This comes weeks after the broadcaster announced plans to ax the choir and reduce salaried orchestral positions in BBC English orchestras by around 20%.
Britain’s most famous conductor, Sir Simon Rattle, was said to be considering a boycott of the Proms unless the BBC changed its mind.
The corporation was forced to back down after a widespread angry reaction to its plans to ditch classical music equipment (pictured)
Internationally renowned conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner, who has been chosen to perform at the King’s coronation, called the decision a “scandal” and said corporation bosses “don’t give a damn” about classical music. british.
The BBC previously said the singers would be replaced by more “agile” ensembles to attract musicians from across the country.
The BBC said in a statement: “The BBC has received proposals from a number of organizations offering alternative funding models for BBC singers.
“We have agreed with the Musicians Union that we will suspend the proposal to close the BBC Singers, while we actively explore these options.
‘If they are viable, these alternative options would ensure the future of the complex.
“We can also confirm that the singers will appear at this year’s BBC Proms.
“We know that the BBC singers are much loved in the classical community and their professionalism, quality and prestige have never been questioned.
‘We have said throughout these were difficult decisions. So we want to fully explore the options that have been presented to us to see if there is another way forward.
Britain’s most famous bandleader, Sir Simon Rattle, was said to be considering a boycott of proms unless the BBC changed its mind, shown here performing in Trafalgar Square in 2022
‘The BBC still need to save and still plan to invest more in the future of choral singing across the UK.
‘The BBC, as the largest music commissioner and one of the largest employers of musicians in the country, recognizes that it has a vital role to play in supporting orchestral and choral music.
‘We will continue to work with the Musicians Union on our proposals on the BBC English Orchestras.
“We are committed to meaningful consultation and to avoiding compulsory redundancies, wherever possible.”
The Musician’s Union (MU) said it will check with the BBC to ensure it has a “secure and extremely bright future”.
He will also speak to the broadcaster about the BBC Concert Orchestra, Philharmonic Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra and fight against proposed 20% cuts in salaried positions.
Jo Laverty, MU National Orchestra Organiser, said: “The weeks since the BBC announcement have shocked all the individuals affected in the most brutal way.
“We stand right behind every member affected, and when we enter into the negotiation, we will be consulting our members at Singers and BBC orchestras to ensure the outcome is as positive as possible for everyone.”
Sir John Eliot Gardiner (pictured) said corporation bosses “don’t give a damn” about British classical music after deciding to fire BBC singers.
Naomi Pohl, general secretary of MU, added that the support shown to BBC singers and orchestras after the announcement had been “incredible” and hoped the broadcaster would recognize the “quality and value” the groups bring to the UK music industry and the BBC license fee. payers
The director and head coach of the National Opera Studio Andrew Griffiths, who broadcasts regularly with the BBC singers, raged: ‘This must not be the end of the campaign.
Not a word about the orchestras. No certainty for BBC singers.
“But the first step is the most difficult and the extraordinary and relentless public pressure has moved a mountain.”
Royal Holloway’s Department of Music teacher Sam Fernando, who has also worked with the BBC Singers, said: “This has made my day!”
English National Opera director of music Martin Fitzpatrick added: “Good news about the clemency of the BBC singers. But just like with the English National Opera, this is a temporary fix.
‘There is more to be done to ensure their long-term survival.
‘I think a meaningful consultation suggests a long discussion taking viewpoints from a wide range of people.’
And former Labor PR chief Alastair Campbell celebrated: “Looks like the BBC singers were saved!! Great news.
‘Another victory for decent people power.’