The below UK Classical Music Publishers' Letter was sent today to Tim Davie (Director General, BBC), Richard Sharp (Chair of BBC Board) the BBC Board and BBC Commercial Board, regarding the planned closure of the BBC Singers.
The devastating decision to close the BBC Singers would have far-reaching consequences, profoundly impacting the choral cultural heritage of this nation for generations to come. Since its establishment 99 years ago, the BBC Singers has been one of the most consistent and significant commissioners and promoters of new choral music in the world, due to the consummate, unmatched sight-reading skills of its members and consequent ability to learn and perform the most challenging of new music at a rate and to a standard which is rightly the envy of the choral community worldwide. Its unique ability in this respect flows directly from the full-time, salaried employment of its members.
We understand that the logic used for shutting down this iconic ensemble is drawn from the BBC’s Classical Music Review (May 2022). There is no reference in this report to choral music. Further, as the Heads of the UK’s most important publishers of new classical music, responsible for curating, frequently for commissioning, and for publishing choral and other new music by the UK’s finest living composers, we are astonished that none of us were consulted as part of the Classical Music Review.
The BBC Singers is not only the sole full-time choral ensemble of its kind in the UK, it is the BBC’s only chamber choral ensemble. The shame on our generation, were this catastrophic decision to go ahead, would be incalculable. An immense wealth of choral repertoire – and some of our finest choral composers – started life with commissions, performances and broadcasts by the BBC Singers. The lives of literally hundreds of thousands of amateur choral singers throughout our nation are enhanced by our choral heritage, and there is no ensemble which plays a bigger part in taking that heritage forward to the next generation and beyond.
We implore you, please reverse this catastrophic decision.
Richard King (Chief Executive, Faber Music)
John Minch (Chief Executive, Boosey & Hawkes)
Chris Butler (Head of Publishing, Wise Music Group)