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BBC sets out new classical music strategy

March 7, 2023

Following last year’s classical review looking at the sector and the BBC’s role within it, the BBC has set out a new strategy to strengthen its public purpose for classical music, delivering the best music to a wider audience, with a significant new investment in music education.

The BBC says that the new strategy ensures that licence fee funding works harder for the sector and for audiences now, and in the future.

At the heart of the plan, the BBC says it commits to:

· Creating agile ensembles that can work flexibly and creatively, working with more musicians and broadcasting from more venues – up to 50 – in different parts of the country, and reducing salaried orchestral posts across the BBC English Orchestras by around 20 per cent.

· Reinforcing the distinctiveness of the BBC’s five unique orchestras, artistically, educationally and geographically serving their own audiences whilst fulfilling their collective role in providing the widest range of content across Radio 3 and BBC platforms.

· Doubling funding for music education and launching new training initiatives, providing more opportunities for people to engage with classical music, building audiences and creating extraordinary experiences.

· Creating a single digital home for our orchestras, giving audiences access to the full range of orchestral content, including new and archive performances, educational content and concert listings.

· Making the decision to close the BBC Singers in order to invest more widely in the future of choral singing across the UK, working with a wide range of choral groups alongside launching a major choral development programme for new talent.

The strategy invests more widely in the sector across the UK, whilst delivering savings that ensure we deliver high quality orchestral and choral music within a sustainable financial model. Even were there no financial challenges, we believe these steps are the right ones to take to help ensure the future success of the sector.

Charlotte Moore, the BBC’s Chief Content Officer, says: “This is the first major review of classical music at the BBC in a generation. This new strategy is bold, ambitious, and good for the sector and for audiences who love classical music. That doesn’t mean that we haven’t had to make some difficult decisions, but equally they are the right ones for the future. Great classical music should be available and accessible to everyone, and we’re confident these measures will ensure more people will engage with music, have better access to it, and that we’ll be able to play a greater role in developing and nurturing the musicians and music lovers of tomorrow.”

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