They should have turned 100 next year.
The BBC Singers, the BBC's chamber music choir, will no longer sing.
On March 7, the British audiovisual group announced the termination of the country's only professional choir, made up of 21 singers, due to financial difficulties.
The budget cuts also target a 20% reduction in the salaried workforce of three symphony orchestras under his supervision: the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London, the BBC Philharmonic in Manchester and the BBC Concert.
This decision “
will allow resources to be invested in a greater number of choirs in the United Kingdom
”, assures the BBC in a press release.
But in the world of classical music this news sounded like a crushing blow.
Sofi Jeannin, has been directing the choir since 2018. In an interview with the
website , she confides how much her musical training, the only professional choir in Great Britain, is affected:
“we knew that the BBC was going to be called upon to make savings.
But from there to remove a centenary set, which displays a magnificent artistic level!
We are shocked, stunned”.
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Open letters and petition
On Friday, several prominent figures signed a letter published in The
"We are all appalled by the BBC's plans to disband the UK's only full-time professional chamber choir, the BBC Singers,"
If the signatories deplore, in the first place, the disappearance of the BBC Singers, they also warn against the consequences that this deletion could have on the sector of British choral music.
“This decision is indicative of the continued devaluation of choral music and of the nation's rich and excellent choral heritage
,” they lament.
For their part, the co-directors of the choir, created in 1924 under the name of Wireless Chorus, addressed a letter to the board of directors of the BBC.
Their message, carried by the Slipped Disc website, alleges '
dangerous senior management neglect of the BBC's classical music offering'
On Monday March 13, another open letter was sent to Tim Davie, Director General of the BBC.
Seven hundred composers including Thomas Adès, Judith Weir (King's Music Master), George Benjamin, James McMillan and Esa-Pekka Salonen are among the signatories.
The loss of this extraordinary group would be devastating for the future of this art form, for the composers it champions and for the audiences it serves
,” write the musicians.
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A collective of conductors also wrote to the management of the BBC.
To put the singers of the BBC Singers out on the streets is to display a shocking disregard not only for the way in which artistic excellence has been established, but also for the high quality of the BBC's artistic heritage envied around the
To all these letters, is added an online petition asking for the reconsideration of the decision of the British audiovisual group.
So far it has collected nearly 135,000 signatures.
The cuts come after Arts Council England cut millions of pounds in grants to three of the country's leading opera companies.
According to The
, negotiations between the musicians' union and the BBC are ongoing.
Like every year, the audiovisual group organizes the Proms classical music festival.
Speculation about his boycott is rife in the British media.
The last dates back to 1980, following plans to lay off dozens of musicians.
That year, the first 20 concerts had been cancelled.