Write to your MP about the BBC cuts to musicians Jump to main content

Write to your MP about the BBC cuts to musicians

Dear [you can search for your MP on the Parliament website]

I am writing to you as your constituent regarding the BBC’s announcement earlier this week of a new Strategy for Classical Music. The strategy includes axing the BBC Singers and cutting the BBC’s three English orchestras by 20%.

If implemented, this strategy will be catastrophic for classical music in the UK. The BBC is the biggest employer of musicians in the UK, and to lose one in five of their salaried orchestral positions will be disastrous for the sector. It exposes more musicians to the precarious world of freelance work and will damage the quality of the ensembles themselves. Musicians develop artistic excellence by working together long-term, something that ensembles performing on an ad-hoc basis cannot replicate, no matter how talented.

The loss of the BBC Singers, one of the finest chamber choirs in the world, is a particular act of cultural vandalism. It makes no sense, financially or culturally. The ensemble employs 18 singers on an annual budget of around £1 million, which is tiny in the context of the BBC’s overall spending. Its small size gives it agility and flexibility, and its range is unique, programming a wide variety of new music and the work of women composers.

The UK is rightly renowned internationally for the quality of its classical music. However, the sector is struggling to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the barriers to touring created by the UK’s departure from the EU. The BBC’s announcement also follows the recent cuts announced by Arts Council England to many of our finest classical music organisations, including several of London’s leading orchestras, English National Opera, the Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne, the Britten Sinfonia and Welsh National Opera.

If our classical music organisations continue to lose funding from institutions such as the BBC, the UK will soon lose its place as a global cultural leader and we will see our talented musicians move elsewhere. I understand the pressure that the BBC is under to make savings, but axing our finest musicians is not the right way to achieve this.

The Independent Society of Musicians and many other music organisations are calling for the BBC to reconsider these decisions urgently, and I ask you as my MP to support them and use your influence to help change the BBC’s mind.

Yours sincerely

[your name and full address to show you are a constituent]