Sir John Eliot Gardiner, described as one of the world’s greatest conductors, said the cuts announced by the BBC were “harsh” and “appalling”. The BBC’s Singers’ Choir was announced as one of the victims of a savings spree earlier this month, which Sir John said showed the “senior officers” of the institution had little interest in classical music. He is among several prominent figures, including members of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government, who are critical of the BBC’s decision to fire the choir, which has been operating for nearly a century.
The baroque specialist, who will direct 20 minutes of music at the pre-service ceremony for the coronation of King Charles III, criticized the “big wigs” at the establishment which he said made these decisions without consulting music professionals.
The 79-year-old, known for his performances of Bach, made the comments during his interview with the BBC, where he said that the foundation’s bosses “don’t give a flying fig” about classical music.
talking on Today programme, BBC Radio 4 On 18 March following the news that he would perform at West Minister Abbey over the coronation weekend in May, Sir John said: “I am sure of [the coronation] It will be a real celebration at a time when the authorities are making some horrific draconian cuts.
“There has been a flurry of protests over the past months in anger at recent cuts by the government in funding for music and the performing arts.”
He continued: “Just now this week the BBC’s senior brass have decided to sack the BBC singer, which is a scandal. This is the only paid professional public choir in Britain, and they are cutting 20 per cent of the musicians in their in-house orchestras too.”
“Although these big wigs at the BBC had made these decisions without consultation, you’d at least hope they might have listened to what professional classical musicians really think about these cuts.”
Sir John is not alone in his indignation. Former culture secretary Oliver Dowden and ministers backed the decision to save the BBC singers during a cabinet meeting yesterday, according to The Guardian. telegraph.
A government source said the singers’ cost, which is a “special part” of what the company does, is not “a huge amount of money”. The cost is said to be less than £1.3m of BBC football expert Gary Lineker’s salary.
Read more: Julian Lloyd Webber slams the BBC’s “deplorable treatment” of musicians
Cellist Julian Lloyd-Webber also criticized the cuts, which would also see a 20 per cent drop in roles in three BBC orchestras and the Philharmonic and Symphony Orchestra, asking “what the BBC still stands for”.
In an article by Radio TimesHe asked, “Have you given up any pretense for a public broadcasting service? And if so, why do you keep charging us our licensing fees?”
As part of its “new strategy” for classical music, “prioritizing quality, agility and impact”, published on 7 March, the BBC announced that it had canceled the BBC Singers who had been singing since 1924.
Instead, the company said it would invest resources in a larger group of choir groups from across the UK.
Petition called halting the planned closure of the BBC’s singershas now attracted more than 140,000 signatures in an effort to stop the plans.
It is appealing to Director General Tim Davie and other senior BBC staff to reconsider its “devastating and devastating decision”.
It read: “The number of people affected by the planned closure of the UK’s only full-time professional choir is significant. Firstly, an additional 20 professional singers and administrative staff will have their jobs and livelihoods cut off.”
The choir, based at BBC Maida Vale studios, will give free concerts across London and at various festivals both in the UK and abroad. The majority of her shows have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3.