24 March 2023
By Ellie Palmer
The BBC caused controversy earlier this month when it announced that it would be completely closing the BBC Singers. The broadcaster has now halted its decision as it searches for funding alternatives
The BBC has announced that it has suspended its controversial decision to close the BBC Singers.
In a statement released this morning, the broadcaster said:
"The BBC has received approaches from a number of organisations offering alternative funding models for the BBC Singers. We have agreed with the Musicians’ Union that we will suspend the proposal to close the BBC Singers, while we actively explore these options. If viable, these alternative options would secure the future of the ensemble. We can also confirm the Singers will appear in this year’s BBC Proms.
"We know that the BBC Singers are much loved across the classical community and their professionalism, quality and standing has never been in question. We have said throughout these were difficult decisions. Therefore, we want to fully explore the options that have been brought to us to see if there is another way forward. The BBC still needs to make savings and still plans to invest more widely in the future of choral singing across the UK.
The BBC, as the biggest commissioner of music and one of the biggest employers of musicians in the country, recognises it has a vital role to play in supporting orchestral and choral music. We will continue to engage with the Musicians’ Union and the other BBC Unions about our proposals on the BBC’s English Orchestras. We are committed to meaningful consultation and to avoiding compulsory redundancies, wherever possible."
The Independent Society of Musicians, who came out in strong defence of the BBC Singers, have responded with their own statement:
"The ISM welcomes today’s announcement from the BBC to suspend the decision to close the BBC Singers while it looks into alternative funding models. The Singers will also appear in this year’s BBC Proms. The decision comes after a widespread outcry from across the globe and a mass campaign by music organisations, ensembles and musicians."
Time will tell whether alternative funding will be secured in order to keep the BBC Singers running.