There was a huge outcry in Britain and across the globe when the BBC announced plans for huge cutbacks to its world-famous orchestras and to axe the BBC Singers.
The devastating action would have a catastrophic impact not just on the musicians and singers affected, but also on the wider classical music ecosystem that relies on these immensely talented ensembles.
For decades, the Corporation’s support for musicians, singers and composers has helped bolster the UK’s status as a cultural superpower. Take, for example, the BBC Proms – an event loved by an audience of millions and admired right across the world.
It’s hard to understand the rationale behind these proposed cuts, especially when you consider the relatively small financial savings weighed against the huge loss of artistic talent.
So, I’m glad the Corporation announced on Friday that it would suspend its plans to close the BBC Singers while it looks at alternative ways of funding this unique chamber choir. However, we need to ensure that the long-term future of these incredible singers is secure.
While the BBC Singers are safe for now, the cutbacks to the Corporation’s irreplaceable orchestras are still on the table and we must ensure there is an urgent rethink there too.
It’s impossible to overstate the cultural and social impact of these orchestras. They bring joy to millions, boost our well-being and happiness and play a crucial role in music education, nurturing the next generation of talent on which our industry relies.
They help shape our nation’s identity, touch the lives of people from all parts of the UK and from all backgrounds and boost our reputation across the globe.
If we lose these jewels in our cultural crown, they will be gone forever. It simply will not be possible to put them back together when the financial picture looks rosier.
These BBC orchestras and singers are an integral part of our musical history, but they must also be part of our vibrant and diverse cultural future.
We cannot take our reputation for musical excellence for granted. We must fight to ensure that future generations can enjoy the music that has brought us so much joy.
Jamie Njoku-Goodwin is the chief executive of UK Music.