BBC examines role in ‘classical music ecosystem’ post-pandemic

The BBC is reviewing its role in the classical music sector following the brutal impact of the pandemic.

The broadcaster, which produces the BBC Proms, the world’s biggest classical music festival, is looking for opportunities to expand access to the arts for all.

The BBC’s director of factual arts and classical music, Patrick Holland, said the effects on the cultural sector are “still being felt” after Covid-19.

He said: “Add to a rapidly changing digital landscape, with audiences always finding new ways to access classical music and there has never been a more important time to understand the BBC’s role in the ecosystem of British classical music.”

To mark its centenary, the society will undertake a two-month review exploring the state of classical music in the UK and the BBC’s role in it.

Holland said the review will include “an audience and market analysis” exploring the ways in which the BBC can reach people across the UK and “encourage greater diversity and develop new talent”.

He added: “We also hope to identify new opportunities to broaden access to the BBC’s classic offering, including through digital innovation and additional partnerships.

“We are extremely proud to be one of the most important players in the classical music industry, being an integral part of the British cultural landscape and the international scene as well.

Last Night of the Proms conductor Dalia Stasevska with a reduced orchestra who performed live at the Royal Albert Hall but without an audience due to coronavirus restrictions (Chris Christodoulou/BBC)

(PA Media)

“We have achieved this by never stagnating, always thinking about how best to serve our audience and our partners.

“We want to continue this conversation to ensure the BBC has the greatest impact for audiences; expanding access, education, participation in classical music and opening doors for the next generation behind the baton.

“This review will help us do that.”

Holland said he would work with Rachel Jupp, BBC Content editorial director, and Alan Davey, controller of Radio 3, BBC Proms, BBC Orchestras and Choirs, on the report, which will be made public when completed.

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