The BBC has U-turned and decided not to axe the BBC Singers, Britain’s only full-time professional choir.
The corporation was forced to backtrack after a widespread angry reaction to their plans to get rid of the classical music outfit.
The broadcaster said it has agreed with the Musicians Union (MU) that it will suspend the cut while it looks at funding solutions offered by a number of organisations which, if viable, could secure the future of the ensemble.
The BBC also confirmed the in-house chamber choir will appear at the BBC Proms this year.
This comes weeks after the broadcaster announced plans to scrap the 99-year-old choir and reduce salaried orchestral posts across the BBC English Orchestras by around 20%.
Britain’s most famous conductor Sir Simon Rattle was said to be considering a boycott of the Proms unless the BBC changed their mind.
The corporation was forced to backtrack after a widespread angry reaction to their plans to get rid of the classical music outfit (pictured)
Internationally renowned conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner, who has been chosen to perform for the King’s coronation, branded the decision a ‘scandal’ and said the corporation’s bosses ‘don’t give a flying fig’ about British classical music.
The BBC previously said the Singers would be replaced with more ‘agile’ ensembles to attract musicians across the country.
The BBC said in a statement: ‘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.
Britain’s most famous conductor Sir Simon Rattle was said to be considering a boycott of the Proms unless the BBC changed their mind pictured here performing in Trafalgar Square in 2022
‘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 about our proposals on the BBC’s English Orchestras.
‘We are committed to meaningful consultation and to avoiding compulsory redundancies, wherever possible.’
The Musician’s Union (MU) said it will consult with the BBC to ensure it has a ‘secure and extremely bright future’.
It will also talk to the broadcaster about the BBC Concert Orchestra, Philharmonic Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra and will be fighting against proposed 20% cuts to salaried posts.
Jo Laverty, MU national organiser of orchestras, said: ‘The weeks since the BBC’s announcement have impacted all the individuals affected in the most brutal way.
‘We are right behind every member affected, and as we enter negotiation we will be consulting our members in the Singers and BBC orchestras to ensure the outcome is as positive as possible for them all.’
Sir John Eliot Gardiner (pictured) said the corporation’s bosses ‘don’t give a flying fig’ about British classical music after deciding to axe the BBC singers
Naomi Pohl, MU general secretary, added that the support shown to the BBC Singers and orchestras after the announcement had been ‘incredible’ and she hopes the broadcaster recognises the ‘quality and value’ the groups bring to the UK’s music industry and BBC licence fee payers.
Conductor and Head Coach of the National Opera Studio Andrew Griffiths, who regularly broadcasts with the BBC Singers, raged: ‘This must not be the end of the campaign.
‘Not a word on the orchestras. No certainty for BBC Singers.
‘But the first step is the hardest and the extraordinary, relentless public pressure has moved a mountain.’
Lecturer at Royal Holloway’s Music Department Sam Fernando, who has also worked with BBC Singers, said: ‘This has made my day!’
Head of Music at the English National Opera Martin Fitzpatrick added: ‘Good news about the BBC Singers reprieve. But as with the English National Opera this is a temporary solution.
‘There is more to be done to secure their long term survival.
‘I think meaningful consultation suggests a long discussion taking views from a wide range of people.’
And ex-Labour PR chief Alastair Campbell celebrated: ‘So it looks like BBC Singers saved!! Great news.
‘Another win for decent people power.’
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk