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The BBC has U-turned on its decision to scrap the BBC Singers chamber choir after immense pressure from musicians, the public and politicians.
The decision to close the BBC Singers, announced in March, was expected to result in the loss of 20 posts, but was met with fierce opposition from conductors, choirmasters and senior members of government and the opposition.
However, it is not clear if the corporation intends to continue with plans to reduce salaried orchestral posts across its English orchestras by about 20%.
The Musicians’ Union said that following intense discussions with the BBC over the last few weeks, the corporation had decided to reverse the decision to close the BBC Singers. The choir will resume its place in this year’s Proms programme and the union will be entering into consultation with the BBC to ensure the ensemble has a secure future. It added it would be talking to the BBC about the proposed 20% cuts.
Jo Laverty, the Musicians’ Union national organiser for 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.”
Naomi Pohl, the union’s general secretary, said: “The outpouring of love for the BBC Singers and Orchestras over the past few weeks has been incredible and we know our members are hugely grateful for all the support they’ve received.
“We hope the BBC recognises the real quality and value they bring to the UK’s music industry, international music makers and fans and BBC licence fee payers who will be keener than ever to see them in action live and via broadcast. The work they do in music education is also crucial. They are frankly irreplaceable.”
More details soon …