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April 19, 2007 by Norman Lebrecht
The BBC has acted for once sensibly and without fuss in reunifying its two prime classical musical jobs – head of Radio 3 with controller of the BBC Proms. Roger Wright is to combine the Proms with his day job at 3, inheriting the festival from Nicholas Kenyon who is off to run the Barbican Centre. Wright has done much to modernise the network (where I have an eponymous series, interest declared). Not all of his innovations have gone down well in the backwoods; a peppery group of Friends of Radio 3 are inclined to stick pins in his effigy. Expect much spluttering on the message boards. Myself, I’m looking forward to the new broom at the Proms.
The BBC’s press release follows.
BBC RADIO 3 CONTROLLER TO RUN THE BBC PROMS
Roger Wright has been appointed Director of the BBC Proms in addition to his current post as Controller, BBC Radio 3. He will take on this new role in October when Nicholas Kenyon leaves the BBC to become Managing Director at the Barbican.
Roger Wright, Controller BBC Radio 3 said: “The BBC Proms has played a vital part in my musical upbringing and so I am thrilled to be taking on this new challenge.”
Jenny Abramsky, Director, Audio & Music said: “Roger is a brilliant Controller of BBC Radio 3. I am delighted that he will bring his creativity to the BBC Proms. He will continue the work of Nicholas Kenyon who has been an inspired and innovative champion of the BBC Proms for 11 years.”
Roger Wright has been Controller of BBC Radio 3, the UK’s leading cultural radio station since November 1998. As Controller he is in charge of its editorial strategy, commissioning, and scheduling policies. He is also responsible for four of the BBC’s performing groups: the BBC Concert Orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Singers. From October, Roger will also co-ordinate the BBC’s classical music output across all BBC platforms.
Under Roger’s leadership, BBC Radio 3 has increased its commitment to live music both throughout the UK and internationally in addition to strengthening its support and encouragement of young artists. The station continues to be the world’s largest commissioner of new music, broadcasting works by a wide range of composers. Roger has also been the driving force behind composer-focused seasons such as The Beethoven Experience, A Bach Christmas, Webern Day and most recently, The Tchaikovsky Experience in addition to The Ring in a Day, when the BBC Radio 3 schedule was cleared to broadcast Wagner’s entire 18-hour Ring cycle.
The BBC Proms is on the world’s greatest music festivals. Entering its 113th season in July 2007, the events run for eight and span a huge range of composers and repertoire, bringing together many acclaimed international artists, ensembles and orchestras, with the BBC’s orchestras and choirs providing the backbone of the season. Comprised mainly of orchestral concerts, it also features semi-staged opera, specialist early music and contemporary concerts with many UK and world premieres of works commissioned specially by the BBC.
Prior to his role as Controller of BBC Radio 3, Roger held the positions of Head of BBC Classical Music, Executive Producer and Vice- President, Artists & Repertoire, Deutsche Grammophon, Artistic Administrator of the Cleveland Orchestra, Senior Producer of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Director of the British Music Information Centre.
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