Sellout at the BBC Philharmonic. Next stop Radio 3?main
The BBC’s Director of Music, Bob Shennan, has lost no time in attacking the culture of its orchestras.
The new season of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra will feature a reassembled Culture Club with the exotic pop star Boy George and (less offensively) the chart-topping dance act Clean Bandit (which used to be an authentic string quartet).
The pop acts are ‘designed to broaden the appeal of orchestral music’. The BBC Phil is under a yet-unspoken threat from BBC cuts.
Shennan said the new season would ‘showcase some wonderfully diverse music to our audiences.’
‘Wonderfully’, ‘diverse’ and ‘broaden’ are code words for BBC multicultural mashdown.
Translated into plain English: Classical music is a yawn.
No wonder Roger Wright had to go. He was a doughty defender of the integrity of orchestras.
UPDATE: The BBC responds:
This is the third in the series of Presents, when the Phil collaborates with artists and presenters from lots of different genres and BBC networks. These have in the past included live concerts of iconic film music on Mayo and Kermode’s film review on Radio 5 live, a premiere of Californian composer Steve Mackey’s extraordinary Dreamhouse for BBC Radio 6 Music, a Dubstep symphony by Nero for Radio 1, as well as performances with Mercury prize winners The XX and with songwriter Richard Hawley. The plans for the 2014 Presents have been in the offing for many months, certainly prior to Roger’s departure, who also oversaw the series in 2011 and 2012.
Indeed he did. But not with a comment that suggests the orchestra cannot survive without pop add-ons.