BBC Radio 3 controller Alan Davey has spoken to Music Week about the lack of diversity in the classical music sector and what can be done to address the issue.
Two weeks ago, BBC Radio 3 announced details of its Diversity and Inclusion in Composition conference, aimed at exploring strategies for the ‘enhanced inclusion of culturally diverse classical music composers’.
Now, Davey is calling on the industry at large to address the issue and make practical changes to ensure classical music is accessible to all.
“It's of concern to everyone in the industry, and there are no easy answers,” he said. “It's partly about making sure classical music is accessible and the opportunity to learn an instrument or listen to a concert is available at grass roots level to school children, teenagers, future generations from all social backgrounds.
“That's why the BBC has its Ten Pieces initiative - so that any child with open ears can discover classical music, go on to pursue their talent in playing or composing, or just take music with them through life. The BBC Performing Groups and the Proms also do a lot of learning and outreach work as part of their remit.”
Davey also hopes that the upcoming conference will go some way toward helping the industry understand the problems at entry-level and creating new opportunities.
“By limiting the pool of composers of classical music we are missing a goal creatively. There is music to be written which really does reflect the rich diversity of the UK - and it will be amazing, as it is in other art forms, such as dance and poetry.
“If the pool of creation of classical music becomes narrower, then its very future is in doubt. That's why we want to bring people together for our diversity conference and so that we can work out what the problems are and how we can respond to make a difference.”
The subject of diversity in the music industry has been a prominent theme so far this year, with UK Music rolling out its first ever industry-wide diversity survey.
It also held its inaugural diversity summit, with speakers and panelists from ethnically diverse background sharing their experiences of working in the industry and calling on its biggest players to make changes to their recruitment policies in order to promote industry-wide change.