BBC Radio 3 to hold diversity in classical music conference

BBC Radio 3 to hold diversity in classical music conference

BBC Radio 3 is set to host a Diversity and Inclusion in Composition conference, aimed at exploring strategies for the enhanced inclusion of culturally diverse (BAME) classical music composers.

Taking place on Wednesday, October 19th at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, the conference is hosted in partnership with BASCA, the BBC Philharmonic and the Royal Northern College of Music, and in association with the BBC Black and Asian Forum.

Guest speakers include composers Daniel Kidane; Jeffrey Mumford; Priti Paintal; Shirley J. Thompson; Errolyn Wallen; and Raymond Yiu; as well as BBC Radio 3 controller, Alan Davey; the BBC’s head of diversity, inclusion and succession, Tunde Ogungbesan; BASCA CEO, Vick Bain; Michelle Castelletti, artistic director at the Royal Northern College of Music; Sound And Music chief executive, Susanna Eastburn; The Chineke! Foundation founder, Chi-chi Nwanoku; and Toks Dada, programme coordinator at Town Hall, Symphony Hall, Birmingham.

Registration is now open to ‘a broad range of people involved in classical music making’ interested in attending the conference – from composers, publishers, festival directors, educators and venue managers to orchestral, chamber and operatic managers, funders, commissioners and industry bodies. Music students and young people with an interest in composition are also encouraged to apply to attend.

Alan Davey, controller of BBC Radio 3, said: “BBC Radio 3, and the Third programme before it, has always been a cultural patron and it’s essential we are working with the wider classical and cultural industry to do our bit to reflect and draw on the cultural diversity of the UK.  Our Diversity and Inclusion in Composition forum is a stake in the ground to that end.  I said when I started at BBC Radio 3 that I wanted us to look at this area and we are committed to making a difference. The more we invest in diversity, the more talent and interesting art will emerge and we’ll be able connect our audiences with even more remarkable music and culture that is reflective of the kind of country we are.  In our 70th anniversary year, we’ll be looking to take lessons from the forum so that we expand the canon for the future, whilst also inspiring new audiences to connect with music.”

Toks Dada, programme coordinator at Town Hall, Symphony Hall, Birmingham, added: “I'm excited to be speaking at the Diversity and Inclusion in Composition conference, which I believe is an important opportunity for Radio 3 to highlight the work taking place across the BBC and the wider music industry to reflect diversity and to discuss what more needs to be done. While great progress is being made, I believe a fundamental change in how the industry operates is needed at all levels to ensure people from all ethnicities and backgrounds are inspired to enjoy and work in classical music.”

Click here to register your interest in receiving a delegate pack, which will be issued from Friday 19th August.

BASCA recently highlighted major issues in the commissioning of works by female and black or minority ethnic (BAME) classical music composers. Its study found that 6% of commissioned composers are BAME, compared to 14% amongst the UK population. It also found 21% of commissioned composers are female, compared to 51% of the UK population and 36% of all composition students.

Earlier this week, UK Music launched its first ever industry diversity summit to discuss the issues surrounding workplace diversity. It also announced the distribution of its first ever industry diversity survey.


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