BBC Singers, the UK’s only full-time professional chamber choir, could be set for a reprieve after it was targeted by budget cuts shortly before celebrating its 100th anniversary. The BBC’s proposal to close the choir sparked a backlash, with 140,000 people signing a petition urging the corporation to reverse its decision.
However after "a number of organisations" have come forward to offer alternative funding, the closure has been suspended while alternative funding models are explored. The BBC also confirmed the group would perform at this year’s Proms.
A statement from BBC said: “We have agreed with the Musicians’ Union that we will suspend the proposal to close the BBC Singers, while we actively explore these options. If viable, these alternative options would secure the future of the ensemble.”
The statement added: “We know that the BBC Singers are much loved across the classical community and their professionalism, quality and standing has never been in question. We have said throughout these were difficult decisions. Therefore, we want to fully explore the options that have been brought to us to see if there is another way forward.
“The BBC still needs to make savings and still plans to invest more widely in the future of choral singing across the UK. The BBC, as the biggest commissioner of music and one of the biggest employers of musicians in the country, recognises it has a vital role to play in supporting orchestral and choral music.
“We will continue to engage with the Musicians’ Union and the other BBC Unions about our proposals on the BBC’s English Orchestras. We are committed to meaningful consultation and to avoiding compulsory redundancies, wherever possible.”
Naomi Pohl, general secretary of the Musicians Union, added: "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."