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Composers under pressure

Classical, jazz, and sound art composers make a valuable and vital contribution to the UK's economy, culture, national identity, and wellbeing. These genres rely on a thriving cultural ecosystem, public and charitable funding, public service broadcasting, and an education system that provides opportunities and supports the development of musical and compositional craft and knowledge.

Black and white photo of a person playing the saxophone with the text, Composers Under Pressure

The vast majority of professional composers in these genres combine their compositional work with teaching and other musical activities. Any threat to these activities is therefore a threat to the portfolio careers that support professional composition.

The Ivors Academy is campaigning to create a more secure environment for classical composers, where key commissioners have a sustainable future and funding is available to commission new works on fair terms.

Prompted by a proposed cut in funding for the PRS Foundation, which was reversed following lobbying by us and others, and what were then ongoing or planned reviews of Arts Council England (ACE) and BBC funding, we launched Composers Under Pressure in November 2022 as a conversation about factors affecting the well-being of the classical sector.

Since the launch at a reception at the House of Commons, we have been working with others to raise significant concerns about ACE’s controversial National Portfolio Organisation announcement made that same month and the BBC’s subsequent announcement that it was reducing funding for its three English orchestras by 20% and axing the BBC Singers, now paused following lobbying by us and our and partners in the classical community.

We have also been facilitating meetings of those working across the classical sector with a view to formulating a common position and asks of Government, funders, and the BBC.


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