The decimation of concerts and the commissions for live performance will devastate classical composers’ earnings and playing living composers music will provide royalties and promotion at a critical time.
The BBC is the largest commissioner of classical music in the UK and has access to thousands of recordings of contemporary classical recordings – many of which only receive a first performance. Classical composers, along with most other musicians are self-employed and have not received the same support from the Government as businesses and their employees.
Composer and Chair of The Ivors Academy Classical Committee Gary Carpenter has written an open letter to Alan Davey, Controller at BBC Radio 3, calling on the broadcaster to support classical music during the Covid-19 pandemic by playing more work by living British and Irish composers.
The full letter:
To: Alan Davey Controller BBC Radio 3
From: The Ivors Academy Classical Committee
I hope this email finds you healthy and virus free.
We are all of us in very difficult circumstances. Our performances are being cancelled along with the work of freelance players and as their fees disappear, so do our royalties. We therefore wondered if, during this challenging time, you might consider broadcasting more work by living British and Irish composers? This would help ameliorate our financial losses whilst at the same time demonstrating real support for our community. It would add value to our work and make it available in such a way that may well bear fruit once these terrible times are past.
We appreciate that not all programmes may be suitable at all times of day (new complexity at breakfast may be a little niche), but Through The Night and the Radio 3 Mixtape, for example, might be appropriate platforms, particularly as neither demurs from programming contemporary music.
Due to its unique and much appreciated commitment to the composer community over decades, the BBC is in possession of a vast library of work by contemporary living composers. How wonderful it would be if more of it were again to see the light of day!
With very best wishes,
Chair of The Ivors Academy Classical Committee
(and on behalf of all living British composers)