The nervously-awaited BBC review of its orchestras and performing groups landed today and the outcome is much better than some feared. It recommends the retention of all six performing ensembles - the BBC Concert Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, BBC Singers and BBC Symphony Orchestra – as the best-value solution to present difficulties.
As Tim Davie, Director of BBC Music and Audio, puts it in his summary, endorsing the John Myerscough report: We considered the option of closing one of the groups, but concluded that this could not be achieved without significant loss of value to audiences, which would be at odds with our DQF strategy. In John’s words, this approach “would be inconsistent with the Corporation’s editorial needs.” We are, therefore, not proposing the closure of a performing group.
Savings will, however, be applied to all the groups, clawing back £2.1 million by 2016/7.
Here is Tim’s summary. I haven’t yet had the chance to read the full report, but it stands out in sharp, idealistic contrast to recent decisions by German broadcasters to get rid of orchestras that are serving regional communities. The BBC has set a lead in preserving its cultural infrastructure. The BBC orchestras have been saved for the nation.
Here is the link to the full report.