'The BBC’s decision to axe the BBC Singers and a significant number of salaried orchestral positions is more damaging and destructive to musical life in the UK than one might imagine. For the last 100 years the BBC’s support of music in Britain has been distinguished by its understanding of where excellence, education and access provide a winning formula, one admired worldwide. The BBC was also established to stand up for interests that offered quality beyond commercial priority, as a conscience to our deep-seated values.

'This act is in geometric opposition to these values. The BBC Singers, arguably the most versatile vocal ensemble in the world, has been deemed dispensable. With excellence at its core, it is an exceptional role model to choral groups across the UK with an impact that is incalculable. The BBC press release speaks of refocusing education elsewhere. But will young singers, composers and conductors really be inspired and engaged to perform at the same level? We don’t believe so. The equally damaging impact of the cuts to the BBC’s orchestras will send a message to young aspiring musicians in the UK that careers in music are both devalued and unrewarding.

'Cultural vandalism is one thing, but the UK has never needed more to hold onto what it does best. Our choral tradition is second to none and our wonderful orchestras offer audiences of all ages profound benefit. The BBC used to lead from the front but no longer, it would seem. They don’t know what they are throwing away.'

The BBC Singers have taken part in a celebrated series of visits to the Academy for nearly 20 years, working with our young singers and conductors. They most recently visited the Academy on Monday 13 March for a masterclass with choral conducting students.