Friday, March 28, 2008

The War on Classical Music

In case you missed it, it was reported in this morning’s Globe and Mail that the CBC Radio Orchestra, a 70 year old institution in Canada, would be disbanded by November 2008.

This move was apparently announced to members of the orchestra in a closed-door meeting in Vancouver last night, March 27.

The Globe and Mail reports a CBC Radio spokesman as stating: "Really, it's straight up a case of economics.We couldn't afford to maintain the orchestra.”

The spokesman is also reported to have stated, when asked if the dismantling of the orchestra was related to the move away from classical music on CBC Radio, “No, no, not at all. [The commissioned works] will be orchestral music [and] will be very much a part of what we're doing as we go on." It is not reported whether the spokesman managed to state this with a straight face or not.

Well, as Ann Landers used to write (or perhaps it was Abigail van Buren, my memory fails me), wake up and smell the coffee, people! Of course it’s related to the move away from classical music on CBC Radio! In case you haven’t noticed, there’s been a well-orchestrated (no pun intended) campaign against classical music taking place within the CBC for several years now, with the first outbreak of open hostilities being the cancellation of “Music for Awhile” and “In Performance” on March 19, 2007. The latest announcements of reduced classical programming during the day and the disbanding of the CBC Radio Orchestra are just mopping-up operations in that campaign.

What can you do? Write to your Member of Parliament. Write to members of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage (see the link to the right). Write to the Minister of Heritage. Write to the CBC Board of Governors (see also the link to the right). Write a letter to the newspaper. Sign the petitions listed on the right. During the next election, ask the candidate in your riding what he or she plans to do to ensure that CBC management begins to be accountable to its listeners and viewers.