Friday, 28 March 2008

CBC Axes Vancouver Orchestra: Just Another Nail in the Coffin of Serious Music?

The CBC Vancouver Orchestra will be no more, following the end of its fall season next November. It is the last radio orchestra on the continent, and it was felled by budget cuts, according to Jennifer McGuire, executive director of CBC English Radio. The money saved could be used more efficiently by spending it on other CBC Radio 2 musical programs, she said on the CBC website. "The commitment we're making is that our job is to find new ways of working with musical organizations out there to make sure that innovative and creative Canadian music still gets on CBC Radio."

That might be true. When the orchestra was formed 70 years ago there was no Vancouver Symphony nor were there dynamic university music programs. Now, it could be argued, the CBC could indeed get more bang for our bucks by supporting these other groups. The fear is, of course, that the CBC will fritter away the money saved on its silly re-structuring of programming. It is significant the McGuire appears not to have mentioned classical music specifically when she talked about using the money saved on “innovative and creative” music.

What she should be required to do is to show where the money will go, and just how the CBC will preserve the heritage of serious music that the CBC Vancouver Orchestra helped establish.

And a couple of musical notes from Montreal: On Good Friday we heard an absolutely marvelous performance of Bach’s St. John’s Passion at the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul. It looked like it was being recorded: not to be missed when it is broadcast.

April 12 the orchestra and choirs of the McGill University music school will give Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem at Église Saint-Jean Baptiste. Tickets are only $10: 514 398-4547. Definitely worth putting on your calendar if you are near Montreal.


Muzition said...

I think I heard that the War Requiem tickets will be on sale at the door.

I know several people who will be playing in that concert. It will be a good show.

Anonymous said...

There was a Vancouver Symphony when it was founded, but it was a full 90 person orchestra and a chamber (40 person) orchestra would be more suitable for broadcast purposes.

See : Discord: The Story of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. By JOHN BECKER. Vancouver: Brighouse Press, 1989. xiv + 180 pp. photos,