Quotas should be introduced to broaden the range of classical music composers featured in concerts and on radio stations, says a BBC presenter.
Kate Molleson, who presents a show on the BBC’s classical music station, Radio 3, told the Edinburgh Book Festival that many lesser known composers, including women and those from ethnic minorities who don’t feature among the traditional roll-call of pre-20th century classical music greats, “don’t make it into daytime programming.”
Molleson criticised the lack of diversity within the wider classical music industry, and said quotas would force programmers to bring new music to people’s ears, by forcing programmers of radio stations to “look beyond what they already know.”
The presenter told the Festival that quotas would be helpful to “shift things along” but that some people criticised change. She cited those who panned the move by recent music festivals to move towards a more equal male/female split – including the long-established BBC Proms series, the world’s largest classical music festival, who recently pledged half of their new commissions would be given to women.
After the Proms made this move, some critics expressed concerns that this would see younger female composers stealing an advantage from male, older ones who would be deprived of their own opportunities to shine in the very competitive world of classical music composition. Molleson said of this backlash, “I found that telling.”