LSM Newswire

Friday, March 28, 2008

Canadian Music Centre and Canadian League of Composers Shocked By Decision to Disband CBC Radio Orchestra

March 28, 2008, Toronto, ON Today, the Canadian Music Centre and the Canadian League of Composers, are trying to come to terms with the CBC Radio's decision to disband its orchestra the last radio orchestra still functioning in North America. This announcement, made privately yesterday in Vancouver with less than a 24 hour notice to the orchestra's musicians, has left much of the Canadian musical community questioning the broadcaster's commitment to both classical music and its own broader cultural mandate.

Elisabeth Bihl, CMC Executive Director, believes that "the decision to disband the CBC Radio Orchestra must have been a decision made with little to no input from the Canadian public or our music community. The orchestra may have been around for some 70 years - but since when is longevity equated automatically with having already served its purpose?"

She further states that "the need for CBC Radio to fulfill its mandate to showcase Canadian talent has not evaporated with time. If CBC management can simply destroy such a vitally important infrastructure for Canadian talent, then it must be held publicly accountable. As a government funded institution, it must see beyond its immediate actions of budget cutting and pursue its mandate cultural role for the benefit of all Canadians."

Jennifer McGuire, Executive Director of CBC English Radio, indicated yesterday that the money "saved" as a result of this decision will be used more efficiently by spending it on other Radio 2 musical programs. While also asserting that CBC Radio was still committed to innovative and creative Canadian music, she made no concrete indication that this funding would be used to directly support future classical music programming.

As organizations focused on the promotion of Canadian composers and their work, the Canadian Music Centre and Canadian League of Composers, see this most recent CBC Radio announcement as yet another in a series of decisions made without input from the communities to which the broadcaster is ultimately accountable both its listeners and the broader Canadian public. Sadly, the disbanding of the CBC Radio Orchestra came as a fait-a-compli news yesterday afternoon.

Ms. Bihl feels that the following statement made today (via e-mail) by Sarah Davis Buechner, a piano professor at the University, all too accurately sums up this situation: "It is a sad day in the history of this country when artists have to stand up to defend their contributions against the very institutions which were founded to foster cultural understanding, emotional connection and pride in the Canadian national character."

Established in 1959, the Canadian Music Centre exists to stimulate the awareness, appreciation and performance of Canadian music, making the music of its Associate Composers available through its music libraries and through various promotional and outreach activities. The CMC is Canada's primary information resource, producer, distributor of concert music and sound recordings.

Founded in 1951, the Canadian League of Composers is the oldest organization in Canada that speaks for professional composers in an official capacity. It represents the interests of composers, monitoring and influencing the conditions that affect their livelihood and public image.

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For further information, please contact:

Steven W. Foster

Manager of Communications & Resource Development

Phone: 416.961.6601 ext. 303 Email: sfoster@musiccentre.ca

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