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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 13, No. 9

News on CBC Radio 2

by David Podgorski / June 4, 2008

This Issue's Classical Radio Coverage

Ongoing coverage

Since the CBC announced its decision to cut classical programming and axe the CBC Radio Orchestra, they have met with a massive public backlash, including demonstrations across the country, a “Stand On Guard For CBC” website, and online petitions and protests from Facebook and YouTube.

The latest protests on May 24 included an impromptu concert on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery and a choral concert of J.S. Bach’s chorale “Wachtet Auf ruft uns die Stimme” at the CBC Atrium in Toronto.

Ivars Taurins of Tafelmusik spoke at the Toronto rally on the 24th, asking that the CBC reconsider its commitment to culture and the arts. “We take our cultural legacy for granted,” Taurins said. “Nations that have had to rebuild their culture from the rubble of war, revolution, or natural disaster have a deeper respect and understanding of their cultural heritage. They have tended to it and brought it back to life in the true meaning of cultivation. But culture is all too often confused or melded with entertainment and consumerism.”

Following the series of protests around the country, The House of Commons standing committee on Canadian heritage will be holding hearings on May 27 and 29 to discuss proposed changes to CBC Radio 2, including the decision to disband the CBC Radio orchestra.

Committee member and NDP heritage critic Bill Siksay brought forward the motion to hold hearings. “I’m concerned that the commitment to classical music in Canada is a key part of the Canadian culture. CBC Radio 2 has been a key player in classical music,” Siksay said. “And I’m also concerned as a member of Parliament for Kingsway about the disbanding of the CBC Radio Orchestra, which might be the only national cultural institution based in Vancouver . . . I think it’s a significant national institution and one that we shouldn’t give up lightly. n

(c) La Scena Musicale