BBC begins search for undiscovered historical composers

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and BBC Radio 3 have put out a call for researchers specialising in Black, Asian and ethnically diverse classical music composers.

In particular, the new project is looking for expressions of interest focussing on historical composers, “from any part of the world, who [have] written orchestral, chamber and/or choral music.”

The AHRC-BBC statement added that: “One of the key aims of the project is to expand the breadth and diversity of what is accepted as belonging to the classical music canon.”

Successful applicants will see their research shared across the BBC’s platforms, while the composers legacies will benefit from a special concert to be broadcast in late 2021.

BBC director of creative diversity June Sarpong remarked: “We want to lead the way on diversity at the BBC, creating a more inclusive industry across all areas including classical music and the arts, but we can’t do it alone.

“By working together with our partners, like AHRC, to research, record, and play composers who have been forgotten through history, the BBC can help change the perception of classical music and who it is for.”

A panel of industry experts will pick which projects are supported. The panel includes double bassist and Chineke! founder Chi-chi Nwanoku; Laudan Nooshin, professor of music at City, University of London; classical music programmer and curator Toks Dada; and Deborah Williams, CEO of the Creative Diversity Network (CDN).