Radio 3 Controller Alan Davey at the ABO Conference

New Radio 3 Controller Alan Davey gave his first speech in his new role, at the ABO Conference in Gateshead tonight. His speech is publicly available on the BBC Media Centre website.

One section of his speech particularly resonates:

Classical music – or indeed maybe we should describe it as serious, interesting, life-changing and complex music – as well as culture and ideas, are what the Radio 3 family is about. Doing in spades what we set out to do at my previous organisation, the Arts Council:

– Creating great art and culture and putting it within the reach of everyone
– Doing so with a quality and care that does not discriminate and treat anyone as second class or entitled to less
– Through high-quality crafted broadcast sound, say to people that these great treasures are for you and here’s a way in for you
– Never dumbing down but providing everyone with the means to understand great music and culture for what it is
– Not just giving the audience what we think they want, but earning the right to be a trusted guide to new things and to do so in a spirit of generous authority
– Having an informal, but informed tone that wears its knowledge lightly
– That always has in mind the thrill of discovery and remembers the joy of hearing a great piece for the first time
– Ensuring as Helen [Boaden] mentioned yesterday that we continue to take creative risks and our talented Performing Groups are a major part of that, not least through their some 60 premieres a year – a major part of the BBC’s Music commitment

I really like the point made about knowledge and wearing it lightly – “Having an informal, but informed tone that wears its knowledge lightly”. It’s a nice way to think about the music genre I personally find increasingly important. There’s an aspiration there to make others feel welcome, an aspiration which I wouldn’t mind adopting myself.

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