Open Letter to Classic FM

Hi Classic FM. 

I just saw your post on 10 quotes from female composers that prove the struggle is real. It’s incredibly disappointing that you write this but you really don’t practise what you preach. How many of these unbelievable composers have you actually played on your station ever? Listening to your station and going through your playlist I can never see any. 

The struggle is real, you are correct. It would be a lot less bad if you, one of the biggest radio stations in the UK, would actually play some music by women composers on a regular basis. And not just relegated to an occasional series like Sounds and Sweet Airs. Female composers need to be played consistently if there is to be lasting change.

I’m appalled that these composers are not played on a daily basis on your station. I’m even more appalled that you keep writing about them, talking about how marginalised they are, yet by not playing them on a daily basis you are continuing to marginalise these composers. You are contributing to the centuries of institutionalised sexism that keep these amazing composers out of the history books.

I’d also like to add that you had a Best of British show a few weeks ago, an entirely all male lineup- failing to play Dame Ethel Smyth or Rebecca Clarke, (whose quotes both appear on the aforementioned article of 10 quotes by female composers), also failing to play the many other amazing and influential women composers from Britain. 

I’m the producer of The Daffodil Perspective, an online classical radio show which is proud to be completely gender equal. I would be more than happy to consult with you on ways to incorporate the hundreds of women composers on your station. I have a wealth of experience and knowledge regarding the centuries of women composers and how they all fit into the current biased version of classical music history. Just last week I showcased the music of the incredible and very important 20th century British composer Ruth Gipps, a student of Gordon Jacob and friend of Malcolm Arnold. 

Again I must reiterate my utter horror that you talk about the struggle of women and do nothing to actually change this. It’s absolutely shameful and hypocritical. As such a large radio station with a huge listenership you have an amazing opportunity here. Integrating women composers on a regular basis would only lead to a more robust and diverse listener base and would lead to greater appreciation of music history. 

I hope you’ll consider what I’ve said here and I look forward to your speedy response.

Elizabeth de Brito

The Daffodil Perspective Producer