Today Sir Simon Rattle announces that BBC Singers will join a London Symphony Orchestra concert for a special performance of Figure humaine by Francis Poulenc on Sunday 23 April 2023 at the Barbican.

Sir Simon Rattle said: “We are delighted to hear that the BBC has granted a reprieve from its decision to cut the BBC Singers and would urge them to reconsider the threatened cuts to the BBC orchestras. The outcry against these announcements demonstrates the how much support and love there is for professional symphonic and choral music in the UK, an essential part of the nation’s rich music landscape.”

Sir Simon Rattle and the LSO join the swelling ranks of the UK music community who have voiced their anger at recent announcements by Arts Council England and by the BBC to reduce or cut funding to highly successful world-renowned music organisations. The LSO and Sir Simon will hire the Choir for their services for the night as a mark of solidarity. At the concert on 23 April the BBC Singers will sing Poulenc’s masterpiece as an addition to the LSO playing Mahler’s 7th Symphony

Figure humaine (Human Figure), by Francis Poulenc is a cantata for double mixed choir of 12 voices composed in 1943 on texts by Paul Éluard including “‘Liberté“. Written during the Nazi occupation of France, it was premiered in London in English by the BBC Singers in 1945. Cherished as the summit of the composer’s work and a masterpiece by musical critics, the cantata is a hymn to Liberté, victorious over tyranny.

The UK is known as a global centre of excellent music making. Music is one of the most important sources of the UK’s global cultural strength – the largest exporter of music in the world after the US.

Sir Simon Rattle added; “This is not just about jobs for musicians now, it is about a whole new generation of musicians, whose future is in the balance and for whom the BBC’s unique position in the world as a broadcaster, educator and commissioner of music, is vital to music making for young people everywhere.”