Suzy Klein to take up the baton for classical music as new BBC arts boss

The BBC has appointed a new classical music boss to oversee output after programmes were criticised for lacking “revelation”.

Suzy Klein, a long-time presenter on BBC 4 and BBC Radio 3, has been appointed to a newly created role intended to oversee all new television commissions linked to classical music.

Her appointment as head of arts and classical music TV comes after the BBC was criticised for “lacking in adventure, curiosity and revelation” by high-profile figures in the spheres of classical music and music television.

Concerns were raised that music content was being overlooked due to “negativity” directed towards classical at the BBC, but executives are now hoping Ms Klein will help deliver “distinctive, high-quality and impactful” programmes.


The presenter of Essential Classics said: “I could not be more thrilled to be taking on this exciting new role, flying the flag for the best of arts, culture and classical music at the BBC.

“If my appointment represents something, it is a long-term commitment to the transformative power, inspiration and joy that the arts bring.

“That’s something I can’t wait to share with my brilliant commissioning team, as we work together to create the most compelling, unmissable programmes for audiences across the UK.”

The position was created in a restructure of BBC music commissioning in March, but remained vacant even as former music TV commissioner Jan Younghusband left her post in May.

Her tenure was criticised by some figures in the fields of music and television, with commentator Norman Lebrecht saying the BBC had developed “a negativity verging on hostility towards classical documentaries”.

Directors Sir Humphrey Burton, Tony Palmer and Barrie Gavin also accused the BBC of a lack of interest in classical music content.

Ms Klein will be charged with fostering new programming which can reach a wider audience across the BBC’s platforms when she relinquishes presenting duties and takes up the role in October.

She has become a familiar face on the BBC, fronting programmes including the Proms and The Culture Show.

Patrick Holland, director of BBC factual, arts and classical music, said she “combines deep subject knowledge with a proselytising passion for great arts and classical music broadcasting”.

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