Alan Davey is the son of a tea lady from Stockton, but he still grew up loving Mahler and Manfred Mann. He is the Controller of Radio 3 and now wants to see more young people at the Proms.

Classical music could and should be for everyone. That’s why I get frustrated when people say classical music is elitist.

“You can tell this is not true when younger people encounter classical music. Unless they are given a reason to have a prejudicial approach, they like it and can see why it’s special. The big draw is the live experience, where you can hear what extraordinary things an orchestra — or, indeed, a classical ­guitarist, or pianist, or viol player, or singer — can do. The BBC’s Ten Pieces work in schools has proven that, inspiring millions of seven- to 14-year-olds to find out more about classical music.

“At the Proms, we have started to experiment with Relaxed Proms, Family Proms and ­participatory events, including the Proms Youth Choir, which involves young ­people from all backgrounds. The BBC Proms show that a younger audience (54% under 54 years old at last year’s festival) can relate to orchestral classical music — some of the most complex culture there is.”

“No matter what your background, lose your inhibitions, say goodbye to the prejudice of others, reclaim your right and embrace the beauty and the glory of classical music to add to the music you already love. It happened to me, and I never looked back.” Alan Davey, Radio 3 Controller

The full feature from The Sunday Times, 8 July 2018, can be found here