‘People want to be entertained, not educated’ – composer Alexis Ffrench on classical music

15 June 2018, 12:19

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

“Music should be allowed to speak for itself,” the composer told Classic FM’s Sam Pittis at the Classic BRIT Awards on Wednesday.

Composer Alexis Ffrench has said that people want to be entertained, not educated, when listening to classical music.

He spoke to Classic FM’s Sam Pittis ahead of the Classic BRIT Awards, which returned for the first time in five years to the Royal Albert Hall on Wednesday 13 June.

Read more: What time will the Classic BRIT Awards 2018 be on ITV?

You’ve talked about making classical music more accessible. Do you feel the Classic BRITs are a way to bring people in who think that classical music isn’t welcoming?

“I was having a conversation with Tim Lovejoy [the television presenter] not too long ago, who said he loves classical music and listens to it with his kid, but he doesn’t want to feel like he has to read a book and educate himself before listening to a piece like Berlioz’s Symphony Fantastique, in the way you don’t have to with pop music.

“I think that’s something we have to be aware of as classical musicians, that people want to be entertained, but they don’t necessarily want to be educated. Music should sometimes be allowed to speak for itself.”

What do you try to bring to the classical music world, with your music?

“I champion melodies. I want people to come away from my music singing tunes. Yes, I employ 21st-century production techniques […], but when all is said and done, I want people to go away singing.

“In many ways, it’s quite a simple philosophy, but it’s one that’s really stood me well.”