Survey finds over 70% of Brits turn to classical music for life’s biggest moments

21 May 2024, 00:01 | Updated: 21 May 2024, 16:37

Survey finds over 70% of Brits turn to classical music for life’s biggest moments
Survey finds over 70% of Brits turn to classical music for life’s biggest moments. Picture: Sally Jubb (pictured: Paul Philbert, Royal Scottish National Orchestra)

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

A major three-year campaign has been launched to celebrate the power of classical music and the UK’s vibrant orchestral scene, which are considered a vital part of today’s cultural life by the British public.

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Nearly three-quarters of Brits (71%) have said classical music amplifies the big moments in our lives, from weddings and funerals, to sporting events and national ceremonies like last year’s coronation.

The results are according to a new survey of 2,000 UK adults, conducted by the Association of British Orchestras (ABO).

Today, the ABO joins together orchestras across the country with Classic FM and other major classical music brands as media partners, to launch a nationwide campaign to celebrate the value and power that classical music brings to the UK, and the special connections it can evoke.

74% of those surveyed by the ABO said orchestras are a vital part of the country’s cultural heritage, while 65% believe that classical music is under-appreciated today.

The ABO’s Chair, Sophie Lewis, said: “Our survey showed how people turn to classical music in so many different settings, not only for pure enjoyment, but for reflection, mindfulness and to feel a powerful sense of connection – whether that’s a highly personal sense of emotion, or to share life’s special moments with those around them.

“Everyone has their favourite music that transports them to a landmark moment in their life.”

Read more: Audience’s heartbeats and breath synchronise during classical concerts

The Halle perform Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Hyeyoon Park and Benjamin Grosvenor
The Halle perform Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Hyeyoon Park and Benjamin Grosvenor. Picture: Bill Lam, The Halle

The campaign’s vision is to inspire the British public to celebrate and share what classical music means to them. Through the hashtag #MusicThatMovesYou, people are being invited to show their love of classical music and support for UK orchestras by sharing a piece of classical music on social media that has moved them, and what the music has meant to them in their life.

Lewis added, “We want to start a conversation open to everyone – both enthusiasts and casual listeners of classical music – to introduce one another to the music that moves them.

“We want to spark engagement and excitement for us all to celebrate the music that we can be proud of in Britain as a part of our cultural heritage, showcased by our members on a world class level.”

Today, people listen to classical music in so many different settings – at concert halls, on the radio, and through streaming services. The survey found 37% feel relaxed when enjoying classical music, while 36% described the music as ‘powerful’, and 33% said it made them feel ‘emotional’.

The survey found that younger generations – 73% of 18 to 34-year-olds – want to be completely immersed when listening to their music, contrasting with 59% of 35 to 54-year-olds, and 43% of 55+ year olds.

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British orchestras are some of the most influential in the world, and with many ensembles today performing in health and social care settings, not only do they contribute to the cultural life in local communities, they make a vital contribution to the nation’s wellbeing, by enabling anyone to connect with the arts and live music.

It was recently announced that Manchester Camerata would host the UK’s first Centre of Excellence for Music and Dementia in Greater Manchester, working with the NHS and Alzheimer’s Society to offer musical support to people living with dementia to improve their quality of life, and reduce the need for health and care services.

Classic FM is joined by Classical Music Magazine, LIVE, UK Music, the Musicians’ Union (MU) and the Independent Society of Musicians (ISM) as partners on the campaign, led by ABO and its member orchestras.

Philip Noyce, Managing Editor of Classic FM, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the ABO’s campaign. Classic FM listeners love orchestral music for so many reasons: it has such a rich history, with centuries-worth of material, and yet it still has so much resonance today, with the power to bring calm, comfort and focus, and to energise, inspire and motivate in equal measure.”

The celebrations will continue across the next three years, with further key moments, conversation starters and events to be announced.