Sheffield's classical music scene is 'vibrant, hopeful and creative and full of opportunities for young people', says new report

  • A new report launched today (16 February 2018) gives a snapshot of Sheffield's thriving and vibrant classical music sector.
  • The report identifies how classical music is currently being made and consumed and how it can contribute to the music economy of the city.
  • Over the course of one year, Sheffield held 423 classical events in up to 30 venues, selling 146,250 tickets and generating an estimated income of just under £900,000 from concerts and performances alone.

Performance in Sheffield's Winter Garden, image courtesy of Scott Hukins

Sheffield's classical music scene is ‘vibrant, hopeful and creative and full of opportunities for young people’ according to a report commissioned by the University of Sheffield.

Launching today (16 February 2018), Classical: A Snapshot of Sheffield's Classical Music Sector reveals a scene with an 'astonishing amount of classical music making going on'.

In a city rich in every genre of music, the report celebrates how Sheffield has a vibrant classical music sector, boasting strengths in the city’s successful concert series, established and emerging festivals, music education for children and adults of all ages, and thriving amateur music making.

The snapshot is the fifth in a series of reports commissioned by the University of Sheffield focusing on Sheffield's cultural industries. Previous reports have explored the city’s music, digital, art and beer sectors. The reports have so far revealed that Sheffield has the potential to be the UK’s leading ‘music city’, has great potential as a digital hub, and can claim to be the real ale capital of the world.

423 classical events were held in up to 30 venues in and around Sheffield with 146,250 tickets sold and an estimated income of just under £900,000 over the course of a year.

Report: A snapshot of Sheffield's classical music sector

Written by Simon Seligman for Music in the Round – the largest promoter of chamber music outside London – the latest report contains 13 case studies that provide an in depth look at professional and amateur classical music making in the city with ensembles, orchestras, choirs, soloists, education, audiences, concerts, venues, festivals, and the University of Sheffield's Department of Music and Concerts all being featured.

Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Director of City and Culture, Regional Engagement and Partnerships at the University of Sheffield, said: “We are delighted to be publishing our fifth report in the series of reports highlighting Sheffield’s cultural vibrancy and creative capabilities. Sheffield has so much to offer as an international music city and this report clearly demonstrates that Sheffield is not only a great place to study music and live as a musician, but that music is the lifeblood of this city.”

The report also shows the key role the University of Sheffield itself plays in this sector through its world class music department, concerts, staff and students.

Sounds of the Cosmos performance

Professor Stephanie Pitts, Head of the Department of Music at the University of Sheffield, said: “Our students and staff in the Department of Music at the University of Sheffield benefit hugely from being part of the rich musical life of the city, and are involved in its ensembles, performances, gigs and promotion in so many ways.

Sheffield has so much to offer as an international music city and this report clearly demonstrates that Sheffield is not only a great place to study music and live as a musician, but that music is the lifeblood of this city.

Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Director of City and Culture, University of Sheffield

“Throughout our curriculum, our outreach activities, our performances and our concert series, we blur the boundaries of musical genres and roles, as do the many musicians and organisations featured in this report. While we would join the chorus of Sheffielders seeking better concert spaces, more funding for the arts, and more diverse opportunities to participate, we do so with a sense of pride in our musical city, and particularly in the many music graduates who are making interesting and fulfilling musical careers here.”

Deborah Chadbourn, Executive Director of Music in the Round, said: "I was really pleased for Music in the Round to be able to work with the University of Sheffield to produce this report. I've been working in classical music for 10 years in Sheffield, and was aware of the huge, but largely invisible scene that exists here, despite the fabulous quality of music-making.

“This report, extending the work that Classical Sheffield has been doing since 2013 to bring the sector together, throws a spotlight on the talent and enterprise that exist in the city and on the high calibre of classical musicians who live, work and teach here. It also demonstrates the sector's potential to grow economically and to establish Sheffield's reputation as a place synonymous with brilliant, accessible opportunities to develop the classical musicians, and the classical music industry, of the future."

The report also suggests there is a growing number of people in and around the city consuming classical music, both as performer or audience. The report reveals 423 classical events were held in up to 30 venues in and around Sheffield with 146,250 tickets sold and an estimated income of just under £900,000 over the course of a year, making a significant contribution to industry’s sustainability and the city’s night-time economy.

After providing a snapshot of Sheffield’s classical music sector, the report goes on to provide a number of recommendations on how classical music can become a more sustainable industry with a wider and deeper reach across the city. These include:

  • Bolder integration of classical music making into the city’s festival profile
  • A new centre for the live performance of acoustic music
  • Creating sustainable music education that both underpins and relies on the classical music sector
  • Developing a better understanding about regional audience for classical music and related music genres

Overview of report series

Study music at Sheffield  |  University of Sheffield Concerts


Singing: classical music concert


CITY REPORT SERIES DOWNLOADS


School pupils at a classical music concert

Pupil taking part in a classical music performance

Additional information

The University of Sheffield
With almost 29,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2017 and was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education in 2014. In the last decade it has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.

Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

Contact:

For further information please contact:
James Merrylees
External Relations Manager
University of Sheffield
j.merrylees@sheffield.ac.uk
0114 222 0565