Former Controller of BBC Radio 3 and Director of the BBC Proms, Sir John Drummond, has died at the age of 71. The news came via an announcement about Sir John’s death on Radio 3 soon after 9.00pm yesterday.
Sir John was also a former Director of the Edinburgh International Festival. A tribute was issued by the BBC on behalf of Jenny Abramsky, Director of BBC Radio & Music; Nicholas Kenyon, Controller, BBC Proms, Live Events & Television Classical Music; and Roger Wright, Controller, Radio3.
It reads: “Sir John Drummond was one of the great cultural figures of our time, and a passionate defender of excellence in the arts.
“As Controller of BBC Radio 3, Director of the BBC Proms and before in a career that included BBC TV Music and Arts and the directorship of the Edinburgh International Festival, he upheld the highest standards and fought constantly to ensure that classical music and dance kept their place at the centre of our cultural life. He was fiercely committed to the cause of new music and an adventurous repertoire and, during his time, the BBC Proms became a truly international festival of great orchestras, a beacon for the BBC’s commitment to cultural patronage.
“He was a commanding personality, a great impresario, and a valued colleague for countless artists and performers. He will be much missed by them, and by the whole of our cultural life.”
Today BBC Chairman Michael Grade also paid tribute: “The arts in this country have lost a great champion. He was a showman and impresario with exquisite taste and made a lasting contribution to BBC arts and music programming.”
The 60th anniversary concert of Radio 3 on 29 September 2006 will be dedicated to his memory.