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Friday, 27 April, 2001, 12:26 GMT 13:26 UK
Controversy hits Classical Brits
String quartet Bond
Bond: expelled from classical record charts in the UK
String quartet Bond's planned appearance at the Classical Brits has caused a split within the event's own nominating comittee.

Chris Black, director of Sony Classical UK and a member of the Classical Brits nominating academy, singled out the booking of the string quartet for criticism.

The group, famed for their glamorous image, were barred from the British classical charts last year because their material was deemed too similar to pop music.

Mr Black said: "For people who like classical music, this is dumbing down to the nth degree."
Kennedy
Kennedy: 'No lightweight'

"They are good-looking women, but they were thrown out of the classical charts," he told the Independent.

"This is a manufactured band, a sort of Spice Girls playing electronic music."

Popular end

The Classical Brits, a spin-off from the established Brit Awards, began last year.

Its nominating academy is composed of record company representatives, venue managers, lawyers, journalists and radio presenters from the classical world.

Most of the artists and composers shortlisted are firmly at the popular end of the genre - such as Madonna's producer William Orbit, tenor Russell Watson, sopranos Charlotte Church and Lesley Garrett and violinist Kennedy - who no longer uses his first name Nigel.

John Schofield, managing director of classical music publisher Josef Weinberger told BBC News Online: "I'm all in favour of increasing the profile of classical music.

"However, they should take a long, hard look at having the Vanessa-Mae end of the market so prominent."

"It discredits the event in the eyes of the rest of the classical world," he added.

"There's a fine line between gross commercialism and what it should be about - the music, not the personalities."

'Emotive'

Lisa Anderson, executive producer of the Classical Brits show, dismissed the row.

"The Classical Brits awards always enjoy an enormous amount of criticism from everybody - it's such an emotive subject," she told BBC News Online.

"The Classical Brits are about bringing popular classical music to a large audience - and Bond are popular.

"Kennedy may be a big showman but he is no lightweight - he embodies everything we love."

The Classical Brits take place at the Royal Albert Hall on 31 May.

See also:

06 May 00 | Entertainment
Church wins Classical Brit award
27 Apr 01 | Music
Classical Brits announced
18 Apr 01 | Music
Bond quartet hit US high note
26 Apr 01 | Music
Countryside theme for Proms
19 May 00 | Wales
Terfel's Welsh music fest
28 Feb 00 | Entertainment
Curtain up on Classical Brits
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