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Last Updated: Friday, 30 December 2005, 11:28 GMT
Poll reveals classical ignorance
Sir Edward Elgar
Sir Edward Elgar was born in Worcestershire in 1857
More than half the people surveyed in a new classical music poll were not aware that Sir Edward Elgar was English.

Nearly half those polled were unaware Ludwig van Beethoven was German, while a quarter did not know his first name.

More people thought Puccini composed The Marriage of Figaro than Mozart, while only 63% of those surveyed were aware the latter died in his 30s.

The poll was conducted by the Sky arts channel Artsworld, which will broadcast a live Mozart gala on New Year's Eve.

"The British may not know much about music, but they certainly loves the noise it makes," said presenter Richard Baker, quoting the British conductor Sir Thomas Beecham.


Two out of three of the 1,183 people polled between 21 and 28 December said classical music should be taught in schools.

Only one in three said they had been to an opera or classical music concert in the last year.

"I was surprised to learn that Puccini wrote The Marriage of Figaro, but much encouraged by the substantial support for the teaching of music in schools," added Baker.

The gala, which will feature Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic, comes a month before the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth.

The composer was born in Salzburg on 27 January 1756.

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