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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 September 2006, 12:15 GMT 13:15 UK
Classical music fans 'go digital'
1.4m people downloaded Beethoven's work from the BBC
Fans of classical music have shed their stuffy image and embraced technology, according to Gramophone magazine.

A survey of its readers found that 75% use a computer, MP3 player, or digital radio to listen to music.

It also discovered that fans over the age of 50 downloaded an average of eleven pieces of music last year.

Magazine editor James Jolly says the findings "overturn our preconceptions about the kind of person who buys and listens to classical music".

"All ages actively enjoy classical music, with the over-50s showing themselves to be particularly dynamic.

"Not only do they prove that they have considerable purchasing power, but they are also technologically adept."

Popular choices

I am not surprised - classical music has only ever been regarded as stuffy by the ignorant and a few fools who think that listening to it makes them better than anyone else
Stewart MacKenzie, Lincoln, UK

According to the magazine, Beethoven, Mozart and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies are the most popular choices for a first download.

Last year, 1.4 million people downloaded Beethoven's symphonies when they were made available for free on the BBC Radio 3 website.

The site offered all nine symphonies, performed by the BBC Philharmonic, with number nine proving most popular with 220,461 requests.

But classical buffs have not abandoned older technologies just yet - 83% still listen to CDs, and 74% continue to tune in to AM and FM radio.

Some 60,000 readers were questioned for the survey, which also asked them to name which song they think should be used at the opening of the 2012 Olympics in London.

Sir Edward Elgar's Land of Hope and Glory was the top choice, followed by Gustav Holst's The Planets and Chariots of Fire by Vangelis.

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