After 23 years in the role, Paul Hughes is to step down as director of the BBC Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, and BBC Singers.

Alan Davey, controller of Radio 3, the Proms, and Orchestras and Choirs, said in a statement: 'It has been a glorious 23 years of music making and leadership with Paul, taking the BBC Symphony Orchestra & Chorus and BBC Singers to the exalted place they now enjoy at the pinnacle of music making in this country. Throughout Paul’s tenure at the BBC, he has worked with colleagues to create a culture where musicians can explore what music can do, to the delight of audiences all over the world. We will miss him – his humour, his endless ideas and above all his desire for marvellous things to happen.'

Hughes added: 'It has been the greatest privilege of my life to be the custodian of these great ensembles, and the greatest pleasure to work with such a dedicated, hard-working team of management, production and musician colleagues. The tours around the world, the Proms, recordings, awards and extraordinary array of artists and composers we’ve worked with over the years - and of course all the good times in the office - will live long in my memory and in my heart.'

Hughes’s last day at the BBC will be the First Night of this year’s Proms – 15 July 2022. Arrangements to find his successor will be announced in due course.

Photo: Chris Christodoulou/BBC


Charlotte SmithEditor of BBC Music Magazine

Charlotte Smith is the editor of BBC Music Magazine. Born in Australia, she hails from a family of musicians with whom she played chamber music from a young age. She earned a bachelor’s degree in violin performance from London's Royal College of Music, followed by a master’s in English from Cambridge University. She was editor of The Strad from 2017 until the beginning of 2022, and has also worked for Gramophone Magazine and as a freelance arts writer. In her spare time, she continues to perform as an active chamber musician.