Repressed passions and refined sensibilities: are gays really so hooked on classical music?
As the Proms - the world's largest music event - strikes up (16 July - 11 Sept), Out UK's own
little maestro Adrian Gillan asks around.
From enigmatic Elgar in the Opening Concert to Samuel Barber and Cole Porter on the
famous Last Night, the Proms are spun through with actual or arguable gay interest.
But does a composer's sexuality really influence their music? Do us queers really have a
special affinity with gay composers?
And is there even really a high queer quota in
the Albert Hall audience, eyeing each other up through lenses from the circle or
brushing up close in the standing area below?
"There is certainly no such thing as gay music," claims Richard Souper from the London
Gay Symphony Orchestra (LGSO) which formed in 1996, which welcomes musicians and
audiences who are LGB or LGB-friendly and whose concerts have included works by
gay composers including Tchaikovsky, Poulenc, de Falla, Saint-SaŽns, Britten,
Copland and Barber. "I have - especially when younger - attended many artistic,
theatrical and cultural events on the grounds that they were 'gay', but I don't
think I've ever been to a concert just because its composers happened to be gay."
Souper doesn't even accept that gay composers feature that greatly in the LGSO's
repertoire: "Maybe it did more when we started, but it certainly wasn't a conscious
thing. We've only ever done one 'all-gay' concert although we are often approached
to perform pieces by young gay composers and have done so in venues from Croatia
The London Gay Symphony Orchestra are always on the look out for gay musicians
and their friends. Warm up for the Proms at one of their forthcoming concerts such as
this Sunday 11th July 7pm, St John's Church, Waterloo Road featuring music by Frank Bridge and Vaughan
Williams. More information at www.lgso.org.uk or
the London Gay Men's Chorus www.lgmc.org.uk. For a list
of gay choirs in your area check www.singout.org.uk.