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    First Published: July 2004
       This is an OutUK Archive Item and so some of the links and information may be out of date.
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 to Brighton."
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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.

 

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