Liverpool skyline

Liverpool is bidding to become the first UNESCO City of Music in England, alongside its status already as a UNESCO World Heritage City.

Led by Liverpool City Council, in partnership with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and other key music organisations, a steering group is to meet for the first time at the end of November to outline the aims of the bid which will be officially triggered by a letter to UNESCO from Liverpool’s Lord Mayor, Cllr Mike Storey.

The first element of the bid will be to undertake a four month mapping exercise of Liverpool’s music offer before it officially hands in its bid in spring next year.

If approved, the city, which held the European Capital of Culture title in 2008, will join an exclusive club of just four other UNESCO cities of music, with Ghent and Glasgow the most recent additions, and would become a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Cllr Warren Bradley, leader of Liverpool City Council, who will chair the UNESCO bid steering group, said: ”Music is in Liverpool’s blood and its influence has been truly global from the days of sea shanties and Merseybeat to classical and dance – it was a fundamental reason why we were European Capital of Culture.”

The announcement comes just as Kasabian close Liverpool Music Week tonight, with a performance at the Echo Arena on Kings Dock.

James Barton, chief executive of Cream and joint director of the Liverpool Music Week festival, said: “I am really honoured to be invited onto the team that will steer the bid to become UNESCO city of music. I believe that music has always been central to Liverpool life which is why winning the title would be so exciting. Not only would this accolade recognise the already world famous music scene within Liverpool it will also act as a focus for the further development of music in the city for many years to come.’’

Vasily Petrenko, chief conductor at the award-winning Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, added: “I don’t think there is any other city in England that understands the power of music more than Liverpool. It has fantastic tradition of producing great music and great musicians of every kind and is still doing it today. To be a UNESCO City of Music will really help to promote Liverpool as one of the world’s music capitals.”

Liverpool’s bid to be a UNESCO City of Music is being funded by Liverpool City Council, Arts Council North West, North West Development Agency and North West Vision.

The Creative Cities Network connects cities who want to share experiences, ideas and best practices aiming at cultural, social and economic development.

Last year Liverpool became the UK’s most musical city, with a record 56 songs at Number 1 in the charts.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO for short, was founded 64 years ago today. For more details visit the UNESCO website here

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