Lloyd Webber attacks `new fuhrers' of music politburo

Cellist Julian Lloyd Webber has attacked "40 years of madness" in which the Western music hierarchy created a "pernicious politburo" which all but destroyed classical music.

His attack on avant garde, atonal music characterised by the work of composers such as Sir Harrison Birtwhistle, will be delivered in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland today. In an interview with The Independent, in advance of the speech, he attacked "clashing lawnmower" music. "Composers who pursued a logical development of the music of the great masters were increasingly disparaged and derided by the new fuhrers of the classical music establishment, for whom tonality and harmony had become dirty words," he said.

"I'm sure there are people who like that kind of music. What I object to is the unspoken dictatorship that permitted only one style of music."

He issued a challenge to British breakfast television companies to put young musicians on air. "The truth is that the vast majority of young people in the West have no interest in classical music whatsoever," he said. Audiences and CD sales were declining, fewer children learnt instruments, and the general media were uninterested. "Give me four weeks of daily three-minute slots and I will deliver you 20 young musicians who will captivate your viewers."

Andrew Lloyd Webber has sold his London home. Czech businessman Viktor Kozeny, who famously paid pounds 13,000 for dinner-for-three at Le Gavroche is understood to have paid pounds 15m for the six-storey Belgravia house.