Classical music is enjoying a renaissance with sales in the UK up by one million last year, according to figures published today.
Sixteen-year-old singer Hayley Westenra led the revival with her album Pure, the top-selling classical album of 2003.
Welsh baritone Bryn Terfel had the second-biggest seller in a year which saw classical sales top £65m (€96.6m) – 8% up on 2002.
The annual figures were released by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).
They show that young stars like Hayley have increased the appeal of classical music, along with the increasing number of chill-out style compilations.
Half of the top 10 are compilations, with titles such as Smooth Classics – Do Not Disturb. Andrea Bocelli and Aled Jones also feature in the top 10.
Hayley recorded Pure when she was just 15 and is being tipped as one of the great classical music stars.
The New Zealander was talent spotted in a school production when she was just six.
Released in September, her album went double platinum in just three months and has sold close to 600,000 copies in the UK.
The growing appeal of classical music amongst a new and younger audience is reflected in the success of British radio station Classic FM, which now has over 6 million listeners.
BPI chairman Peter Jamieson said: “In 2003 the classical record industry bounced back with a whole range of exciting artists and innovative compilations which brought classical music to new audiences.”
UK's Top 20 Classical Albums 2004:
1 Pure – Hayley Westenra
2 Bryn – Bryn Terfel
3 The Number One Classical Album 2003 – Various
4 Viaggio Italiano – Andrea Bocelli
5 Smooth Classics – Do Not Disturb – Various
6 The Very Best of Relaxing Classics – Various
7 Classical Chillout Gold – Various
8 The Very Best of Classical Chillout Gold – Various
9 Higher – Aled Jones
10 The Opera Band – Amici Forever