WEST Kilbride violinist Nicola Benedetti has joined forced with Largs composer James MacMillan to blast the BBC over cuts to long running classical music and jazz programming.

The leading figures from the world of classical music say they are 'aghast' that the national broadcaster is wielding the axe.

Nicola, who is the director of the Edinburgh Festival, said she was 'shocked and deeply disappointed' by the plans to drop Classics Unwrapped and Jazz Nights.

She said: "This is aheartbreaking disservice to musicians and music lovers across the country and all parts of society."

Sir James MacMillan, who composed 'Who Shall Separate Us' for Queen Elizabeth's funeral, said: "This is silencing of Scotland's unique musical voice and a stamping out of creativity."

Nicola is backing Sir James' petition to reverse the decision, which is being blamed on the two year freeze on the licence fee, as well as a focus to concentrate more on digital output.

The petition has already reached 5,000 signatures.

The BBC says it will continue its commitment to showcasing all genres of music within Scotland,.

A spokesperson said: "We will still reflect the vibrant classical and jazz communities in Scotland on our schedule, and we're working on new and creative options for achieving this."

It can be signed online here: www.change.org/p/stop-bbc-radio-scotland-axing-classics-unwrapped-from-the-schedule