BBC unveils a season of programmes about the Piano

Lang Lang, Peter Donohoe and the Labèque sisters feature in six-week season

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The BBC has today announced six weeks of programming across Radio 3 and BBC TV dedicated to a single instrument – the piano. 

From 15 September Radio 3 will be devoting much of its schedule to exploring the piano’s influence on classical music, famous classical pianists of the past and the instrument’s enduring appeal.

The season will kick off with coverage of the Leeds International Piano Competition on Radio 3 before BBC Four devotes six programmes to the historic competition. Suzy Klein – herself a pianist – presents the series which introduces this year’s finalists and talks to the woman who masterminds the event, Dame Fanny Waterman.

Other highlights on Radio 3 include a daily A-Z of the piano (‘A for Action’, ‘B for Boogie Woogie’), to be broadcast on In Tune and also available as a podcast. Each morning during the Breakfast show throughout the season, concert pianist Peter Donohoe will be introducing one of 50 great pianists. Plus, Monday nights are piano nights on the station with a series of recitals by artists including New Generation Artist Igor Levit, Alexei Grynyuk and Ashley Wass.

Roger Wright, controller of Radio 3 said: 'The piano is a single instrument that has the ability to convey a range of emotions and the power of a whole orchestra. Over six weeks we will be exploring this remarkable instrument; its history, mechanics and influence, as well as delving into the lives of the poeple behind the instrument and the music created for it.'

The season closes on 6 November with a BBC One Imagine documentary about superstar pianist Lang Lang, presented by Alan Yentob. BBC Four will also be taking a look at the life of this classical music phenomenon in Lang Lang: The Art of Being a Virtuoso and Lang Lang at the Roundhouse, showing footage of the pianist peforming at the iTunes festival in 2011.

For more information about Piano Season on the BBC and full Radio 3 listings pick up a copy of the October issue of BBC Music Magazine, on sale now.

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