BBC announces classical music programme for Culture in Quarantine

The virtual festival of the arts will include opera broadcasts, virtual choirs and home recordings

Max Richter's Sleep will be broadcast through the night on BBC Radio 3
Published: April 1, 2020 at 6:06 pm

As part of its Culture in Quarantine initiative, BBC Arts has announced a series of classical music broadcasts across its radio, TV and online platforms.


Max Richter’s Sleep – an eight-hour orchestral work designed to be listened to as you sleep – will be broadcast through the night on BBC Radio 3 on Saturday 11 April, from 11pm to 7am the next morning.

Also on Radio 3, artists will host performances from their homes. Artists include harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani, guitarist Craig Ogden and pianist and cellist Sheku and Isata Kanneh-Mason.

Joining them, composers will be contributing by the writing short musical ‘postcards’ for Radio 3.

The Afternoon Concert series will showcase musicians from the BBC orchestras, who will perform short works of their choice at home. Radio 3 in Concert, usually held in the evenings, will now be broadcasting repeats of earlier broadcasts, as chosen by the ensembles who were set to be featured on the programme in the coming months.

Over on BBC TV, all 19 of the choir members from Tenebrae are coming together online for a virtual choir performance on BBC Four. The singers will come together via video link, under the direction of Nigel Short, to perform an Easter Sunday concert.

BBC Young Musician is also set to return in May with the category finals, hosted – for the first time – by organist Anna Lapwood. Highlights programmes will be broadcast on BBC Four, with full episodes available on BBC iPlayer. The finals have been postponed to autumn.

As part of Beethoven Unleashed, the BBC’s yearlong celebration of the 250th anniversary of Beethoven, the Royal Opera’s recent performance of Fidelio – the great composer’s only opera – will be broadcast on BBC Four.

Radio 3 is also launching the Classical Companion Collection online: a set of articles, quizzes, symphony guides and podcasts based on materials from the BBC archives.



Freya ParrDigital Editor and Staff Writer, BBC Music Magazine

Freya Parr is BBC Music Magazine's Digital Editor and Staff Writer. She has also written for titles including the Guardian, Circus Journal, Frankie and Suitcase Magazine, and runs The Noiseletter, a fortnightly arts and culture publication. Freya's main areas of interest and research lie in 20th-century and contemporary music.

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