The BBC has launched a year-long season of programmes across BBC Four and BBC Radio 3, in conjunction with the BBC orchestras, to celebrate classical music from the last 100 years.
‘All together it will represent the biggest-ever classical music season across the BBC,’ Alan Davey, controller of BBC Radio 3, said at the Association of British Orchestras Conference, which this year was hosted by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales to celebrate its 90th anniversary. ‘Unique in breadth and scale, the season is designed to engage audiences of all ages.’
At the heart of the project is Our Classical Century, a BBC Four series televised in four parts that takes a look at highlights and specific moments in music history since 1918. Each instalment will be accompanied by concerts from a BBC orchestra. Alongside, Radio 3 will choose 100 of the most significant moments, events and pieces from the past century. The season will end with the First Night of the Proms in 2019.
Radio 3 will also focus on female composers, featuring premieres of works by women overlooked by history. ‘Research shows that there are around 6,000 forgotten female composers whose work is not currently available for us to explore,’ noted Davey. ‘We wanted to start putting this right’.
The season will commence this autumn, following the BBC Proms.