BBC Supersize on Classical Music

By Classicalite Newsdesk on Jun 17, 2014 11:48 AM EDT

It was always likely that the BBC's still-quite-new Director General -- former Royal Opera House chief Tony Hall -- would prioritise music. And today the corporation announced a slew of initiatives designed to put music back at (or close to) the center of the Beeb's world. Most eye-catching of these is a nationwide educational initiative called "Ten Pieces".

Starting with a week of free cinema screenings for schools of a new cinematic film, "Ten Pieces" will introduce children to, er, ten pieces of classical music.  The film is Phase One. Phase Two invites children to compose their own music, or create dances, or animation and digital art, in response to the classical works. The various BBC orchestras and BBC Singers will run workshops and celebrity champions have been enlisted to engage with children in their areas.

Phase Three -- during the summer term -- involves interactive concerts around the UK, a "major event" and other themed events. Some of the children's own creations will be made available online.

The ten pieces are:-

John Adams: Short Ride in a Fast Machine

Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 (1st movement)

Britten: "Storm Interlude" from Peter Grimes

Grieg: "In the Hall of the Mountain King" from Peer Gynt

Handel: Zadok the Priest

Holst: "Mars" from The Planets

Anna Meredith: Connect It

Mozart: Horn Concerto No 4 (3rd movement)

Mussorgsky: A Night on the Bare Mountain

Stravinsky: The Firebird suite (1911) (Finale)

The champions are Alison Balsom, Nicola Benedetti, Catrin Finch, Julian Joseph, Cerys Matthews and Laura Mvula. Benedetti said in a press release, "Two aspects of the project stand out for me -- the first is the sheer size. With over 150 organisations involved and the power of the BBC, the number of children likely to experience classical music through Ten Pieces could be enormous...The second is the quality with which classical music will be presented to the children, many of them probably for the very first time..."

Other initiatives announced by the BBC include the development of BBC Playlister and curated collections on BBC's iPlayer service. And a raft of other broadcast plans, such as the BBC Music Awards, a series entitled "The Soundtrack of the Twentieth Century", documentaries on Mozart, Monteverdi, Herbert von Karajan, and on the Kinshasa Symphony Orchestra (whose players play on instruments they have built themselves). Meanwhile, the BBC Introducing strand will focus on nurturing emerging young musical talent across the nation.

It's the BBC, Jim, but not as we knew it...

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TagsBBC, Classical Music, Nicola Benedetti, Cerys Matthews, Alison Balsom, Beethoven, music education

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