The BBC announced a raft of major new BBC classical music programmes in a day of BBC sessions at the Association of British Orchestra’s Conference in Cardiff.
The conference this year was hosted by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales to mark their 90th anniversary in collaboration with Welsh National Opera and Sinfonia Cymru and saw a day of BBC hosted sessions looking at the conference theme of collaboration.
The conference culminated in performances from BBC Young Musician winner 2014, Martin James Bartlett and 2016 Finalist and Woodwind Category Winner Jess Gillam, alongside a keynote speech from Alan Davey, Controller of BBC Radio 3, BBC Orchestras and Choirs and BBC Proms, about the Corporation’s commitment to classical music where he asked the industry to collaborate on music education and reaching new audiences.
Davey commented: “In the classical music industry we have to respond to changing times with new ideas and new ways of connecting with and engaging the public. Our aim will be to help people of all ages to begin a new relationship with classical music – or take their existing relationship even further – and make it a habit and passion for life.”
In the same speech, Davey also outlined that as part of Radio 3’s vision to expand the canon of classical music to be more representative, a special concert at LSO St Luke’s by the BBC Concert Orchestra will premiere works by female composers that in some cases have not been heard in over 100 years or have never before been performed. The works which are announced today, will commemorate International Women’s Day on Thursday 8 March and will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. It is part of a body of work the station is undertaking with the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
Earlier in the day Jan Younghusband, Head of BBC Music TV Commissioning, announced a major new landmark series, Our Classical Century, on behalf of Cassian Harrison, Controller BBC Four. The series will be broadcast in four parts across the year from Autumn 2018 and will survey key historic performances and highlights in the last 100 years of classical music. The series, which will be made by Lion Television, is one of the most ambitious single commissions for classical music, using resources across the BBC including the BBC Orchestras. It will also be accompanied by special BBC Radio 3 programming in Essential Classics made by BBC Radio 3 production, which will identify 100 of the most significant moments, events, and pieces of music from across the last century to be broadcast or staged throughout the year. The focus of Our Classical Century will end in the first night of the 2019 Proms, bringing the classical music story to the present day.
Finally, Alan Davey announced the 20th anniversary of the BBC Proms Inspire Composers Competition which opened for entries today. The competition gives composers the unrivaled opportunity to have their compositions performed at the BBC Proms, broadcast on BBC Radio 3, as well as a coveted BBC commission. Previous winners include celebrated composer, Mark Simpson, and this year’s illustrious judging panel includes Sally Beamish, Dobrinka Tabakova, Anna Meredith and Kerry Andrew.