BBC announces classical music programmes as part of Culture In Quarantine

The broadcaster said it wanted to provide classical music programming that is a ‘sanctuary' during the pandemic.

The BBC has unveiled a programme of classical music as part of its “virtual festival of the arts” amid the coronavirus lockdown.

The corporation said its Culture In Quarantine will feature classical music content across radio, TV and online, while people stay at home during the outbreak.

Highlights include a broadcast of Max Richter’s Sleep, an eight-hour orchestral work described as a “lullaby for a frenetic world”.

Sleep will be simulcast on Radio 3 and the European Broadcasting Union, with the BBC saying it will encourage “listeners all over the continent to relax, listen and sleep” overnight on April 11-April 12.

BBC Four will show a TV concert where none of the participants will meet, with choir members instead recording their individual parts before being brought together through virtual reality technology.

The BBC has unveiled a programme of classical music as part of its cultural output amid the coronavirus lockdown (Ian West/PA)

As part of the Home Sessions programme, artists including Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Andreas Scholl, Mahan Esfahani, Isata Kanneh-Mason and Craig Ogden will perform on Radio 3.

The same station will be home to Postcards From Composers, which will see contemporary composers writing musical messages to listeners.

And BBC Orchestras and Choirs will record ensemble and solo works remotely for Afternoon Concert.

Alan Davey, controller of classical music, said: “Music, and classical music in particular, is an important part of the UK’s cultural identity. It has a special power to bring people from all walks of life together.

“Our aim is to both provide classical music programming that is a sanctuary during these difficult times as well as helping people to feel connected at a time of profound seclusion and uncertainty.

“We also wanted to continue to support the artists who bring us so much joy as well as showcase British talent.

“We hope to guide audiences through isolation with specially put-together classical content, be it radio, TV or online. There is something for everyone.”

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