Melissa Bradshaw

Classical music goes digital

4:33, 23rd March 2020

Due to the social distancing measures and venue closures taking place as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the classical music world is having to find ways to adapt and explore innovative new methods of sharing music online.

Read all about some of the latest virtual initiatives being launched within the industry below. We will aim to keep this list updated as new announcements are made over the coming weeks.

  • London Symphony Orchestra has launched LSO Always Playing, a programme of online concerts, interview and other material available here. They will roll out a full programme of concerts from their archive to coincide with their regular Barbican concert time of 7.30pm on Thursday evenings and 7pm on Sundays. The next performance (Schumann Symphony No 3) will take place on Thursday 26 March at 7.30pm.
  • The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is launching a new online community, RCSatHome. As well as showcasing work, ideas and conversations from students, staff and alumni, the institution is calling upon its global community to contribute content from heart-warming clips and stories to funny videos, practical advice and live-streaming. Videos, photos and blogs can be sent to communications@rcs.ac.uk and via rcs.wetransfer.com.
  • London Mozart Players are launching ‘LMP at Home’, a new online video feed releasing a daily stream of pre-recorded and live performances as well as exclusive behind-the-scenes content. Guitarist Craig Ogden will launch LMP’s ‘Saturday Sessions’ with a live broadcast via Facebook at 7pm on Saturday 28 March, while other artists getting involved in the project include Howard Shelley, Hilary Davan Wetton, Jess Gillam, Michael Collins and LMP’s young artist-in-residence Laura van der Heijden. Donations made to the campaign will be used to help compensate LMP musicians who currently have no income due to cancellations.
  • Russian pianist Yulia Chaplina is starting a new regular newsletter with a series of short online videos featuring ‘light and positive’ classical and jazz music, aiming to help lift spirits of subscribers.
  • New York-based cellist Jan Vogler has announced a 24-hour musical live-stream, ‘Music Never Sleeps NYC, featuring original content from numerous New York-based artists including Nico Muhly, Midori, Tiffany Poon, Jeremy Denk and many more. The live stream will begin on Friday 27 March 2020 at 10pm GMT (6pm EDT).
  • The BBC has announced its ‘Culture in Quarantineprogramming across BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4, BBC Two, BBC Four, BBC Sounds, BBC iPlayer and its digital platforms. BBC Radio 3 is looking to set up a series of special chamber studio recordings, as well as working with orchestras who’ve had to cancel concerts on choosing recent collaborations from those ensembles to rebroadcast.
  • The George Enescu International Festival has been streaming an online classical music festival from 18 March 2020, running through until the end of April at www.festivalenescu.ro. Instead of buying tickets for concerts, audiences are invited to donate to doctors, nurses and hospitals. The programme will be similar to that of a regular concert hall, but each concert stream will remain available on site for four days. Information on the full programme can be found here.
  • Manchester Collective has launched a live broadcast programme, to include an Instagram Live broadcast with BBC Radio 3 presenter Elizabeth Alker (Tuesday 24 March 2020, 2pm GMT) and a Facebook broadcast of its ‘Cries and Whispers’ programme, filmed live at The White Hotel (Saturday 28 March, 8.30pm GMT).
  • The VOCES8 Foundation has set up an initiative called #LiveFromHome, bringing the music of Apollo5, VOCES8 and Paul Smith to online audiences daily. It includes performance videos, interactive singing videos, live workshops and interview with the team and guests. Head over to their Facebook, Instagram and Youtube profiles for live broadcasts and schedule updates.
  • London Philharmonic Orchestra is offering audiences a package of free digital content at lpo.org.uk/lponline. The opening event on Thursday 26 March at 7.30pm sees violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter join three LPO soloists – Pieter Schoeman (violin), Richard Waters (viola) and Kristina Blaumane (cello) – to perform an excerpt from Beethoven’s ‘Harp’ Quartet. Other content offered through the initiative will include curated playlists, educational resources and behind-the-scenes features.
  • Southampton concert hall Turner Sims is hosting an online version of its Inside Out Piano event with pianist and composer Sarah Nicolls. The event, taking place on Sunday 29 March in celebration of International Piano Day 2020, will be a free event for families made available online here at 3pm. Ticket holders for the original event will be contacted by the Box Office to discuss refund options.
  • Production company and record label Accentus has announced that a selection of full-length concerts it has produced will stream on the Leipziger Gewandhaus and Opernhaus Zürich websites. The first offering, streaming on Thursday 26 March, is from the Leipziger Gewandhaus and features Andris Nelsons conducting the Gewandhausorchester to the music of Stravinsky and Schumann. All concerts are available for 24 hours.
  • Classical label Deutsche Grammophon is collaborating with Arte Concert to launch ‘Musical Moment‘, a series of live streams and delayed relays of concerts given by DG artists at Berlin’s Meistersaal. Beginning on Friday 27 March at 7pm (CET) and Sunday 29 March at 4pm (CET), the first four episodes will feature Berlin-based artists Andreas Ottensamer, Anna Prohaska, Avi Avital and Albrecht Mayer in recital performances with chamber music partners. Anyone who misses a live performance will be able to catch up on demand for 72 hours via the Deutsche Grammophon and Arte Concert channels.
  • Art Saves Us: Renowned cellist and principal of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Julian Lloyd Webber, is lending his support to a new online concert series initiative launched to support the incredible work carried out by NHS staff. Each one hour event will be held on Fridays at 3pm UK time, and will feature a blend of genres such as music, drama, poetry, ballet, storytelling and Chinese folk music.
  • Academy of Ancient Music has launched a Streaming Sundays series, making HD videos of its recent concerts available free of charge. AAM chief executive Alexander Van Ingen said: ‘By opening up access to recent concerts we hope to showcase this glorious music globally. We hope that our concerts will provide a moment of beauty and relief to anyone who watches them, and make this isolation more endurable for all concerned.’
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