Rhinegold Photo credit: Mike Massaro

Melissa Bradshaw

Southbank Centre launches newcomers’ guide to classical music

3:56, 1st November 2019

The Southbank Centre has launched an online guide to classical music, aiming to debunk common myths and challenge perceptions of the industry for those who have not yet taken their first steps into the concert hall.

With new content continuously being added over the coming months, the new section on the Southbank Centre’s website is one of several initiatives created to encourage newcomers who may never have had the experience of hearing classical music live.

The content includes:

  • A short film of Southbank Centre’s director of Music, Gillian Moore, explaining what she loves about live music and her tips for first-time concert-goers
  • Q&As with Marin Alsop, Chi-chi Nwanoku and Roderick Williams on what they like about concerts, what they’d change, and the role the audience plays in the concert experience
  • Specially curated playlists featuring music which can be heard at the Southbank Centre during its 2019/20 classical season
  • ‘Confessions of a first time concert goer’ blog – the first part of which is online now, with part two to follow
  • ‘Classical music jargon buster’ explaining some of the key musical terms used in classical music
  • A guide to the Royal Festival Hall and its history
  • ‘Encounters’: a new project which will see leading musicians accompany newcomers to concerts

Gillian Moore, director of Music at Southbank Centre, comments:

‘When I was six, my Mum took me on a bus into Glasgow and we went to see the Scottish National Orchestra in a Tchaikovsky night.  It deeply affected me, even as a six year old child.  There may have been 100 musicians playing, and 1000 people listening, but if felt as if the music was speaking directly to me. This alchemy of the personal and communal still powers my love of live music and it’s why I feel so passionately about sharing the joys of a classical night out with those who may never have been to a concert before.

‘Southbank Centre is committed to widening the audiences for classical music, by taking the time to listen to audiences – old and new – and removing barriers (whether real or perceived) that may stop people coming to concerts.  This includes Southbank Centre’s online newcomers guide to classical music, ‘Encounters’ with several leading musicians accompanying newcomers to classical music at Southbank Centre concerts this season, and over 50,000 tickets priced £15 or under during Southbank Centre’s 2019/20 classical season.’

Explore the newcomers’ guide to classical music here.


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