World class musicians return to the concert hall

Tuesday 12 May 2020

Live classical music to return to BBC Radio 3 and UK homes through 20 Wigmore Hall concerts. Leading musicians including Mitsuko Uchida, Mark Padmore, Iestyn Davies to perform and broadcast live to the nation.

  • BBC Radio 3 to broadcast first live classical broadcasts since lockdown with concert series from Wigmore Hall every weekday in the Lunchtime Concert slot
  • London-based musicians performing to include Imogen Cooper, Angela Hewitt, Stephen Hough, Pavel Kolesnikov, Mark Padmore, Ailish Tynan, Mitsuko Uchida
  • The broadcasts are part of BBC Arts’ Culture in Quarantine which is a multiplatform BBC initiative which aims to continue to open the doors to culture in the homes of the nation despite the lockdown
  • Musicians perform to an empty hall in strict compliance with government’s social distancing guidelines
  • Every concert to be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and streamed both on BBC Sounds and the Wigmore Hall website

Alan Davey, Controller of BBC Radio 3 and John Gilhooly, Director of Wigmore Hall, today confirmed the first live classical music broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 from Wigmore Hall, following the nationwide lockdown. The two organisations usually partner for Wigmore Hall Lunchtime Concerts. A series of 20 concerts will take place at 1PM every weekday throughout the month of June, starting on 1 June. The series marks Wigmore Hall’s temporary re-opening and BBC Radio 3’s resumption of live concert broadcasting as part of Culture in Quarantine, a BBC initiative to ensure culture remains in the homes of the public despite lockdown.

The series, made up exclusively of solo recitals and duos, will see some of the world’s leading musicians returning to a concert hall for the first time since the lockdown. They will perform to an empty Wigmore Hall with no audience present, with a minimal set up involving one BBC Radio 3 producer backstage, a BBC sound engineer, one presenter inside the auditorium and one member of Wigmore Hall staff on duty - in strict compliance with the government’s social distancing guidelines and with more than 2 metres in social distancing.

Every concert, approximately one hour in length, will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 from 1pm and on BBC Sounds, and will be streamed live in HD video on Wigmore Hall’s website.

Alan Davey, Controller BBC Radio 3 and classical music commented: “Live music is in the DNA of Radio 3 and so its loss is felt by all, not just at home but also in the music industry, it is therefore a great joy to restore this service to the nation whilst also ensuring maximum health and safety. My thanks to Wigmore Hall for once again collaborating with us on the venture and also to the performers for helping us to bring live classical music back into the nation’s homes during quarantine.”

John Gilhooly, Director of Wigmore Hall said: “The health and safety of our staff and the musicians will always be Wigmore Hall’s foremost concern. This is a London-centric series. Most of the artists are based in London and have pledged to come in on foot or by bike. No artists will be taking public transport. I am very grateful to BBC Radio 3 and every musician taking part in these concerts, under the safest possible conditions. Through this series we bring great live music from our acclaimed acoustic to every corner of the nation and overseas.”

The series opens on 1 June with a piano recital by Stephen Hough. The musicians scheduled to perform are:

James Baillieu (piano), Benjamin Baker (violin), Iain Burnside (piano), Allan Clayton (tenor), Michael Collins (clarinet), Imogen Cooper (piano), Lucy Crowe (soprano), Nicholas Daniel (oboe), Iestyn Davies (countertenor), Julius Drake (piano) Benjamin Grosvenor (piano), Angela Hewitt (piano), Stephen Hough (piano), Elizabeth Kenny (lute), Pavel Kolesnikov (piano), Paul Lewis (piano), Michael McHale (piano), Joseph Middleton (piano), Mark Padmore (tenor), Hyeyoon Park (violin), Timothy Ridout (viola), Sean Shibe (guitar), Anna Tilbrook (piano), Samson Tsoy (piano), Ailish Tynan (soprano), Mitsuko Uchida (piano), Adam Walker (flute), Roderick Williams (baritone)

Detailed programme and schedule will be announced in due course.

The pianist Mitsuko Uchida who is performing Schubert’s song cycle Winterreise with the tenor Mark Padmore, said, “Only live performance brings danger and truth of the moment. Making music with Mark is bliss. Long live Wigmore Hall and Radio 3!”

The baritone Roderick Williams, said, “Nothing beats the live experience. Classical music is all about the present, about live, acoustic instruments, about reinventing and interpreting great art in the moment, different every time as circumstances dictate. I’m so grateful to have recordings but it is the live experience, the living relationship between performer, the music and the audience that really counts.”

BBC Sounds

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