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BBC announces new music strategy, confirms annual awards and classical outreach programme for schools

By | Published on Tuesday 17 June 2014

BBC Music

The big bad belligerent but basically brilliant BBC has lifted the lid on its new ‘wide-ranging music strategy’. So that’s exciting. Not to mention, strategic.

In amongst the many, many bullet points on the plan, released at an event in London yesterday, are a stack of music-themed TV and radio programmes and initiatives, some brand new, some already in existence but replugged under the new BBC Music banner, and set to be brought together through a revamped website later this year.

Grabbing the most headlines was the announcement of an all new BBC Music Awards show, dubbed by the press as a “BRITs competitor” (the UK industry’s big awards bash being televised by ITV, of course), though the Corporation prefers to position it as something of a pop version of that ‘Sports Personality Of The Year’ programme.

Fearne Cotton and Chris Evans are already booked to host the first edition on 11 Dec at London’s Earls Court, with the whole affair set to distinguish itself from the 35 other UK music awards shows with such innovative categories as Artist Of The Year and Song Of The Year. Hmm.

Another new initiative is called ‘Ten Pieces’, which will push classical music to school kids. Ten classical pieces will be promoted to primary school age children through film screenings nationwide, with the kids then encouraged to “respond creatively to the music through their own compositions, dance, digital art or animation”.

The ten pieces include works by Mozart, Handel, Host, Beethoven and Britten and more contemporary composers like US minimalist John Adams and Scottish electronic soloist Anna Meredith. Meanwhile the likes of Laura Mvula, Cerys Matthews and Nicola Benedetti will all act as ambassadors for the programme, which has so far signed up over 150 arts organisations to participate.

Says Benedetti: “Two aspects of the project stand out for me, the first is the sheer size. With so many organisations involved and the power of the BBC, the number of children likely to experience classical music could be enormous, and I hope will be. The second is the quality with which classical music will be presented to the children, many of them probably for the very first time – first exposure can be vitally important, igniting a positive lifelong association with this great art form”.

She adds: “This experience, I am quite sure, will be exciting and enriching for all children, but above all is highly educational and substantive. This is something you cannot miss”.

Full details of the wider BBC Music strategy, some extra highlights of which include a feature-length Genesis film (which will see the band’s classic-era line-up reunite), comedian Reginald D Hunter exploring 150 years of American popular song and a three-part series examining the relationship between British rock and pop music and fashion, are¬†available here.