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Our Classical Century

Our Classical Century is a celebration of the most memorable musical moments from 1918 – 2018. It is a season of programming on BBC Four, BBC Radio 3, BBC Two and BBC iPlayer from November 2018 through to June 2019. A host of well-loved guests & presenters guide us through the century in documentaries, features and performances.

Sir Lenny Henry is the first to join Suzy Klein in a four-part chronological series on BBC Four as part of Our Classical Century, followed by John Simpon CBE, Joan Bakewell and Alexandra Burke. A range of guides across the season include Brian Cox and Lucy Worsley on BBC Two, and Katie Derham, Tom Service, Josie D’Arby on BBC Four. The BBC Orchestras welcome television audiences into the studio for a series of broadcast ‘Discovery Concerts’ and BBC Radio 3 celebrates the season throughout the year with coverage across the network.

:: BBC Media Centre - 100 years of great music-making marked in landmark BBC season

Season Timeline

PART THREE: April – May 2019 (1953 – 71)

:: BBC Four

Joan Bakewell

Discovering... The Bridge on the River Kwai – Malcolm Arnold
Sunday 7th April 2019 at 20:00
Performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra
Presented by Katie Derham

Our Classical Century – Sound and Vision (1953-1971)
Sunday 7th April 2019 at 21:00
Presented by Joan Bakewell and Suzy Klein

Our Classical Century Episode 1, 1918-1936 (repeat)
Tuesday 9th April 2019 at 02:00
Presented by Suzy Klein and Sir Lenny Henry

Our Classical Century Episode 2 - In War and Peace, 1936-1953 (repeat)
Wednesday 10th April at 02:00
Presented by Suzy Klein and John Simpson CBE

Janet Baker In Her Own Words
Sunday 14th April 2019 at 21:00
The great British classical singer discusses the excitements and pitfalls of her long career

:: BBC Radio 3

Top 100 Countdown (51-75)
Weekdays from 9am to 12 noon, Monday 1st April – Friday 3rd May 2019

Radio 3's Essential Classics will be exploring 1954-1979 during Part 3 of the season

Afternoon Concerts
Fridays from 2pm, 5th April – 3rd May 2019
A piece from Our Classical Century explored in full as part of the programme

:: BBC Sounds

The Music of Our Classical Century
Weekly throughout April
Full works and excerpts published online throughout the season

Our Classical Century Mix
Monday 1st April
A selection of classical greats from the last 100 years

PART FOUR: June – July 2019 (1980s – Present)

:: BBC Four

Brian Cox and the BBC Symphony Orchestra

Our Classical Century Episode 4, 1980s-Present
Presented by Alexandra Burke and Suzy Klein

Discovering…Saariaho’s Graal Théâtre
Performed by the BBC Philharmonic conducted by Ludovic Morlot
Presented by Tom Service

:: BBC Two

Queen Victoria and the British Musical Revolution
Presented by Lucy Worsley

:: BBC Radio 3

Top 100 Countdown (76-100)
in Essential Classics

First Night of the Proms 2019

Previously on Our Classical Century

PART ONE: November – December 2018 (1918 - 1936)

:: BBC Four

Suzy Klein and Lenny Henry

Our Classical Century Episode 1, 1918-1936
Thursday 15th November 2018 at 21:00
Presented by Suzy Klein and Sir Lenny Henry

Discovering… Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue
Sunday 18th November 2018 at 20:00

Performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Thomas Dausgaard
Presented by Josie D’Arby

The Prince and the Composer
Sunday 18th November 2018 at 21:00
Prince Charles on Hubert Parry by HRH The Prince of Wales (archive)

:: BBC Two

Holst & Vaughan Williams – Making Music English
Saturday 17th November 2018 at 21:00

Presented by Tom Service & Amanda Vickery

:: BBC Radio 3

The Listening Service: What counts as 'classical music'?
Sunday 11th November 2018

Top 100 Countdown (1-25)
Monday 12th November – Friday 14th December 2018

in Essential Classics

Afternoon Concert: Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue
Friday 23rd November at 14:00

Time Travellers podcast
Wednesday 21st November 2018
Special music-themed edition featuring material from the Our Classical Century moments on Essential Classics

PART TWO: February – March 2019 (1936 – 1953)

:: BBC Four

BBC National Orchestra of Wales

Our Classical Century Episode 1 1918-1936 (repeat)
Sunday 3rd February 2019 at 02:00
Presented by Suzy Klein and Sir Lenny Henry

Our Classical Century Episode 2 - In War and Peace, 1936-1953
Thursday 7th February 2019 at 21:00
Presented by Suzy Klein and John Simpson CBE

Discovering… Britten’s The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra
Sunday 10th February 2019 at 20:00

Performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, conducted by Moritz Gnann
Presented by Katie Derham

Britten’s War Requiem: Staging a Masterpiece
Sunday 10th February 2019 at 22:30

at English National Opera

Leningrad and the Orchestra that Defied Hitler (repeat)
Monday 11th February 2019, 00:30

Dancing in the Blitz: How WW2 Made British Ballet (repeat)
Monday 11th February 2019, 01:35

:: BBC Radio 3

Top 100 Countdown (26-50)
Monday 4th February – Friday 8th March 2019
in Essential Classics Time Traveller feature

5x Afternoon In Concerts
Fridays from February 8th

5x In Tune Mix Tapes
Mondays from February 4th

Time Travellers podcast
Wednesday 6th March 2019
Special music-themed edition featuring material from the Our Classical Century moments on Essential Classics

:: BBC Sounds

BBC Sounds Music Mix
based on 1936-1953 section of the 100 Moments Countdown