BBC Experience Classical
by Mark Macey, BBC
BBC Experience Classical is a new way to discover the rich and deep archive of classical music from the BBC, featuring hundreds of unique audio recordings all performed by the BBC Orchestras, Choirs and New Generation Artists, collated from many different sources into one place! Alongside these tracks there are hundreds of specially curated archive radio programmes and podcasts that give background and insight, to get even more out of the music. The digital archive features works by over 150 composers from 20 nationalities. Music fans can search by categories including Composers, Instruments, Popular Classics, Cutting Edge, Discovery and moods like Energise, Focus and Wind Down. The offer has been created to showcase and present classical music to both younger and more established audiences.
BBC Experience Classical is a strong example of a creative initiative that served to increase the visibility and use of the BBC’s extensive audio archives. Covid saw an increase in engagement with classical music and the platform was specially designed to target specific user groups and audiences, namely younger audiences and those new to the world of classical music, whilst putting a spin on archive offers for aficionados of this genre of music. Many pieces of work were sourced from the depths of the archive and newly digitised and many had not been heard since their first broadcast and so we wanted to breathe new life into previously little heard material. The brief was also to represent performers and orchestras from across all 4 nations of the UK and showcase their variety. The approach to the look, feel, tone and storytelling of the archive was imperative in order to give
the work life and offer a fresh take.
The project was funded by both BBC Archive and BBC Radio 3 and formed an extensive partnership/collaboration between various internal and external stakeholders including BBC Archive, BBC Radio 3, BBC Orchestras and Choirs, BBC Learning, BBC Proms, Commercial Rights and Business Affairs, Music Copyright, Legal and networks of young and established composers and performers.
BBC Experience Classical has been a positive example of how to make archive content come to life in colourful and educational ways that appeal to both those who know this music, as well as those new to it. It was a complex project that tackled substantial copyright issues associated with the material; surfaced new and previously unheard pieces of content; provided context from the wider sound archive and presented it all in new ways. We are proud of what the initiative has achieved and the positive ways it’s been received and we look forward to exploring opportunities to present this and more classical music to audiences through our key BBC platforms and help them discover new and immersive musical worlds.
- Lead Curator: Mark Macey
- Commissioning Executive: Philip Raperport
- Archivists and Music Librarians:
- Tim Auvache
- Tariq Hussain
- Michael Jones
- Richard Malton
- Greg McKevitt
- Kevin McKeown
- David Russell
- Joseph Schultz
- Clara Smitherman