Culture lockdown: Music

Find the next soundtrack for your isolation. 

Culture lockdown: Music

Despite lockdown resulting in the closure of music venues for the foreseeable future, hope is not lost, as many orchestras, music groups and organisations are now bringing their performances and projects directly to you at home. Whether you are beginning to learn an instrument that you’ve always wanted to play but only now have the time to pick it up, a practised musician or just a lover of good music, there are plenty of options to choose from. 

Gareth Malone’s Great British Home Chorus 

Internationally renowned choirmaster Gareth Malone is running an online ‘home choir’ which rehearses via a live stream on YouTube several times a week and then records several pieces of music. Each member of the choir records their part separately at home and then sends them in. This project is open to anyone and everyone, from amateurs to professional performers from around the UK. He was inspired to set up the choir in the UK after seeing the multitude of videos shared by Italians under national quarantine – which included neighbours singing together and serenading each other from their balconies. 

Get involved by registering here:

Jess Gillam’s Virtual Scratch Orchestra

Award-winning saxophonist Jess Gillam has launched an online virtual scratch orchestra, open to people of a range of abilities. There are parts for every instrument in a traditional orchestra, as well as the option to adapt a part in the same key for any instrument that isn’t listed! Launched by Jess on 30 March, the first project – an arrangement of David Bowie’s ‘Where are we now?’ – has actually been completed; the final mixed parts having been released on the  17th April. However, she isn’t planning on stopping there, and further projects are due to be released, so keep an eye out for the next one! 

Check out the official page here:

Berliner Philharmoniker’s Digital Concert Hall 

The Berliner Philharmoniker is consistently ranked as one of the top orchestras in the world, and like all orchestras currently cannot rehearse or perform due to the coronavirus. Therefore they are offering 30 days of free use for their digital concert hall. There are over 600 orchestral concerts from the Berliner Philharmoniker in the Digital Concert Hall from more than 10 years, including 15 concerts with the new chief conductor Kirill Petrenko. There are also bonus videos from behind the scenes, documentaries on the history of the orchestra and projects from their educational programme. Honestly, this opportunity is too good not to miss!

Check out the official page here:

The Metropolitan Opera Free Student Streams

The Met Opera are offering one opera specially selected for young audience members around the globe each week! This is alongside opportunities to learn more about the production and artists also through online open chats through Zoom each week where students can ask featured artists and directors questions relating to music, opera and their careers in the arts. 

Check out the weekly schedule and get involved here:

The Royal Opera House 

The Royal Opera House is offering a free programme of curated online broadcasts as part of their #OurHousetoYourHouse series. Full-length productions, musical masterclasses and behind the scenes videos can be seen for free at any time via Facebook and YouTube.

Watch here on Youtube:

Watch here on Facebook:

Watch this: The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain’s online orchestra

On 17 April the NYO with their socially distanced orchestra came together online to perform Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’. NYO's 164 musicians each recorded their own 40 second performance of the well-known piece, dedicated to the people in society who need a musical pick-me-up at this time: our NHS staff, our key workers, or people who feel isolated in their homes. Members of the public were also invited to join in, with the music published online so people could participate. The results were joyous!

Header Image Credit: Photo by John Matychuk on Unsplash


Emma Beatrice

Emma Beatrice Contributor

Saxophonist, Arranger and Composer currently studying Music at the University of Birmingham.

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