Here at The Music Workshop Company, our mission is to share our passion for music. But this year has not been the same in terms of live performance. We have been lucky to still be offering music workshops, in person and online. But where live music is concerned, it may be a while before we get back to any kind of normal. In the past, technology and music haven’t always seen eye to eye. Despite the inevitable pre-concert announcement, someone’s mobile is bound to ring. And it’s not uncommon to spot a fellow audience member taking a video and posting it to social media. 
 
In 2020, it’s been “all change”. The smart phone and internet culture have become the musician’s friend. More than ever, musicians and musical organisations have turned to the internet as their only creative outlet. Some have used technology in innovative ways, creating multi-track solo masterpieces, others have used the online world to stay in touch with their audiences, and to keep providing music and music education where it’s most needed. 
Like many music lovers, MWC’s Artistic Director, Maria Thomas, has really missed live concerts. She has been attending the BBC Proms for many years and is a real fan of opera. She has put together this selection of ‘top picks’ from the incredible wealth of musical performances available. 
 
We hope you enjoy these wonderful performances. Do let us know your favourites! 

Philharmonia Sessions 

If you are missing live orchestral music, take some time to watch the Philharmonia Sessions. The orchestra’s “Beethoven's Prometheus” explores Beethoven's only ballet, The Creatures of Prometheus. The performance is narrated by Stephen Fry and conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, with images by Hillary Leben. 

Teletubbies meet Stravinsky 

Have you seen this new version of the Teletubbies Opening Sequence shared on YouTube back in August? It certainly brings a new twist to Stravinsky’s famous music… 

Talking of Multi-Tracked Masterpieces… 

How’s this for impressive? Here’s Malin Broman, Concert Master of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, performing all eight parts of Mendelssohn’s String Octet, op 20, 4th movement- Presto. 
 
“4 violin, 2 violas, 2 celli and 8 hairdos!” 

BBC Proms 

Maria loved this performance by pianist Mitsuko Uchida, who played Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata at the BBC Proms: 

The Great American Songbook 

If Classical Music isn’t your thing, check out the brilliant Tom Poster and Elena Urioste performing The Great American Songbook at the Penarth Chamber Music Festival: 
Their series, #UriPosteJukeBox, featuring videos that were recorded and shared throughout lockdown, is definitely worth a watch too. First off - Nat King Cole’s song, When I Fall in Love: 

Wigmore Hall 

Some of Maria’s favourites from the Wigmore Hall live recitals include: 
 
Elizabeth Llewellyn and Simon Lepper performing Coleridge-Taylor’s Big Lady Moon. (See their next recital on 22nd January 2021!): 
Roderick Williams and Christopher Glynn’s recital: 

Opera North 

In September 2020, Opera North kick started their season with a preview of forthcoming events from Leeds Town Hall - Switch ON Live: A Celebratory Season Preview from Opera North: 

Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival 

The Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival, like many other festivals, moved online this year. Check out their concerts and take a tour of the House with Lord Salisbury and historian Dr. Emily Burns. 
 
Maria’s pick of their season is this concert, featuring music by Mendelssohn, Schubert and Beethoven, performed by Melvyn Tan, Guy Johnston & Julian Bliss: 

London Symphony Orchestra 

This piece is very special to Maria, because she also plays the oboe and has performed this piece several times. Here is Poulenc’s Oboe Sonata, performed by Juliana Koch and Simon Lepper as part of the LSO Coffee Sessions: 

Stile Antico 

To mark forty days of lockdown in the UK (Lockdown 1), Stile Antico created this socially distanced recording of Thomas Tallis' legendary forty-part motet, Spem in Alium, using smartphones and tablets: 

MWC 

If you love reading about music, take a look at some of The Music Workshop Company's blogs. We have an archive of nearly 200! 
 
Try using the search bar to find your favourite topic, or follow these suggestions you started: 
 
Read more about the history of the BBC Proms and the two men responsible for an incredible musical legacy: 
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