BBC Radio 3: Live music to return with lunchtime concerts

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Stephen Hough will be among those performing to an empty concert hall

Live music is returning to BBC Radio for the first time since lockdown with a series of lunchtime concerts broadcast from London’s Wigmore Hall.

Soloists and duos will perform without an audience at 13:00 BST each weekday in June. Social distancing rules will be strictly adhered to.

Performers include pianist Dame Mitsuko Uchida and singers Mark Padmore and Iestyn Davies.

The series opens on 1 June with a piano recital by Stephen Hough.

It marks Wigmore Hall’s temporary re-opening and Radio 3’s resumption of live concert broadcasting as part of the BBC’s Culture in Quarantine.

Alan Davey, controller of BBC Radio 3 and BBC Classical Music said: “Live music is in the DNA of Radio 3 and so its loss is felt by all, not just at home but also in the music industry. It is therefore a great joy to restore this service to the nation whilst also ensuring maximum health and safety. “

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Image caption

Wigmore Hall concerts are usually packed

The musicians will perform to an empty Wigmore Hall with a minimal set-up involving one BBC Radio 3 producer backstage, a BBC sound engineer, one presenter inside the auditorium and one member of Wigmore Hall staff on duty.

Wigmore Hall’s artistic director John Gilhooly told The Guardian that all of the performers live in or near London and most will be travelling by foot or bicycle.

He said costs for putting on the 30 concerts were shared with the BBC and they had also had help from an anonymous donor but added that the future was uncertain without ticket sale revenue.

“The Wigmore Hall is OK for now, but if this goes past Christmas, I don’t know,” he told the newspaper.

A detailed programme and schedule will be announced at a later date, the BBC said.

As well as being aired live on Radio 3 and BBC Sounds, the concerts will also be streamed live on the Wigmore Hall website.

All concerts will be available on demand for 30 days.

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