The BBC is to present a six-week celebration of the piano, exploring the instrument’s extensive influence from the 1700s to the present day. Running from September 14 to November 6, the collection of television and radio programmes will investigate the piano’s ‘history, mechanics and influence, as well as delving into the lives of the people behind the instrument and the music created for it,’ according to BBC Radio 3 controller Roger Wright.
Among the season highlights will be in-depth coverage of the Leeds International Piano Competition, including live broadcasts of the final on BBC Radio 3 (Sept 14-16) and a six-part series about the finalists on BBC Four (beginning Sept 21). There will also be several programmes dedicated to superstar pianist Lang Lang: including ‘Lang Lang at the Roundhouse’ and ‘Lang Lang: The Art of being a Virtuoso’ following the pianist on tour in China, the US and Europe on BBC Four (Nov 2); and a special BBC One Imagine documentary by Alan Yentob for Lang Lang’s 30th birthday (Nov 6).
BBC Radio 3 will feature Lang Lang, the Labèque Sisters and Malcolm Martineau sharing their musical inspirations, as well as David Owen Norris and Peter Donohoe. In addition Monday nights will be ‘Piano Night’, offering a range of piano recitals by the likes of Sunwook Kim, Evgenia Rubinova, Alexei Grynyuk, Ashley Wass and Huw Watkins. The morning schedule will showcase the ’50 Great Pianists’, a short daily focus on the most outstanding names from the piano world. There will also be online masterclasses and an 'A-Z of the Piano' on the afternoon ‘In Tune’ programme.
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