Mozart Fills London Tube Stations

Monday, January 03, 2011

Commuters on the London Underground are getting an extra dose of Mozart this month as part the BBC Radio 3’s "Genius of Mozart" festival.

Classical performers are taking their instruments into four of the city's unloved train stations in an effort to spread the word about the 12-day festival, which involves playing every work written by the composer and nothing else.

The buskers include members of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, who'll perform in the Canary Wharf, Bank, Waterloo, and Liverpool Street stations. A similar effort is also taking place with members of BBC National Orchestra of Wales at the central train station in Cardiff, Wales.

Mozart is no stranger to the London Underground. In 2005, the rail network announced that it would play classical music at stations prone to loitering by youths. A trial had shown a 33% drop in abuse against staff. Sixty-five Underground stations currently feature music.

London mayor Boris Johnson told the Belfast Telegraph: "There is no doubting Mozart's prodigious talent, as this radio season attests. The familiarity of so much of his magnificent music may surprise some travelers, but what better way to brighten up the daily commute, especially on the first day back after the holidays. As another musical genius said it is truly 'sweet sunshine'."

Radio 3’s wall-to-wall approach will include recordings, live performances, documentaries, dramatizations of important life events and even a showing of “Amadeus.” Listeners to Radio 3 have already voted the Requiem Mass in D as their favorite piece and many of them will by now be deeply immersed as all 626 works are performed.

What do you think? Could such an initiative succeed in New York? Leave a comment below.


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Comments [14]

Adriana from Manhattan

I followed the 24X12 BBC3 on Mozart (sorry guys, I didn't listened not even once to WQXR during those days!). It was absolutely amazing; I will remember it as one of my most memorable radio experiences. I'd absolutely support a similar project by WQXR. You've done it in Q2 with Mahler (and it's another of my unforgettable experiences). GO FOR IT!

Jan. 16 2011 02:43 PM
Abby Mayer from New York


A great idea!!!! It works in MALLS where teenagers hang out and make trouble...the have no culture, consequently; they leave because they can't stand the music. BRAVO!!!! Also, it is used around multiple dwelling at night to ward off thieves!!!!




Jan. 16 2011 08:33 AM
Mark Zeisler from Manhattan

Bring it on please ! How about at the end of the tunnel in Times Square linking the A/C/E to the rest of the station ? Anything to combat the crazy people telling us that our world is about to end...maybe it could give them some peace.....

Jan. 14 2011 07:12 PM
Kathryn Rudy

This is a fabulous idea. Let the straphangers enjoy participate in a great fesitival while going from here to there. Make the trip memorable for a good reason!

Jan. 13 2011 11:32 AM
silvia rennie from Battery Place

Oh what joy it would be to hear Mozart, Mozart and more Mozart! Go ahead, try it, it'll surely bring happiness to many. Then expand to other classical composers year round!

Jan. 11 2011 07:15 PM
Shadeed Ahmad from New York, New York

We just need a nice variety of classical music on New York City subways. The drabness of the subways here could be cut substantially with the soothing and spiritually elevating sounds of classical music.

New York City should have been the forerunner of such a marvelous idea.

New York City is supposed to be such a sophisticated place, but where is the classical music on the subways?

Jan. 11 2011 06:17 AM
jnbrks from NJ

I love the idea! The impact of the Hallelujah Chorus in a mall in Philadelphia was inspiring. However, Joshua Bell in the DC Metro almost went unnoticed. How can we be so 'busy' and tuned out? It might be worse in NYC -- but let's give it a try!

Jan. 05 2011 11:35 AM
LES from Washington, DC

Are you listening DC metro?

Jan. 05 2011 10:23 AM
Provost from Basking Ridge, NJ

I agree with Michael for different reasons. I am one of those strange people that wearies from Mozart's freneticism (is that a word?). But then again, I thrive on addagios. I can think, write and be more productive with firm support from my beloved artists.

Jan. 05 2011 09:18 AM
Mark Carlson from Paris

I'd feel more positive about this if there weren't so many other stimuli already vying for our attention out there. What about Cage's 4′33″?

Jan. 05 2011 09:15 AM
Douglas from Los Angeles

It should be played on buses, in gang infested areas, parks, prisons, inmate receptpon centers??

We need soothing music to tame the beast out there.

Jan. 05 2011 04:10 AM
Kenneth Bennett Lane

There can be no denying it, Londoners are open to cultural endeavors that widen their own horizons and provide them sampling from the best of the contemporary as well as the conventional, accepted and acknowledged, theater and art. New York with all its diversity may well take on the challenge with an ALL-TSCHAIKOVSKY ONLY WEEK with his music performed in public areas, including train stations and subways. Remember Tschaikovsky did open our Carnegie Hall on the opening day ceremony and his Nutcracker Suite and 1812 Overture and Swan Lake, each represent the most performed works in their genre, with the greatest audience appeal. Let's have it for Tschaikovsky! Hooray!

Jan. 04 2011 02:50 PM
Tom M from New York

It would certainly be a wonderful surprise and a listening enjoyment to all "daily grind" commuters. Hopefully, those diehard Ipod listeners would also appreciate classical live performances in their musical travels.

Great idea!!!!

Jan. 04 2011 07:18 AM
Michael Meltzer

Mozart is elegant and formal, and maybe that shoe fits the Londoner foot better than the New Yorker one.
New Yorkers are hard-driving free spirits. I think Berlioz, Beethoven or Rossini would work better here.

Jan. 04 2011 01:07 AM

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