Brian Wise covers the classical music business for WQXR, including aspects of performance, technology, philanthropy and institutional trends. He produces the Café Concerts series and the podcast/show Conducting Business. He manages the station's homepage and makes sure what you hear on air is what you see online. Follow him on Twitter at @Briancwise.
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.