BBC4 chronicles classical music

10.45am: BBC4 is to air a landmark series about British classical music. By Ben Dowell.

BBC4 is to air a landmark series about British classical music since the second world war called Classic Britannia.

Beginning later this month, the three-part series is a follow up to the critically praised Jazz Britannia, which aired on the channel in January 2005 and provided a comprehensive overview of UK jazz history.

Presented by Verity Sharp, the host of Radio 3's eclectic music series Late Junction, the new series will feature exclusive specially recorded interviews with a number of leading composers and musicians such as Pierre Boulez, Janet Baker, Michael Nyman, Mark Anthony Turnage and Harrison Birtwistle.

Classic Britannia will air on BBC4 from the end of this month and continue into July. The in-house production will also feature BBC archive material of major music figures such as the composers Benjamin Britten and William Walton, cellist Jacqueline du Pre and conductors Sir Malcolm Sergeant and Sir John Barbirolli.

Other figures who have been interviewed include outgoing Proms director Nicholas Keynon, conductor David Willcocks, musician Nitin Sawney and Gillian Moore, the newly appointed head of contemporary culture for London's South Bank Centre.

Peter Maniura, the BBC head of classical music television, said: "This is a story that's never been told in this way before. Classic Britannia brings together all the major characters in the extraordinary story of British classical music since the second world war."

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Ben Dowell

The GuardianTramp

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