At a time of profound challenge, it’s important to remember that music is not made for a specific audience — it’s made for the world.
As concert venues throughout the world are shutting down, musicians continue to play, and they are making it available for everyone to access from the comfort of our homes.
It was a weird night at the Bach Collegium in Japan. The musicians performed Bach’s St. John Passion with gusto and virtuosity — it was a good a performance as any. The orchestra, choir, and soloists blended together in a dazzling display of beautifully melding sounds.
It was, in every possible way, a remarkable performance. But at the end, there was no sound, no ovation, no clap.
Because there was no one there.
The orchestra performed for an empty room. In the coronavirus pandemic, orchestras aren’t performing for crowds, they are simply sharing the music online for everyone to enjoy.
Over 200,000 people watched the performance last night, and it was just one of many. Dozens of world-class orchestras are live-streaming their concerts, which we can now enjoy at home, where we should self-isolate if at all possible.
Here are some of the best classical music streams you can enjoy for free, both recorded and live-streamed:
A beautiful and intense two hour performance, a fantastic piece for everyone who loves Bach or is new to classical music.
- A piano recital from Igot Levit
It’s as cozy and lovely as it gets.
- Beethoven’s Symphonies 5 & 6 from the Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin
If Bach or piano isn’t your jam, there’s a good chance you’ll love this Beethoven interpretation. Also, check out more Beethoven from the Vancouver orchestra.
- Boris Giltburg live Youtube recital
Another fantastic Twitter recital worth checking out.
- Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade from the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Throughout the ban on public events, the Melbourne Symphonic Orchestra, like many other orchestras, will continue to perform. “Our mission is to share great music, even if you cannot join us in the concert hall,” they wrote.
Throughout the quarantine period, which looks like it may last for months in some places, many musical orchestras, groups, and museums, will also be livestreaming classical music. ClassicFM put together a lovely list, which we are sharing here (there is also a bonus after the live streams):
17 March, 19:30 ET: The Met presents Puccini’s La Bohème, conducted by Nicola Luisotti, starring Angela Gheorghiu and Ramón Vargas (transmitted live on 5 April 2008).
18 March, 19:30 ET: The Met presents Verdi’s Il Trovatore, conducted by Marco Armiliato, starring Anna Netrebko, Dolora Zajick, Yonghoon Lee, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky (transmitted live on 3 October 2015).
18 march, 19:30 ET: Fleur Barron (mezzo-soprano) and pianist Julius Drake perform Beethoven and Mahler.
19 March, 19:30 GMT: London Symphony Orchestra and François-Xavier Roth perform works by Bartók and Stravinsky, with violinist Isabelle Faust.
19 March, 19:30 ET: The Met presents Verdi’s La Traviata, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, starring Diana Damrau, Juan Diego Flórez, and Quinn Kelsey (transmitted live on 15 December 2018).
20 March, 18:00 GMT: The Finnish National Opera performs Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin.
20 March, 19:30 ET: The Met presents Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment, conducted by Marco Armiliato, starring Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Flórez (transmitted live on 26 April 2008).
21 March, 18:00 GMT: Orchestra of the J.S. Bach Foundation performs Bach’s Cantata BWV 106 ‘Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit’.
21 March, 19:30 ET: The Met presents Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, conducted by Marco Armiliato, starring Anna Netrebko, Piotr Beczała, and Mariusz Kwiecien (transmitted live on 7 February 2009).
22 March, 19:30 GMT: Iestyn Davies (countertenor) and Thomas Dunford perform ‘England’s Orpheus’ at the Wigmore Hall in London.
22 March, 19:30 ET: The Met presents Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, conducted by Valery Gergiev, starring Renée Fleming, Ramón Vargas, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky (transmitted live on 24 February 2007).
4 April, 14:00 GMT: Barbara Hannigan and Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra perform Alban Berg’s Violin Concerto with violinist Veronika Eberle.
6 April, 19:30 GMT: Leon McCawley (piano) performs Schubert, Schumann, Grieg and Janáček at the Wigmore Hall in London.
In addition to this, several organizations have released their concert archives for free, making for days and days of delightful classical music.
• The Metropolitan Opera – ‘Nightly Met Opera Streams’ (free)
• Berlin Philharmonic – ‘Digital Concert Hall’ (free)
• Wigmore Hall – ‘Live Stream’ (free)
• Bavarian State Opera – ‘Staatsopera TV’ (free)
• Vienna State Opera – ‘Continues Daily Online’ (free)
• Detroit Symphony Orchestra – ‘DSO Replay’ (free)
• Gothenberg Symphony Orchestra – ‘GSO Play’
• Budapest Festival Orchestra – ‘Quarantine Soirées’