Classic Britannia

Classic Britannia

Episode 3: Adapt or Die 59min


At the end of the 1970's 'New Music' faced a real crisis in Britain when the already tiny audiences began to seep away. Little did anyone realise then that classical music was about to undergo a massive resurgence in popularity. The 80's were to be a decade of radical change - and composers would strive to connect with audiences as never before.

As an angry young man, Mark Anthony Turnage responded to Thatcherite policies with a shocking opera 'Greek'. Whilst Michael Nyman discovered a way to maximise the potential of minimalism, finding a huge audience with his distinctive film scores, James McMillan would bring together religion and politics in his music, establishing himself as Scotland's greatest composer.

Today the sheer diversity of British music has become its greatest strength and a new generation of composers are embracing new technology, finding their own ways to engage with audiences to make music relevant to a 21st century multicultural nation.

"I think a lot of what we write is really rather good, it sounds really great sometimes and it says things that nobody else quite does say." Oliver Knussen

Winner of Royal Philharmonic Communications Award 2008


Produced/Directed & Filmed