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ABRSM launches ‘Classical 100’

7 years ago

A free online resource bringing classical music to primary schools

Teachers in primary schools in England can ignite their pupils’ enthusiasm for classical music with a free online resource, Classical 100. Complementing existing teaching resources, Classical 100 has been developed by ABRSM in partnership with Classic FM and Decca Classics and with the support of the Department for Education. Schools can gain full, unlimited access to Classical 100 by registering at


What is Classical 100?

Classical 100 is built around 100 recordings of classical music pieces which teachers can draw upon in lessons, school assemblies and other school activities. Alongside a recording of each of the works taken from Decca’s world-renowned catalogue, there is information about the composer and the story behind the music. ABRSM will also draw on its network of primary school experts to create and publish a range of downloadable materials on the resource throughout the academic year, thereby helping teachers to bring the music to life in the classroom. Classic FM’s Aled Jones, musician, broadcaster and father of two, has welcomed the initiative, saying: “Classical music can be the richest and most emotionally fulfilling thing in the world for many people and it’s important that children can hear and explore it in imaginative ways from an early age. Classical 100 is a wonderful collection of some of the treasures of classical music and will hopefully help open doors to a lifetime of listening for a new generation.” Classical 100 launch event To encourage pupils to explore, discover and listen – and ultimately to develop their own personal interests, tastes and talents – the 100 pieces embrace a rich diversity of styles ranging over ten centuries, (from Hildgarde of Bingen to Graham Fitkin via JS Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, Tchaikovsky and more) and can be sorted according to a variety of criteria, such as mood, genre, country of origin or even when they were written.

How can teachers use the resource?

Teachers can use the flexible resource to raise the energy levels by selecting Bernstein’s ‘Mambo’ from West Side Story, or encourage a moment of quiet reflection with Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight’ Sonata. If a class were, for example, exploring ‘story-telling’, the teacher could draw together multiple resources around Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. Classical 100 can also be used to meet the National Curriculum’s Key Stage 1 criteria of ‘listening to, reviewing and evaluating music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions, including the works of the great composers and musicians’. For example, if a teacher wanted to exemplify the Romantic period, it would lead them to a list including Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. If they were exploring choral music, they could discover Handel’s ‘Hallelujah’ Chorus from Messiah.

Who developed Classical 100?

Classical 100 was developed by industry experts with a wealth of primary teaching knowledge and professional experience compiling syllabuses and other education materials and has been rigorously tested by a broad community of teachers, music services, and educational musical experts.

Introducing the resource

Introducing Classical 100, Michael Elliott, ABRSM’s Chief Executive, said: “Classical 100 is a listening resource, an approachable starting point that brings together an amazing collection of music in a format that is designed to be helpful. Each and every piece included in the resource is designed to awaken the listener’s curiosity, encouraging further exploration of the rich and varied world of music. Listening is, of course just the start and with colleagues in schools, music services and the broader music education sector working together, Classical 100 will play its part in opening the door onto the world of making, performing, exploring and enjoying music in all its forms. Classical 100 exemplifies ABRSM’s commitment to high quality music-making and learning and is representative of a new generation of digital resources. We all want to make a child’s first experience of music magical, the beginning of a rich and varied life-long journey.” Speaking for Classic FM, Sam Jackson, the station’s Managing Editor, said: “At Classic FM, we want to help everyone discover and enjoy classical music. Our aim is to make classical music accessible and relevant to people’s lives, no matter what their age, gender or demographic. We’ve seen a spike in younger listeners in recent years and now with Classical 100, we’re looking forward to introducing children around the country to the joys of classical music.” Decca Classics Managing Director Paul Moseley said: “We are delighted to be supplying some of our best recordings for Classical 100, an excellent initiative to get a wide range of classical music heard by children in an approachable way. Like ABRSM and Classic FM, Decca is passionate about introducing new audiences to life-enhancing music, performances and artists.” Schools Minister Nick Gibb said: "At the heart of this government’s commitment to extending opportunity is a belief that all pupils should have access to an excellent, well-rounded education – music is a key part of this. Music shouldn’t be the preserve of a privileged few. All children should have the opportunity to hear and appreciate the work of great composers and musicians.These imaginative new resources, developed by experts in music education, will help schools introduce a new generation to the wonders of classical music."

Notes to editors

List of selected works (in alphabetical order of composer)
Composer Piece(s)
Allegri Miserere
Bach Brandenburg No. 5, 1st Movement
Air on a G String
‘Badinerie’ from Orchestral Suite No. 2
Toccata and Fugue in D Minor
Barber Adagio for Strings
Bartók ‘Joc cu bâtă’ from Romanian Dances
Beethoven Moonlight Sonata, 1st Movement
Symphony No. 5, 1st Movement
Für Elise
‘Ode to Joy’ from Symphony No. 9
Bernstein ‘Mambo’ from West Side Story Symphonic Dances
Bizet ‘Farandole’ from L’Arlésienne Suite No. 2
‘March of the Toreadors’ from Carmen Suite No. 1
Brahms Hungarian Dance No. 5
Britten ‘Fugue’ from Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra
Chopin Raindrop Prelude
Copland Fanfare for the Common Man
‘Hoe Down’ from Rodeo
Debussy L’après Midi d’un Faune
Delibes ‘Flower Duet’ from Lakmé
Dukas Sorcerer’s Apprentice
Dvořák ‘Largo’ from Symphony No. 9 ‘New World’
Slavonic Dance No. 8
Elgar Cello Concerto, 1st movement
‘Nimrod’ from Enigma Variations
Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1
Falla ‘Ritual Fire Dance’ from The Bewitched Love
Fauré ‘Berceuse’ from Dolly Suite
Fitkin, Graham Hook
Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue
Grainger Londonderry Air
Grieg ‘Gavotte’ from Holberg Suite
Piano Concerto, 1st Movement
‘Morning Mood’ from Peer Gynt
Handel ‘Hallelujah’ from The Messiah
‘Hornpipe’ from Water Music Suite No. 1
Haydn Symphony No. 94 ‘Surprise’, 2nd Movement
Trumpet Concerto, 3rd movement
Hérold ‘Clog Dance’ from La Fille Mal Gardée
Hildegard of Bingen O Euchari, Symphonia armonie celestium revelationum
Holst ‘Jupiter’ from The Planets
Humperdinck ‘Evening Prayer’ from Hansel and Gretel
John Adams ‘Chairman Dances’ from Nixon in China
Kats-Chemin, Elena ‘Eliza Aria’ from Wild Swans
Khachaturian ‘The Sabre Dance’ from Gayane Suite No. 3
Kodály ‘Viennese Musical Clock’ from Háry János Suite
Mendelssohn ‘Scherzo’ from A Midsummer Night’s Dream
The Hebrides Overture
Monteverdi ‘Ave Maris Stella’ from Vespers of the Blessed Virgin
Mozart Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, 1st Movement
Symphony No. 40, 1st Movement
Clarinet Concerto, 2nd Movement
Horn Concerto No. 4, 3rd Movement
‘Papageno’s Song’ from The Magic Flute
Mussorgsky ‘Baba Yaga’ from Pictures at an Exhibition
Night on a Bare Mountain
Orff ‘O Fortuna’ from Carmina Burana
Pachelbel Canon
Prokofiev ‘Peter’s Theme’ from Peter and the Wolf
‘Troika’ from Lieutenant Kijé Suite
‘Dance of the Knights’ from Romeo and Juliet
Puccini ‘Nessun Dorma’ from Turandot
Purcell ‘Dido’s Lament’ from Dido and Aeneas
Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 2, 1st Movement
Ravel Boléro
Reich, Steve Six Pianos
Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherezade, 2nd Movement
‘Flight of the Bumble Bee’ from The Tale of Tsar Saltan
Rodrigo Concierto de Aranjuez, 2nd movement
Rossini William Tell Overture
Rutter, John Shepherd’s Pipe Carol
Saint-Saëns ‘Aquarium’ from Carnival of the Animals
Schubert Marche Militaire
Trout Quintet, 4th Movement
Schumann, C Romances for Violin and Piano, 1st Movement
Schumann, R ‘About Foreign Lands’ from Kinderszenen
Shostakovich Symphony No. 5, 4th Movement
‘Waltz’ from Jazz Suite No. 2
Sibelius ‘Intermezzo’ from Karelia Suite
Sous Liberty Bell
Strauss, J The Blue Danube
Strauss, R Also sprach Zarathustra
Stravinsky ‘Russian Dance’ from Petrushka
Tallis If Ye Love Me
Tavener The Lamb
Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture
‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’ from The Nutcracker
Vaughan Williams Fantasia on Greensleeves
The Lark Ascending
The Wasps overture
Verdi ‘Grand March’ from Aida
‘La Donna è Moblie’ from Rigoletto
Wagner ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ from Die Walküre
Warlock ‘Mattachins’ from Capriol Suite
Widor ‘Toccata’ from Organ Symphony No. 5
Vivaldi The Four Seasons, Winter, 2nd movement

Classical 100 is developed and funded by ABRSM in partnership with Classic FM and Decca.

The Department for Education is a key partner and champion of Classical 100, providing support through its extensive communications channels and contacts with schools to maximise use of the resource.

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