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ABRSM Classical 100 preview event at St Charles Primary School © Tom Weller

ABRSM launches ‘Classical 100’, a free online resource bringing classical music to primary schools

Monday 2 November 2015

Teachers in primary schools in England will soon be able to ignite their pupils’ enthusiasm for classical music with a free online resource, Classical 100, which goes live on 2 November. 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

Classical 100, published for the first time today, 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.”

To encourage pupils to explore, discover and listen to music – 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 Hildegard 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.

The full list of works is detailed below.

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; and, 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 or if they were exploring Choral music they could discover Handel’s ‘Hallelujah’ Chorus from Messiah.

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.

When 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 big increase 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.

The pieces of music were selected using Adaptive Comparative Judgement (ACJ) technology working in partnership with education tech provider, Digital Assess.  The use of ACJ allowed the music to be judged and ranked according to its suitability for classroom scenarios using iteration and an adaptive algorithm.


For further information, please contact Victoria Bevan: 020 3077 4947 07917 764 318

PICTURES showing children and teachers using Classical 100, screen grabs of the resource, Schools Minister Nick Gibb talking to children about it and ABRSM’s Lincoln Abbotts can be downloaded from here:

Please credit Tom Weller


List of selected works (in alphabetical order of composer)

Adams, John ‘The Chairman Dances’ from Nixon in China
AllegriBach, JS Miserere
Brandenburg Concerto 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
BartókBeethoven ‘Joc cu bâta’ from Romanian Folk Dances
Moonlight Sonata, 1st Movement
Symphony No. 5, 1st Movement
Für Elise
‘Ode to Joy’ from Symphony No. 9
BernsteinBizet ‘Mambo’ from West Side Story Symphonic Dances
‘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
ChopinCopland Raindrop Prelude
Fanfare for the Common Man
‘Hoe Down’ from Rodeo
Debussy Prélude à l’apres midi d’un faune
Delibes ‘Flower Duet’ from Lakmé
DukasDvořák The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
‘Largo’ from Symphony No. 9 ‘New World’
Elgar Slavonic Dance No. 8
Cello Concerto, 1st movement
‘Nimrod’ from Enigma Variations
Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1
FallaFauré ‘Ritual Fire Dance’ from The Bewitched Love
‘Berceuse’ from Dolly Suite
Fitkin, Graham Hook
Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue
GraingerGrieg Londonderry Air
‘Gavotte’ from Holberg Suite
Piano Concerto, 1st Movement
Handel ‘Morning Mood’ from Peer Gynt Suite
‘Hallelujah’ from The Messiah
Haydn ‘Hornpipe’ from Water Music Suite No. 1
Symphony No. 94 ‘Surprise’, 2nd Movement
Trumpet Concerto, 3rd movement
Hérold ‘Clog Dance’ from La Fille Mal Gardée
Hildegard of Bingen ‘O Euchari’ from Symphonia armonie celestium revelationum
Holst ‘Jupiter’ from The Planets
Humperdinck ‘Evening Prayer’ from Hansel and Gretel
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
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 AnimalsDanse Macabre
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
Sousa 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
‘In excelsis Deo’ from Gloria

About the ABRSM

ABRSM is the UKs largest music education body, one of its largest music publishers and the world’s leading provider of music exams, offering assessments to more than 630,000 candidates in 93 countries every year. ABRSM’s mission is to inspire achievement in music. In partnership with the Royal Schools of Music, it supports high-quality music-making and learning around the world. It offers pathways and resources for learners and teachers that help build musical skills, provide goals and encourage progress.

About Classic FM

Classic FM offers a wide variety of programmes, hosted by a range of broadcasters and musicians including John Suchet, Alan Titchmarsh, Aled Jones, Myleene Klass, Alexander Armstrong, Alex James, Margherita Taylor, Nicholas Owen, Charlotte Green and Anne-Marie Minhall. Classic FM has a weekly reach of 5.5m across the UK. Since its launch in 1992, Classic FM has aimed to break down the barriers to classical music and in so doing, introduce an entirely new audience to the genre. The station constantly looks to grow its listener base through ground-breaking new audience initiatives and partnerships. Source: RAJAR / Ipsos-MORI / RSMB, period ending 20 September 2015.

About Decca Classics

Decca is a legendary British record company established in 1929 by Edward Lewis. Like its sister label Decca Records, Decca Classics is a label of great diversity, particularly renowned for its opera recordings and sound engineering, and home to many of the world’s most distinguished classical artists, such as Luciano Pavarotti, Nicola Benedetti, Benjamin Grosvenor, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Cecilia Bartoli, Renee Fleming, Sir Georg Solti and Riccardo Chailly.

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