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Composers of the Year


Composers of the Year (Radio 3) and The Birth of British Music (BBC Two) is a celebration of the lives of four magnificent composers throughout 2009. The year marks the 350th anniversary of Henry Purcell's birth, the 250th anniversary of G F Handel's death, the 200th anniversary of Joseph Haydn's death and the 200th anniversary of Felix Mendelssohn's birth. Follow the links below to find details for each composer, and sign up to the Composer Fan Clubs!

Featured on the site
Watch a Discovering Music analysis of Purcell's Dido & Aeneas
Watch an all-Haydn concert from the BBC Philharmonic and BBC Singers 
Watch extra video footage from The Birth of British Music (Mendelssohn)
View the Wings photo gallery and listen to audio features and performances
Watch A Midsummer Night's Dream online
Composer of the Week - Handel available to download
Hear Suzanne Aspden's Handel Calling Cards
Complete Handel Opera Cycle schedule available now.
Watch a video Masterclass on Mendelssohn's Hear My Prayer
Watch a performance of Elijah from BBC Wales online
Download Radio 3's series, The Essay, on Purcell


Roger Wright

Radio 3 Controller Roger Wright welcomes Radio 3 listeners and BBC Two viewers to Composers of the Year.  

Watch the introduction


BBC TWO logo

The Composers of the Year feature in a BBC 2 series, in May 2009 - Charles Hazlewood introduces the programmes.

More about the series
Henry PurcellPURCELL

Marking 350 years since Purcell's birth, performances include the operas King Arthur, The Fairy Queen and Dido and Aeneas.


Handel broadcasts include all 40-plus operas, specially-recorded harpsichord suites and Messiah from Westminster Abbey.


The bicentenary of Haydn's death is marked with performances of all 104 symphonies, and 17 concerts of string quartets. 


Mendelssohn celebrations include a special weekend in May, with Elijah and new music commissions inspired by his work. navigation


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