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ABRSM launches ‘Classical 100’

3 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.

Classical 100

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)






Brandenburg No. 5, 1st Movement
Air on a G String
‘Badinerie’ from Orchestral Suite No. 2
Toccata and Fugue in D Minor


Adagio for Strings


‘Joc cu bâtă’ from Romanian Dances


Moonlight Sonata, 1st Movement
Symphony No. 5, 1st Movement
Für Elise
‘Ode to Joy’ from Symphony No. 9


‘Mambo’ from West Side Story Symphonic Dances


‘Farandole’ from L’Arlésienne Suite No. 2
‘March of the Toreadors’ from Carmen Suite No. 1


Hungarian Dance No. 5


‘Fugue’ from Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra


Raindrop Prelude


Fanfare for the Common Man
‘Hoe Down’ from Rodeo


L’après Midi d’un Faune


‘Flower Duet’ from Lakmé


Sorcerer’s Apprentice


‘Largo’ from Symphony No. 9 ‘New World’
Slavonic Dance No. 8


Cello Concerto, 1st movement
‘Nimrod’ from Enigma Variations
Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1


‘Ritual Fire Dance’ from The Bewitched Love


‘Berceuse’ from Dolly Suite

Fitkin, Graham



Rhapsody in Blue


Londonderry Air


‘Gavotte’ from Holberg Suite
Piano Concerto, 1st Movement
‘Morning Mood’ from Peer Gynt


‘Hallelujah’ from The Messiah
‘Hornpipe’ from Water Music Suite No. 1


Symphony No. 94 ‘Surprise’, 2nd Movement
Trumpet Concerto, 3rd movement


‘Clog Dance’ from La Fille Mal Gardée

Hildegard of Bingen

O Euchari, Symphonia armonie celestium revelationum


‘Jupiter’ from The Planets


‘Evening Prayer’ from Hansel and Gretel

John Adams

‘Chairman Dances’ from Nixon in China

Kats-Chemin, Elena

‘Eliza Aria’ from Wild Swans


‘The Sabre Dance’ from Gayane Suite No. 3


‘Viennese Musical Clock’ from Háry János Suite


‘Scherzo’ from A Midsummer Night’s Dream
The Hebrides Overture


‘Ave Maris Stella’ from Vespers of the Blessed Virgin


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


‘Baba Yaga’ from Pictures at an Exhibition
Night on a Bare Mountain


‘O Fortuna’ from Carmina Burana




‘Peter’s Theme’ from Peter and the Wolf
‘Troika’ from Lieutenant Kijé Suite
‘Dance of the Knights’ from Romeo and Juliet


‘Nessun Dorma’ from Turandot


‘Dido’s Lament’ from Dido and Aeneas


Piano Concerto No. 2, 1st Movement



Reich, Steve

Six Pianos


Scheherezade, 2nd Movement
‘Flight of the Bumble Bee’ from The Tale of Tsar Saltan


Concierto de Aranjuez, 2nd movement


William Tell Overture

Rutter, John

Shepherd’s Pipe Carol


‘Aquarium’ from Carnival of the Animals


Marche Militaire
Trout Quintet, 4th Movement

Schumann, C

Romances for Violin and Piano, 1st Movement

Schumann, R

‘About Foreign Lands’ from Kinderszenen


Symphony No. 5, 4th Movement
‘Waltz’ from Jazz Suite No. 2


‘Intermezzo’ from Karelia Suite


Liberty Bell

Strauss, J

The Blue Danube

Strauss, R

Also sprach Zarathustra


‘Russian Dance’ from Petrushka


If Ye Love Me


The Lamb


1812 Overture
‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’ from The Nutcracker

Vaughan Williams

Fantasia on Greensleeves
The Lark Ascending
The Wasps overture


‘Grand March’ from Aida
‘La Donna è Moblie’ from Rigoletto


‘Ride of the Valkyries’ from Die Walküre


‘Mattachins’ from Capriol Suite


‘Toccata’ from Organ Symphony No. 5


The Four Seasons, Winter, 2nd movement

ABRSM and Classic FMClassical 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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