BBC Radio 2 has announced plans for Piano Room Month - 20 big acts performing for the station accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra.
Billed as Radio 2’s biggest celebration of live music in a decade, the performances will air live from London’s BBC Maida Vale studios from Monday, January 31 to Friday, February 25.
The gigs will be broadcast live in Ken Bruce’s Radio 2 show (Monday to Friday, 9.30am-12pm) and on BBC Sounds. Each artist will perform three tracks – a new song, a classic, and a cover – with members of the BBC Concert Orchestra accompanying alongside them.
Following the live shows, each performance will be available to watch live on BBC iPlayer and then on demand from 6pm that day and available for 30 days afterwards.
In addition to the live broadcasts, an hour-long special will be broadcast on Radio 2 each Sunday (7-8pm) featuring highlights from the previous week’s performances (February 6, 13, 20 and 27).
Jeff Smith, Radio 2’s head of music, said: “At Radio 2 we pride ourselves on providing our music-loving listeners with the widest range of songs and live music to be heard anywhere on UK radio. We worked hard to offer incredible performances to our audience throughout the past two years, and I’m thrilled to bring 20 live sessions to each of Ken’s weekday shows next month. I’d like to thank all of the artists, most of whom will be performing their first live session of 2022, as well as the BBC Concert Orchestra, who have been busy rehearsing a vast range of different songs.”
Ken Bruce said: “I predict cold, rain and possibly even a smattering of snow this February, so what better remedy than to sit back with a warm brew and join me and some of the finest musicians in the world for Radio 2’s Piano Room Month.”
The artists performing are:
•Monday 31st January David Gray
•Tuesday 1st February Jack Savoretti
•Wednesday 2nd February Stereophonics
•Thursday 3rd February Anne-Marie
•Friday 4th February Katie Melua
•Monday 7th February Clean Bandit
•Tuesday 8th February Joy Crookes
•Wednesday 9th February Will Young - performing on the anniversary of him winning Pop Idol in 2002
•Thursday 10th February Rebecca Ferguson
•Friday 11st February Tom Odell
•Monday 14th February James Morrison
•Tuesday 15th February Ella Henderson
•Wednesday 16th February Craig David
•Thursday 17th February Natalie Imbruglia
•Friday 18th February James Blunt
•Monday 21st February Tears For Fears
•Tuesday 22nd February Simple Minds
•Wednesday 23rd February Emeli Sandé
•Thursday 24th February Jamie Cullum (pre-recorded)
•Friday 25th February Ed Sheeran (pre-recorded)
Radio 2 won Station Of The Year at the Music Week Awards.
Bill Chandler, director BBC Concert Orchestra, said: “The BBC Concert Orchestra takes great pride in its Radio 2 home and is excited to collaborate with such a range of world-class musicians for its Piano Room Month. As the UK’s most versatile orchestra, we’re thrilled to help bring these extra-special live performances to audiences across the month of February.”
Given the ongoing situation with Covid, artists are subject to change at short notice.
Radio 2 delivered live music to listeners throughout the lockdown with Radio 2 House Music sessions which launched in lockdown 2020 and featured Barry Manilow, Melanie C, Kelly Clarkson, Cliff Richard, Joan Armatrading, Lola Lennox and Jessie Ware, with many accompanied remotely by the BBC Concert Orchestra.
In 2020 Radio 2 Live at Home featured performances from around the world with Sheryl Crow from her ranch in California, Craig David, Erasure in the UK and New York, Sir Tom Jones, The Killers on the roof of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, John Legend from his home terrace in LA, McFly, Gregory Porter on the roof of Capitol Records Tower in LA, The Pretenders and Nile Rodgers & Chic feat. Rebecca Ferguson in the UK and New York.
Radio 2 Live in 2021 featured four gigs in four nations, each in front of small socially-distanced audiences with Manic Street Preachers in Cardiff, Steps in Manchester, Westlife in Belfast and Texas in Glasgow.
Radio 2 In Concert returned last December with performances from Duran Duran and Coldplay in front of an audience at the BBC’s Radio Theatre in London.