Classical Star



Narrator: Gavin Robertson


Musical Director: Matthew Barley

Judges: Charles Hazlewood, Chi-chi Nwanoku, Steve Abbott, Jason Lai


Shine for BBC Two, 16 October to 20 November 2007 (5 episodes in 1 series)


Fame Academy meets Young Musician of the Year as Universal Records seek a teenage virtuoso to sign up to their classical label.

After two rounds of auditions, eighteen youngsters are summonsed to a grand hall, where they perform a solo piece on their instrument, and explain to the judges why they want to be in the Academy. Nine of them are successful; for the other nine, it's been a bit of a wasted journey.

The successful auditionees spend up to three weeks in the Academy, receiving intensive tuition in the art of music as seen by Matthew Barley. The contestants are encouraged to break the boundaries, to do something a little unusual. They're taken to busk in Milton Keynes (this wasn't the booby prize), given lessons in the tango, masterclasses from pianists and jazz impressarios. And they must perform - to an audience of teenagers, in a recording studio, to an invited audience. Two people left the Academy after each round, and the remaining three gave a concerto performance to determine the winner.

Classical Star was criticised by some commentators because of the teaching methods employed, or because they didn't like the "music for everyone" ethos behind the programme. Others raised an eyebrow because the television show had very little music in it, and there was no chance for interested viewers to test the talent of the performers.


Sophie Cashell (piano)

Web links

BBC programme page

See also

Weaver's Week review


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