Now’s Your Chance: Experience These Top Tier Classical Performances for Free at Home

Jonathan Ticler
The Metropolitan Opera House, New York City

UPDATE April 20, 2020: New concerts added to the top of this article. Email [email protected] if you would like to see your free Classical musical offering listed.

Many performing arts organizations have quickly moved their performances from ticketed in-person events to free online offerings. While these offerings are free, many organizations are facing a period of little to no income. If you watch a performance and are in the position to help an ensemble with a donation we encourage you to do so.

Below are the streaming performances that we're particularly excited about here at CPR Classical:

The Symphony Spot

The Symphony Spot is a directory with links to all of its members virtual offerings as well as links to donate. Browse through the list by the League of American Orchestras to see links from local groups like the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra, and discover what orchestras sound like in ensembles from far away places like Bangor, Maine.

The Tesla Quartet

Quarantunes is a series of short YouTube videos presented by the members of The Tesla Quartet. Each recording is created by having one player record a track and then the others listen and record with it. A new recording is released every few days.

New World Symphony: Live from our Living Room

New World Symphony Fellows play live, informal chamber music concerts from their homes in Miami Beach, Florida on Fridays at 5 p.m. MDT. The series is broadcast via Facebook Live and episodes are archived for stream-on-demand on their website.

Cliburn at Home

The Van Cliburn International Piano Competition has three new digital offerings:

Cliburn Watch Party - A full length recital from past competition winners presented live on Wednesdays & Saturdays on their Facebook page and reposted after on their website.

Cliburn Kids with Buddy Bray - A 7-10 minute exploration of music, storytelling, dance, and listening games geared toward elementary-aged children on Mondays & Thursdays at 10 a.m. MDT via their FacebookYouTubeInstagram and website:

Cliburn Amateur Spotlight - Video submitted by the 72 competitors or festival participants of the Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition presented Tuesdays, Fridays, & Sundays at 3 p.m. MDT via their FacebookYouTubeInstagram and website:

#PlayOn Colorado Symphony

Hear and see what the musicians of the Colorado Symphony are up to during the pandemic. This YouTube playlist features videos of the professionals captured in their homes playing the pieces you know and love. Some videos are of musicians in the same household, some are individual recordings from multiple homes that were combined to create the whole piece. It's a wonderful way to get to know the members of the Colorado Symphony and get an up-close view of their technique that you might not get in the concert hall.

Each weekend the Colorado Symphony is presenting a Virtual Music Hour with included a special introduction from Colorado Symphony musicians and conductors, followed by the replay of a long-form classical recording and fun activities to dive even further into the music.

The Budapest Festival Orchestra

Maestro Ivan Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra present occasional live stream performances for kids, Cocoa Concerts, as well as chamber music streams, Quarantine Soirees, online concerts streamed via their Facebook page and website 2-3 days per week at 11:45 a.m. MDT.

Andrea Bocelli: Music For Hope

A highlight from Easter, Andrea Bocelli presented a live solo performance from Duomo di Milano.

The New York Philharmonic

The NY Phil Plays On is a new portal for free digital content from the New York Philharmonic. The portal features videos of the orchestra and SoundCloud audio playlists. Currently highlighted is video of Mahler's Symphony #5 and a concert staging of Act I of Wagner’s Die Walküre. Upcoming features include Mahler's New York: A Digital Festival set to run April 16-30, 2020.

The Violin Channel

The Violin Channel has been presenting live stream concerts from around the globe for years. Now, during the pandemic, they've simply changed the venue. Hear world-class professionals bring gorgeous works from the safety of their living room to yours.

You can watch VC Living Room LIVE in real-time via their Facebook page or view the archived concerts on their webpage. Some musicians play solo works, others use pre-recorded backing tracks or happen to have another musician in their household. With three or more concerts scheduled each day, you could listen to the Violin Channel all day long.

Live with Carnegie Hall

In their new online series Carnegie Hall presents some of the world’s finest artists as they share behind-the-scenes stories, excerpts from past performances, and live musical moments. Live streams are presented on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 12 p.m. MDT via their website. past episodes can also be viewed on Carnegie Hall's Facebook and Instagram pages. Upcoming highlights include Yannick Nézet-Séguin and guest musicians from The Philadelphia Orchestra on April 16th and Joshua Bell on April 30th.

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

Part of the Lincoln Center at Home series, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center releases video and audio from their archives every day at 10:30 a.m. MDT. Watch via their website.

National Theatre

The National Theatre in London is offering free cinema quality streams of several plays during it's temporary closure. Every Thursday at 12 p.m. MDT a new play will be accessible through the National Theatre's YouTube channel. Each play is accessible for one week and the upcoming schedule includes Jane Eyre, Treasure Island, and Twelfth Night.

Broadway HD

You can experience hit Broadways musicals in your home via Broadway HD. The first seven days of subscription are free and can be viewed on laptop, phone, tablet, or TV.

The Shows Must Go On!

Each weekend Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber is presenting one of his musicals for free on the YouTube channel The Shows Must Go On!. Each musical debuts on Friday at 12 p.m. MDT and is available for 48 hours.

The Metropolitan Opera 

Every day for the duration of the Metropolitan Opera's closure due to the coronavirus pandemic, a different encore presentation from the company’s Live in HD series will be made available for free streaming on the Met website, with each performance available for a period of 20 hours, from 7:30 p.m. EDT until 3:30 p.m. the following day. 

The performances can also be accessed through the Met Opera on Demand apps for Apple, Amazon, and Roku devices and Samsung Smart TV.

The encore Met broadcasts can also be heard on CPR Classical on Saturdays beginning at 11 a.m.. Listen to CPR Classical on your radio at 88.1 FM in Denver, stream the music on this website, or by asking your smart speaker to "Play CPR Classical." (Find other ways to listen.)

The Berlin Philharmonic

Normally a paid service, the Berlin Philharmonics's Digital Concert Hall is currently available for free. Concerts, interviews and films can be accessed via their website, or using the Digital Concert Hall app for iPhone, Apple TV, Amazon, Google and Roku devices. All you need to do is enter the voucher code BERLINPHIL on the ticket page of the Digital Concert Hall.

For more details on these and other online concerts, check out this list.