Press release

BBC Radio 3 and Wellcome Collection present all-night world premiere live broadcast of Max Richter's '8 hour lullaby'

BBC Radio 3 and Wellcome Collection announce a world premiere live broadcast of Max Richter's ground-breaking and experimental new composition SLEEP, to be performed live from Wellcome Collection into the early hours of the morning as part of the 'Why Music?' weekend.

BBC Radio 3 will air the world premiere live broadcast of Max Richter's SLEEP live from Wellcome Collection on 26 September from midnight to 08.00 on 27 September.

Composed in consultation with renowned American neuroscientist David Eagleman, the "lullaby for a frenetic world" is meant to be heard whilst sleeping. Audiences across the UK are invited to hear the broadcast as they sleep whilst the composer experiments to find out what effect hearing music has on our subconscious mind.

Max Richter said: "The BBC Radio 3 'Why Music?' broadcasts from Wellcome Collection neatly sum up what my piece is about. I think of SLEEP as an experiment into how music and the mind can interact in this other state of consciousness, one we all spend decades of our lives completely immersed in, but which is so far rather poorly understood. I consulted with the neuroscientist David Eagleman on how music can relate to the sleep state and have incorporated our conversations in the compositional process of the work."

Thought to be one of the longest pieces of music ever recorded, SLEEP will be the longest single continuous piece of music ever broadcast live on the BBC. Richter will perform the piece with an ensemble of leading players and a soprano in the Reading Room at Wellcome Collection in a piece lasting eight hours, starting at midnight and ending at 08.00. The performance will be broadcast continuously live on BBC Radio 3 and will be attended by a small audience who will sleep over in the Reading Room, amongst bookshelves and artefacts.The broadcast will then be available to catch-up on BBC Radio iPlayer for 30 days.

SLEEP is broadcast as part of 'Why Music?', a free weekend of public events and one-off broadcasts from BBC Radio 3 in partnership with Wellcome Collection. The three day programme will include lectures and debates from neuroscientists, psychologists and psychiatrists, with performances from artists and musicians to explore the relationship between music and the mind, mental health, evolution, nature and behaviour.

Alan Davey, Controller, Radio 3 said: "I am excited that Radio 3 has the opportunity to present a world broadcast premiere that will bring an added dimension to the night for sleeping listeners everywhere. The impact of music on the human mind is a subject for debate and investigation, and is the key question at the heart of Radio 3's broadcast weekend from Wellcome Collection. The broadcast of eight hours of new music from one of the UK’s most exciting contemporary composers is sure to be a highlight of this significant event."

Rosie Stanbury, Events Manager at Wellcome Collection said: "We’re thrilled to be hosting the first performance of Max Richter’s new composition and to be working with BBC Radio 3, whose live broadcast will take SLEEP to a slumbering audience across the UK. It is a brilliant addition to the 'Why Music?' weekend, which will include a variety performances and events that explore, probe and challenge the nature of our human relationship with music. Inviting people to snuggle down to sleep through the night in the Reading Room will definitely be a first for us, but it seems a fittingly experimental event to take place in our most experimental space."

In the week leading up to the performance of SLEEP, Radio 3 will be running an on air competition on In Tune and Breakfast offering 4 listeners a chance to attend the unique live performance in Wellcome Collection’s Reading Room.