ABC Classic has announced the highlights of its 2021 programming – including the return of the ABC Young Performers Awards and the 20th anniversary of the Classic 100 – off the back of an unusual year for the classical music station.

The year has been a turbulent one for Australia’s music industry due to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. For ABC Classic, the year has presented many challenges but also a spike in listeners, with an unprecedented number of people tuning in across 2020. “The spike that we saw in April correlated quite directly with COVID and we also saw a real rise with our listeners in Melbourne during the period that they were locked down,” Content manager Toby Chadd tells Limelight. “I think there are a few reasons for that. One of which is we were actually really sharply focussed on ‘what is it that people want from ABC Classic at a time like this?’ And partly I think it’s about classical music and the way in which classical music can bring you beauty and solace – and also, frankly, works as really good background. We heard that from a lot of people who were working from home and hadn’t necessarily...

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