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In March 2020 the Gallery closed to the public for the first time since opening in1824.

Even during the Second World War, as bombs fell on London, and the Gallery was emptied of its paintings, it did not close.  

Thanks to the pianist Dame Myra Hess, during the war years, music replaced paintings as the Gallery's main attraction.

She was inspired to organise daily, free concerts in the Gallery for culture-starved Londoners. The concerts grew and became very popular - crowds queued round into Charing Cross Road to get a place inside.

Image: Dame Myra Hess playing in the Gallery © The National Gallery, London

In July this year, in the spirit of Dame Myra Hess, the London Philharmonic Orchestra played inside the Gallery to bring music and art to an audience again living through a time of crisis.  

However, this time, with large gatherings ruled out because of COVID-19, our audience was not in the Gallery but watching and listening online from their homes. 

Here's how we made it happen

Film

1 video

Behind the scenes with the London Philharmonic Orchestra

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5:08

Enjoy the performances

Filmed and recorded in the empty Gallery with no audience, paintings and music came together across four pieces of music. 

You can watch and listen to the performances, below. We will be releasing a new performance every week throughout October.

Hear the music, see the paintings

The music of Antonín Dvořák with paintings by Giuseppe Maria Crespi and Akseli Gallen-kallela
Joseph Haydn's 'String trio in C major' of 1766 with a painting by François-Hubert Drouais
Ernő Dohnányi, 'Serenade for String Trio' Op.10, 1902 with paintings by Velázquez and Klimt
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