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Music Matters


Radio 3's flagship classical music magazine programme.

Radio 3's flagship classical music magazine programme.
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London, United Kingdom




Radio 3's flagship classical music magazine programme.




Memory, Loss, and Music’s Universal Power

Marking the centenary of the Armistice, Tom Service talks to three composers writing music in response to war: Mira Calix on her sound installation at the Tower of London, 'Beyond the Deepening Shadows' featuring music for voices performed by Solomon's Knot; Dario Marianelli on 'The Unknown Soldier' at the Royal Ballet; and David Lang on ‘Memorial Ground’, originally written for the centenary of the Battle of the Somme in 2016. Tom travels to Paris and joins Jean Rondeau at the harpsichord...


Dangerous Futures, Dangerous Dances

The Latvian violinist Baiba Skride talks to Tom about her career since winning the 2001 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels, including her passion for Scandinavian repertoire from the 20th and 21st centuries. Schools Minister Nick Gibb and Chief Executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians Deborah Annetts speak to Tom about the current state of music education in primary and secondary schools. Tom also talks to François Dru, the editor of a new, unpublished score of Ravel's Bolero,...


Whisky, Beethoven and Crocodiles

Tom Service discusses Beethoven at the keyboard with pianist Angela Hewitt, who is currently touring Beethoven's Emperor Concerto. He also considers animal and human brain responses to music with Henkjan Honing (editor of a new book The Origins of Musicality) and with Felix Stroeckens (who has been putting crocodiles in an MRI scanner and playing Bach to them). He also investigates a new opera being toured round Scotland's whisky distilleries by NOISE, and meets Ewan Campbell to discuss...


Hidden Voices and Blue Force Fields

Dame Sarah Connolly reveals the 'Doctor Who forcefield' method of dealing with nerves on performance days, talks to Sara Mohr-Pietsch about her passion for music education, and describes the experience of being invited to sing in Wagner's Ring Cycle at the famous Bayreuth Festival. The first black singer at Bayreuth was Grace Bumbry in the 1960s, but it could have been a different story. Celebrating Black History Month, and continuing Music Matters' series of Hidden Voices, Sara profiles the...


The Power of Performance

Presented by Tom Service Tom meets members of the cast of English National Opera's new production of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, including Nicole Cabell (Bess), Eric Greene (Porgy) and Nadine Benjamin (Clara). Also, the conductor Mark Wigglesworth on his new book 'The Silent Musician', and the artist and composer Heiner Goebbels in Manchester on his stage work, part performance, part construction site, 'Everything that happened and would happen', exploring Europe's history over the last...


Passion, Masks and Parry

Tom Service meets conductor Jonathan Nott to discuss his passion for music which began as a choral scholar in Worcester, the unanswerable questions that the masterpieces of Mahler and other composers pose as we move through life, and the new concert hall complex being built in Geneva for his Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. Hubert Parry: a major figure in British musical history: Tom travels to Oxford and London to discover two formative musical experiences which changed Parry's life. With...


Bernstein's New York

Tom Service travels to New York City to discover if Bernstein's musical and social legacy continues to echo through the streets of the Big Apple and the lives of New Yorkers. Visiting key places where Bernstein lived and worked, Tom meets the musicians, institutions and ensembles of today who are working towards goals Bernstein championed as a musician, communicator and humanitarian. Tom visits Jamie Bernstein at the flat where the Bernstein family archives resides, while at the archives of...


Chicago: Yo-Yo Ma and Riccardo Muti

Tom Service visits Chicago to talk to two major figures at the heart of the city's musical and cultural life: cellist Yo-Yo Ma and conductor Riccardo Muti. Whether as concert soloist, as founder of Silkroad Ensemble which explores musical traditions across the world, or through his collaborations with communities in Chicago, Yo-Yo Ma has consistently pushed the boundaries of what it means to be a musician, driven by his desire to explore the relationship between culture and the human...


Christopher Purves

Tom Service talks to Christopher Purves, one of the most theatrically and musically vivid bass-baritones on opera stages around the world. Christopher shares his love of Handel, his need to communicate to audiences, discusses how to connect with the darker characters of the repertoire, including The Protector, a role he created for George Benjamin's acclaimed opera, Written on Skin, and talks of his current project, Golaud in Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande. Michael Volpe from Opera Holland...


Laurie Anderson

Tom Service meets American composer, and multi-media artist Laurie Anderson to find how music and language interacts in her work to create stories and define who we are which are just two of the themes running through her new book 'All the Things I Lost in the Flood', and her new album, 'Landfall', with the Kronos Quartet: projects born from her experiences of Hurricane Sandy which hit New York city in October 2012. Music writer and broadcaster Stephen Johnson discusses his new book 'How...


Christophe Rousset

Tom Service meets Christophe Rousset, the inspirational harpsichordist and conductor, founder of the period instrument ensemble Les Talens Lyriques. We visit the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic's 3rd Music Industry Careers Day to discover what young people want from a career in music today. We have an exclusive report on the state of music education in rural areas - the challenges and innovations, and we hear about the genre-breaking composer Julius Eastman, whose music is finally being...


Is Iceland the world's most musical country?

In this week's Music Matters Tom Service visits Reykjavik to ask whether Iceland is the most musical country in the world? With a population of just 350,000 Iceland still boasts multi-million-selling pop acts like Sigur Ros and Bjork, a world class orchestra, Oscar-winning composers, countless music festivals as well as a vibrant and world renowned contemporary music scene. And all these different genres seem to intertwine with each other effortlessly - so Tom is in Reykjavik to discover...


Music on the Catalonia crisis; Book on Creative Brain; our musical lives on the internet; and Uri CaineDD

Presented by Sara Mohr-Pietsch In the wake of the political crisis that risks breaking up Spain and Catalonia, Sara asks Barcelona music journalist Andrea Romanos how important music is for the Catalans, and how have they've used it in the recent massive street demonstrations, whether in favour or against the region's independence. Sara talks to neuroscientist David Eagleman and composer Anthony Brandt, authors of 'The Runaway Species', a book about creativity in art, music and the brain....


Sir Andras Schiff, BCMG at 30, Tom Phillips, Netia Jones, This is Rattle

Tom speaks to Sir Andras Schiff, one of the world's greatest living pianists and also one of the most thoughtful talkers about music. From Hungary but emigrating to Britain as a refugee, he and Tom discuss the changing world and the role of musicians within it, how a concert is more essential than ever and why a whole evening of Brahms is a bad idea. The artist Tom Phillips is a true creative polymath - a painter, gallery curator, singer, quilter, opera composer, set designer and much more....


Semyon Bychkov, New Music Biennial, Music and Landscape Architecture

Semyon Bychkov is sought after across the world as a conductor of all repertoire, but he has a particularly deep connection with the music of Tchaikovsky. He talks to Tom about the music of this oft-misunderstood composer as he continues his season-long Tchaikovsky project, and gives his opinions on the state of culture in Russia and the West today. Composer Brian Irvine discusses his music and community projects in Hull as part of the PRS Foundation New Music Biennial, and following the...


Grace Bumbry, Audra McDonald, Bill Fontana

Sara Mohr-Pietsch meets two American singers - the opera icon Grace Bumbry and the broadway star Audra McDonald. Plus a conversation with the sound artist Bill Fontana in Snape, Suffolk, where he's created an installation modifying sounds from the reedbeds, marshes and the Maltings' industrial past, for this year's Aldeburgh Festival. Grace Bumbry's career was launched when she won a competition at the tender age of 17. She was sought after across Europe and the USA as a mezzo soprano and...


Thomas Ades and Gerald Barry, Sgt Pepper at 50, Guto Puw and Welsh-language music

Tom Service talks to the composer and conductor Thomas Adès and composer Gerald Barry about the 'explosive' music of Beethoven. Adès is embarking on a three-year concert project combining Gerald Barry's music with Beethoven's great works - and the two musicians chat with Tom about how the two composer's 'volcanic' music can shed light on each other. Tom celebrates the Beatles' seminal album Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band 50 years after its release. He looks at classical music's...


Monteverdi 450: Monteverdi the Radical

Monteverdi the radical: Sara Mohr-Pietsch marks the 450th anniversary of the birth of composer Claudio Monteverdi with an investigation into his life and music, exploring what made him a modernist and a radical in his day. Sara visits the three important cities in which he lived: Venice, Mantua and Cremona, to discover what shaped him as man and musician. She interviews performers Sir John Eliot Gardiner and Ottavio Dantone about their personal perspectives on Monteverdi, and academic Ellen...


Nikolaj Znaider, Philip Glass - Music in Twelve Parts, Daryl Runswick

Tom Service meets the acclaimed violinist and conductor Nikolaj Znaider ahead of concerts involving both his violin and his baton with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and his Mozart project with the London Symphony Orchestra. Nikolaj talks to Tom about how to engage young audiences, how Colin Davis taught him everything he knew and, of course, why music matters. Up till now Philip Glass's masterpiece Music in 12 Parts has only been performed by the composer's own Philip Glass Ensemble...


Andreas Haefliger, Monastic Music

Sara Mohr-Pietsch speaks to German-born Swiss pianist Andreas Haefliger ahead of his upcoming performance at London's Wigmore Hall. Known for the brilliance of his Beethoven playing, he talks about why the composer's music embodies the very best human ideals, why pianists need to learn to breathe and why he's removing himself completely from the internet. Benedictine monks in monasteries all over the UK and around the world structure their whole day around the singing of plainchant - five or...