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Music Matters


The stories that matter, the people that matter, the music that matters

The stories that matter, the people that matter, the music that matters


London, United Kingdom




The stories that matter, the people that matter, the music that matters




A life in music

Kate Molleson is joined Claire Booth, Juliet Fraser and Loré Lixenberg, three major contemporary music voices, as they pay tribute to the soprano Jane Manning who died this month. They discuss Jane's thirst for contemporary repertoire, her collaborative instinct which saw her premiere more than 350 new works by leading composers and her legendary fearless performances. We hear from the writer and Managing Director of the Barbican Centre in London, Nicholas Kenyon. His new book The Life of...


Renaud Capuçon, Cecilia McDowall, Michael Spitzer

Photo credit Simon Fowler Tom Service speaks to the French violinist Renaud Capuçon about his new recording of Elgar's Violin Concerto, made during lockdown last year with Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra who premiered the work back in 1910. The musicologist Michael Spitzer Joins Tom to talk about his new book, The Musical Human: A History of Life on Earth, which explores the relationship between music and the human species, and tells the story of music from the dawn of time to...


Music under threat in Kabul

Kate Molleson is joined by musicians in Kabul to discuss the new restrictions on women singing - the ban, from the Afghan Ministry of Education, has caused concern that the Taliban is increasing its influence in the Afghan government as western forces prepare to pull out of the country. With contributions from Ahmad Sarmast, Director of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music, and pianist Maram Abdullah. Following the death earlier this month of the conductor James Levine, Kate hears...


The fierce joys of Spring

Photo credit: Dario Acosta As the Countdown to Spring reaches zero, Tom Service hears from the South African soprano Golda Schultz as she looks back on a year where the few musical performances that have taken place have assumed a special importance, including her memorable appearance at the 2020 Last Night of the Proms, as well as last month's live stream of Weber's Der Freischutz from Munich. And she optimistically predicts a new flourishing of arts and music after the pandemic. The sound...


Celebrating a Century of Astor Piazzolla

Tom Service commemorates the centenary of the birth of Astor Piazzolla with a portrait of the great Argentine bandoneon player and tango composer, and explores his revolutionary style which changed the genre for ever. He also questions his legacy in today's Argentina. We hear from Piazzolla himself in rare BBC archive material, as well as his widow Laura Escalada Piazzolla; his grandsons Daniel Villaflor Piazzolla, who runs the 'Fundación Piazzolla' and Daniel 'Pipi' Piazzolla, drummer in...


Sandrine Piau, Geraldine Mucha, Steven Isserlis

Tom Service presents the latest news from across the classical music industry. He speaks with the French soprano Sandrine Piau about her new CDs of music by Handel, Haydn and Strauss, and to cellist Steven Isserlis about his latest projects, including CDs of music by John Tavener and the music of Proust's salons. Tom also profiles Scottish composer Geraldine Mucha, who lived most of her life in Prague, with contributions from Mucha's son John, Chris Vinz of the Geraldine Mucha Archive, and...


Anne Queffélec

Kate Molleson talks to the pianist Anne Queffelec about one of her life’s passions, Satie, the clarity she observes in French music, and how writing is helping her during lockdown. The musicologist Jillian C. Rogers, author of a new book ‘Resonant Recoveries: French Music and Trauma Between the World Wars’, describes how sound played a role in healing throughout the interwar period, and draws parallels with today's world during the Covid-19 pandemic. As the Endellion Quartet announces its...


How music sculpts memory

Tom Service is joined by the artist Edmund de Waal and composer Martin Suckling as they discuss the relationships between the crafts of porcelain and contemporary composition. We hear how Edmund’s book, The White Road, and his work as a master potter, inspired Martin to pen his flute concerto. The American composer, John Corigliano, speaks to Tom about writing music which chronicled the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, and looks forward to his new opera, The Lord of Cries. Ahead of a year-long...


Uighur culture, Richard Tognetti, business models

Tom Service talks to Richard Tognetti, Artistic Director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, about the return to concert life Down Under and how he’s putting together a number of high-tech music films in response to the pressures, both artistic and financial, of living under COVID-19. We explore, too, how the pandemic is changing the relationship between players, agents and institutions, and hear from Jasper Parrott, Kate Adams, and Kitty Whately about how the classical music industry’s...


Girl power in the 1940s

Tom Service celebrates the musical legacy of British band leader Ivy Benson in the company of former band members Joyce Terry, Claudia Lang-Colmer, and Carol Gasser, as well as the author Janet Tennant whose new biography, Sax Appeal, is published this month. Ivy rose to fame in the 1940s with her All Girl Band. She and her band members risked their lives entertaining Allied troops in war-torn Europe and battled the inequalities between male and female musicians back home. Tom speaks to Alan...


Jackie Kay, Meredith Monk and Virtual Nature

Credit: Library of Congress, Carl Van Vechten Collection [LC-USZ62-94955] Kate Molleson talks to Scottish writer and poet Jackie Kay about the extraordinary life of the pioneering blues singer Bessie Smith, and asks what Bessie's blues can tell us a century on. Kate also hears from American composer Meredith Monk about the recurring nature of the big themes of her work, from plagues to dictatorships, and we hear about the piece she’s currently working on, Indra's Net – 10 years in the making...


New Music Innovators from today... and the 19th Century

Tom Service talks to the pianist Piotr Anderszewski about a new album he’s recorded and edited featuring Bach's preludes and fugues – a project undertaken during lockdown. He reflects how the quest to achieve perfection is one of the drives that still keeps him searching, as well as what he describes as the need to 'tame the beast' – his piano. The scholar Laura Tunbridge, expert on 19th-Century lieder, reviews 'The Songs of Fanny Hensel', a new collection of essays edited by Stephen Rodgers...


Democracy from Wynton Marsalis

Bleak news on the classical music front this week, including Sir Simon Rattle's departure from the London Symphony Orchestra in favour of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Munich; and reports that musicians touring in the EU will need work permits for each individual country they perform in. Tom Service talks to Charlotte Higgins of The Guardian, and Jamie Njoku-Goodwin of UK Music to make sense of it all. We hear about the little-known Welsh chanting tradition of Can’r Pwnc, and how...


Light at the end of the tunnel

Half a millennium after the composer's death, Tom Service explores the enduring appeal of Josquin des Prez with the scholar Bonnie Blackburn and soprano Kate Ashby. Tom also catches-up with the 21 year-old conductor Stephanie Childress, recently appointed Assistant Conductor of the St Louis Symphony Orchestra, and hears her thoughts about why conducting matters in the world right now. Professor of Musicology at Oxford University, Jonathan Cross; the Founder and CEO of Grange Park Opera,...


Music and myth, silence and AI

Coinciding with Radio 3's 'Light in the Darkness' season, Kate Molleson explores luminosity in music, among other topics, with the Australian composer Liza Lim. Clarinettist Kate Romano reflects on what was supposed to be a year of musical activity to mark the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth, and reassess the figure of the composer in light of this year's curtailed celebrations. We hear from celebrated violinist Hilary Hahn and the roboticist and expert on Artificial Intelligence...


The Lark Ascending

Tom Service talks to one of the most performed living composers by American orchestras - Jonathan Leshnoff. Based in Baltimore, much of his work is inspired by his Jewish faith, including Symphony no. 4 'Heichalos' – recently nominated for a Grammy award – which features a collection of string instruments recovered and rebuilt following the Holocaust - the Violins of Hope. We hear from bassoonist Linton Stephens who shares his views about how classical music can be made more inclusive. On...


Creating music in isolation

Presented by Tom Service Ahead of a concert with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Tom talks to the winner of the 2020 Diapason d'or de l'année concerto award, the pianist Benjamin Grosvenor, about setting up a new festival in lockdown, and the sense of freedom he creates in his performances, from Chopin to Rachmaninov. And the prophetic voice of Glenn Gould: Tom is joined by the Canadian music historian Kevin Bazzana, the American-Canadian clarinettist James Campbell, and the American...


The Human Connection

Tom Service talks to soprano, Claire Booth about a filmed production for Welsh National Opera of Poulenc’s La voix humaine. The monodrama was written in 1958 but the themes of isolation and lost connectivity are equally relevant today. As Radio 3 marks a decade of New Generation Thinkers, Dr Daisy Fancourt describes how music and the arts are necessary for mental and physical health. Dr Joseph Sonnabend, one of the leading doctors during the early years of the AIDS pandemic, talks to Tom...


Sam Amidon; US-USSR ballet exchange; music streaming; lockdown postcards

Kate Molleson talks to folk singer songwriter Sam Amidon about his new album and breathing new life into his American folk heritage. We hear from the author Anne Searcy, too, about her new book on the role ballet played in US-Soviet Cold War relations. And Kate is joined by Allegra Kent, one of the prima ballerinas of New York City Ballet who toured to the USSR at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Aidan Moffat, vocalist and one half of the band Arab Strap, and songwriter Crispin Hunt,...


Focus on freelance musicians

This week Tom Service focuses on freelance musicians. He hears from the violinist Daniel Hope about the collaborative Hope@Home concert series featuring performances with young freelance musicians from his own living room in Berlin, which have been broadcast by the German/French ARTE TV network since the start of the pandemic and have reached a staggering 8-million viewers. The composer and author Julian Anderson speaks to Tom about his life in music - from his very first symphony, to an...