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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.




When Words Fail

Kate Molleson meets conductor Neeme Järvi - a towering figure in Estonian music, patriarch of a conducting dynasty, and the recent recipient of a Gramophone Lifetime Achievement Award. On the centenary of Estonian independence, he talks to Kate about the country's political history and musical culture, and how it has shaped his life in music. Journalist Ed Vulliamy discusses his latest book, When Words Fail, which draws on his own experiences as a war correspondent to ask whether music can...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla at CBSO

Tom Service asks conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla about her plans for the City of Birmingham Orchestra, looks at the slave trade with composer Thierry Pécou, and explores the rarely-performed opera-oratorio, Le vin herbé. Tom visits Symphony Hall to talk to the exciting young conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla about her ambitions for the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and music education in Birmingham. He also discusses the challenges faced by the CBSO with Chief Executive Stephen Maddock...


Milton Babbitt: Changing the way we think about music

Daniele Gatti on life as the new Chief Conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, plus Sara Mohr-Pietsch examines the life and work of avant-garde American composer Milton Babbitt and 19th-Century conductor Hans Richter.


Busoni: music’s forgotten visionary

At the turn of the 20th Century, the name of Ferruccio Busoni was on the lips of music-lovers across Europe. But 150 years after the composer’s birth, contemporary concert goers barely know who he is. With Tom Service.


Kristjan Jarvi, Viola Tunnard and Sally Beamish

Presented by Sara Mohr-Pietsch. Including interviews with conductor Kristjan Jarvi and composer Sally Beamish, plus a tribute to forgotten pianist Viola Tunnard.