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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




André Rieu, Pavel Kolesnikov, Gold.Berg.Werk

Today Tom Service talks to superstar violinist and conductor, André Rieu about his passion for sharing the joy of music across the world with his Johann Strauss Orchestra. Tom also visits the Russian pianist Pavel Kolesnikov, now a resident of London, whose recordings of Chopin and Bach have earned widespread acclaim. Bach's Goldberg Variations also feature in a radical new reworking, which has been occupying the pianist and composer Xenia Pestova Bennett. She tells Tom more about...


Manchester Camerata at The Monastery in Gorton

Tom Service travels to the Monastery in Gorton, the new home of the Manchester Camerata, to find out how the orchestra is embedding in to the community. Gorton was once the engine-room of the world as it kickstarted the Industrial Revolution, building the engines for the cotton mills. Having since suffered from socio-economic decline, Gorton is now being regenerated and the Manchester Camerata is doing something very new in its move to The Monastery, providing a weekly Music Café for local...


Between tradition and evolution in Scotland

Photo credit: Derek Maxwell Photography Kate Molleson presents a special episode of Music Matters which explores the line between tradition and innovation in Scotland's musical life. We hear from the Canadian piper, composer and arranger Jack Lee, winner of the 2021 Glenfiddich Piping Championship held at Blair Castle, as he reflects on the challenges of preparing for what is the world’s premiere piping competition; we speak to competition’s judge of the Fear an Tighe category – Bob Worrall...


Music and the Environment

As the COP26 climate summit continues, Tom Service is joined by a panel of guests to discuss how musicians, orchestras and cultural organisations can respond to climate change. Live guests include violinist and conductor Pekka Kuusisto, London Symphony Orchestra Managing Director Kathryn McDowell and founder of the cultural and environmental charity Julie's Bicycle, Alison Tickell. We also hear from the environmental consultant Natalja Andersson about her work on Gothenburg Opera's...


The music of memory

Kate Molleson talks to composer Mark-Anthony Turnage, a life-long Arsenal supporter, about his new piece 'Up for grabs' ahead of its premiere next week at the Barbican Centre in London. The work celebrates one of his team's most famous victories, back in 1989, and Kate learns about Mark’s setting of the personnel who played during this much-famed football match, as well as his thoughts about the relationship between music and sport. We drop by on rehearsals of a new chamber opera,...


Life, Music, Silence

Following the death of Bernard Haitink this week, Tom revisits the last Music Matters interview the Dutch conductor gave at his home in 2017, a moving account of his beginnings in music, his love for the musicians he worked with in the world's top orchestras, and his thoughts on the power of music to transcend. Also this week, Tom looks into the issues affecting young people transitioning from studying music at 16-19 to Higher Education, following a recent report by Adam Whittaker from the...


Minimalism, Laurence Crane at 60 & Nina Simone's Gum

In 1999 the musician Warren Ellis clambered onstage at the Royal Festival Hall to retrieve a piece of chewing gum. The gum was deposited there by Nina Simone, who had chewed it throughout her concert that night. Fast forward twenty-two years and Ellis has written a book inspired by the piece of gum, now enshrined in its own glass case, on a specially built gum plinth. Kate Molleson caught up with him to find out more about a story which goes to the heart of artistic belief, generosity and...


José Serebrier

Tom Service is joined by the Grammy® award-winning Uruguayan conductor and composer, José Serebrier, who shares stories from his life in music ahead of the launch of a new biography by the author Michael Faure. With more than three hundred recordings already under his belt, he discusses, too, the creative impetus behind a new compendium of recordings which feature world premières of his own compositional work. We hear from the music director, conductor, and academic Sean Mayes, and the...


Steve Reich at 85

Tom Service talks to American composer Steve Reich as he celebrates his 85th birthday, and hears about his upcoming premiere of new work Traveler's Prayer. As the Royal Ballet celebrates its 90th anniversary, Tom talks to some of the creative team behind its upcoming new work: The Dante Project. Composer Thomas Ades, designer Tacita Dean and dancer Edward Watson reveal what's in store. Tom meets up with author Michael Church at Cecil Sharp House in London to talk about Michael's new book,...


Contains Strong Language

Kate Molleson presents a live edition of Music Matters from the BBC's Contains Strong Language Festival in Coventry, featuring live music and a panel of guests discussing the parallel rhythms and sounds of music and language from the ancient oral tradition of folk music to right through to the contemporary sounds of today. Kate's guests include Netia Jones, Liz Berry, Martin Carthy and Andy Ingamells.


Music and Activism

Pianist Igor Levit talks to Tom Service about his latest epic recording project – three and a half hours of music by Dmitri Shostakovich and the Scottish composer Ronald Stevenson. No stranger to large-scale works he live-streamed Erik Satie’s Vexations during lockdown playing 840 repetitions over 16 hours as part of his online House Concerts. He discusses the huge challenges on every page of Stevenson’s Passacaglia and the contradictions of his life as a pianist and his political beliefs....


Music Under Restriction

As Music Matters returns to the airwaves for the Autumn, and classical music emerges from Covid along with the rest of the world, Tom Service assesses the current state of play with musicians and industry leaders, and asks them how much has really changed in the last eighteen months and what the future holds. Gillian Moore, Director of Music at the Southbank Centre in London, and Roger Wright, Chief Executive of the newly-merged Britten Pears Arts in Suffolk, explain how they navigated the...


Musical Connection

Kate Molleson looks back on a year of musical connection and reflection as she revisits some of the guests we have featured on Music Matters. Kate talks to American composer, vocalist, dancer and film artist, Meredith Monk and she shares her thoughts on nature, art and resilience through the age of pandemic. Tom Service and South African soprano, Golda Schultz look back on Golda’s memorable appearance at the 2020 Last Night of the Proms. Earlier this month, the celebrated opera director Sir...


Writers on Music

Kate Molleson talks to some of today's greatest writers about how music shapes their work and explores the ineffable intersection between words and music. Featuring Colm Tóibín, Elif Shafak, Ishmael Reed, Simon Armitage and Lavinia Greenlaw. Best-selling Irish author Colm Tóibín’s writing is infused with sound and music. His latest book is a fictional account of the life of Thomas Mann and is steeped in Mahler and Schoenberg. He discusses the powerful role music plays in his fiction and...


Lars Vogt, King Lear, Louis Andriessen

The pianist Lars Vogt talks candidly to the presenter Kate Molleson about music making after his cancer diagnosis in February and his ongoing treatment to fight the disease. He tells Kate about his latest projects, including a recording of music by Janacek. We eavesdrop on rehearsals for a new production of Shakespeare's King Lear at The Grange Festival, set to music by the composer Nigel Osborne and directed by Keith Warner, which features singers in speaking roles – among them John...


Politics, possibilities and epiphanies

Image credit: The Japan Art Association As the celebrated violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter prepares for the premiere of John Williams’s new violin concerto, she talks to Tom Service about making music in and out of the pandemic. She reflects on how her relationship to music has changed over the past 18 months and the need for urgent change when it comes to supporting music and culture in German and beyond. A New Topography of Love Part II is an animated video-game opera experience currently...


Sensory deprivation, musical revelation

Image credit: Dayna Szyndrowski As the American composer Caroline Shaw releases Let the Soil Play Its Simple Part - her first solo vocal album, with Sō Percussion - she talks to presenter Tom Service about her approach to music. With its roots in childhood, playing violin to her father's medical patients nearing the end of their lives, to the music of the past she loves, Shaw's generous attitude as a composer and collaborator results in music which is to be shared, and which resonates with...


Musical Strength

Linton Stephens is joined by the soprano Nadine Benjamin ahead of a performance of her autobiographical opera BEAM, part of the Summer at Snape season. She reflects on how music has the power to heal and why she finds strength in her voice. The music psychologist Natasha Hendry talks to Linton about her research into race and racism in music education and the music industry. As Radio 3 celebrates the London Festival of Architecture, Music Matters visits Bold Tendencies at its unique home in...


Coventry UK City of Culture 2021

Kate Molleson celebrates Coventry as UK City of Culture 2021, exploring the musical life there, its rich musical history, and talking about what the future holds for Coventrians. She begins at the heart of Coventry in the ruins of the old cathedral, which was destroyed the November night in 1940 when the German Luftwaffe flattened the city centre. It is poignantly connected to the new cathedral by Basil Spence. With its consecration began a distinctive new choral tradition, particularly...


Music in the Moment

Tom Service is joined by the pianist Stephen Hough, and over a cup of coffee they discuss living in the moment during music during performance and how Stephen has spent much of the past year working as a composer. Double-bassist and artist Kirsty Matheson talks about the challenge she set herself to create 100 paintings about 100 pieces of music in 100 days. Responding to works by Arnold Schoenberg and Steve Reich, she describes how their works shaped the images she created as well as...