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Private Passions

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London, United Kingdom




Guests from all walks of life discuss their musical loves and hates, and talk about the influence music has had on their lives




Sebastian Barry

Sebastian Barry's great-grand-father was a traditional Irish musician, who played on the wooden flute and piccolo. His mother was an actress at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin; his aunt Mary O'Hara had a huge career as a singer and harpist with her own series on the BBC. Little surprise then that Sebastian Barry's writing is musical in the widest sense; full of the rich music of everyday speech. It's an impressive body of work: fourteen plays, two volumes of poetry, and nine novels. Two of his...

Duration: 00:35:27

Gwyneth Glyn

The poet and singer-songwriter Gwyneth Glyn talks to Michael Berkeley about the music she loves from Wales and around the world. Gwyneth has been described as a poet among singers and a singer among poets. She's also a television script writer, a playwright and a children's author, having won the Crown at the Urdd Eisteddfod aged 18, and going on to be appointed Wales' National Poet Laureate for Children in 2006, the year she also won Best Female Artist in the Radio Cymru Rock and Pop...

Duration: 00:35:35

Michael Craig-Martin

Michael Craig-Martin is one of our most influential artists, celebrated for his huge black and white wall drawings and intensely coloured paintings of everyday objects, as well as his installations, sculpture, and computer-generated works. A pioneering conceptualist, he's always provoking questions about what we understand to be art. Born in Dublin in 1941, Michael Craig-Martin grew up in the United States but returned to Britain in the 1960s where he's lived and worked ever since. He's had...

Duration: 00:37:15

Vivien Duffield

Dame Vivien Duffield is one of our leading philanthropists, and her passion for the arts - and particularly opera - is reflected in her giving. Her Foundation, the Clore Duffield Foundation, has supported the Royal Opera House, the Tate, the Royal Ballet, the British Museum, the Natural History Museum, Dulwich Picture Gallery, the Southbank Centre and The National Children's Museum. It all amounts to more than 200 million pounds over the last fifty years. In 2008 the Prince of Wales...

Duration: 00:38:10

Nick Davies

Nick Davies is an expert in the art of deception - as practised by the cuckoo. He has spent his career studying that deceiving, murderous bird, and living in woods and wild gardens, even up in a mountain hut in the Pyrenees. He's a hugely influential scientist: since the late 1970s he's really helped define the field in behavioural ecology, and he's Professor of Behavioural Ecology at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of Pembroke College. But really, as he tells Michael Berkeley, he's...

Duration: 00:33:09

Shirley Hughes

On her 90th birthday, Shirley Hughes, the creator of many of our best-loved and most enduring children's books, talks to Michael Berkeley about her musical passions. In a career spanning nearly seventy years Shirley has written as many books and has illustrated nearly two hundred. She was the first winner of the Book Trust Lifetime Achievement Award, has twice won the Kate Greenaway Medal, and was recently awarded a CBE for services to literature. Her picture books have an enduring appeal...

Duration: 00:34:42

Dan Pearson

Dan Pearson discovered his passion for gardens very young, building landscapes for his toy trolls out of stones. He's now one of our most influential landscape designers, with work ranging from private gardens around the world - including Chatsworth - to the 600-acre Tokachi Forest Garden in northern Japan, and gardens in Manchester and London for the Cancer charity Maggie's. He's written five books, presented several television series, and exhibited at Chelsea six times, winning awards each...

Duration: 00:33:53

Lindsey Davis

Lindsey Davis is best known for her series of historical crime stories about a laid-back amateur sleuth called Marcus Didius Falco. Set against the turmoil of the 1st-century Roman Empire, the books are witty, gritty and hugely entertaining. She's also written stand-alone novels about Ancient Rome, and about the English Civil War. The recipient of many awards, including the Crime Writers' Association Diamond Dagger for Lifetime Achievement, Lindsey writes a book a year, but has still found...

Duration: 00:34:42

Canada 150: Madeleine Thien

As part of Canada 150, a week of programmes marking the 150th anniversary of the founding of the nation, Michael Berkeley talks to Canadian novelist Madeleine Thien. Born in Vancouver, she is the daughter of Malaysian-Chinese immigrants to Canada and her writing explores the history of the Asian diaspora. She is the author a short story collection 'Simple Recipes' and the novels 'Certainty', 'Dogs at the Perimeter' and 'Do Not Say We Have Nothing' -about musicians studying Western classical...

Duration: 00:34:19

Patsy Rodenburg

Michael Berkeley talks to Patsy Rodenburg, the most highly acclaimed voice teacher of her generation, about the music she loves. Patsy Rodenburg has worked with pretty much every actor you can name, including Judi Dench, Ian McKellen and Daniel Day Lewis. They all testify to the huge impact she has had on their careers and performances. Among the many companies she's worked with all over the world are the Royal National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company, and she continues to teach...

Duration: 00:34:01

Nishat Khan

Nishat Khan is one of India's finest musicians; born into a dynasty of famous sitar players, he first went on stage with his father and uncle when he was only seven. Since that first appearance in Calcutta in the 1970s, he has performed worldwide, collaborated with all kinds of musicians, from Philip Glass to Gregorian choirs to Django Bates, and composed both for the BBC Proms and for Bollywood films. He's here in Britain to appear at the Aldeburgh Festival this June, fresh from recording...

Duration: 00:31:00

Ivo van Hove

Michael Berkeley talks to the award-winning theatre director Ivo van Hove about his musical passions. The director of Amsterdam's prestigious Toneelgroep theatre, Ivo works all over the world, notably with the New York Theatre Workshop and at the Barbican in London. Equally at home with Sophocles, Shakespeare and contemporary American drama, he won huge acclaim for his stripped-back production of Tony Kushner's Angels in America, and his recent A View From The Bridge with the Young Vic won,...

Duration: 00:39:02

Bettany Hughes

Bettany Hughes talks to Michael Berkeley about the music that's shaped her family life, and the music she's come to love during her travels as a historian. Bettany has more than 50 radio and television documentaries to her name, many about ancient history and she's also a prolific writer, a Research Fellow at King's College London and has been honoured with numerous awards including the Norton Medlicott Medal for History and the Fem 21 International Journalism Award for her 'exceptional...

Duration: 00:35:28

Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall was only twenty-four when in she went to live among the chimpanzees of Gombe National Park in Tanzania, and she went on to spend more than 55 years there. She has done more than anyone else to transform our understanding of chimpanzees - and beyond that, her work has raised questions about how we treat these highly intelligent primates, and indeed about the rights of all animals. Now in her early eighties, she's on an extraordinary mission travelling round the world to protect...

Duration: 00:32:31

Gabriele Finaldi

Gabriele Finaldi, the Director of the National Gallery, talks to Michael Berkeley about his artistic and musical passions. When Gabriele Finaldi took up his post as Director of the National Gallery in the summer of 2015, one of the first things he did was to install a piano in the corner of his office. He grew up in a musical household in Catford in South East London, the son of a Neapolitan father and half-Polish, half-English mother. Early in his career he was a curator at the National...

Duration: 00:34:00

AL Kennedy

It's not easy starting out to make a living as a writer, and A.L. Kennedy began with one of the most challenging jobs ever: as a puppeteer and clown, chasing children around a field in Fife with a loud horn. Thankfully it didn't take long before she left the day job behind and established her reputation as one of our most original voices, the author of 17 books - novels, short story collections, non-fiction - and talks and plays for stage, radio and television. She's also, on and off, a...

Duration: 00:34:51

Mark Padmore

Over the last 20 years Mark Padmore has established a reputation as one of Britain's most outstanding tenors. His performances combine emotional power with intellectual rigour; and he's not afraid to take risks by appearing in challenging new productions. He travels the world performing repertoire that includes Schubert lieder, Handel and Harrison Birtwistle, and many leading contemporary composers have written pieces especially for his voice. What makes Mark Padmore especially fitting as an...

Duration: 00:31:13

Thomas Ostermeier

Michael Berkeley talks to the director Thomas Ostermeier about his musical passions. Thomas is the outstanding German theatre director of his generation, known for his gritty realism, and for working with a close and consistent ensemble of actors. He's been a champion of young British playwrights such as Sarah Kane and Mark Ravenhill, as well as a radical interpreter of the classics. In 1999 - at the age of only 32 - Thomas was made Director at Berlin's prestigious Schaubühne Theatre, and...

Duration: 00:33:31

Juliet Nicolson

Juliet Nicolson's childhood was dominated by secrets. She spent a lot of time - she now confesses - listening at doors, picking up the telephone and holding her breath so that nobody knew she was there. At one point she even cut a hole in her bedroom floor to spy on her mother. It was certainly a family where there were all sorts of complicated things going on. Juliet's grandmother was Vita Sackville West; her grandfather Harold Nicolson; and her father, the publisher and writer Nigel...

Duration: 00:33:31

Frances Barber

Michael Berkeley talks to the actress Frances Barber about the music and friendships that have inspired her throughout her career. From Cleopatra at the Globe Theatre to the evil Madame Kovarian in Dr Who, from Peter Greenaway to Inspector Morse, and from Chekhov at the Royal Shakespeare Company to playing a seductive barrister in TV's Silk, Frances Barber is one of our most versatile actors. From the moment she won the Olivier Award for the Most Promising Newcomer, her hugely diverse career...

Duration: 00:35:33

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