Classical music, arts and culture (Updated April 2018; image)
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Exploring different aspects of history, science, philosophy and the arts.
 
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Arts and Ideas
Weekly+
 
The best of BBC Radio 3's flagship arts and ideas programme Free Thinking - featuring in-depth interviews and debates with artists, scientists and public figures.
 
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The Essay
Weekly+
 
Leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond, themed across a week - insight, opinion and intellectual surprise
 
BBC Radio 3's Composer Of The Week is a guide to composers and their music. The podcast is compiled from the week's programmes and published on Friday, it is only available in the UK.
 
An exploration of early music, looking at early developments in musical performance and composition both in Britain and abroad
 
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Sound of Cinema
Monthly+
 
Series of programmes exploring film music
 
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The Verb
Monthly+
 
Radio 3's cabaret of the word, featuring the best poetry, new writing and performance
 
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Private Passions
Monthly+
 
Guests from all walks of life discuss their musical loves and hates, and talk about the influence music has had on their lives
 
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Music Matters
Rare
 
The stories that matter, the people that matter, the music that matters
 
Unique studio sessions bringing together musicians who have never recorded together before to create spontaneous new hybrid music. From BBC Radio 3.
 
Discover classical music loved by celebrated guests from all walks of life. To hear the music in full go to BBC Playlister.
 
Celebrating 20 years of innovative and thought-provoking features that make adventurous use of sound and explore a wide variety of subjects. Made by leading radio producers
 
Highlights from BBC Radio 3’s In Tune - featuring interviews with guests from the world of music and the arts. In Tune is presented by Sean Rafferty and Katie Derham.
 
Sara Mohr-Pietsch interviews performers about their choral passions. The Choir programme broadcasts every Sunday at 4pm, exploring all things choral, with performances and...
 
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The Proms Podcast
Monthly
 
Composer and comedian Vikki Stone unbuttons the BBC Proms and asks the questions everyone else is afraid to ask.
 
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show series
 
With Tom Service. As part of Radio 3's Night Blossoms, Tom visits Japan during cherry blossom season, finding musical portals to other worlds: from Noh theatre to Japanoise, and from Bach to today's composers fusing ancient and modern ideas. Tom is accompanied by the violinist and translator Midori Komachi.At a traditional house in the back str ...…
 
Published in 1933, In Praise of Shadows, remains a cornerstone of design thinking; a classic description of the collision between the shadows of traditional Japanese interiors and the dazzling light of the modern age. DJ Nick Luscombe retraces the journey of author Junichiro Tanizaki from the neon lights of Tokyo in the West to the very heart o ...…
 
In this Sunday Feature, historian Chris Harding travels from Tokyo to the deep countryside of Japan's north east to tell the alternative story of the country, looking at how, throughout their history, Japanese people have used ghosts and ghost stories to make sense of themselves and their place in the world. In the aftermath of the Fukushima nu ...…
 
Michael Berkeley's guest is Anne Sebba, the best-selling biographer of iconic women including Wallis Simpson, Winston Churchill's mother Jennie, Laura Ashley, and Mother Teresa.Her most recent book tells the stories of the women of Paris in the 1940s. She follows the lives of housewives, Resistance fighters, shop girls, prostitutes and celebrit ...…
 
Tom Service talks to opera singer Jennifer Johnston about her beginnings as a barrister and how it informs her musical career today, about being coached by Vassily Petrenko at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, and about her writings and social media life, which she considers vital to express herself beyond the stages and concert halls. We vis ...…
 
Radio 3 presenter Kate Molleson celebrates a composer whose music is particularly important to her: the Frenchwoman Eliane Radigue, whose calm and long-form sense of perspective Kate finds inspirational.
 
Can algorithms help writers think more clearly and create innovative work ? On this week's 'Algorithm Verb' Ian McMillan is joined by Helen Arney, who performs a brand new love-song (written for the programme) using search engine algorithms, by Eugenia Cheng, a mathematician and pianist who is passionate about ridding the world of 'math-phobia' ...…
 
The latest Late Junction collaboration session, in which musical strangers are summoned to the BBC’s Maida Vale Studios for a day of experimentation and creativity. Tonight’s Frankensteinian combination of artists contains avant-garde balladeer Eric Chenaux and versatile experimental composer Ashley Paul. A fixture of Toronto’s DIY scene in the ...…
 
Picks from across the week with Sean Rafferty, including Kate Rusby, Sir Antonio Pappano and Matthew Whitaker. Plus musicians from the Chamber Music Society of the Lincoln Center.
 
Donald Macleod pieces together the truths as he traces Verdi's life and music.
 
What do meatballs, The Square and Henning Mankell have in common? The answer is Sweden as you’ve no doubt guessed. As ABBA’s Cold War musical, Chess, is poised to return to the British stage Matthew Sweet considers what Sweden’s taught us – whether in films such as I am Curious Yellow or in the aisles at IKEA - and what the Swedes might have ga ...…
 
Radio 3 presenter Andrew McGregor reflects on the powerful Lamentations of English composer Thomas Tallis and their special place in his life.
 
The real Cleopatra examined by New Generation Thinker Islam Issa plus Ros Barber on Warwickshire words in Shakespeare's verse, two leading neurologists, Suzanne O'Sullivan and Jules Montague explore the intricacies of the brain and the infinite capacity for experience and imagination, the playwright Ella Hickson on her new production in which s ...…
 
Radio 3 presenter Kathryn Tickell celebrates a composer whose music is particularly important to her: the Australian-American folksong fanatic Percy Grainger.
 
Scrumbly Koldewyn remembers the '60s San Francisco theatre scene; Jenny Gilbert & Shahdiha Bari debate environmentalism and fashion at the V&A and Clare Lilley Director of Programmes at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park looks at the use of thread and textiles in art. Plus drag at The Royal Vauxhall Tavern in London with performers Lavinia Co-op and ...…
 
Radio 3 presenter Tom McKinney celebrates the birdsong-inspired music of the 20th-century French composer Olivier Messiaen and its special place in his life.
 
Imagine where we’d be without Shakespeare’s plays. It’s difficult to contemplate now. But it was thanks to another man that many of them were brought to life. Today, Richard Burbage is a not a household name. But he should be. He’s the man for whom many of the great Shakespearean roles were created. One of the founding members of the Lord Chamb ...…
 
Radio 3 presenter Penny Gore celebrates a composer particularly important to her: the Moravian Leos Janacek, whose music is shot through with the uncertainties of life.
 
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 he ...…
 
How do you get your work made? We hear from actor and writer Ruth Jones on how to pitch sitcom and novels, Hollie McNish and Raymond Antrobus ask how you sell a poem.Producer: Faith LawrencePresenter: Ian McMillan.
 
Donald Macleod unravels the rich musical legacy of a composer known almost exclusively for one iconic work: the "Canon in D".
 
When President Obama met the American essayist and fiction writer Marilynne Robinson they discussed shared values, citiizenship and Christianity. She talks to Rana Mitter about her definition of Puritanism, the radical history of the mid west states, the use of religion in current American political rhetoric and the biblical cadences of her fic ...…
 
Picks from across the week on In Tune with Sean Rafferty, featuring Anne-Sophie Mutter and Pablo Ferrández, Jess Gillam and Zeynep Ozsuca, and Anthony Parnther.
 
Norwegian crime writer Jo Nesbø on his novel based on Macbeth; playwright Mark Ravenhill on why the play rarely works on stage, James Shapiro on the contemporary events which shaped it and Emma Whipday on the elements that Shakespeare borrowed from 16th century domestic dramas. Plus Ellah Wakatama Allfrey on rereading Chinua Achebe's 1958 novel ...…
 
Matthew Sweet talks to the painter, Maggi Hambling about Cedric Morris one of British art's lost masters and with Joely Richardson and Melanie Williams, evaluates the impact and legacy of Woodfall Flims - the company that gave Albert Finney, Tom Courtenay and Rita Tushingham their first breaks and introduced us to films such as Look Back in Ang ...…
 
Paul Morley asks "Can there be too many artists in the world?"
 
The artist Phyllida Barlow shares her passion for music that reflects her sculpture, in its defiance of convention and delight in surprise. For years Phyllida Barlow was so desperate for people to see her sculptures that she would leave them on the street or in disused factories; or she would install them in friends' houses, using pianos and ir ...…
 
With Tom ServicePhilip Venables is one of the most exciting and confrontational composers working today, and with the help of the London Sinfonietta his new project The Gender Agenda is turning London's Queen Elizabeth Hall into a giant irreverant gameshow exploring the idea of gender (in)equality. Tom talks to him about the project and how and ...…
 
The poet and playwright describes how he was influenced by the comic novel "Pyramids". "When I opened the first few pages...it is no exaggeration to say my whole world changed," he recalls. As a twelve-year-old Nigerian migrant to London, Ellams found that Pratchett's hilarious fantasy world helped him in his transition to his new homeland. "If ...…
 
The Verb celebrates the centenary of the poet W.S. Graham - exploring his language and his relationship with Cornwall. Ian McMillan presents new poetry inspired by Graham from Rachael Boast and Penelope Shuttle, songs inspired by the Cornish landscape from Gwenno, specially commissioned work from Gerry Diver ('The Speech Project') and a collabo ...…
 
Tony Blair's former spokesman, on how Gustave Flaubert's novel gave him a lifetime love of French culture. "It is a love that has endured. I like reading French, speaking French, listening to French. Every year of my adult life, I have spent a part of it in France, and the older I get, the more freedom I seem to have to go there, and so the mor ...…
 
Former Bishop Richard Holloway, author of My Father’s Wake Kevin Toolis and palliative care consultant Kathryn Mannix join Philip Dodd to consider mortality. “In this world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes” Benjamin Franklin once wrote, but as we face the final curtain what can death teach us about ourselves and the ones ...…
 
Zarah Hussain explains how The Arabian Nights inspired her as an artist. On discovering the book as a child, she found "the book was absolutely beautiful...There was a border of pink and blue arabesque flowers and a central image of a King wearing a gold crown and beautiful robes in conversation with a Queen similarly bedecked in robes. The flo ...…
 
Kit de Waal, Darren McGarvey, Adelle Stripe and Michael Chaplin join Shahidha Bari to examine what we mean by ‘working class writing’. Crowd funding has helped bring a new generation of authors into print but is this because mainstream publishing has neglected diverse voices? What experiences do we want to see on the page and stage? Recorded at ...…
 
Neurosurgeon and writer Henry Marsh on how "War and Peace" by Leo Tolstoy began a teenage love affair with all things Russian. "I burned the plastic coating off my NHS spectacle frames to reveal the revolutionary intellectual steel inside. And bought a young Communist League badge which I could wear on my black polo neck pullover." Marsh later ...…
 
The New Generation Thinkers is an annual competition run by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. In this event, recorded with an audience at Sage Gateshead, the 2018 selection make their first public appearance together. Hosted by Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough of the University of Durham and a New Generation Thinker class of ...…
 
Kate Molleson meets Norma Waterson, one of the doyennes of the English folk song revival, and Mark-Anthony Turnage, one of the UK's leading composers.Norma Waterson grew up in Hull and under the influence of her grand-mother spent her childhood singing with her brother Mike and her sister Lal. Later, with her husband the guitarist Martin Carthy ...…
 
Journalist and writer Afua Hirsch discusses "Wide Sargasso Sea" by Jean Rhys, the story of the forgotten first wife of Mr Rochester in Charlotte Bronte's novel Jane Eyre. Encountering Rhys's novel aged 14, Hirsch detested her account of a Creole girl growing up in 1830s Jamaica. Re-reading it much later in life, she came to believe that "it is ...…
 
Cerys Matthews explores the enduring influence of the Psalms across centuries and genres.
 
In a revealing and entertaining programme for Easter Day, the Reverend Richard Coles talks to Michael Berkeley about his double life as a celebrity priest and his enduring passion for classical music. The only vicar to have had a number one hit and to have danced the paso doble dressed as Flash Gordon in front of 10 million television viewers, ...…
 
Matthew Sweet talks to Academy Award winner Alexandre Desplat on a line to his home in France, about his career in film music in the week that sees the release of his latest score for Wes Anderson's 'Isle of Dogs'.Alexandre talk about his methodology of writing for film and about the importance of collaboration. The programme draws on scores fo ...…
 
Paul Morley would be happy to sign up to the notion that music is a civilising force were it not for the fact that everywhere he finds it co-opted for purposes that have precious little to do with the common good. Making a journey in a lift more relaxing, easing the stress of the shopping experience and luring people towards a purchase do not s ...…
 
The writer and psychoanalyst Adam Phillips is the author of 'On Kindness', and 'On Kissing, Tickling and Being Bored' amongst other works of non-fiction. He is also a regular contributor to the London Review of Books. Adam invited The Verb into his west-London consulting room to discuss the rules and significance of Freud's concept of 'free ass ...…
 
Donald Macleod looks at the life and music of Carlo Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa, notorious for the murder of his first wife and cousin, Maria d'Avalos.
 
Jameela Siddiqi remembers her own relatively late discovery of the power of Indian classical music in the hands of the Sufi singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. A successful TV news producer with a stable job and a casual enthusiasm for music from Bach to the Beatles she found her world turned upside down by a concert by Khan in the late 1980s. She de ...…
 
In a space of less than a mile, seven bridges link Newcastle with Gateshead including the distinctive shape of the Tyne Bridge. But what kind of human endeavour goes into imagining and realising such man-made wonders? Newcastle University’s Sean Wilkinson, Erica Wagner author of Chief Engineer, and architect Simon Roberts look at the bond betwe ...…
 
Professor Kofi Agawu of Princeton University provides the third in The Essay series running in parallel to the BBC TV series Civilisations. Once again he is responding to the question of whether or not music is an entirely civilising force, and he does so having just returned from a visit to west Africa. Prof Agawu wonders how the musicians of ...…
 
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Afua Hirsch and Tarjinder Gill debate activism, social change and identity with Philip Dodd.Yasmin Alibhai-Brown is a journalist and broadcaster who regularly comments on immigration, diversity, and multiculturalism. She’s a founding member of British Muslims for Secular Democracy and the author of books including, Exotic ...…
 
Professor Alice Roberts chooses to look thousands of years back in human and pre-human history for signs and signals that music was not so much a civilising as a humanising force. Her exploration takes her to ancient archaeological sites where traces of early instruments have been found and the evidence of shifts and re-shapings in our pre-homi ...…
 
Comedians Alexei Sayle, Jen Brister and Sanjeev Kohli join Matthew Sweet to offer a masterclass in making the many laugh. Recorded with an audience at Sage Gateshead. Jen Brister is a stand-up comedian, writer and actor. She is a regular performer on the UK and international comedy circuits. She has written for BBC Scotland, presented for BBC 6 ...…
 
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