09/10/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/10/2021 09:53
Alan Davey, Controller BBC Radio 3, says: 'As the Proms 2021 draw to a close this weekend, and we have witnessed the return of live audiences to concerts, now is the time to embrace a rich new season of outstanding music, features and drama.
'On Radio 3 we share great performances day after day of live music from across the UK, as well as documentaries and theatre reflecting contemporary and classical culture from all around the world. We have been connecting audiences at home with performers on stages through the restricted months of the pandemic, and can now rejoice in collaborating again with wonderful performers at venues, studios and festivals around the country, bringing live music and drama to an ever increasing number of listeners. Everything we do is a celebration of what it is to be human. We hope you can join us in this celebration!'
Highlighting its continued commitment to broadcasting live music, connecting listeners to performers as Covid-related restrictions continue to lift in the UK, BBC Radio 3's Autumn schedule includes many opportunities to enjoy concerts from home as they happen all over the country.
Other Music Highlights
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra presents a season of performances live from Glasgow City Halls, opening the series with Joana Carneiro conducting Sibelius's single-movement Seventh Symphony and Pekka Kuusisto playing Magnus Lindberg's First Violin Concerto, marking the first public concert the ensemble has given in its 'home' since March 2020 (Thursday 23 September). Other highlights of the season include a spotlight on composer, conductor and clarinettist Jörg Widmann (Thursday 28 October); Hannu Lintu conducting Grieg's Piano Concerto with soloist Garrick Ohlsson (Thursday 18 November); and Associate Conductor Alpesh Chauhan directing Tchaikovsky's Pathétique (Thursday 2 December).
BBC Symphony Orchestra is live from London's Barbican Hall throughout the season, with concerts including a new 'devised concerto' Sermon by African American bass-baritone Davóne Tines, which combines music and poetry in a unique examination of racial justice. This work sits alongside Dvořák's Symphony No. 9 and Anna Thorsvaldottir's Dreaming in a concert conducted by Principal Guest Conductor Dalia Stasevska (Thursday 7 October).
And in November, the BBC SO performs the world premiere of Up For Grabs by composer and Arsenal fanatic Mark-Anthony Turnage, in which highlights of the Gunners iconic 1989 title-winning match will be projected onto a big screen, with a star-studded rhythm section comprising John Parricelli (Loose Tubes), Peter Erskine (Weather Report) and Laurence Cottle (Earthworks). After the music, Arsenal legend Lee Dixon leads a discussion about the game and its cultural impact (Friday 5 November).
At Cardiff's St David's Hall, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Principal Conductor Ryan Bancroft open the Orchestra's season with Gavin Higgins' Rough Voices and Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 with Radio 3 New Generation Artist Eric Lu (Tuesday 5 October); at Hoddinott Hall, Jonathan Bermann Conducts Schmidt Symphony No. 4 as part of his ongoing collaboration with the Orchestra to record the whole Schmidt symphony cycle.
The concert opens with the 3rd Viennese School composer Kurt Schwertsik's Epilogue to Rosamunde (Tuesday 19 October); recorded in Aberystwyth Arts Centre on the opening night of BBC NOWs first North Wales Tour after a two-year hiatus, Jamie Phillips conducts Grace Williams' Violin Concerto with Madeleine Mitchell as soloist and Britten's Prelude and fugue for 18-part string orchestra (Tuesday 9 November); and the BBC National Chorus of Wales make their triumphant return, alongside the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and conductor Ryan Bancroft, in Elgar's epic The Dream Of Gerontius (Tuesday 16 November).
BBC Philharmonic is live from MediacityUK in Salford as part of BBC Radio 3's Afternoon Concert led by Mark Wigglesworth in a programme of Mozart and Haydn (Friday 8 October). On the same day, a concert recorded in Manchester's Bridgewater Hall features the ensemble with conductor John Stogårds in music by Shostakovich and Sibelius, including Cello Concerto No. 1 with Jakob Kullberg (Friday 8 October). Conductor Elena Schwartz and violinist Daniele Pioro present music by Weill, Ravel, and the world premiere of Pleasure Garden by Tom Coult, the orchestra's new Composer in Association (Wednesday 10 November).
BBC Concert Orchestra is at London's Queen Elizabeth Hall for a concert as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival (Tuesday 23 November), joined by trumpeter Yazz Ahmed and conductor Bramwell Tovey, who also leads the ensemble in composer Dobrinka Tabanova's farewell concert, also at the QEH (Tuesday 7 December).
Performances from the BBC Singers this autumn include two concerts with Chief Conductor Sofi Jeannin: Betsy Jolas's Concert-Fantasie O Night, Oh… and Roderick Williams' A New England Symphony in St Paul's Knightsbridge with pianist Nicolas Hodges (October) and a concert of solace and sustenance featuring Faure's Requiem alongside music by J. S. Bach and his pioneering Italian contemporary Isabella Leonarda and a piece from 2020 by Reena Esmaila, When The Violin, which uses Thomás Luis de Victoria's 16th-century motet O Vos Omnes as the focal point. (Friday 15 October).
Throughout the Autumn, BBC Radio 3 marks special events in the calendar with strands encompassing various music and speech programmes.
Black History Month
The celebration of Black History Month 2021 include the results of BBC Radio 3 and UKRI's Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)'s project to explore seven ethnically diverse classical music composers from across the centuries, launched in September 2020, with Afternoon Concert presenting performances of works by often overlooked figures such as Margaret Bonds, Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges; and Julia Perry among others.
The collaboration with AHRC on researching and presenting diverse composers is also the focus of a series of New Thinking podcasts, presented by Radio 3/AHRC's joint mentoring scheme for early career academics, the New Generation Thinkers. Featuring the latest research into humanities, the programmes in October also look at widening the canon of writers for theatre.
A new series of Classical Fix podcast hosted by Linton Stephens, starting on Sunday 19 September with Californian musician and activist Cola Boyy, includes a special for Black History month in October with a celebration of ethnically diverse composers and performers. On Sunday 10 October, Linton's guest is British fitness instructor Derrick Errol Evans - a.k.a. Mr Motivator.
Radio 3 Breakfast - Friday Poem, on air every Friday at 7.55am, in October features British actress Adjoa Andoh reciting specially-chosen poetry, including major American voices Yona Harvey and Margaret Walker.
Sunday Feature: Dear Phillis explores the life, work and legacy of poet Phillis Wheatley - the African-American slave who was feted for her poetry in 19th century America and Britain. (Sunday 3 October).
In Composer of the Week from Monday 4 to Friday 8 October, Donald Macleod traces the life and music of the uncompromising avant-garde composer and gay activist, Julius Eastman.
Coventry City Of Culture
Marking Coventry's tenure as the UK's 2021 City of Culture, BBC's four-day poetry and spoken word festival Contains Strong Language Festival takes place in venues across the city, in a partnership between the BBC, Coventry City Of Culture Trust, Writing West Midlands and Nine Arches Press, supported by Arts Council England, the British Council, Creative Lives and Jerwood Arts.
As part of the festival: The Verb is live from the Belgrade Theatre, where Ian McMillan is joined by festival guests to explore how language plays a role and shapes the music we hear (Saturday 25 September); and Drama on 3 presents the premiere of Karla Marie Sweet's audio drama with songs This Little Relic, recorded live in front of an audience at Belgrade Theatre for the festival, where the hopes and dreams of five characters collide as one of them plans the perfect version of Ira Aldridge's play The Black Doctor (Sunday 26 September).
During the weekend of the festival, Sunday Feature: How to Re-Build A City with Lisa Mullen tells the story of how blitzed, post-war Coventry became a testbed for architectural ideas, uncovering the choices that made it a symbol of post-war recovery (Sunday 26 September); and following the festival, The Essay: Postcards From Coventry celebrates the many faces of Coventry past, present, and future, from tales of life as a migrant in the city, to the story of the exiled Sky Blues football club, and the cities unsung artists - car designers (Monday 27 to Friday 1 October); and episodes of Words And Music, recorded at Contains Strong Language, look at the idea of translation (Sunday 26 September) and link the history of car and bicycle building in Coventry and the city's transport museum, with live readings and music (Sunday 3 October).
Radio 3 In Concert features a recital by David Briggs on the organ of Coventry Cathedral (Tuesday 30 November).
BBC Radio 3 will also be collaborating with The Space on a digital community engagement project in Coventry for Slow Radio.
Drama On 3 - classic plays, world drama and new writing
Drama on 3 is a stage for international contemporary and classic theatre performance. New productions include:
Emma Harding's innovative new version of Christopher Marlowe's Elizabethan tragedy Doctor Faustus, inspired by the German story of Faustus and Mephistopheles and a source of drama across the centuries. John Heffernan is Faustus/Mephistopheles and Pearl Mackie is Wagner (Sunday 19 September).
Rex Obano's new play City College, directed by Femi Elufowoju, jr. tells the story of Rashaan Tilley (played by Cyril Nri), a university professor of Black history who faces career and personal reprisals for suggesting slavery might never have happened (Sunday 10 October).
Hattie Naylor's five-part adaptation of The Saga Of Burnt Njal - Iceland's most famous and powerful family saga and one of the cornerstones of world literature - reflects the bleak but savage beauty of Medieval Iceland and contains universal truths about human behaviour and how forces outside individuals' control can lead to overwhelming tragedy (starts on Sunday 24 October).
A new radio version of Lord Byron's epic poem of the Romantic age Don Juan, which charts Young Juan's amazing adventures, from the bedroom of a lady of Seville, to shipwreck, a Love Island in the Cyclades, and the harem of the Sultan, in a headlong whirl of sexual intrigue, romance, slavery, and war. Adapted by Robin Brooks (Sunday 19 December).
Sunday Feature and Between The Ears
The Many Diagnoses of Robert Schumann in which journalist Phil Hebblethwaite traces a history of psychiatry since the 1850s, through the many researches and diagnoses for the illness and death of composer Robert Schumann (Sunday 19 September); An Orkney Tapestry, as Scottish composer Erland Cooper and violinist Daniel Pioro visit iron age brochs and neolithic caves in an evocative musical tribute to the Orkney Islands's famous poet and novelist George Mackay Brown, who would have turned 100 this year (Sunday 10 October); and Malcolm Arnold, the Tortured Composer, marking the centenary year of the composer, as Simon Heffer explores the reasons why one of Britain's greatest 20th century symphonists has been largely forgotten, in favour of his film music, dances and works for brass band - with contributions from daughter Katherine Arnold, Joseph Horovitz, Julian Lloyd Webber, and Sakari Oramo (Sunday 17 October).
In A Tree Story, Radio 3 presenter Martin Handley charts the journey of wood as it is turned into a musical instrument, exploring specific qualities, skills of the builders involved, varnishes, and the effect these have on the final sound of an instrument (Sunday 7 November).
Afterwords, the Sunday Feature series that uses archive interviews and contemporary commentary to revisit culture figures of the past century, has three programmes which explore in turn writer Simone de Beauvoir, poet Adrienne Rich and thinker and academic Stuart Hall. The series is led by the archive of each writer, putting their words and ideas in conversation with contemporary artists, academics and authors inspired by their work (Sunday 14, 21 and 28 November).
Walk with Amal
Five writers from across Europe respond to the journey of Little Amal, a 3.5-metre high puppet of a little girl who in July this summer began a 8,000km walk across Europe from Turkey to the UK, to represent the journeys of thousands of refugee children. The writers in this Essay series all live in countries through which Little Amal passes and create a series of unusual, moving short stories about loss, hope and the meaning of family (starts on Monday 18 October).
Sounds of Isolation
Renowned sound recordist Chris Watson recalls five quests to the South Pole, Skellig Michael, Finland, Northumberland and Iceland in search of isolation and wild sounds. Each essay combines a compelling narrative in which Chris recalls his quest, alongside the extraordinary sounds he recorded en route. For many people, the isolation felt during the Covid-19 lockdowns has been challenging and disconcerting. But for Chris Watson, isolation is something he seeks, from the 'great white silence of the south pole' to the terrifying screeching calls of storm petrels, which like banshees circle in the darkness around a pinnacle of a rock emerging out of the sea (starts on Monday 1 November).
Our Fathers' War
December 7, 2021 marks the 80th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and with it America's entry into World War II. The generation who fought this war is virtually gone now. Writer Michael Goldfarb's father was among them. In this series of Essays he retells the stories he heard from those who lived through those years (starts on Monday 29 November).
The topical programme begins its new season with a state-of-the-nation show: with contributions from artists, venues and groups from across the country, the discussion explores what is going to be different about classical music in the UK while Covid restrictions ease. The programme also gets the latest on the plight of musicians in Afghanistan (Saturday 11 September).
Music Matters also celebrates the masters of minimalism Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Terry Riley and La Monte Young and their legacy as they all hit their mid-80s (Saturday 16 October); and marks 60 years since the film release of the film West Side Story, and the debut of Steven Spielberg's remake, with discussions featuring the teams involved in the making of the original and new versions (Saturday 4 December).
Words And Music & Free Thinking
The programmes mark anniversaries of crucial figures in the world of music and culture: Alighieri; Hannah Arendt; Dirk Bogarde; Caravaggio; Dante; Dostoevsky; Keats; and Flaubert.
Composer Of The Week
Composers explored this Autumn include traditional repertoire figures as well as contemporary trailblazers, such as Malcolm Arnold, Carla Bley, J S Bach, Cherubini, Sofia Gubaidulina, Sibelius, Mark-Anthony Turnage and George Walker. Saint-Saëns is also celebrated in the 100th anniversary of his death.
The Listening Service
Autumn highlights including special programmes on composers Arvo Pärt and Charles Ives, and discussions on the themes of In And Out Of Tune, and Music And Food.
Night Tracks (Wednesday 15 September)
As part of BBC Radio 3's late-night programme, providing adventurous, immersive soundtracks featuring classical and contemporary repertoire, and in collaboration with London's Wellcome Collection, Sara Mohr-Pietsch takes listeners on a musical journey through joy and tranquillity, inspired by On Happiness - a season of exhibitions, events and activities exploring the complexity of positive emotions, running until February 2022 at Wellcome's Gallery. Tonight's episode includes sounds of ancient forests captured in Washington State and the Japanese island of Yakushima, as featured in a multi-sensory installation by French photographer Chrystel Lebas. We also hear part of a sound work by sound designer Xana, which is used in Harold Offeh's installation exploring the restorative power of dance.
Northern Drift - new series from Monday 25 October
Northern Drift, a new night-time series presented by Elizabeth Alker explores northern themes of arts, culture and music, recorded in front of an audience at the Trades Club, Hebden Bridge in the heart of Calderdale, West Yorkshire. Each week Elizabeth talks to a northern musician and a writer with live music and poetry readings.
Music's Inner Vision (two programmes in November)
Singer Victoria Oruwari uncovers how blindness impacts learning, composing and performing music. Her own experience as a blind musician will give the audience a fresh understanding of what it is like to discover, create and perform music as somebody who cannot see what others can. Featuring music by Rodrigo, Antonio de Cabezon and Vierne, with performances by Ray Charles, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Nobuyuki Tsujii and Baluji Shrivastav.
Free The Music (three programmes in December)
Presented by the Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto, this series focusses on the power of improvisation, and its potential to unlock creativity. Pekka explores the many facets of improvisation to be found in classical (from medieval and baroque to contemporary), jazz, folk, electronic, Indian classical and pop. A musical maverick, he grew up in a family geared around jazz and improvising, and so much of the music he creates and is intrigued by has such an improvisatory approach.