Listen
Switzerland's answer to Palestrina: Ludwig Senfl
BBC Radio 3

BBC Radio 3

Featured Post

Radio 3 Controller Alan Davey's Christmas message and end-of-year review.

Read more

Posts

  • Controller, BBC Radio 3

    Radio 3 is a network that is famous for letting things take as long as they take. Max Richter writes an 8 hour classical piece – yes we’ll do it!


    Giving things time is important – while I grew up loving perfect, frenzied three minute pop songs from Punk bands like the Buzzcocks, I also discovered things that take time, that need to be considered, thought of, absorbed – things like Mahler Symphonies, or Bach solo sonatas. I learned to slow down and let things come to me slowly.


    Mindfulness, putting all your concentration into something and leaving the wild world outside, to stop moving from one thing to another and just letting something take you, that’s what lies at the heart of Slow Radio. Like Blake, who could perceive Heaven in a Wildflower, or like Arnold, who on Dover Beach heard


    “….the grating roar
    Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
    At their return, up the high strand,
    Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
    With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
    The eternal note of sadness in.”


    Slow radio can help you better to understand that wild world by dwelling in detail on simple things – birdsong, a river, the sound of a glacier melting. It may be a retreat while it is...

    Read more

  • Controller, BBC Radio 3

    So much has made this year unique and epoch defining, both here at Radio 3 and in the wider world. In 'interesting' times, arts and culture can help us make sense of the world around us and we at Radio 3 have a vital role to play in helping audiences navigate that world; as a leading commissioner, promoter, creator and broadcaster of arts and music. We serve audiences by asking questions and giving audiences the means to find their answers.

    I can’t possibly run through everything we’ve done this year that has made it so important for Radio 3: so many pioneering moments, so many bold experiments, but I can list a few that I think are part of what makes BBC Radio 3 so distinctive: 

    • We started with New Year New Music - putting contemporary classical in the heart of the schedule and broadcasting rare works from Stockhausen and La Monte Young.
    • We broadcast our first Non-classical concert from Ambika 3.
    • We launched new shows: The Listening Service, Exposure, Jazz Now, a revamped Late Junction with mix tape segments.
    • We had record audience figures and strong listening hours.
    • We appeared at festivals across the land from WOMAD to Great Escape, Hay Festival to Edinburgh Festival, The...

    Read more

  • Controller, BBC Radio 3

    Last week the quarterly UK radio audience figures (RAJAR) were released for April – June of this year (Quarter 2), with some fantastic news for Radio 3. Last quarter our overall reach, at 2.12m, was the highest in 3 years. I'm delighted to say that our reach has now increased to 2.20m, the highest in 5 years, and a record for Quarter 2.

    Many of Radio 3’s individual shows performed excellently in a quarter where we brought listeners some remarkable broadcasting, from Stratford to Aldeburgh, Hay and The Great Escape festivals. Breakfast and Essential Classics were particularly strong, with record-breaking audience figures. Firm favourites Composer of the Week and In Tune also continue to flourish.

    New additions to the Radio 3 schedule have been very successful, including introducing longer pieces of music into Breakfast and playing contemporary classical music in some of our mainstream programmes, such as our ‘Open Ear’ concerts in the main evening concert slot. And we mustn’t forget...

    Read more

  • Controller, BBC Radio 3

    Radio 3’s latest listening figures (RAJAR) reveal that the network has performed strongly during Controller Alan Davey’s first year in post, recording its highest audience total in three years, with the highest Breakfast figures since 2013, the highest morning figures on record (Essential Classics) and the second highest drivetime (In Tune) figures in the shows’ history.

    In my first year it’s...

    Read more

  • Controller, BBC Radio 3

    In September of this year it will be 70 years since the beginning of the Third Programme, the early incarnation of what is now Radio 3.  We think this landmark is an occasion to address the future, drawing on some principles of the past, ditching others, and just use it as an excuse for a party for all our listeners.

    In Penelope Fitzgerald’s book about the BBC in wartime, Human Voices, a character describes BBC staff as ranging from ‘the intensely respectable to the barely sane’. It fits, too, as a description of the idea of setting up a high culture radio station, remorselessly...

    Read more

  • Presenter, BBC Radio 3

    How it all began for Verity: Annbjørg Lien and Bruce Molsky

    I’ll be honest with you. I never used to like folk music very much. If it wasn’t all rumpty-tumpty, four square tunes in a wincingly sour D major, it was notes relentlessly whizzing by at such a speed it left me feeling faintly nauseous. Where was the subtlety, the depth, the point? 

    Enlightenment came in stages. The first was witnessing Bruce Molsky and Norwegian Hardanger fiddler Annbjørg...

    Read more

  • Controller, BBC Radio 3

    Birtwistle: The Minotaur (Royal Opera House/BBC)

    January begins in the most  traditional way for BBC Radio 3, with the New Year's Day concert from Vienna, Well known waltzes and a touch of Viennese glamour – a Broadcast tradition of many years.

    But then we want to begin something new – a week long season called New Year, New Music, which will celebrate and present music of the last 60 years, and hopefully will help to demystify contemporary...

    Read more

  • BBC Radio 3 Presenter

    Petroc in Tromsø

    The nights are long in Tromsø at this time of year.  The North Norwegian city’s residents are halfway through the season of Polar Night, when they bid farewell to the sun for more than six weeks.

    Recording Music Matters there, producer Andy King and I made the most of the three hour long stretch of twilight that falls in late morning.  For a brief period,  the view across the bay that divides...

    Read more

  • Controller, BBC Radio 3

    Radio 3 Controller Alan Davey looks ahead to three weeks of in-depth programming in the Northern Lights season, and explains how the Icelandic sagas have come to dominate so much of Northern thinking and culture.

    This weekend Radio 3 begins its celebrations of the culture of Northern countries, places which spend the winter months in darkness (compensated by long summer nights).  This is...

    Read more

  • BBC Symphony Orchestra

    Sint Janskerk Den Bosch

    A quick survey across some of my colleagues in the orchestra revealed that apart from the odd concert in Amsterdam or Rotterdam, most of us had not toured the Netherlands since our youth orchestra days. A pity, since the country possesses some excellent concert halls and some of the most affable people on the planet, plus it's easy to get to by train. 

    So it was that the BBCSO boarded the...

    Read more