BBC Radio 3
Martin Smith, Editor, Network Radio & Special Projects
Martin Smith describes a pioneering way to enhance Radio 3 listeners' appreciation of opera: a live online commentary. Welsh National Opera's production of Handel's Orlando see the first roll-out.
Editor, Network Radio & Special Projects
Lawrence Zazzo as Orlando, Fflur Wyn as Dorinda, Daniel Grice as Zoroastro
It’s a familiar sight in offices around the world: the intense stare at the screen, the reluctance to get up for a coffee, the sustained quiet. Yes – there’s a major sporting event and everyone is following the online commentary. Not everyone can be at Centre Court or in Monaco, but they get up-to-the-minute reaction, images, highlights and conversation through the BBC website.
Our Network Radio team here in Cardiff regularly broadcasts productions from Welsh National Opera – great national events of another kind that we want to share with our audiences. But if you miss the beginning of the opera when the presenter explains the plot, how do you catch up if you can’t understand the Italian and don’t know the work? How do you appreciate the work of the costume and set designers? And what about the background to the story – often a really important part of understanding the real meaning behind the opera.
So, for Saturday’s Opera on 3 we’ve teamed up with BBC Connected Studio, Live...
Principal Second Violin, BBC National Orchestra of Wales
The full crew
Visiting Patagonia in Argentina has been quite bizarre! I’ve just spent a week and a half with 11 other BBC NOW musicians working with schools, special schools and local orchestras in the Welsh colony of Patagonia. Although I was brought up in England, I was born in Aberystwyth in Wales and we kept the Welsh tradition going very strongly at home. Walking about this South American town (over 7000 miles from home) and suddenly coming across a Welsh flag outside a house is quite incredible. I’m very proud of being Welsh, and being here brings on that feeling of ‘Hiraeth’ that we have in Wales – which is a longing for your homeland – I think they feel it here, even though it’s the other side of the world, they’re extremely proud to be Welsh.
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Sibelius and his family at Ainola
The BBC Symphony Orchestra first went to Finland in 1956 (with Sir Malcolm Sargent) and returned 40 years later with Vernon Handley. Thus it was a rather unusual pleasure to escape the rigours of the Proms for a few days and become a part of the 150th birthday celebrations for Sibelius in the Finnish city of Lahti.
It was a particular pleasure for me as my very first orchestral job was at the other end of the 150km Lake Päijänne, in the small city of Jyväskylä.
Our first concert was a repeat of our Prom comprising two early works by the Finnish master, Sibelius: En Saga and Kullervo, the latter with the expanded Polytech Male Voice Choir, from Helsinki Aalto University of Engineering, who lent our chief conductor Sakari Oramo one of their splendid graduation hats for this photo...
Sakari and the students proudly show off their graduation hats
Benjamin Grosvenor's Proms debut in 2011
Four years ago I made my BBC Proms debut at the First Night of the Proms. It was a great honour, and a very special experience for my debut to be at the opening of the festival.
The Royal Albert Hall is a truly unique venue - an iconic building, with such a rich history. I first performed there in 2005, but it was only when returning for my first Prom that I realised how much the feel of the...
B Tommy Andersson
Composer-in-Association, BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Over the last year, BBC NOW has played six of my orchestral works in Cardiff, and I have also had the opportunity to conduct the orchestra. It has been a fantastic experience. Having been given the chance to get to know this brilliant orchestra rather well, for my new piece I have tried to write a bespoke piece of music for them and their fantastic principal conductor Thomas Søndergård.
The BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Head of Speech Radio and Classical Music, Multiplatform
Today is a really big day for all of us who enjoy being able to choose a radio programme to listen to according to our mood and listen to it wherever we are. I know I am not alone in doing this because over 17 million podcast episodes from BBC Radio are already being downloaded every month in the UK. The only problem with our marvellous podcasts is that they only exist for a relatively small proportion of Radio 3's output and even less on other networks.
With the release this week of the new version of the iPlayer Radio app on Apple and Android smartphones and tablets, it will be possible...
BBC Symphony Orchestra
The beautiful environs of Bad Kissingen
The BBC Symphony Orchestra has been coming to Bad Kissingen practically every summer since 1998. It is an idyllic spa town in the Franconia region of northern Bavaria, where the good burghers of the surrounding areas come to take the waters and the Cure. I must be getting old because although I've been here a dozen times, I increasingly look forward to our visits here.
Part of the reason is...
Radio 3 Presenter
Heroes and Villains
The first time I ever played Värttinä on Radio 3 was back in 1997 on a programme called Musical Encounters where they rubbed shoulders with Dvořák, Mozart, Giya Kancheli, Jan Garbarek and the Hilliard Ensemble. Once Late Junction had begun, in 1999, they had a natural home for their music, and we recorded them at the Wychwood Festival and at Womad. I remember being at...
Radio 3 Presenter
Jez Nelson previews this week’s Jazz on 3, paying tribute to saxophonist and composer Ornette Coleman
Time after time jazz musicians talk about the quest to find their own voice. It seems to me that Ornette Coleman found his at an early age and it was one of the most recognisable in this beautiful music’s history. Ornette's blues-drenched, heart-stopping alto call was as close to the cry of...
Chief Conductor, BBC Symphony Orchestra
Carl Nielsen at his piano. Photo: The Royal Library, Copenhagen
Most of the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s cycle of Carl Nielsen symphonies is now complete, and I am hugely looking forward to completing this fascinating survey of the great Danish composer’s music mirrored by that of his contemporaries.
This year's other great birthday hero, Jean Sibelius, is an obvious companion, despite the almost diametrically opposed nature of the two composers' musical...