The cultural past, present and future of the Olympics
As Radio 3 launches Music Nation, a weekend of more than 100 live music events across the UK heralding the countdown to the London 2012 Festival, Suzy Klein looks at the cultural past, present and future of the Olympics. She is joined in the studio by journalist Richard Morrison and Director of Arts for the British Council Graham Sheffield to discuss the successes, failures and possible legacy of the Cultural Olympiad.
Photo: RNSO © Tom Finnie
The history of the Cultural Olympiad
The original Olympic Games in Ancient Greece sought to celebrate mind, body and spirit and so poetry, music and art were included in the Games. When the modern Olympic movement was founded by Pierre de Coubertin he aimed to reintroduce these ideas and so between 1912 and 1948 the Games included competitions in architecture, painting, poetry and music for which medals were awarded. From 1952 onwards these competitions stopped and a series of cultural events were launched to complement the sporting action. With the help of historian Richard Stanton and Dr. Beatriz Garcia, a leading expert in culture and the Olympics, Suzy traces this history and assesses what power the current Cultural Olympiad has to celebrate and promote art and what kind of imprint it will leave when the Games are over.
Photo: Greek statue in the British Museum © BBC
Heiner Goebbels: Surrogate Cities
As part of Music Nation the composer Heiner Goebbels’ landmark work Surrogate Cities will receive its London premiere at the Southbank Centre performed by students from the Trinity Laban Conservatoire and broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Suzy talks to Goebbels about his belief that great art has the power to radically change peoples’ lives for the better, his passion for the city and its expression in music and his burning desire to engage audiences.
Photo: Heiner Goebbels © Ruhrtriennale and Wonge Bergmann
Chris Stout & The Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Each year the Royal Scottish National Orchestra heads out of the concert hall, and this year to coincide with Music Nation is embarking on its most geographically ambitious residential endeavour in the UK – Out and About in Shetland. Five days of rehearsals and performances, education and community activities, and workshops and master-classes will see musicians from the orchestra head to the extreme edges of the remote islands. Suzy travels to Scotland to meet the composer and fiddler Chris Stout who has drawn on his Fair Isle heritage to compose a new piece for the orchestra, called Tingaholm.