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6 February 2005

Sunday 6 February 2005 17:45-18:30 (Radio 3)

Meredith Monk has been described as 'a voice of the future' and 'one of America's coolest composers', she talks to presenter Tom Service about her career that spans more than 35 years. And Tom follows the members of the Sacconi Quartet as they make their debut at one of London's most prestigious venues, in the first in a short series investigating the pitfalls of launching a performing career.

Duration:

45 minutes

In this Programme

Meredith Monk
Meredith Monk
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This year, Meredith Monk celebrates forty years as a performer. She is a musician for whom the term 'composer' barely does justice. She has written operas and orchestral pieces, but most of her work is centred on her unmistakable, unclassifiable voice. Tom met up with Meredith Monk on a recent visit to London for the premiere of her first string quartet, and asked her about the origins of her musical inspiration in the urban intensity of downtown Manhattan.

You can hear the broadcast premiere of Meredith Monk's new commission for the Kronos Quartet, Stringsongs, on BBC Radio 3's Sunday Gala on the 27th March.

Launching a career
Nicola Benedetti
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Mapping out any career is a daunting task, but in the saturated marketplace of classical music, it is a baptism of fire. Where to study, who to listen to, which venues to play at and what repertoire to play are all questions facing a young musician embarking on a serious music career. To gain a better understanding of the pressures and problems encountered by these young artists, Tom visited London's Purcell Room, to talk with the Royal College of Music's Sacconi Quartet as they made their South Bank debut. Tom also talked to Nicola Benedetti, winner of the 2004 BBC Young Musician of the Year competition and recipient of a £1million record deal, and Levon Chilingirian, leader of the Chilingirian Quartet, for his words of wisdom for young players.

Camille Saint-Saëns and Gabriel Fauré
Camille Saint-Saëns. Reproduced by courtesy of the Neil Williams Classical Collection
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Gabriel Fauré was a pupil of Camille Saint-Saëns, who was ten years older than him. They became close friends after their first meeting when Fauré was just sixteen. The two composers started up a correspondence which lasted for sixty years, and unlike many friendships between creative artists, they stayed together even when their musical styles had drifted apart. J. Barrie Jones has translated the letters exchanged between Saint-Saëns and Fauré, which reveal how the tenderness between teacher and pupil informed their music as well as airing their views on the music of their contemporaries.

The Correspondence of Camille Saint-Saëns and Gabriel Fauré, trans. J. Barrie Jones
Published by Ashgate
Out now £49.95 Hard Back
ISBN 0-7546-3280-6

Music criticism
Newspapers
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What do the classical music critics of today offer the reader? Music criticism is changing and the public profile which they give to classical music can no longer be taken for granted. In America, the New Yorker has its 80th anniversary this year, but even this journal now has less space for classical music than it used to. Tom asks the author and pianist Charles Rosen, ex-New Yorker and Observer critic Andrew Porter, and Assistant Editor of the Evening Standard, Norman Lebrecht what the crisis in music criticism actually is and whether it really matters.

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