iPlayer Radio What's New?

Presented byKirsty Young

Desert Island Discs Presenter Kirsty Young
Listen
On Now : You and Yours
Hundreds search for pensions they transferred after cold calls

Lady Natasha Spender

Lady Natasha Spender

Broadcast

First broadcast: Sun 07 Jan 2007

Pianist

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the musician Lady Natasha Spender. She was born at the end of the First World War and has spent her life immersed in the arts. Gifted with perfect pitch, she studied under Clifford Curzon and enjoyed a highly successful career as a concert pianist. In the months after the end of the Second World War she gave a concert at Belsen to inmates who were recovering in its hospital wing and, a couple of years later, she was chosen to be the soloist in the world's first ever televised concert for the BBC.

She was also one half of a cultural 'it' couple - for more than 50 years she was married to the poet Sir Stephen Spender. They had met at a literary lunch he was hosting and became friends after Natasha stayed behind to help him with the washing up. They were friends with many of the greats of the past century, including T S Eliot, Stravinsky and Leonard Bernstein. She is now the executor to Sir Stephen's very considerable estate and is writing her own memoirs.

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Choices

Book

Desert Islands: An Anthology by Walter de la Mare

Others who chose this author

Luxury item

Her grand piano

Others who chose a similar luxury

Occupations

Contact us

This site contains archive material. To comment or bring something to our attention, please get in touch.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.