Choral stars to present BBC Radio 3’s The Choir

I am delighted that BBC Radio 3, the home of classical music, is welcoming these six special figures in the choral world to The Choir. The programme’s unique place in choral music broadcasting will be enhanced by their authoritative and enthusiastic presentation."Roger Wright, Controller BBC Radio 3 and Director, BBC Proms
Date: 25.01.2013     Last updated: 18.03.2014 at 17.50
Category: Radio 3
Stars from the choral community Suzi Digby, Paul Mealor, Ken Burton, Harry Christophers, Mary King and Eric Whitacre are to join BBC Radio 3’s The Choir from Sunday 3 February for six special programmes exploring subjects close to their hearts.

The Choir celebrates the very best of choral singing through live performance and recordings, interviews and discussion, and the presenters, who are each internationally renowned for their work within the field of choral music, will explore subjects ranging from education to composing for special events.

Roger Wright, Controller BBC Radio 3 and Director, BBC Proms comments: “I am delighted that BBC Radio 3, the home of classical music, is welcoming these six special figures in the choral world to The Choir. The programme’s unique place in choral music broadcasting will be enhanced by their authoritative and enthusiastic presentation.”

Sunday 3 February: Suzi Digby showcases young choral talent

A passionate advocate of singing and founder of musical charities for the young, conductor Suzi Digby draws on her unrivalled experience of working with youth ensembles for an exploration of choral music, showcasing the dazzling talents of some of the world’s most exciting youth choirs.

Sunday 10 February: Paul Mealor on writing for special occasions

Composer Paul Mealor, who shot to international fame with works including Wherever You Are (the Military Wives Choir) and Ubi Caritas et Amor (premièred at the Royal Wedding of HRH Prince William of Wales with Miss Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey) will discuss writing for special events.

Sunday 17 February: Ken Burton explores the influence of gospel singing on choral music

Composer and conductor Ken Burton is internationally acclaimed for his work across a vast range of styles, from American popular music to gospel. He founded and performs with choirs including Tessara, The London Adventist Chorale and the Croydon Seventh-day Adventist Gospel Choir. In this special edition of The Choir he explores the influence of gospel singing on other styles of choral music.

Sunday 24 February: Harry Christophers discusses sacred choral music

As founder and director of vocal ensemble The Sixteen, conductor Harry Christophers has toured throughout Europe, America and the Far East, becoming recognised for his work in Renaissance, Baroque and 20th-century music. In this episode of The Choir he discusses three composers he’s long admired – Victoria, Poulenc and James MacMillan - who, for him, are linked by the fervent emotion and deep spirituality of their sacred choral music.

Sunday 3 March: Sara Mohr-Pietsch leads a special programme of Baroque music

As part of BBC Radio 3’s month-long Baroque Spring season, Sara Mohr-Pietcsch presents a Baroque-focused edition of The Choir live from Maida Vale studios. Amateur musicians will be invited to perform baroque choruses with the help of early music specialist Robert Hollingworth alongside the BBC Singers and members of the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

Sunday 10 March: Mary King explores the links between folk and choral music

Mary King’s multi-faceted career encompasses roles as performer, writer and coach. She currently combines work as an Artist in Residence at London's Southbank Centre, where she directs Voicelab, with a high profile career as vocal coach for a wide range of choral, operatic and music theatre groups and solo performers. In this programme she will talk about the choral music that arose out of the explosion of interest in traditional folk music across Europe in the early 20th century. She will introduce works by Janácek and Bartok, alongside arrangements of British folk tunes.

Sunday 17 March: Eric Whitacre presents a concert of old and new choral music

Eric Whitacre is an internationally popular composer and a distinguished conductor. His ground-breaking Virtual Choir, Lux Aurumque, received over a million views on YouTube in just 2 months (now 3.6 million) and featured 185 singers from 12 different countries. In this concert, specially recorded for BBC Radio 3 at St Luke’s, Chelsea, London, on 12 March, Eric introduces performances of his own music and others by the Eric Whitacre Singers, and talks about what inspires him as a composer and a performer. The concert will be recorded a St Luke’s, London, on 12 March.

The six special presenters replace Aled Jones as he leaves BBC Radio 3 after seven years as presenter of The Choir. Aled says: “I feel honoured to have been able to enjoy seven years at the helm of The Choir, a very special show which truly celebrates choral music of every kind. I’d like to thank my colleagues at BBC Radio 3 and all those who helped make this show the success it is today.” Details of future programmes will be announced shortly.

Notes to editors

  • The Choir is a weekly series on BBC Radio 3, broadcasting on Sunday evenings from 5pm. It explores choral music of all styles and genres through performances, interviews and special features.
  • BBC Radio 3 is the home of classical music. The station also broadcasts a wide range of cultural programming including jazz, world music, arts and over 30 new drama programmes a year. BBC Radio 3 features more live classical music programming than any other station and is the home of the BBC Proms, broadcasting every Prom live and over 600 complete concerts a year. The station is also the most significant commissioner of new musical works in the world and is committed to supporting new talent, composers, writers and new young performers through schemes such as World Routes Academy, New Generation Artists and New Generation Thinkers.

EH