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Sir Willard White, Mozart's Pet Starling, Huang Ruo

Tom Service interviews operatic bass Sir Willard White. Plus a book about Mozart's pet starling, the music of Canada's indigenous people and composer Huang Ruo on his new project.

Presented by Tom Service

Tom talks to one of the world's best-loved singers, the bass Sir Willard White. Equally at home singing Wagner or the great American songbook - Willard White has one of the most distinctive and powerful voices on stage today. He tells Tom how as a teenager he had a life changing experience realising he could sing, his experiences on the opera stage and how the sheer power of his voice has made women scream.

A new book by the American naturalist Lyanda Lynn Haupt tells the story of a little starling that Mozart kept as a pet in Vienna - she speaks to Tom about retracing the story of an unlikely friendship between composer and bird.

For Radio 3's Canada 150 season, Music Matters investigates how classical composers last century would often use the songs and music of the indigenous people of Canada without realising the significance they had. Tom talks to Dylan Robinson, a professor in indigenous arts, Marion Newman, a classical mezzo of indigenous descent and Robert Cramm, an expert on the Canadian composer Harry Somers.

Plus, Tom talks to Chinese-American composer Huang Ruo about a new project for Manchester International Festival which features six new works by six different composers, each created in response to a specific space in Manchester. Huang chose to make his piece in and for the Manchester Town Hall - his oasis of musical contemplation in a busy city.

Starling recordings (c) Patrik Åberg, Tom Furtwangler.

Available now

45 minutes


  • Sir Willard White

    Duration: 14:47

  • Mozart's Pet Starling

    Duration: 08:12

  • Huang Ruo

    Duration: 06:12

  • Canada 150 - Indigenous Arts

    Duration: 13:16


Role Contributor
Presenter Tom Service
Interviewed Guest Willard White
Interviewed Guest Lyanda Lynn Haupt
Interviewed Guest Dylan Robinson
Interviewed Guest Marion Newman
Interviewed Guest Robert Cramm
Interviewed Guest Huang Ruo


  • Sat 24 Jun 2017 12:15
  • Mon 26 Jun 2017 22:00

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