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Sir Andras Schiff, BCMG at 30, Tom Phillips, Netia Jones, This is Rattle

Tom Service talks to pianist Andras Schiff, discovers the British artist Tom Phillip's multimedia opera Irma, and celebrates 30 years of the BCMG with a trip down the canals.

Tom speaks to Sir Andras Schiff, one of the world's greatest living pianists and also one of the most thoughtful talkers about music. From Hungary but emigrating to Britain as a refugee, he and Tom discuss the changing world and the role of musicians within it, how a concert is more essential than ever and why a whole evening of Brahms is a bad idea.

The artist Tom Phillips is a true creative polymath - a painter, gallery curator, singer, quilter, opera composer, set designer and much more. His seminal 1969 opera Irma is all sourced from passages in 'A Humament' - his life's work - and is largely left to the performers to interpret it however they choose. He talks to Tom at his home in Peckham about how he wrote his 'chance opera' and how to decipher the clues found within the libretto. Plus Tom talks to the acclaimed opera director Netia Jones, who is about to stage it in Peckham, about how to start piecing together the puzzle of the opera.

The Birmingham Contemporary Music Group are celebrating their 30th birthday and to do so are taking to the city's canals to create a 'Canal Serenade' performed on three narrowboats on the waterways. Tom takes a wander down the Birmingham towpath with BCMG's director Stephan Meier to discover more about the project and meets one of its founders, the cellist Ulrich Heinen, to talk about how the group started.

Plus in the week of conductor Simon Rattle taking over at the London Symphony Orchestra, Tom sits down with music journalists Charlotte Higgins and Richard Morrison to ask what he can do for British classical music.

Available now

45 minutes


  • Sir Andras Schiff

    Duration: 15:04:00

  • Tom Phillips & Netia Jones

    Duration: 11:35

  • This is Rattle

    Duration: 07:24

  • Birmingham Contemporary Music Group at 30

    Duration: 08:15


Role Contributor
Presenter Tom Service
Interviewed Guest Andras Schiff
Interviewed Guest Stephan Meier
Interviewed Guest Tom Phillips
Interviewed Guest Netia Jones
Interviewed Guest Charlotte Higgins
Interviewed Guest Richard Morrison
Producer Hannah Thorne


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