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Phyllida Barlow

The artist Phyllida Barlow shares her passion for music which reflects her sculpture in its defiance of convention and delight in surprise.

The artist Phyllida Barlow shares her passion for music that reflects her sculpture, in its defiance of convention and delight in surprise.

For years Phyllida Barlow was so desperate for people to see her sculptures that she would leave them on the street or in disused factories; or she would install them in friends' houses, using pianos and ironing boards as plinths.

Initially overlooked by museums and galleries, she was in her sixties when she found widespread recognition - in the last decade she's been invited to exhibit all over the world, and has became a Royal Academician, a CBE, and the recipient of numerous awards. Her 2014 exhibition at Tate Britain was unforgettable - she filled the cavernous Duveen Galleries with huge, gravity-defying pieces made out of timber and scrap materials which appeared to be about to topple over or to be on the point of collapse. And in 2017 she received the ultimate accolade of representing Great Britain at the Venice Biennale.

She talks to Michael Berkeley about finding success in later life, how she juggled life as a teacher, artist and mother of five, and the challenges of constructing monumental installations. She chooses music by Birtwistle, Wagner, Janacek, Webern, and Messiaen, pieces which reflect her fascination with size, scale, texture and unexpected beauty.

Producer: Jane Greenwood
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3.

Available now

33 minutes

Last on

Sun 8 Apr 2018 12:00

Music Played

  • Leos Janáček

    String Quartet no.2 (2nd movement: Adagio)

    Ensemble: Emerson String Quartet.
  • Sir Harrison Birtwistle

    Antiphonies (excerpt)

    Performer: Joanna MacGregor. Orchestra: Radio Filharmonisch Orkest. Conductor: Michael Gielen.
  • Richard Wagner

    Tristan und Isolde (Act 3: Mild und Leise)

    Orchestra: Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele. Conductor: Karl Böhm. Singer: Birgit Nilsson.
  • Abel Meeropol

    Strange Fruit

    Performer: Billie Holiday.
  • Olivier Messiaen

    Turangalila-Symphonie (8th mvt: Developpement d'amour)

    Orchestra: Amsterdam Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Conductor: Riccardo Chailly.
  • Kayhan Kalhor

    I Will Not Stand Alone

    Performer: Kayhan Kalhor. Performer: Ali Bahrami Fard.
  • Anton Webern

    5 Pieces for Orchestra, Op.10

    Orchestra: Philharmonia Orchestra. Conductor: Robert Craft.

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