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What is Inspiration? Plus playing music from memory with the Aurora Orchestra

Stella Duffy, Kei Miller, Julian Baggini, Aowen Jin and Philip Venables attempt to define inspiration. Plus, how can an orchestra play an entire symphony from memory?

Yesterday we launched our new season Inspire. Today we ask the key question: what is inspiration? The poet Kei Miller, the composer Philip Venables, the novelist Stella Duffy, the artist Aowen Jin and the philosopher Julian Baggini join Front Row to share their thoughts on the line between a magical moment and hard graft.

On Monday Aurora Orchestra return to the BBC Proms to perform Shostakovich's Ninth Symphony entirely from memory. We're joined in the studio by the orchestra's principle cellist Torun Stavseng and concert pianist and music writer Susan Tomes to explore the opportunities and limitations of performing classical music without a score.

Presenter: Stig Abell
Producer: Hilary Dunn.

Available now

30 minutes


Philip Venables

Philip Venables
Philip Venables plays Bartok for the BBC Proms on 17 Aug

Philip Venables, Composer

Aowen Jin

Aowen Jin
Aowen Jin

Aowen Jin - British Chinese Artist

Kei Miller

Kei Miller
Kei Miller

Stella Duffy

Torun Stavseng

Torun Stavseng
Torun Stavseng

Torun Stavseng plays the cello in Aurora Orchestra

Main image: Aurora Orchestra
Photo credit: Nick Rutter

Susan Tomes

Susan Tomes
Susan Tomes

Concert pianist and music writer Susan Tomes


Role Contributor
Presenter Stig Abell
Interviewed Guest Kei Miller
Interviewed Guest Philip Venables
Interviewed Guest Stella Duffy
Interviewed Guest Aowen Jin
Interviewed Guest Julian Baggini
Interviewed Guest Torun Stavseng
Interviewed Guest Susan Tomes
Producer Hilary Dunn



A season discovering where artists find inspiration and helping listeners get creative.

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