BBC Radio 3 announces new programmes and presenter signings

Jess Gillam, Danielle De Niese, Mahan Esfahani and Sean Shibe join Radio 3 in new round of programming

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BBC Radio 3 announces new programmes and presenter signings
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BBC Radio 3 has today announced a new wave of programmes for the station. Saxophonist and former BBC Young Musician finalist Jess Gillam will present a new weekly Saturday programme on Radio 3 entitled This Classical Life. She will be joined by other young musicians to discuss their favourite works and new musical discoveries, as well as their perspective of the music industry as young performers.

Confirmed guests include pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason, pianist and sound artist Belle Chen and film and TV composer Ollie Howell, as well as double bassist Sam Becker, with whom Gillam presented the BBC Young Musician podcast last year. The first episode of This Classical Life will air on Radio 3 on Saturday 6 April, and will also be available in podcast form on BBC Sounds.

To coincide with Clemency Burton-Hill’s highly successful programme and podcast Classical Fix, Radio 3 has added an accompanying Opera Fix, presented by soprano Danielle De Niese, beginning on 11 March.

It will follow the same format as Burton-Hill’s podcast, in which classical music newcomers are presented with a personalised playlist of music to listen to and discuss. De Niese will be joined by comedian London Hughes, BBC journalist and filmmaker Ben Zand and BBC Asian Network presenter Bobby Friction, among others.

Unclassified returns this year with Elizabeth Alker for another six-part series. The programme explores post-classical, ambient and electronic classical music genres.

Sunday evenings will now be left open for runs of short series, two of which will be helmed by former BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists: harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani and guitarist Sean Shibe. Esfahani’s three-part series The Alternative Bach delves into the world of JS Bach, challenging mainstream ideals about how the composer’s music ‘should’ be played. Shibe will host the six-part special Guitar Zone, exploring the myriad capabilities of the guitar across the centuries.

Other changes to Radio 3’s programming include a secondary slot for The Listening Service on Friday afternoons. The station’s regular contemporary music programme Hear and Now has been renamed New Music Show, now presented by Tom Service and Kate Molleson. 

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