What's on BBC Radio 3 this week?

An up-to-date schedule of all the programmes planned for this coming week on BBC Radio 3

Published: May 21, 2021 at 11:08 am

Saturday 22 May

Sound of Cinema: Road Movies
15:00 – 16:00, BBC Radio 3


Matthew Sweet with music for the Road Movie genre, marking the cinematic release of the much feted film Nomadland.

Opera on 3 from the MET: From the House of the Dead
22:00 – 00:00, BBC Radio 3

Tonight’s Opera on 3 presents Janáček's final opera From the House of the Dead, starring Willard White (Gorianchikov), Kurt Streit (Skuratov), and Peter Mattei (Shishkov), as recorded at the New York Metropolitan Opera in 2009.

The programme is introduced by Mary Jo Heath and Ira Siff.

Gorianchikov: Willard White (bass-baritone)
Skuratov: Kurt Streit (tenor)
Shishkov: Peter Mattei (tenor)
Filka Morozov: Stefan Margita (tenor)
Shapkin: Peter Hoare (tenor)
Alyeya: Eric Stoklossa (tenor)
Nikita: Peter Straka (tenor)
Short Prisoner: Vladimir Chmelo (baritone)
Prison Commandant: Vladimir Ognovenko (bass)
Chekunov: Jeffrey Wells (bass)
The Cook: Richard Bernstein (bass)
Drunk Prisoner: Adam Klein (tenor)
Priest: John Cheek (bass)
Esa-Pekka Salonen (conductor)
Chorus and Orchestra of Metropolitan Opera

Private Passions: Zandra Rhodes
12:00 – 13:00, BBC Radio 3

As well as fashion she has developed a passion for opera, designing productions for San Diego Opera and for Houston, in America, and for the English National Opera. She chooses music from operas by Bizet, Mozart, Verdi and Puccini, and talks about her admiration for singers, and the particular challenges of designing costumes for the stage.

Zandra describes her evolution as a fashion designer, in particular how her screen-printed fabrics are at the heart of her designs.

Between the Ears: Rhythms of Remembering
18:45 – 19:15, BBC Radio 3

The Medieval elegiac poem Gododdin occupies a unique place in the literature of the United Kingdom. It's the oldest Welsh poem – a sixth-century battle elegy and is among the very oldest British verse.

Music has been specially composed for the programme by Georgia Ruth.

Drama on 3: Welcome to Iran
19:30 – 21:45, BBC Radio 3

Drama on 3 today presents the world premiere of Welcome to Iran by Nadia Fall, artistic director of Theatre Royal Stratford East. She weaves an imagined narrative together with real-life stories to construct a tender and witty snapshot of culture and life in modern Iran.

Ava … Maimuna Memon,
Fatemeh… Karina Fernandez
Reza… Nicholas Karimi
Leila… Isabella Nefar
Aunty Soraya … Souad Faress
Waiter/Aligula…Moe Bar-El
Roya…Nalan Burgess
Elnaz…Serena Manteghi
Carpet Dealer/Taxi Driver/Akbar…Joplin Sibtain
Tehran policeman… Dana Haqjoo
Other parts were played by members of the cast

Original songs by Maimuna Memon
Music by Maimuna Memon and Kareem Samara

Theatre Sound Design by Alexandra Braithwaite
Radio sound design by Adam Woodhams and Steve Bond
Assistant Director Sepi Baghaei
Produced by Jeremy Mortimer
Executive Producers Joby Waldman and Bertie Carvel

Monday 24 May

Sounds Connected – Part 11: Andrea Baker
00:00 – 00:30, BBC Radio 3

BBC Radio 3 presents a new series of Sounds Connected, the programme where guests uncover particular and personal connections that link music through history. This week, mezzo-soprano Andrea Baker shares the intriguing connections between six of her musical choices, which include Mahler's poetry setting in his Second Symphony and a musical discovery of composer Adolphus Hailstork, a former pupil of Nadia Boulanger.

Monday 24-Friday 28 May

Composer of the Week: Mary Lou Williams
12:00 – 13:00, BBC Radio 3

Donald Macleod charts the extraordinary life of composer and jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams.

Monday 24 May: The little piano girl of East Liberty

When Mary Lou Williams was around three years old, sitting on her mother's lap as she played the harmonium, suddenly she reached up and replicated exactly what she'd just heard her mother do. It was a defining moment.

Tuesday 23 May: The lady who swings the band

Life on the road appealed to Mary Lou Williams. She couldn't wait to leave her home town of Pittsburgh, first joining Buzzin’ Harris and His Hits ‘n Bits on tour, but it wasn't too long before she was attracting attention from some bigger fish.

Wednesday 24 May: Strickin’ Out

A move to New York in the 1940s saw Mary Lou Williams putting together her own groups and accepting her own commissions to write and record, courted by some of the greatest band leaders of the day. Pushing boundaries, the Zodiac Suite was conceptually inspired by classical music, and she was also mingling and dabbling with the ideas of the be-bop generation in her own music.

Thursday 25 May: Music for the Soul

The 1950s were difficult years for Mary Lou Williams. Work was hard to come by in New York so she looked to Europe for bookings. During an extended sojourn in Paris she experienced a major spiritual crisis which was to have lasting consequences.

Friday 26 May: The priest and the jazz musician

After some fifty years of ups and downs and sheer hard graft, from 1966 Mary Lou Williams was managed by a Jesuit priest, Father O'Brien. A decade on she was finally financially secure, able to devote herself to her own varied projects, performing, writing and producing critically acclaimed recordings, and realising a long cherished ambition, a history of jazz.

Monday 24 May

Afternoon Concert 14:00 -16:30

Music by Cipriani Potter, Haydn, Berg and Shostakovich.

BBC National Orchestra of Wales/Ryan Bancroft

Tuesday 25 May

Radio 3 Lunchtime Concert: Scotland Week
13:00 – 14:00, BBC Radio 3

Songs depicting 16th-century life: among these, music by Dowland, Ravel, Poulenc and Korngold

Jess Dandy (contralto), Malcolm Martineau (piano)

Afternoon Concert, 14:00 – 17:00

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 2
Music by Hannah Kendall and George Walker

Pavel Kolesnikov (piano), BBC National Orchestra of Wales/Joshua Weilerstein

Radio 3 In Concert: Scotland Week
19:30 – 22:00, BBC Radio 3

Recorded at The Byre at Inchyra in Perth, the Scottish Ensemble’s opening concert for Perth’s Festival of the Arts (which took place earlier in May without an audience in attendance for events happening indoors) celebrates the arrival of Summer with traditional Hungarian and Balkan dances, a waltz from Vienna and Argentinian Tango. Alongside these sit buoyant music by one of the most significant composers of the mid-twentieth century Grazyna Bacewicz, and Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for strings.

Wednesday 26 May

Radio 3 Lunchtime Concert: Scotland Week
13:00 – 14:00, BBC Radio 3

Music by Fauré, Helen Grime and Haydn.

Maria Włoszczowska (violin), Philip Higham (cello), Alasdair Beatson (piano), Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Afternoon Concert, 14:00 – 15:30

Honegger: Cello Concerto
Music by Poulenc and Carlijn Metselaar

Rachel Podger (violin), BBC National Orchestra of Wales/Maxime Tortelier

Thursday 27 May

Radio 3 Lunchtime Concert: Scotland Week
13:00 – 14:00, BBC Radio 3

Young sax player and Radio 3 presenter Jess Gillam joins Turkish-born pianist Zeynep Özsuca to present a programme bursting with colour by contemporary British composers celebrating the versatility of the saxophone. Jess also picks some of her favourites classic melodies by Weill, Dowland and Piazzolla and transforms them for her instrument.

Radio 3 In Concert: Scotland Week
19:30 – 22:00, BBC Radio 3

A medieval legend opens The Scottish Chamber Orchestra’s performance, recorded at Perth Concert Hall. The musical escapism continues with Ravel’s magnificent piano concerto in G major as Edinburgh-based pianist Steven Osborne joins the SCO on stage, continuing his 50th birthday celebrations this year. The programme also includes Mozart’s Symphony No 31 in D major.

Unclassified: Laurie Anderson’s Listening Chair
23:30 – 00:30, BBC Radio 3

Elizabeth Alker presents a cinematic mix of ambient music to lift your mood. On the programme, superstar composer and performer Laurie Anderson takes a seat in the Unclassified Listening Chair, the regular feature in which musical guests connect much-loved music with stories relating to a special place.

Friday 28 May

Radio 3 Lunchtime Concert: Scotland Week
13:00 – 14:00, BBC Radio 3

The lunchtime concert series ends with Colin Currie performing contemporary duos for marimba and piano with pianist and composer Huw Watkins – including Watkins’ own Seven Inventions written for their duo and first premiered in 2019.

Afternoon Concert, 14:00 – 16:30

Haydn: Symphony No. 103
BBC National Orchestra of Wales/Jonathan James

Music by Caroline Shaw
Wolfgang Rihm: Gesungene Zeit
Chloe Hanslip (violin), BBC National Orchestra of Wales/Ryan Bancroft

70th birthday celebrations for Cecilia McDowall
BBC Singers

Radio 3 In Concert: Scotland Week
19:30 – 22:00, BBC Radio 3

A concert recorded earlier in spring at the RSNO Centre in Glasgow, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra opens its celebration of music by Polish composers with a medley of folk tunes by Mieczyslaw Weinberg, a close friend of Shostakovich. International soloist Nicola Benedetti joins the orchestra for Szymanowski’s first violin concerto; the piece that won her the title of BBC Young Musician in 2004. Also part of the programme is Andrzej Panufnik’s third Symphony.

Monday 24-Friday 28 May

The Essay: De Waal’s Itinerant Pots
22:45 – 23:00, BBC Radio 3


English artist, master potter and author Edmund De Waal explores the theme on migration in arts, and how ideas and artefacts travel in time.

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