BBC Music Day, now in its second year, promises something for everyone. Performances range from a live Duran Duran concert at the Eden Project in Cornwall, to co-ordinated bell-ringing from church towers across the country. All BBC radio and television stations are involved, and will be broadcasting live from locations across the UK – from Truro to Glasgow. And BBC Radio 3’s In Tune is relocating to Bristol for the day with live performances from Bristol Youth Choir, Charles Hazelwood’s Para-Orchestra, and violinist Jennifer Pike.
Ahead of BBC Music Day, we spoke to Jennifer Pike to find out what she’ll be playing, what she is most looking forward to, and why she believes the project is so important.
What is the point of BBC Music Day?
BBC Music Day is dedicated to bringing people together regardless of background, age, or even musical preferences! Amateurs will be playing alongside professionals, disabled musicians will be playing alongside able-bodied, and young people will be singing with old. It is such a collaborative day, and it is wonderful to be a part of it.
What will you be doing on the day?
I’m going to be performing live on Radio 3’s In Tune programme. I’ll be playing a real mix of music – from Elgar’s Violin Sonata, which is the sort of music I play on an everyday basis, to a piece by a film composer called Miklós Rózsa which was inspired by Hungarian folk music. And I’ll be collaborating with Bristol Youth Choir, performing Eric Whitacre’s Kalá Kallá (Light Bride).
Why is it important to involve performers who might not usually get to perform live on radio, like Bristol Youth Choir and the Para-Orchestra?
It’s really very important to think that music is for everyone, not just the professional performers. People should feel included. It is wonderful that we can hear and listen to music, and that we have so many ways of doing that now across so many platforms. But actually to have people performing live and taking part, integrating, and being on stage not only brings enjoyment to those people, but gives a platform to those who might not otherwise have that chance. Hopefully, it will encourage more people who love music to become involved, regardless of where they are in their lives.
You’ve been involved with the BBC since you won BBC Young Musician aged just 12! What has the support they’ve given you meant for your career?
Young musicians really need a lot of support. Programmes like BBC Young Musician are so inspiring – it doesn’t even matter if you win; the taking part is such a valuable experience. Being given a chance to communicate what you’ve been practising for weeks and weeks – years sometimes – is invaluable. It can be difficult as a young performer to find opportunities to perform, so being given that sort of exposure is just wonderful. It was vital for me, really.
Their continued support helped me immensely after the competition. I became a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist in 2008, which gave me the chance to meet so many other wonderful international musicians and collaborate with them. As an NGA I performed in the Proms, on Radio 3, and all over the world. It was extraordinary.
What are you most looking forward to on BBC Music Day?
I’m really excited to playing with Bristol Youth Choir. I’ve just done a recording of David Bednall’s Stabat Mater for choir and organ (out in June), and I really relished collaborating with the choir. I hope that the youth choir enjoy the experience of performing live on the radio, and I’m looking forward to hearing them!
Interview by Elinor Cooper