Radio 3's Composer of the Week celebrates 70 years on air

Listeners invited to suggest composers for Christmas special

Composer of the Week 70th birthday
Published: August 2, 2013 at 9:43 am

Composer of the Week, one of BBC Radio 3’s flagship weekly programmes, celebrates its 70th birthday today. To mark the occasion, the radio station is inviting listeners to suggest a composer who has never been featured before for its Christmas special.


It’s the first time listeners have been asked to choose a composer for the series, one of the longest running in radio history. Presenter Donald Macleod and the production team will choose a winner from the entries, and will explore that composer’s life and works between 16-20 December this year.

Macleod, who has presented the programme for the last 14 years – that’s over 3000 episodes – said: ‘It’s terrific that the listeners get a chance to participate in the 70th birthday celebrations – over the years I have had many suggestions put to me, so who knows what they will suggest but I’m looking forward to learning about somebody new.’

Radio 3 also plans to present a series of live editions of the programme with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in July 2014, to mark the close of its 70th anniversary year.

The popular show initially began as This Week’s Composer on the Home Service on 2nd August 1943, before being moved to what is now known as BBC Radio 3. It was renamed as Composer of the Week on 18th January 1988. The first composer explored back in 1943 was Mozart. In this current anniversary week, Macleod has been exploring the world of Schumann. The programme airs between midday and 1pm every weekday, with a repeat at 6.30pm. A podcast compilation is produced at the end of every week.

A list of composers who have been featured over the years can be found here:


Suggestions for the Christmas special Composer of the Week can be submitted via email to, post to Composer of the Week, BBC Wales, Cardiff, CF5 2YQ, and by tweeting the programe at @bbcradio3 using the hashtag #COTW70.


Rebecca Franks
Rebecca FranksJournalist, Critic and former Managing Editor of BBC Music Magazine

Rebecca Franks is the former Managing Editor of BBC Music Magazine and a regular classical music critic for The Times. She is currently writing her first children's book.

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