Sir Antonio Pappano, soprano Danielle de Niese and Dame Mitsuko Uchida to appear on Radio 3 this festive season

Radio 3 unveils Christmas programming including a new interview series, a new festival… and an appearance from an Archbishop

King's College Choir
Published: November 20, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Photos: Benjamin Ealovega


Some of the biggest names in classical music will appear on BBC Radio 3 in the run-up to Christmas this year, including conductor Sir Antonio Pappano, pianist Dame Mitsuko Uchida and soprano Danielle de Niese.

They will be appearing on a new interview programme called Sean Rafferty At Home With… , which will also feature musicians including guitarist Julian Bream, conductors Sir John Eliot Gardiner and Sir Neville Marriner, baritone Sir Thomas Allen and flautist Sir James Galway.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, wil be appearing on Private Passions presented by Michael Berkeley on 22 December, and on 29 December, trumpeter Hugh Masekela will be Berkeley’s guest on the programme.

Radio 3 will also be broadcasting a series of concerts from the first ever Temple Winter Festival including performances by the Tallis Scholars and Peter Phillips, and a concert of Handel’s Messiah performed by the BBC Singers. Sara Mohr-Pietsch presents the series from the Temple Church in London.

There are, of course, the traditional – and much-loved – live broadcasts from King’s College Chapel, Cambridge on Christmas Day (2pm; and broadcast live on Radio 4 and the World Service on Christmas Eve at 3pm), St John’s College Chapel, Cambridge on 1 December and the Musikverein in Vienna on New Year’s Day, which is this year conducted by Daniel Barenboim.

Plus, there’s a chance to learn more about the origins of the Nine Lessons and Carols Service in The Choir on 1 December at 4.30pm when Greg Beardsell heads to Truro, where the tradition originated.

This year there is also a performance of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio live from Trefoldighetskirken in Oslo with the BBC Singers and Norwegian Wind Ensemble conducted by Christopher Bucknall. And in Opera on 3 there is the final installment in Radio 3’s celebration of Wagner’s bicentenary with a live broadcast of his opera Parsifal from the Royal Opera House.

On 28 December pianist Stephen Hough offers an insight into the Practice of Practising in a feature including contributions from violinist Nicola Benedetti, mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato and guitarist Julian Bream.

And every day on Breakfast Clemency Burton-Hill or Petroc Trelawny will be presenting the Breakfast Advent Calendar of seasonal music requested by listeners.

In a statement, the controller of Radio 3, Roger Wright, said: ‘As the home of classical music, Radio 3 offers a distinctive and glittering array of festive programming throughout December. With a brand new interview series, a sparkling line-up of guests and exclusive chances to hear high quality live music, Radio 3 is looking forward to treating listeners to a schedule full of programmes to enjoy over Christmas and New Year.’


For more details about Radio 3’s Christmas schedule, visit the Radio 3 website or pick up a copy of the Christmas issue of BBC Music Magazine – on sale 27 November – which includes your guide to the best festive programmes on throughout December and early January.

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