BBC Radio 3 has today announced a number of schedule changes and new presenter signings.

A revamped Saturday schedule showcases the distinctive BBC Radio 3 musical offering and features a brand new weekly programme This Classical Life, fronted by rising star saxophonist Jess Gillam, who recently wowed audiences at the BAFTAs and was the highlight of the Last Night of the BBC Proms in 2018.

The 20-year-old former BBC Young Musician finalist will be the youngest presenter on the station, joined each week by her contemporaries to select and discuss their favourite pieces from across the musical spectrum, giving an insight into the musical influences on young performers. Confirmed guests include 22 year-old pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason, double bassist Sam Becker, former BBC Introducing pianist and sound artist Belle Chen and film and television composer Ollie Howell. This Classical Life will immediately precede Radio 3’s popular Saturday lunchtime programme Inside Music, giving audiences the unique opportunity to hear from different musicians on Radio 3 every Saturday, all giving their own insight and perspectives on their favourite music. The first episode of This Classical Life will air on BBC Radio 3 on Saturday 6 April and will be available as a podcast on BBC Sounds.

Jess Gillam said: “I’m so excited to be joining BBC Radio 3 as the presenter of This Classical Life. Music is such a huge part of my life, and I can’t wait to share all my latest and greatest discoveries with fellow musicians who will be joining me on the show, as well as with listeners at home.”

Saturday mornings exploring music on BBC Radio 3 will be complemented by a new second slot on the station for The Listening Service on Friday afternoons at 4.30pm. Presented by Tom Service, the programme will set the tone for weekend on the station, bringing listeners of all ages on a musical odyssey and providing new insight into the inner-workings of music.

Other programming announced today includes Opera Fix, a four-part Classical Fix special on Sunday evenings presented by soprano Danielle de Niese, beginning on the 11 March. Recorded at English National Opera, the programme will aim to demystify opera for the uninitiated. BBC Asian Network presenter Bobby Friction, comedian London Hughes and journalist and filmmaker Ben Zand will be the first to receive their opera inductions from Danni. Classical Fix is available as a podcast on BBC Sounds.

Also on Sundays, two former BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists will present upcoming programmes on the station, Harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani an upcoming three-part series The Alternative Bach, and guitarist Sean Shibe a six-part special Guitar Zone, exploring the rich sounds of his instrument in music across seven centuries.

Unclassified, a programme which celebrates the increasingly popular ambient and neo-classical music genres, returns for another six-part series on Sunday evenings, presented by Elizabeth Alker.

The sounds of contemporary music will continue across the station as Hear and Now, Radio 3’s primary contemporary music programme becomes New Music Show. Retaining the same timeslot on Saturday evenings, New Music Show will feature a regular new presenting line-up of Tom Service and Kate Molleson. Each week, Tom and Kate will showcase recordings made especially for the programme, discovering the latest in contemporary composition from around the world, keeping listeners up to date with developments ranging from electronica and sound art to great new experimental, chamber and operatic works.

Alan Davey, Controller BBC Radio 3 commented: “Classical music is a modern, living art form and nowhere do you see that more than in the great performers and composers who are bringing us vital new work or interpretations of the great music of the past. On Radio 3 we bring you new, live performances every day, and we celebrate the role of new work and musicians young and established in everything we do. These new presenter signings of a series of musicians will serve to complement the expertise offered by our existing presenting line-up. What I want audiences to know is that when you come to BBC Radio 3, you can really get beneath the skin of the music, and hear insights that will change your perspective on the world in a way that is both entertaining as well as informative. We want to provide a space to take time out and experience great music by great performers, broadcasting full-length concerts and offering insight from people who know what it means to perform these works. These new presenting names and programming that gives the listener time to be with the music will do just that.”

He continued: “I am of the belief that classical music doesn’t sit in isolation, and I know that audiences are ceasing to distinguish it from other genres. I’m keen, therefore, that our schedule acknowledges that as part of our distinct offer which aims to connect audiences with remarkable music and arts; From Jess Gillam’s discussions with young performers of their musical influences, premieres and new takes on established works such as Mahan’s revisionist history of Bach, or Sean Shibe’s look at the guitar, there’s something for everyone on BBC Radio 3.”

BBC Radio 3 April Schedule Changes

This Classical Life, presented by saxophonist Jess Gillam will be introduced into the schedule in a 12.30 - 1pm Saturday slot. Record Review will run from 9 - 11.45am, and Music Matters will move slightly earlier, from 11.45 - 12.30pm.

Hear and Now becomes New Music Show, presented by Tom Service and Kate Molleson.

The Listening Service to receive an additional slot on the station, from 4.30 - 5pm on Fridays.


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