Happy Birthday ‘Composer of the Week’, 70 Today

Today’s the day. Seventy years ago on August 2nd 1943 the BBC Home Service broadcast a programme of Mozart entitled ‘This Week’s Composer’, and the programme is still going strong. The current presenter Donald McLeod has done the show for fourteen years. Some interviews and a cake-cutting happened in the In Tune Studio up on the 8th Floor of Broadcasting House. In the shot below he is waiting patiently for the instruction to blow the candle on the cake out.

Radio 3 has compiled a list of ALL the composers included since the beginning of the show. They are inviting listener suggestions for composers to be included. These will then go to the committee which decides these things.

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In the jazz sphere, there have been programmes about Ellington, Miles Davis, Gil Evans. One is in the pipeline about Bill Evans. In the days of BBC Message Boards there was an angry response to a series of programmes on bebop – we trailed them here

Suggestions for composer of the week should be sent

By email: composeroftheweek@bbc.co.uk
by post: Composer of the Week, BBC Wales, Cardiff, CF5 2YQ
or Twitter: @bbcradio3 using the hashtag #COTW70

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1 reply »

  1. Wow! This opens the door for any number of possibles – here are a few, off the top of my head:

    George Russell, Thelonious Monk, Gunther Schuller, Jim Hall, Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman, Dave Brubeck, John Lewis, Kenny Wheeler, Stan Sulzman, The Jazz Composers Orchestra (JCOA), Wadada Leo Smith, Marilyn Crispell, Keith Tippett, Vijay Iyer, Carla Bley, Ingrid Laubrock, Anthony Braxton, Tim Berne, Maria Schneider …

    Hopefully other readers will nominate some real gems! Interesting potential distinction between a composer and a player who writes their own and also covers the compositions of others – and those who write primarily for their own groups of musicians and those whose compositions are also picked up by others to interpret – Monk is a great example. Discuss!


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