Guests from all walks of life discuss their musical loves and hates, and talk about the influence music has had on their lives
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Rhiannon Giddens has won two Grammy awards for her folk music albums, and a Pulitzer Prize for her opera, Omar, proving that she’s a musician who can’t be quickly categorised.
She grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina, and as a singer, fiddle and banjo player, she’s been fired by a desire to chart and reclaim the stories of people whose contributions to American music have been overlooked or erased. Her musical journey originally had a rather different destination: she trained as a classical soprano at the Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio.
Now she draws on all these musical traditions as a composer for ballet, opera and film. She also finds time for acting – appearing in the TV series Nashville about the tangled lives of country music stars – she presents podcasts and has even written children’s books.
Her music choices include Bach, Dvorak, Duke Ellington and Stephen Sondheim.
Jeremy Deller is a difficult artist to pin down. He’s won the Turner Prize and represented Britain at the Venice Biennale, but you’re just as likely to find his work on our streets as in a gallery.
In 2016, marking the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, thousands of young men in World War One uniforms appeared unannounced in stations, shopping centres and towns across the UK. Each participant represented a soldier who died on 1 July 1916. Jeremy called this work We’re Here Because We’re Here. 15 years earlier, he recreated the clash between striking miners and police officers in the Battle of Orgreave. He’s toured a rusting car from a street bombing in Iraq around the USA, and in 2012 he created a life-sized inflatable version of Stonehenge which you could bounce on.
His musical choices are suitably wide-ranging and sometimes unexpected: taking us on a journey with sounds from across the world, but including Beethoven, Monteverdi and Vaughan Williams.
Raynor Winn is a writer whose first book, The Salt Path, followed the remarkable 630-mile journey she and her husband Moth made around the South West Coastal Path.
It was a story of endurance as they had lost their home, had little money and Moth had been diagnosed with a terminal illness. But they found solace in nature and kept putting one foot in front of the other, living for the now: a message that obviously chimed with readers, as the book became a bestseller and is currently being made into a film.
Raynor has since written a sequel called The Wild Silence, about readjusting to four walls and normal life after that seminal walk, and Landlines where she and Moth again embark on a thousand-mile journey from Scotland back to the familiar shores of the South West Coast Path.
Raynor's musical choices include works by Britten, Schubert and Vaughan Williams.
2023 marks the centenary of the composer György Ligeti's birth, and in this programme, first broadcast in 1997, he joined Michael Berkeley to share some of his musical passions. They include piano music by Beethoven, player piano music by Conlon Nancarrow, a thinking song by the Gbaya people of central Africa and gamelan music from Java.
A Classic Arts production for BBC Radio 3
Isabella Tree is an author and travel writer. Her award-winning book Wilding: the Return of Nature to a British Farm, describes how she and her conservationist husband Charlie decided after many generations of intensive dairy and arable farming to undertake a pioneering experiment. They would rewild their 3,500 acre estate, Knepp in West Sussex – returning it to nature.
Using herds of free-roaming animals to create new habitats, their rewilded land is now – more than 20 years later - a haven for wildlife and rare species like turtle-doves, nightingales and purple emperor butterflies. The estate has become central to the debate about how we look after and regenerate the land.
Isabella is also a travel journalist and has written books about her journeys to Nepal, Mexico and Papua New Guinea. Her music choices include works by Schubert, Handel, Bach but also compositions made in response to the Knepp estate.