BBC Radio 3’s Composer of the Week, originally launched during the middle of the Second World War on 2 August 1943, is turning 70.
The programme initially began as ‘This Week’s Composer’ on the Home Service on 2 August 1943, where the first ever week was devoted to the music of Mozart, and presented by a staff BBC announcer. In 1964, ‘This Week’s Composer’ moved to a new home, on the ‘Third Programme’, which would eventually become the BBC Radio 3.
At 70 years old, the programme is one of radio’s longest running shows.
For a special birthday show on Friday 2 August 2013, presenter Donald Macleod will mark the occasion by, for the first time in the programme’s history, inviting listeners to suggest composers that have never before been featured.
Donald and the production team will then pick their favourite submission and make a special Composer Of The Week to be broadcast this Christmas 2013. Listeners will be able to suggest names via email, post and social media.
The programme also plans to go on the road with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, for a series of live editions of the programme in July 2014 to mark the closing of the 70th anniversary year.
Roger Wright, Controller, BBC Radio 3 & Director, BBC Proms says: “It is a thrill to have one of BBC Radio’s longest running programmes celebrating 70 years on air. Composer of the Week is one of our most loved programmes and it continues to delight with its descriptions of the life and work of composers who have inspired generations of listeners.”
Donald Macleod became the new regular presenter for the programme in 1999, with a brief to put the life-story of each composer at the heart of the programme, alongside their music. Donald remains at the helm today and has written the script for over 3,000 shows, never missing a single one in his 14 years presenting the programme.
Donald Macleod says: “It is a huge privilege to present a programme with such a rich history – I feel incredibly lucky to be presenting Composer Of The Week as I genuinely think it is one of the best jobs in broadcasting. 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.”