BBC Radio 3 is to produce a series of special programmes and initiatives to mark the 70th anniversary of the BBC’s Third Programme.
The station is returning to Southbank Centre, London, for two weeks in September around the anniversary itself, broadcasting live from its pop-up glass studio in the Royal Festival Hall foyers from 23rd September to 7th October.
Radio 3 will take over the Royal Festival Hall public spaces for a fortnight of special broadcasts featuring Southbank Centre artists, ensembles, resident orchestras, visiting musical and literary guests, and more.
BBC Radio 3’s ’70 at 70′ will see a series of experiments in music and culture commissioned to reflect the anniversary on air.
– Seven composers given their first Radio 3 commission for a ten minute work, to be performed by either a BBC Performing Group or Radio 3 New Generation Artist
– The Visa Affair – a new play inspired by an unpublished Joe Orton short story, written by crime-writer Jake Arnott. Joe Orton sold the Ruffian on the Stair to the Third Programme in 1963 – before any of his plays had been produced anywhere else
– Three established composers commissioned to write a significant work marking the 70th anniversary
– Three innovative newly composed 45’ music projects conceived specifically for radio, celebrating the broadcasting medium
– Winners of the BBC Proms Inspire Young Composer’s Competition 2016 commissioned to write pieces inspired by the musical trends in the lifetime of the Third Programme and Radio 3 – from serialism to musique concrète – filtered through the imaginations of these composers, born in the 21st century
– A satirical play called The Present Experiment about the birth of the Third Programme, written by Robin Brooks
– An evening of new productions of Samuel Beckett radio plays, recorded in binaural sound with newly composed musical accompaniment
– A new production of ‘The Birthday Party’ by Pinter, who received his first commission from the Third Programme at the start of his career
– An international radio co-production ‘Tower of Babel’ created by renowned director Robert Wilson
– A tribute to Philip French
– Radio 3 will be revisiting radio poetry – championed by producers at the Third Programme – with new commissions written for this anniversary
The station also today announces two new initiatives reflecting its mission to champion, nurture and showcase new musical talent.
Contemporary Composer in 3′ – an opportunity for a composer to become embedded in Radio 3 and to compose regular works for frequent broadcast during the period of the Third Programme anniversary
And Radio 3’s New Generation Artists scheme will be extended to include Conductors.
Further highlights of the Third Programme anniversary include commissions for two BBC Proms Inspire Young Composers each to write a 70 bar celebratory anniversary fanfare for the Third Programme and BBC Radio 3 and a spotlight on past Third Programme and Radio 3 commissions as current New Generation Artists choose their favourite works to champion in concerts and broadcasts for Radio 3.
The Third Programme was the forerunner of BBC Radio 3 and originally launched on 29th September 1946.