Classical Music Composers

Igor Levit, Wigmore Hall, London

Born in Russia, but rigorously trained in Germany from early childhood: a surprisingly large number of piano stars have emerged via this route, with 26-year-old Igor Levit prominent among them.

IoS Sounds of 2013: Classical

Old stories ignite new passions as Oliver Knussen conducts Angelika Kirchschlager in The Rape of Lucretia, and Barbara Hannigan, James Gilchrist and Jasper de Waal join Amsterdam Sinfonietta for Les Illuminations and Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings.

Prom 35: Williams, Osborne, BBC Phil, Storgards; Prom 36: Bevan,

Steven Osborne is one of the unsung heroes of British pianism. This 40-year-old Scot tends to be typecast as a Beethoven and Schubert man, but he can create subtle spells with Ravel and Debussy: how would he handle Grieg’s ‘Piano Concerto in A minor’?

Bryn Fest, Royal Festival Hall, London

There could be no Bryn Fest (Terfel, that is) without show tunes. But the spectacle of the great Welsh bass-baritone arriving on stage sporting a wrap-around "Madonna" mic is not one I care to repeat in a hurry. He wasn’t alone, of course, but such ugly, obtrusive, devices had no place in The Golden Age of Broadway where the great and the good somehow managed without them - and even in the age of radio head-mics adequate amplification can generally be managed with a high degree of invisibility. This wasn’t the O2 Arena, it was the Royal Festival Hall. So why?

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The Week In Radio: Schubert shows it's easy to become hooked on

So, Schubert. He's inescapable, or at least he is on Radio 3. If you're not an admirer but a regular listener, you'll either have to decamp to Classic FM or seek refuge in silence which is, of course, unthinkable. I can't claim to be an authority on the composer since my knowledge of classical music can pretty much be summed up in Music for Babies, a CD that someone who didn't know me too well gave me when I was pregnant after it was claimed that exposure to classical music would increase my child's IQ. (To what extent it succeeded isn't clear). Pretty much all I know about Schubert is that he's the greatest songwriter since The Beatles. Hang on, that doesn't sound right....