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To classical music lovers of a certain age, the words “BBC Northern Orchestra, conducted by John Hopkins”, spoken by the veteran BBC North Region announcer Tom Naisby, remain a vivid memory of 1950s wireless listening.

Food for thought: Josie Long, comedian

Josie Long is an award-winning comedian and writer. She will perform with Robin Ince in Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People at London’s Bloomsbury Theatre (10-22 Dec) and also on tour in Robin and Josie’s Shambles.

The Mariinsky Stradivarius Ensemble

Review: Mariinsky Stradivarius Ensemble, Milton Court Concert Hall, London

The Berlin Phil, the Gewandhaus, and the CBSO have long done it, and now the Mariinsky are doing it too: sending a posse of top instrumentalists as chamber-music outriders to their main orchestral push. Making their British debut under Valery Gergiev in the Guildhall's new Milton Court auditorium, the Stradivarius Ensemble went through their paces with three works which showcased their instruments as much as their talent. For these were no ordinary instruments: Strads and Guarneris, Guandinis and Amatis, all from the golden age of string manufacture.

Album review: Various artists, Selected Signs 111-V111 (ECM)

Chosen as the soundtrack for the exhibition ECM – A Cultural Archeology at Munich’s Haus der Kunst, the music on these six CDs is austere even by the label’s own standards, but no less beautiful.

Odd Couple: The imposing Eric Owens , left, and “elfin” Cameron Carpenter

Classical review: The Michelangelo Sonnets - the nightclub angel and the janitor

An unusual recital in a haunted former mission hall supplies Shostakovich and Bach with a mop and bucket

Classical review: James Ehnes, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Kirill Karabits; Britten & Shostakovich (Onyx)

The haunting Spanish lilt of its first movement betrays the composer's anti-war sympathies in Britten's Violin Concerto Op 15, written in the late 1930s; the looming shadow of a larger war is then discernible in the tuba lurking behind the gay violin and piccolo of the second movement. But it's the way that James Ehnes closes the opening movement that most impresses, essaying a gossamer thread of such subtlety it becomes almost transparent.

Dmitri Shostakovich has been nominated for an Ivor Novello award after his work was sampled on Plan B's Ill Manors

Shostakovich gets Ivor Novello songwriting award nomination for Plan B hit Ill Manors

See the Ivor Novello nominations in full, below

War Letter, Ballet Black

Ballet Black, Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House

Ballet Black, the award-winning company founded to provide role models for black and Asian ballet dancers, is now 12 years old. It has established its own identity, which is as much about new work as it is about the colour of the dancers’ skin. It’s a small, sparky company with plenty of ambition and swagger.

Simón Bolívar String Quartet, Ginastera, Dvorák, Shostakovich (Deutsche Grammophon)

Album review: Simón Bolívar String Quartet, Ginastera, Dvorák, Shostakovich (Deutsche Grammophon)

A Sistema offshoot comprising principals of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, the SBSQ bring a vibrant Latin American flavour to the three quartet pieces on this debut album.

Perfect pace: Esa-Pekka Salonen in rehearsal for Woven Words, which marks the centenary of Witold Lutoslawski

Benjamin Grosvenor, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Litton, Barbican Hall, London

How often does it need to be said that a self-laudatory programme-note is a hostage to fortune? As a preamble to her new orchestral work ‘Night Ferry’, Anna Clyne pre-empted what critics might say by providing her own review.

Isabelle van Keulen, Brautigam, Wigmore Hall, London

Violinist Isabelle van Keulen is one of Holland’s most gifted chamber players, while the Dutch pianist Ronald Brautigam is world-famed for his mastery of the fortepiano, and their joint recital aroused great expectations.

Stile Antico/Strelchenko/Moscow Academy, Wigmore Hall, London

Stile Antico enchant with Tallis and Byrd, while Strelchenko delivers Chopin's piano concertos as chamber music

Bournemouth SO, Karabits, Ehnes, Colston Hall, Bristol

Devoting a series of concerts to the works of that celebrated mutual-admiration society Benjamin Britten and Dmitri Shostakovich, conductor Kiril Karabits, violinist James Ehnes, and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra are onto a good thing.

Cruel clinch: Las Hermanas is MacMillan’s grim take on Lorca’s Bernarda Alba

IoS dance review: Royal Ballet Triple Bill, Royal Opera House, London
The Lock In, The Brook Theatre, Chatham

Three works by Kenneth MacMillan are a welcome reminder of what ballet can do. In another dance universe, folk and hip-hop unite to stunning effect

The Royal Ballet, Royal Opera House, London

It’s twenty years since the death of Kenneth MacMillan, one of The Royal Ballet’s defining choreographers. His ballets, particularly his story ballets, are still at the heart of the company’s repertory, adored by dancers and audiences alike.

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The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
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Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
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Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

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Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
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Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
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Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
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The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
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Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
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Europe's biggest steampunk convention

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Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

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Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

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