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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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Rap music mogul accused of running two men over in his truck

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Toronto tops the charts across a range of indexes
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World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'

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Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee