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One of that select band of British pianists to achieve international recognition, Bernard Roberts was in constant demand as a recitalist, chamber musician, accompanist, concerto soloist and teacher. He was acclaimed by audiences and critics, the remarkable breadth of his industry bringing greater recognition for the instrument itself and proving pivotal in inspiring generations of aspiring performers.

The Tobacco Keeper, By Ali Bader

A fascinating tangle of multiple identities and forgotten histories

Tom Hodgkinson: Bring back the spirit of the troubadours!

Until two years ago I served on the committee of our local free pop festival in north Devon. Each year we would invite a bunch of bands down and throw a really fantastic party on the seafront in Lynmouth, Exmoor. This is a lovely setting for bands, with the cliffs on one side and the sea on the other. In the evening, the festival would move to the various pubs in the area and merry-making would ensue.

Album: Karl Jenkins, The Peacemakers (EMI Classics)

I've enjoyed some of Karl Jenkins's work, but this is fairly unbearable: based on texts from "peacemakers", it ends up as an all-encompassing assemblage of white-hatted do-gooders rather than a coherent piece.

Jonathan Miller says: 'I read all the time'

Cultural Life: Jonathan Miller, theatre director

Books: I read all the time. I recently read a big book on the nature of seeing and believing by Pylyshyn. I've also been re-reading a book that has been an influence on me: 'Frame Analysis' by Erving Goffman, about how we make sense of things. There's also a whole series of philosophical books by Donald Davidson – particularly 'Essays on Actions and Events' (1980). It's difficult and you need to read it again and again to get it straight. Hand movements are something I'm always thinking about when directing an opera or theatre production. I also read a very good new translation of 'Madame Bovary' by Lydia Davis.

Muhly/De Ridder/Britten Sinfonia, Barbican, London

Nico Muhly’s first work for English National Opera was an iffy affair, but he talks a blue streak, and since his collaborators include Bjork, Philip Glass, and sundry indie-rock outfits, nobody could accuse him of not putting himself about. He’s now the go-to classical composer for anyone wanting to associate themselves with cutting-edge New York cool.

Nicola Benedetti and Friends, LSO St Luke’s

Ever since she was voted BBC Young Musician of the Year, Nicola Benedetti has found ways of staying in the limelight.

Trending: But there's no time to rearrange the deckchairs...

It took 15,000 men two years to build the Titanic. I gave myself just three hours to raise the world's most famous cruise liner 100 years after its demise. My tools: A blunt craft knife; a tube of what turns out to be non-stick glue; and diminishing reserves of patience.

Bradford Cox

Trending: When handling hecklers becomes a performace

Dealing with unwanted interruptions to a stage act can turn into an elegant artform. Will Dean admires some recent examples

The bad boy of British boxing reveals how his mother's illness brought home his ignominy

Dereck Chisora: Inexcusable, embarrassing – but let me keep fighting

In his first interview since the infamous brawl with David Haye, the bad boy of British boxing reveals how his mother's illness brought home his ignominy. Alan Hubbard meets Dereck Chisora

Album: Concerto Italiano, Rinaldo Alessandrini, 1600 (Naïve)

The cusp of the 17th century was a pivotal moment in music history.

Album: The Decemberists, We All Raise Our Voices to the Air (Rough Trade)

Time and again during this 2CD live collection culled from The Decemberists' 2011 American tour, I was reminded of Arcade Fire – when I wasn't being reminded of R.E.M., of course.

Album: Dirty Three, Toward the Low Sun (Bella Union)

There's a familiar elemental tone to the Dirty Three's latest album – except this time the oceanic influence is replaced by snow and sky and rain.

Paavo Berglund: Conductor celebrated for his interpretations of Sibelius and Shostakovich

Today, a swift survey of the world's major orchestras might convey the impression that every second conductor is a Finn.

Beth Jeans Houghton and the Hooves of Destiny, Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen, London

Beth Jeans Houghton's first EP, back in 2009, was called Hot Toast Vol 1, and she briefly looked like being, well, the toast of the nu-folk scene. Now there's a new album, Your Truly, Cellophane Nose, and she's become a bit huffy about being pigeonholed as folk. Which is understandable, as although it's got a bit of fiddle, the album also make use of military drums and trumpet, baroque arrangements, mildly irksome spoken word, sprightly pop-catchy melodies, trippy lyrics, and – most distinctly – her operatic vocals. She even plays an electric, ok?

Album: Andrew Bird, Break It Yourself (Bella Union)

Andrew Bird's characteristic lyrical blend of vagueness and verbosity is slightly reined in on Break It Yourself, though he juggles lightness and opacity as deftly as ever in songs like "Lazy Projector" and "Danse Carribe".

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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up