Private Passions

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2015031520160403 (R3)

Andy McNab is very lucky to be alive today; in fact from the beginning his life has been characterised by exceptional risk and danger. As a baby, he was found abandoned in a Harrods carrier bag on the steps of Guy's Hospital. By the time he was a teenager, he was in trouble with the police. Joining the army at 16, he served in the SAS, and in 1991, during the First Iraq war, he led a secret mission to infiltrate behind enemy lines. It was a disaster: he was captured, and tortured savagely. Three of his fellow soldiers didn't survive.

Andy McNab's account of his captivity and eventual escape, Bravo Two Zero, became a world-wide best-seller and launched him on a career as a writer. Since then there have been more than 30 thrillers, with sales totalling 32 million. So the baby who was left in a carrier bag is not just a survivor, he's hugely successful.

In Private Passions Andy McNab reveals the central place of music in his life, and particularly his passion for opera. Opera, he says, is the only thing that makes him cry: he chooses Wagner, Verdi and Puccini. McNab reveals too his love of the calm reflective music of Gregorian chant, which he first heard sung by the Benedictine monks of Belmont Abbey, when he was training for the SAS in Herefordshire. He talks movingly about his imprisonment and torture, and about how the particular sounds of that time are burned into his memory: the jangle of keys, the rattle of doors. To escape those dark memories, he chooses one of the most joyful pieces of music ever written: Handel's Messiah.

A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3

Produced by Elizabeth Burke.

20150315

2015051720160228 (R3)

Michael Berkeley's guest is the opera and theatre director Iqbal Khan.

He has brought to the stage everything from Madame Butterfly and Sondheim's Into the Woods to an RSC production of Much Ado About Nothing set in modern India.

In Private Passions, Khan explores his favourite operas, with extracts from Verdi, Mozart, and Wagner, and chooses other music which inspires him, from Mahler's 2nd Symphony and Britten's War Requiem, to an extraordinary percussive piece by Nitin Sawhney. He plays, too, a historic recording of Paul Scofield as King Lear. And he talks movingly about his childhood and difficult teenage years, growing up in Birmingham, after his father died and the family was left penniless. Khan was inspired by his older brother, who encouraged him to aim for the highest academic honours, and read to him at night by candlelight - to make the books more exciting. Dracula was a particular favourite.

Produced by Elizabeth Burke

A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3.

20150517

2015061420160417 (R3)

It's impossible to imagine what it must have been like to live in a society where Western Classical music was forbidden on pain of severe punishment, or where playing a musical instrument was something that could only be done in utter secrecy. But that was the situation in China during the Cultural Revolution, when Jung Chang was a teenager. She is now an internationally acclaimed writer; but she began her working life as a peasant, a 'barefoot doctor', a steelworker and an electrician, before becoming a university lecturer. She left China for Britain in 1978 and obtained a PhD in Linguistics from the University of York - the first person from the People's Republic of China to receive a doctorate from a British university.

She shot to fame with her book Wild Swans, which tells the story of her own life and the lives of her mother and grandmother, set against the turmoil of 20th-century China. It has sold more than ten million copies but is still banned in China. And she followed it with biographies of Mao, co-written with her husband, and of the Empress Dowager Cixi - an extraordinarily powerful woman in the last years of Imperial China.

Jung Chang talks to Michael Berkeley about the joy of finding grass in Hyde Park after Mao had banned it in China; the horrors of foot-binding; her mother's extraordinary testimony of the Cultural Revolution, which led to Wild Swans; and her hopes that one day people will be free to read her books in China.

And above all she shares the joy she finds in music: both Chinese music and the Western music she's embraced with delight since moving to Britain. Her choices include Handel, Mozart, Billie Holiday and music played on the zither and the san xian.

A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3

Producer: Jane Greenwood.

20150614

20th Anniversary Programme20150419

"As a composer I've always been intrigued by the way people who are not professional musicians talk about music and how they tend to reveal things about themselves when they do. And so twenty years ago, when Radio 3 was looking for a new programme in which a huge variety of people talked about their passion for music, I felt very excited about the possibilities. Over twenty years we've had a wonderful selection of guests. One unforgettable guest was the philosopher Isaiah Berlin, and I was astonished by his childhood memory: of actually watching the Russian Revolution at the age of 8 on a balcony in St Petersburg. He revealed that for him Bach was like 'daily bread', and chose the 5th Brandenburg Concerto.

"Music connects us with what really matters, beyond the daily busyness of our lives; through music we plunge beneath the surface, and often find ourselves at earliest childhood memories. So, for instance, the poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy remembers the unexpected arrival at home of a piano, and how she learned to play Chopin to placate her mother when they'd had a row.

"Music often gives us an unparalleled insight into the creative process. I was very fortunate to spend quite a bit of time with the artist David Hockney, both in his studio in London and in Los Angeles, and he gave a fascinating interview back in 1995 about his approach to designing for opera, and his passion for Wagner. One of the most memorable conversations over the last 20 years was with the neurologist Oliver Sacks. We talked about something which has always intrigued me, why we enjoy particularly sad music, and the link between music and depression. He reveals how a Schubert song helped him after the death of his mother.

"But sometimes guests have surprised me with music choices that are - well weird. We don't censor them though..."

Other speakers in the programme include: John Peel; Dame Edna Everage; Maggi Hambling; Sam Taylor-Johnson; Anoushka Shankar; George Steiner; Marina Lewycka, and Joan Armatrading. With Bach, Chopin, Wagner, Bruch, Russian folk music, Tavener, Edith Piaf, and the Coronation Street Theme tune.

To mark the 20th anniversary of Private Passions, there will a be collection of new podcasts available.

Produced by Elizabeth Burke

A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3.

Akram Khan20151213

Akram Khan is hardly ever still; an international star, he spins around the world with his dance company - just this last month he's been performing in Santa Barbara, Corby, Moscow, Seattle, Spain, Austria... Born in London, the son of a Bangladeshi restaurant owner, Khan was talent-spotted at the age of 13 by director Peter Brook, who cast him in the RSC production of the Mahabharata - which led to his first international tour on stage. Now just into his forties, Akram Khan has won numerous international dance awards, including the Olivier. In 2012 he choreographed and danced in the opening ceremony of the London Olympics. He's collaborated with prima ballerina Sylvie Guillem, with sculptor Anthony Gormley, and worked with the National Ballet of China. And he's choreographed for Kylie Minogue. He says - 'The reason I dance - is because of music!'

In Private Passions, Akram Khan tells Michael Berkeley about his childhood, when his aunties would gather and sing till 3am, and require the exhausted young Akram to accompany them on the tabla drums. He reveals why he decided to become a dancer, not a musician. And he talks frankly about trying to be a good father to his two young children now, and how they have transformed his life. Musical choices include Mussorgsky, Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, performance poetry by Kate Tempest, and a Flamenco protest song from the Spanish Civil War.

Produced by Elizabeth Burke

A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3.

Alan Bennett20151220

In a special Christmas edition of Private Passions, Michael Berkeley's guest is Alan Bennett. We know him as the much-loved playwright and diarist who's been entertaining and moving us as a writer and performer since Beyond the Fringe in 1960. But there's one aspect of Alan Bennett that's less well-known: the central importance of music in his life, including the extraordinary fact that he once wrote a libretto for William Walton. (Sadly, Lady Walton was not impressed, and shoved it firmly to the bottom of her handbag.)

In a moving and funny programme, Alan Bennett remembers the music that filled his childhood: his father was a gifted violinist, and his aunts played the piano for silent movies. As a teenager, new worlds were opened up by concerts in Leeds Town Hall, where Bennett sat in the cheapest seats behind the musicians, 'like sitting behind the elephants at the circus'. And then came fame, and Hollywood: 'Elizabeth Taylor actually sat on my knee at one point. It was not a pleasant experience.' In a touching conclusion to the programme, Alan Bennett listens to Elgar's 'Dream of Gerontius'and is stirred to think about the boy he used to be, and what that boy might say to him now.

Music choices include a 1939 recording of 'I can give you the starlight' by Ivor Novello; a waltz by Franz Lehar; Brahms's Second Piano Concerto; Bach's St Matthew Passion; Walton's First Symphony; Elgar's Dream of Gerontius; and Ella Fitzgerald singing 'Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered'. This last song inspired The History Boys when Alan Bennett heard it on Private Passions in 2001.

This special Christmas programme includes three bonus tracks available online: Alan Bennett chooses two further pieces of music, and talks about the music he hates and never wants to hear again.

Produced by the Loftus Media Private Passions team (Elizabeth Burke, Jane Greenwood, Oliver Soden and Jon Calver).

Alan Moses20150531

Sir Alan Moses is a distinguished lawyer who sat as a judge for almost 20 years, latterly in the Court of Appeal. He resigned last autumn to become the first Chairman of the new Press Standards Organisation, IPSO, the successor to the Press Complaints Commission. It's a challenging, and indeed highly controversial role. Alongside this he has spent 6 years as Chairman of Spitalfields Music, and is a dedicated concert goer, and a member of the Parliament Choir.

In Private Passions, Sir Alan curates a playlist of great choral works: Bach, Monteverdi, Schubert, Donizetti, and a Handel oratorio, Saul. He introduces a little-known work by Birtwistle which was written for his wife, Dinah, and he chooses a French chanson by Brassens in tribute to his mother, a French teacher.

Produced by Elizabeth Burke. A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3.

Alison Goldfrapp20150621

As part of the BBC's Classical Voice season, Michael Berkeley's guest is singer Alison Goldfrapp.

Alison Goldfrapp burst onto the music scene fifteen years ago, as lead singer in the duo Goldfrapp with the debut album Felt Mountain. Rock critics reached for adjectives such as 'lush', 'symphonic', 'epic'. Since Felt Mountain there have been five more hit albums, moving across pop, dance, electronic music - but each featuring the same extraordinary voice. Alongside the six gold albums, Goldfrapp also composed the soundtrack for the John Lennon film, Nowhere Boy, and the music for the recent Medea, starring Helen McCrory, at the National Theatre.

In Private Passions, Alison Goldfrapp talks to Michael Berkeley about finding her voice, and about the childhood that inspired her. Her father ('a closet hippy') used to take all six children out into the Hampshire woods, and make them sit still and listen, for hours; when there was a full moon he would drive them to the sea, for a night swim. The first time Goldfrapp heard her own voice soar was as a schoolgirl at the Alton Convent School in Hampshire, and encouraged by the nuns, she sang higher and higher until she felt a kind of 'buzzing' in her head: an unforgettable experience.

Goldfrapp chooses music which features a choir of extraordinary women's voices, the Bulgarian State Radio female choir, and Jessye Norman singing Fruhling from Strauss's Four Last Songs. She also chooses Atmospheres by Gyorgy Ligeti - music she finds very frightening - and celebrates both Mahler, and Ennio Morricone's film music, especially his score to an erotic thriller from 1969, Dirty Angels. And she reveals the music her partner Lisa Gunning sends her to listen to when they're apart.

Produced by Elizabeth Burke

A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3.

Amitav Ghosh20150913

is a writer with a worldwide reach. Born in Calcutta, educated in Delhi, Oxford and Alexandria, he lives now between New York and Goa; his books have sold over 3 million copies, and have been translated into 33 languages. His books have won awards in Canada, Italy, France and Burma, but his greatest readership is in India and he has been awarded the Padma Shri, one of India's highest honours, by the President of India. His new novel Flood of Fire is his tenth, and completes his Ibis trilogy; the setting is the First Opium War in 1839, and it follows a cast of characters from India, China and Britain, as they are caught up in that war.

In Private Passions he talks to Michael Berkeley about his childhood by the water in Bengal, and how the presence of the sea has influenced his writing. He admits that there is some truth in the charge that he is in essence a Bengali writer, writing in English.

Amitav Ghosh chooses a highly original playlist reflecting the very different cultures which have been his creative influences. He includes a haunting Bengali boat song, a Hindu dance, and songs from China and Mauritius. He unearths a fascinating historical curiosity: perhaps the first ever example of East-West fusion, a version of 'Hindoo airs' adapted in the 18th century for English amateur musicians nostalgic for their days in India. And he celebrates the music of global connectedness, with a collaboration between Philip Glass and Ravi Shankar. Finally he muses on the notion of 'home', and where he would live if he could only choose one place.

Produced by Elizabeth Burke

A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3.

Anna Meredith20150308

Anna Meredith2015030820160110 (R3)

For International Women's Day Private Passions features Anna Meredith - one of Britain's leading composers coming up from the younger generation. She is hard to label as she composes and performs both acoustic and electronic music, and her work has been performed everywhere from the Last Night of the Proms to flashmob events in the M6 services. She studied at York University and the Royal College of Music, and alongside numerous awards, she's been Composer in Residence with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and a judge for BBC Young Musician of the Year. She was recently commissioned as part of the BBC Ten Pieces initiative to write a piece which will be played to primary school children across the country, to introduce them to classical music.

In Private Passions she talks to Michael Berkeley about the music which inspires her, and explains why composers now still have a lot to learn from 16th century madrigals. She celebrates Sibelius and his extraordinary 5th symphony, and Holst's music for wind band, unfashionable though it may be. She introduces work by a new generation of composers too: Emily Hall, Richard Ayres and Owen Pallett. And she reveals why she goes into schools to inspire teenage girls by playing Bjork, and reflects on what it means to be a woman composer now:

My music tends to be quite bombastic, and I've heard people say "It doesn't sound very female", or "What's a nice girl like you doing music like that?" When I'm doing electronic music I do all the computer stuff myself and sometimes there's an assumption that there must be a guy somewhere behind the scenes working all the software magic...

A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3

Produced by Elizabeth Burke.

Anna Meredith2015030820160110 (R3)

For International Women's Day Private Passions features Anna Meredith - one of Britain's leading composers coming up from the younger generation. She is hard to label as she composes and performs both acoustic and electronic music, and her work has been performed everywhere from the Last Night of the Proms to flashmob events in the M6 services. She studied at York University and the Royal College of Music, and alongside numerous awards, she's been Composer in Residence with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and a judge for BBC Young Musician of the Year. She was recently commissioned as part of the BBC Ten Pieces initiative to write a piece which will be played to primary school children across the country, to introduce them to classical music.

In Private Passions she talks to Michael Berkeley about the music which inspires her, and explains why composers now still have a lot to learn from 16th century madrigals. She celebrates Sibelius and his extraordinary 5th symphony, and Holst's music for wind band, unfashionable though it may be. She introduces work by a new generation of composers too: Emily Hall, Richard Ayres and Owen Pallett. And she reveals why she goes into schools to inspire teenage girls by playing Bjork, and reflects on what it means to be a woman composer now:

My music tends to be quite bombastic, and I've heard people say "It doesn't sound very female", or "What's a nice girl like you doing music like that?" When I'm doing electronic music I do all the computer stuff myself and sometimes there's an assumption that there must be a guy somewhere behind the scenes working all the software magic...

A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3

Produced by Elizabeth Burke.

Athene Donald2015100420160529 (R3)

Dame Athene Donald is one of our leading physicists, and an outstanding role model and campaigner for women in science. She is Master of Churchill College, Professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Cambridge, and as the new head of the British Science Association, she has already made waves suggesting that girls should be given Meccano in preference to Barbie dolls to encourage them into science.

It's physics with a clear practical end - the physics of the everyday - which is her passion. Her expertise lies in developing techniques to study 'soft' materials: the way paint particles stick together, or what happens to things when you cook them, or more recently, the generic way protein molecules stick together, which, for some very specific proteins, is the process which underlies Alzheimer's disease. A life-long promoter of women in science, she is a recipient of the L'Oreal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science in Europe and writes a popular and entertaining blog about science, women, the wider world, and sometimes music too.

A talented viola player, she considered a career in music as a teenager, and her choice of music reflects her continued love of the instrument: Bach's 6th Brandenburg Concerto, Janacek's Second String Quartet, known as 'Intimate Letters', and Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola which she played with her husband, a mathematician - and violinist.

Keen to promote women in music as well as women in science, she's also chosen music by the French composer Lili Boulanger.

Producer: Jane Greenwood

A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3.

Athene Donald20151004

Athene Donald20151004

Dame Athene Donald is one of our leading physicists, and an outstanding role model and campaigner for women in science. She is Master of Churchill College, Professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Cambridge, and as the new head of the British Science Association, she has already made waves suggesting that girls should be given Meccano in preference to Barbie dolls to encourage them into science.

It's physics with a clear practical end - the physics of the everyday - which is her passion. Her expertise lies in developing techniques to study 'soft' materials: the way paint particles stick together, or what happens to things when you cook them, or more recently, the generic way protein molecules stick together, which, for some very specific proteins, is the process which underlies Alzheimer's disease. A life-long promoter of women in science, she is a recipient of the L'Oreal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science in Europe and writes a popular and entertaining blog about science, women, the wider world, and sometimes music too.

A talented viola player, she considered a career in music as a teenager, and her choice of music reflects her continued love of the instrument: Bach's 6th Brandenburg Concerto, Janacek's String Quartet number 2 known as 'Intimate Letters', and Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola which she played with her husband, a mathematician - and violinist.

Keen to promote women in music as well as women in science, she's also chosen music by the French composer Lili Boulanger.

Producer: Jane Greenwood

A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3.

Baaba Maal20160124

As a prelude to the Folk Connections weekend on Radio 3, Michael Berkeley's guest is the world music singer and instrumentalist Baaba Maal. He performs at Glastonbury and Womad, and fills venues like the Royal Festival Hall and the Royal Albert Hall - no surprise there, as Baaba Maal is an international superstar, with 11 albums so far, fusing music from his African roots in Senegal with rock and pop, and collaborating with musicians like Brian Eno. What's surprising, though, is the electrifying effect he has on his audience in places like the Festival Hall - he gets them all up and out of their seats and dancing.

In Private Passions, Baaba Maal tells Michael Berkeley why he has a mission to get everybody on their feet, and how he wants to use his music to change minds and challenge political leaders. He remembers his childhood on the edge of the Sahara Desert, and the songs he learnt from his parents. And he reveals the shock - and excitement - of discovering classical music for the first time, and falling in love with Mozart and Beethoven. Other music choices include Fela Kuti, the Ensemble of Mali, and Miles Davis.

Produced by Elizabeth Burke

A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 3.

Chilly Gonzales20151227

Canadian pianist Chilly Gonzales is on a mission - to get us all playing. His piano books and online pop music masterclasses attract hundreds of thousands of hits. Classically trained, he has one of the least orthodox careers in recent music: he made his name in rap, electronica and pop, becoming a successful songwriter and producer for the likes of the rapper Drake and the band Daft Punk. More recently he has been composing for piano and now for strings as well. He has a mission to break down the barrier between art and entertainment, and above all, a simple, overriding passion for music.

His stage shows - both in concert halls and in less conventional places such as old Cold-War German bunkers - are pretty dazzling affairs, and he appears dressed like a matinee idol in a silk robe and slippers.

Chilly chooses music by Mahler, Michael Nyman and Scarlatti, and songs from Fauré, Dionne Warwick and Drake.

He talks to Michael about musical genius, the art of rapping, and above all the endless possibilities and joy he finds in the piano.

Produced by Jane Greenwood

A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3.

Christina Lamb20151122

is one of Britain's leading foreign correspondents. As a young journalist barely into her twenties, she went to live with the Afghan Mujahidin fighting the Russians; her dispatches saw her named Young Journalist of the Year in the British Press Awards in 1988. Since then she has travelled by canoe through the Amazon rainforest, reported undercover from Zimbabwe, infiltrated a crime syndicate in Brazil, and survived an ambush by the Taliban. She has won Foreign Correspondent of the Year five times as well as the Prix Bayeux, Europe's most prestigious award for war correspondents. She's currently Chief Foreign Correspondent for the Sunday Times, and the author of several best-selling books, including a new book about her time in Afghanistan, 'Farewell Kabul'. During this last year she has been reporting on the refugee crisis in Europe, from detention camps in Libya and rescue ships in the Mediterranean.

It's an extraordinary career, and it all started completely by chance when she was a young intern - with a surprise wedding invitation from Benazir Bhutto.

In Private Passions, Christina Lamb talks to Michael Berkeley about the pressures and pleasures of her working life, and vividly describes encounters with critical danger. She was on the bus with Benazir Bhutto when a bomb exploded, killing more than a hundred people. She chooses music which transports her back to the countries she has lived in: tabla music she first heard in a bazaar in Pakistan, and drumming she danced to in the Rio Carnival. She has recently discovered the music of Clara Schumann, and Tchaikovsky's The Seasons in a brand-new recording by Lang Lang. And Maria Callas singing in Tosca is a must - it's the soundtrack for the first time she met her Portuguese husband.

A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3

Produced by Elizabeth Burke.

Christopher Le Brun20150607

The President of the Royal Academy of Arts, Christopher Le Brun, gives Michael Berkeley a tour of this year's Summer Exhibition and shares his musical and artistic passions.

The RA Summer Exhibition is the largest open submission exhibition in the world, and Christopher shares the excitement in the days running up to the opening as 1000 pictures - selected from 10,000 - are hung in the brightly-painted galleries.

An acclaimed painter, sculptor and print-maker Christopher Le Brun has work in public and private collections around the world. He is passionate about the music of the late 19th and 20th centuries, and his work has frequently been inspired by music. He takes Michael to the RA library to show him a series of etchings inspired by Wagner, and we hear music by William Walton that has also stimulated his work.

Christopher's other choices include music by Schoenberg, Poulenc and Django Reinhardt, and he shares the nasty surprise he once gave his mother when she sat down at the piano to play a Grieg nocturne.

Producer: Jane Greenwood

A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3.

Christopher Ricks20151129

Michael Berkeley's guest is the distinguished scholar Sir Christopher Ricks, who was described by W.H. Auden as 'the kind of critic every poet dreams of finding.' He has championed the work of new poets including Seamus Heaney and Christopher Hill, and in book after book over 50 years he has thrown new light on the great poets of the past: Milton, Keats, Tennyson, T.S. Eliot. He has been the Oxford Professor of Poetry, and Professor of English at Cambridge; he is now Professor of the Humanities at Boston University. Outside the university, he's probably best known for two driving passions - for T.S. Eliot and (more controversially) for Bob Dylan. His new edition of Eliot's poems comes out this month: it's been several years in the making, and is the first complete edition of Eliot's poetry ever published.

For Private Passions, he has compiled a fascinating playlist of music, including musical settings of great poetry, and some Bob Dylan naturally. And there's an overall theme - it's a meditation on youth and age. Composers include Holst, Beethoven, Haydn, Vaughan Williams, Benjamin Britten, and Prince Albert.

Produced by Elizabeth Burke

A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3.

David Tang20151011

David Tang arrived in Britain from Hong Kong aged 13 and not speaking a word of English. Since then he has thoroughly embraced Britishness, and the British have thoroughly embraced him, culminating in a knighthood and a prime place in the Queen's Jubilee flotilla.

His business interests range from fashion through clubs and restaurants, cigars, oil exploration and now his lifestyle store aimed at the new Chinese middle class called Tang Tang Tang Tang (sung to the opening of Beethoven's Fifth!)

Tirelessly sociable and keenly philanthropic, he also finds time to be the agony uncle for the Financial Times, answering such painful dilemmas as the etiquette of airport frisking, and when it might be acceptable to not wear socks.

One of Sir David's greatest passions is music, and he is a highly accomplished pianist, having started to learn at sixteen. Very soon he was playing Brahms, Debussy and Messiaen, composers he's chosen for this programme.

Producer: Jane Greenwood

A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3.

Douglas Gordon20110227

Michael Berkeley's guest this week is the Glaswegian artist Douglas Gordon, who won the Turner Prize in 1996 and represented Britain at the 1997 Venice Biennale. His work, which spans video and film, sound, photographic objects and texts, has since been exhibited in museums all over the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Los Angeles, Barcelona, Tate Britain and the National Galleries of Scotland. His video and film work often plays with time elements and employs multiple monitors, displacing traditional expectations.'24 Hour Psycho' (1993) slowed down Hitchcock's masterpiece to last 24 hours, while 'Zidane: A 20th-Century Portrait' used multiple cameras to follow the international football star.

His most recent work, k.364, premiered at the 2010 Venice Film festival and is currently showing at the Gagosian Gallery in London. It involves two Israeli musicians of Polish descent travelling by train through the bleak Polish landscape to Warsaw, where they perform Mozarts Sinfonia concertante for violin and viola, K364 in Kochel's catalogue (which gives the film its title). The film is an intimate document of the relationship between individuals and the power of music, against the backdrop of a dark and unresolved social history.

Douglas Gordon draws on a wide range of cultural references in the work, and his personal music choices are equally eclectic. They range from Bach, Schubert, Puccini, Richard Strauss and Faure to Joy Division, Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed and Cornelius Cardew.

Eva Schloss20140615

Eva Schloss2014061520160508 (R3)

Holocaust survivor Eva Schloss shares her extraordinary life story with Michael Berkeley and reveals the music that has brought her comfort, that conjures memories, and that brings her joy.

Eva Schloss was born into a happy middle-class Jewish family in Vienna in 1929, but her childhood came to an abrupt end when she was nine and had to flee with her parents and older brother to escape the Nazis.

Before going into hiding in Amsterdam Eva's family befriended Anne Frank's family, and after the war, the Frank legacy was to play a large part in her life - Eva's mother married Otto Frank and Eva and her mother worked tirelessly to promote Anne Frank's legacy through her diary.

Like the Franks, Eva's family was betrayed, and she and her mother were captured by the Gestapo on her 15th birthday and transported to the Birkenau concentration camp. They were two of only a few prisoners still alive when the camp was liberated in January 1945. Her beloved brother and father did not survive the neighbouring camp of Auschwitz.

Somehow Eva learned to live alongside the memories of those terrible years and after the war rebuilt her life in England. Now in her 80s she tours the world spreading her message of reconciliation and hope, and in 2012 she received an MBE for her work with the Anne Frank Trust and other Holocaust charities.

Eva's choices of music include Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Strauss, who take her back to her happy Viennese childhood, as well as music by Mahler through which she recalls the pain of her teenage years.

Produced by Jane Greenwood.

A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3.

Eva Schloss2014061520160508 (R3)

Holocaust survivor Eva Schloss shares her extraordinary life story with Michael Berkeley and reveals the music that has brought her comfort, that conjures memories, and that brings her joy.

Eva Schloss was born into a happy middle-class Jewish family in Vienna in 1929, but her childhood came to an abrupt end when she was nine and had to flee with her parents and older brother to escape the Nazis.

Before going into hiding in Amsterdam Eva's family befriended Anne Frank's family, and after the war, the Frank legacy was to play a large part in her life - Eva's mother married Otto Frank and Eva and her mother worked tirelessly to promote Anne Frank's legacy through her diary.

Like the Franks, Eva's family was betrayed, and she and her mother were captured by the Gestapo on her 15th birthday and transported to the Birkenau concentration camp. They were two of only a few prisoners still alive when the camp was liberated in January 1945. Her beloved brother and father did not survive the neighbouring camp of Auschwitz.

Somehow Eva learned to live alongside the memories of those terrible years and after the war rebuilt her life in England. Now in her 80s she tours the world spreading her message of reconciliation and hope, and in 2012 she received an MBE for her work with the Anne Frank Trust and other Holocaust charities.

Eva's choices of music include Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Strauss, who take her back to her happy Viennese childhood, as well as music by Mahler through which she recalls the pain of her teenage years.

Produced by Jane Greenwood.

A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3.

Faramerz Dabhoiwala20150809

Faramerz Dabhoiwala2015080920160214 (R3)

, who is Professor of History at Exeter College, Oxford, has proved that what people got up to in the past is a serious and neglected subject of historical enquiry. His book The Origins of Sex explores what he describes as 'the First Sexual Revolution' - a transformation of attitudes to sex which happened in Britain in the 18th century and which gives us the template for how we think about sex today. He argues that during the 18th century older, punitive attitudes to sex began to give way to new ideas of pleasure.

In Private Passions he talks to Michael Berkeley about his upbringing in permissive Amsterdam, and about why discovering his Indian grandparents' love-letters inspired him as a historian. His music choices reflect his love for the 18th century, with Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, and two pieces by Bach: his Double Violin Concerto and the Cantata Wachet Auf. The programme also includes Schubert's Piano Sonata in A Major played by Alfred Brendel, Philip Glass's music for Cocteau's film Beauty and the Beast, and an angry political protest song by Nina Simone which played a key part in the American civil rights movement. He includes, too, an interpretation of 16th-century plainsong by the Norwegian jazz saxophonist Jan Garbarek, a creative interpretation of the past which echoes the excitement he finds in his work as a historian.

Faramerz Dabhoiwala20150809

, who's Professor of History at Exeter College Oxford, has proved that what people got up to in the past is a serious and neglected subject of historical enquiry. His book, 'The Origins of Sex', explores what he describes as 'the First Sexual Revolution' - a transformation of attitudes to sex which happened in Britain in the 18th century, and which gives us the template for how we think about sex today. He argues that during the 18th century older punitive attitudes to sex began to give way to new ideas of pleasure.

In Private Passions he talks to Michael Berkeley about his upbringing in permissive Amsterdam, and about why discovering his Indian grandparents' love-letters inspired him as a historian. His music choices reflect his love for the 18th century, with Purcell's 'Dido and Aeneas', and two pieces by Bach: his Double Violin Concerto and the Cantata 'Wachet Auf'. The programme also includes Schubert's Piano Sonata in A Major played by Alfred Brendel, Philip Glass's music for Cocteau's 'Beauty and the Beast', and an angry political protest song by Nina Simone which played a key part in the American civil rights movement. He includes too an interpretation of 16th-century plainsong by the Norwegian jazz saxophonist Jan Garbarek, a creative interpretation of the past which echoes the excitement he finds in his work as a historian.

Folk Connections: Shirley Collins20160131

As part of Radio 3's Folk Connections weekend, celebrating folk music and the influence of folk on classical music, Shirley Collins talks to Michael Berkeley about her musical passions and her sixty-year career in folk music.

Much praised for her clear, unaffected singing voice, she has won worldwide acclaim as a pivotal figure in the English folk revival of the 1960s and 70s, not only as a performer, but also as a curator, a saviour of a rich tradition of music which might otherwise have been lost.

She tells Michael about her Sussex childhood, her passion for Baroque music, and the pleasure she's finding in singing again after a gap of more than thirty years. And we hear Shirley singing with her late sister and collaborator Dolly.

Her musical choices include Handel, Boyce, Praetorius and two moving field recordings she helped to make - songs from Mississippi Fred McDowell and a gypsy child in 1960s Sussex.

Producer: Jane Greenwood

A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 3.

Free Thinking: Sugata Mitra20151108

As part of Radio 3's Free Thinking weekend, Michael Berkeley talks to Sugata Mitra, who has started a revolution in education. He believes schools as we know them are obsolete; that exams shut down the brain; that children learn best when left alone, with computers, and that the best teachers are not education professionals, but grannies, who simply say 'Wow! That's amazing! How did you do that?'

Sugata Mitra is the Professor of Educational Technology at Newcastle University. In 2013 he was awarded the million dollar TED Prize to help build a School in the Cloud, a creative online space where children from all over the world can gather to answer 'big questions'. Though Sugata Mitra now lives in Gateshead, he was brought up in Delhi, and his work with children in the slums there was the inspiration for the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire.

In Private Passions, he tells Michael Berkeley about the ground-breaking experiment in Delhi which has become famous as the 'hole in the wall' - he fixed a computer into the wall of a slum, and watched what happened. Within months, children who had never seen a computer before were browsing, painting, and downloading electronic keyboards and drums to make music. Teachers, he discovered, were obsolete. This was a particular personal challenge, as he was a teacher himself at the time!

Tearing up the rule book, Professor Mitra developed a radical new model of how to teach children, using computers. He talks in Private Passions about how to release children's creativity - but also how to safeguard them from the darker side of the internet. His music choices fuse East and West, with collaborations between Yehudi Menuhin and Ravi Shankar; the love poetry of Tagore; Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade; and a canon by Bach which can be played forwards and backwards.

Produced by Elizabeth Burke

A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3.

Gerald Barry20160103

For New Year New Music, Michael Berkeley's guest is the Irish composer Gerald Barry. We tend to think of 'New Music' as something deadly serious and even agonised; Gerald Barry utterly confounds that stereotype. His latest opera, which will be staged at the Barbican this March, transforms The Importance of Being Earnest - with Lady Bracknell sung by a bass in a business suit, and Gwendolyn and Cecily throwing dinner plates at each other. It's Barry's fifth opera; his first, The Intelligence Park from 1990, told the story of an 18th century composer who fell in love with a castrato. As well as the operas there are scores of instrumental pieces, piano concertos and choral works. They have wonderful titles: Humiliated and Insulted; The Destruction of Sodom - a piece for 8 horns and 2 wind machines.

In Private Passions, Gerald Barry talks to Michael Berkeley about his childhood in a small village in the West of Ireland. It wasn't a musical household, but as a young boy he heard Clara Butt singing Handel on the radio and that was an awakening for him, 'a visitation'. From then on, he knew he wanted to be a composer, though he didn't even know the word. At the age of 14, he won a medal for composition - by taking a Mozart piano sonata and cutting it up, sticking it together again in random order. Barry went on to study with Stockhausen and the Argentinian composer Mauricio Kagel, and he talks about his struggle to make a living as a church organist in Cologne: he was fired, first for being Catholic, then for being late for 7.30am Mass. He gives a moving account of his mother dying, just as his first opera was performed. And he reflects on the woeful blandness of singing voices in the musical world now, compared with the countertenors and castrati of the past.

Gerald Barry's marvellously idiosyncratic choices include Mozart, Alfred Deller, Clara Butt, William Byrd, a hymn setting by Stainer, and Oscar Wilde's letter from Reading Gaol, De Profundis, set by the contemporary composer Rzewski. He ends with a hilarious recording of the Red Army Choir singing 'It's a Long Way to Tipperary'.

A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3

Produced by Elizabeth Burke.

Henrietta Bowden-Jones20150125

Henrietta Bowden-jones2015012520151115 (R3)

Henrietta Bowden-Jones has spent the last three decades studying the mind.

Born in Italy to an English father and an Italian mother, she has dedicated her career to helping people overcome addictions - both in the lab as a researcher in neuroscience, and as a psychiatrist treating everyone from homeless drug addicts to city traders with gambling problems.

She shares with Michael Berkeley musical memories of growing up in Milan with an opera-loving nanny; the shock of being sent to an English boarding school as a teenager; her love of art as well as science; and how her pioneering work on addiction has helped thousands of people rebuild their lives.

Her music choices include Mozart, Dvorak and Reynaldo Hahn's charming Venetian songs.

Producer: Jane Greenwood

A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3.

Henry Marsh20150712

Henry Marsh2015071220160117 (R3)

Henry Marsh is one of the country's leading neurosurgeons: as a senior consultant at St George's University Hospital in South London, he has pioneered brain surgery for more than 30 years.

These are delicate, microscopic operations to deal with tumours and aneurisms where the least slip can be catastrophic: comparable, he says, to bomb disposal work. Henry Marsh's account of his career, 'Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery', has become a best-seller.

In Private Passions, he talks about how his work has given him a heightened awareness of the unpredictability of life, and about the role of music in dealing with stress. He discusses the use of music during operations themselves; he used to listen to music, but after one operation went badly wrong, now feels it is inappropriate. And he gives a neuroscientist's perspective on falling in love.

Music choices include Bach's St Matthew Passion, Mozart's Magic Flute, Scarlatti, Bartok, Prokofiev, Beethoven, and African music which reminds him of time spent teaching in Ghana.

Produced by Elizabeth Burke. A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3.

Henry Marsh2015071220160117 (R3)

Henry Marsh is one of the country's leading neurosurgeons: as a senior consultant at St George's University Hospital in South London, he has pioneered brain surgery for more than 30 years.

These are delicate, microscopic operations to deal with tumours and aneurisms where the least slip can be catastrophic: comparable, he says, to bomb disposal work. Henry Marsh's account of his career, 'Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery', has become a best-seller.

In Private Passions, he talks about how his work has given him a heightened awareness of the unpredictability of life, and about the role of music in dealing with stress. He discusses the use of music during operations themselves; he used to listen to music, but after one operation went badly wrong, now feels it is inappropriate. And he gives a neuroscientist's perspective on falling in love.

Music choices include Bach's St Matthew Passion, Mozart's Magic Flute, Scarlatti, Bartok, Prokofiev, Beethoven, and African music which reminds him of time spent teaching in Ghana.

Produced by Elizabeth Burke. A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3.

Henry Marsh20150712

Henry Marsh is one of the country's leading neurosurgeons: as a senior consultant at St George's University Hospital in South London, he has pioneered brain surgery for more than 30 years.

These are delicate, microscopic operations to deal with tumours and aneurisms where the least slip can be catastrophic: comparable, he says, to bomb disposal work. Henry Marsh's account of his career, 'Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery', has become a best-seller.

In Private Passions, he talks about how his work has given him a heightened awareness of the unpredictability of life, and about the role of music in dealing with stress. He discusses the use of music during operations themselves; he used to listen to music, but after one operation went badly wrong, now feels it is inappropriate. And he gives a neuroscientist's perspective on falling in love.

Music choices include Bach's St Matthew Passion, Mozart's Magic Flute, Scarlatti, Bartok, Prokofiev, Beethoven, and African music which reminds him of time spent teaching in Ghana.

Produced by Elizabeth Burke. A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3.

Iqbal Khan20150517

Michael Berkeley's guest is the opera and theatre director Iqbal Khan.

He has brought to the stage everything from Madame Butterfly and Sondheim's Into the Woods to an RSC production of Much Ado About Nothing set in modern India. This year is a particularly busy one - he's directing another play for the RSC - this time Othello, which opens in a couple of weeks, and his production of Donizetti's rarely performed The Wild Man of the West Indies for English Touring Opera is just coming to the end of a nationwide tour.

In Private Passions, Khan explores his favourite operas, with extracts from Verdi, Mozart, and Wagner, and chooses other music which inspires him, from Mahler's 2nd Symphony and Britten's War Requiem, to an extraordinary percussive piece by Nitin Sawhney. He plays too a historic recording of Paul Scofield as King Lear. And he talks movingly about his childhood and difficult teenage years, growing up in Birmingham, after his father died and the family was left penniless. Khan was inspired by his older brother, who encouraged him to aim for the highest academic honours, and read to him at night by candlelight - to make the books more exciting. Dracula was a particular favourite.

Produced by Elizabeth Burke

A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3.

Irving Finkel20140601

Irving Finkel2014060120150705 (R3)

Assyriologist Irving Finkel talks to Michael Berkeley about his passion for clay tablets, chamber music, and Jimi Hendrix.

Irving Finkel is one of the world's leading experts in the world's oldest, and most impenetrable, system of writing - cuneiform.

Because the scribes of Ancient Mesopotamia imprinted cuneiform with a stylus into clay tablets, lots of it has survived, and indeed Irving Finkel has spent the past 45 years delighting in the company of more than 130,000 cuneiform tablets at the British Museum. But one day a member of the public brought in a clay tablet which changed his life - it was a 4000-year-old blueprint for Noah's Ark - a thousand years older than the story in the Bible.

Irving is also passionate about music - particularly old recordings - and his choices include string quartets by Schubert and Dvorak, 1930s blues and a blast of Jimi Hendrix.

Producer: Jane Greenwood.

Jancis Robinson20150830

In her forty-year career writing and broadcasting about wine, Jancis Robinson has probably done more than anyone else to make wine an accessible and joyous part of our lives, and to strip away a great deal of the pretensions that used to surround it. But she's also one of our leading scholars of wine, and the fourth edition of the book she describes as her 'fourth child', a mammoth updating of her nearly 1000-page-long Oxford Companion to Wine, is about to be published next month.

She talks to Michael Berkeley about her love of opera, the excitement of tasting for the Queen, and the great pleasures of wine and music. Her choices include music by Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Handel and a sweet English folk song.

Producer: Jane Greenwood

A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3.

Jane Goodall20160522

Jane Goodall was only twenty-four when in she went to live among the chimpanzees of Gombe National Park in Tanzania, and she went on to spend more than 55 years there. She has done more than anyone else to transform our understanding of chimpanzees - and beyond that, her work has raised questions about how we treat these highly intelligent primates, and indeed about the rights of all animals. Now in her early eighties, she's on an extraordinary mission travelling round the world to protect chimpanzees from extinction.

During a rare stay in Britain, Jane Goodall talks to Michael Berkeley about her life and ground-breaking discoveries. She reveals that the chimpanzees she lived with also had a darker side, and were sometimes violent, stamping on her. She remembers difficult times after the kidnapping of some of her workers, and the death of her second husband - and how music sustained her, and transformed her view of the world.

Music choices include Beethoven, Bach, Schubert, Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto and Richard Burton reading the Dylan Thomas classic 'Under Milk Wood'. She also introduces some very excited chimpanzee speech, and speculates about what kind of music chimpanzees enjoy.

Jane Goodall20160522

Jane Goodall20160522

Jane Goodall was only twenty-four when in she went to live among the chimpanzees of Gombe National Park in Tanzania, and she went on to spend more than 55 years there. She has done more than anyone else to transform our understanding of chimpanzees - and beyond that, her work has raised questions about how we treat these highly intelligent primates, and indeed about the rights of all animals. Now in her early eighties, she's on an extraordinary mission travelling round the world to protect chimpanzees from extinction.

During a rare stay in Britain, Jane Goodall talks to Michael Berkeley about her life and ground-breaking discoveries. She reveals that the chimpanzees she lived with also had a darker side, and were sometimes violent, stamping on her. She remembers difficult times after the kidnapping of some of her workers, and the death of her second husband - and how music sustained her, and transformed her view of the world.

Music choices include Beethoven, Bach, Schubert, Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto and Richard Burton reading the Dylan Thomas classic 'Under Milk Wood'. She also introduces some very excited chimpanzee speech, and speculates about what kind of music chimpanzees enjoy.

Jane Goodall20160522

Jane Hawking20150412

Jane Hawking2015041220150920 (R3)

's personal life is very much in the public eye at the moment, thanks to the success of the film 'The Theory of Everything'. It tells the story of her love affair and then marriage to the physicist Stephen Hawking, and movingly reveals the way she cared for him, and their children, as his illness increased, until the sad disintegration of their marriage. Both Stephen and Jane Hawking have given the film their approval - indeed, in Jane's case, it's very much based on her autobiography, 'Travelling to Infinity'.

In Private Passions Jane Hawking talks to Michael Berkeley about the crucial role of music in her life, and about how listening to music and singing sustained her during twenty-five years caring for Stephen. She reveals that it was through music that she met her second husband, Jonathan Hellyer Jones.

Other music choices include Mozart's Clarinet Concerto, Schubert's 'The Trout', the Scherzo from Beethoven's 7th Symphony, music from Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky, Brahms' German Requiem, and Chopin's second piano concerto.

Produced by Elizabeth Burke

A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3.

Jane Hawking20150412

Jane Hawking's personal life is very much in the public eye at the moment, thanks to the success of the film 'The Theory of Everything'. It tells the story of her love affair and then marriage to the physicist Stephen Hawking, and movingly reveals the way she cared for him, and their children, as his illness increased, until the sad disintegration of their marriage. Both Stephen and Jane Hawking have given the film their approval - indeed, in Jane's case, it's very much based on her autobiography, 'Travelling to Infinity'.

In Private Passions Jane Hawking talks to Michael Berkeley about the crucial role of music in her life, and about how listening to music and singing sustained her during twenty-five years caring for Stephen. She reveals that it was through music that she met her second husband, Jonathan Hellyer Jones.

Other music choices include Mozart's Clarinet Concerto, Schubert's 'The Trout', the Scherzo from Beethoven's 7th Symphony, music from Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky, Brahms' German Requiem, and Chopin's second piano concerto.

Produced by Elizabeth Burke

A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3.

Jill Paton Walsh20141207

Jill Paton Walsh2014120720160313 (R3)

Jill Paton Walsh lives with the ghost of Lord Peter Wimsey - having taken on the mantle of Dorothy L Sayers and continuing, to great acclaim, her hugely successful detective stories.

But before Lord Peter Wimsey she was already a highly esteemed writer, and her prolific output spans nearly fifty years of children's books and literary fiction. But despite this her medieval philosophical novel, Knowledge of Angels, was turned down by British publishers, so she and her husband published the book themselves, and it went on to be a bestseller - and was shortlisted for the 1994 Booker Prize.

The winner of many other literary prizes, including the Whitbread and the Smarties Prize, she was awarded a CBE in 1996 for services to literature.

Jill talks to Michael Berkeley about what it's like to take on the voice of another author, her love of children's fiction, and how music has sustained her through very sad and difficult times. Her music choices include Bizet, Copland, Britten, Mozart and Haydn.

Producer: Jane Greenwood

A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3

To hear previous episodes of Private Passions, please visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/r3pp/all.

Jill Paton Walsh20141207

Jill Paton Walsh2014120720160313 (R3)

lives with the ghost of Lord Peter Wimsey - having taken on the mantle of Dorothy L Sayers and continuing, to great acclaim, her hugely successful detective stories.

But before Lord Peter Wimsey she was already a highly esteemed writer, and her prolific output spans nearly fifty years of children's books and literary fiction. But despite this her medieval philosophical novel, Knowledge of Angels, was turned down by British publishers, so she and her husband published the book themselves, and it went on to be a bestseller - and was shortlisted for the 1994 Booker Prize.

The winner of many other literary prizes, including the Whitbread and the Smarties Prize, she was awarded a CBE in 1996 for services to literature.

Jill talks to Michael Berkeley about what it's like to take on the voice of another author, her love of children's fiction, and how music has sustained her through very sad and difficult times. Her music choices include Bizet, Copland, Britten, Mozart and Haydn.

Producer: Jane Greenwood

A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3

To hear previous episodes of Private Passions, please visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/r3pp/all.

Joanna Van Kampen20110213

Michael Berkeley's guest is the young actor Joanna van Kampen, who has played the role of Fallon Rogers in 'The Archers' for the past decade. The daughter of cellist Christopher van Kampen and violinist Marcia Williams (who both played for many years with the Nash Ensemble), she learnt violin and piano as a child, but then decided to make acting her career, training at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. She has worked at the Royal National Theatre and the RSC with directors such as Di Trevis, Peter Gill and Simon Usher.

She is particularly interested in film music, and her choices include parts of Mozart's Requiem from the soundtrack of the film 'Amadeus', the Prelude to Bernard Herrmann's score for Hitchcock's 'Psycho', and music from John Williams' score for 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone', for which her mother led the orchestra. Her other choices include Maria Callas singing 'Depuis le jour' from Charpentier's opera 'Louise'; Dido's Lament from Purcell's 'Dido and Aeneas', sung by Janet Baker, cellist Yo Yo Ma accompanied by Bobby McFerrin's astonishing vocals in 'Ave Maria', and Stevie Wonder's 'If It's Magic'.

John Lahr20150802

talks to Michael Berkeley about his passion for the American Songbook, his award-winning biographies of Tennessee Williams and Joe Orton, and his father, the actor Bert Lahr, who was the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz.

Described by the playwright Edward Albee as 'the greatest drama critic of my generation', John was for 22 years chief critic and profile writer for the New Yorker.

Then, in 2002, John Lahr the drama critic became John Lahr the dramatist - and the first drama critic ever to win a Tony Award when he wrote actress Elaine Stritch's one-woman show, Elaine Stritch at Liberty.

He chooses music from that show, a song sung by his father, a Theolonious Monk track which reminds him of his wife Connie Booth, and he ends with the joy of Mozart's Jupiter Symphony.

Producer: Jane Greenwood

A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3.

John Sergeant20110220

Michael Berkeley's guest is the journalist John Sergeant, who graduated from Magdalen College Oxford in PPE and joined the BBC as a radio reporter in 1970. He subsequently worked as a war reporter in Vietnam, Israel and Northern Ireland and became a political correspondent in 1981. From 1992 to 2000 he was the BBC's Chief Political Correspondent, before a two-year stint at ITN as Political Editor. He has since appeared on TV shows such as 'Have I Got News for You', 'Countdown', QI, and the 2008 series of 'Strictly Come Dancing', on which he proved very popular with the public, if not with the judges. He has recently filmed documentaries such as John Sergeant's Tourist Trail, and Tracks of Empire, in which he explores the origins of Indian Railways.

His music choices have a distinct political slant. They begin in Vienna with Mahler's Fourth Symphony, which gives rise to a discussion about the rise of European anti-semitism. The tensions present in Vienna were replicated in Berlin, where Lotte Lenya recorded Kurt Weill's Alabama Song in 1930, three years before the Nazi rise to power forced Weill and others out of Germany. John Sergeant's next choice is the theme from the US musical 42nd Street, which demonstrates how Americans reacted to the financial crisis following the 1929 Wall Street crash. Bela Bartok's introverted Sixth Quartet was written on the eve of his own departure for America, where unlike Weill, he felt underrated. Meanwhile, the two greatest 20th-century Russian composers (Prokofiev, represented by his opera War and Peace, and Shostakovich - the 8th Quartet) ended up trying to appease the Soviet authorities. John Sergeant's final choice is an extract from John Adams's opera 'Nixon in China', covering the US President's 1972 visit to China.

Jonathan Bate20160424

Sir Jonathan Bate is one of the leading Shakespeare scholars of our time. He's also a biographer, broadcaster and critic, and a passionate advocate of the importance of the humanities in education. Provost of Worcester College and Professor of English Literature at Oxford University, he is the author of many influential books on Shakespeare and the joint editor of the RSC Shakespeare: Complete Works. And he's turned playwright himself, with the one-man play Being Shakespeare, written for Simon Callow. He's also written extensively about English literature in the 400 years since Shakespeare's death, and last year, in a blaze of publicity, he published a controversial biography of Ted Hughes.

Jonathan takes us on a journey through 300 years of music inspired by Shakespeare, including works by Linley, Mozart, Berlioz, Wagner, Strauss - and Taylor Swift.

And we hear Shakespeare performed by Alex Jennings, Simon Russell Beale, and Claire Danes.

Producer: Jane Greenwood

A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 3.

Jonathan Bate20160424

Jung Chang20150614

It's impossible to imagine what it must have been like to live in a society where Western Classical music was forbidden on pain of severe punishment, or where playing a musical instrument was something that could only be done in utter secrecy. But that was the situation in China during the Cultural Revolution, when Jung Chang was a teenager. She is now an internationally acclaimed writer; but she began her working life as a peasant, a 'barefoot doctor', a steelworker and an electrician, before becoming a university lecturer. She left China for Britain in 1978 and obtained a PhD in Linguistics from the University of York - the first person from the People's Republic of China to receive a doctorate from a British university.

She shot to fame with her book Wild Swans, which tells the story of her own life and the lives of her mother and grandmother, set against the turmoil of 20th-century China. It has sold more than ten million copies but is still banned in China. And she followed it with biographies of Mao, co-written with her husband, and of the Empress Dowager Cixi - an extraordinarily powerful woman in the last years of Imperial China.

Jung Chang talks to Michael Berkeley about the joy of finding grass in Hyde Park after Mao had banned it in China; the horrors of foot-binding; her mother's extraordinary testimony of the Cultural Revolution, which led to Wild Swans; and her hopes that one day people will be free to read her books in China.

And above all she shares the joy she finds in music: both Chinese music and the Western music she's embraced with delight since moving to Britain. Her choices include Handel, Mozart, Billie Holiday and music played on the zither and the san xian.

A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3

Producer: Jane Greenwood

Katharine Whitehorn20160221

Michael Berkeley talks to veteran journalist Katharine Whitehorn about the music she's loved all her life.

She's often quoted as saying: 'Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for it.' Katharine explains that she had quite a few false starts along the way - running away from school, failing as an architecture student, dabbling in modelling - until she found her true vocation of journalism and began a career that has spanned Picture Post, the Observer and Saga Magazine.

She's also known to millions as the author of Cooking in a Bedsitter, first published in 1961 and still the bible of student cookery.

Her music choices include Finlandia, invoking memories of another - happy - false start; a piece of Chopin played by her father; Mozart and Beethoven symphonies; and one of the few songs she and her much-loved husband Gavin Lyall both enjoyed.

Producer: Jane Greenwood

A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 3.

Kathryn Tickell20141102

Kathryn Tickell2014110220151018 (R3)

Michael Berkeley's guest is the Northumbrian musician Kathryn Tickell.

Kathryn Tickell is rooted in the remote hill farms of Northumbria; her grandparents were shepherds, and she grew up playing the Northumbrian pipes and fiddle at village dances. By the age of just 16, she was the official piper to the Lord Mayor of Newcastle and had released her first album. 19 more albums have followed. She was the first folk performer at the BBC Proms, was named Musician of the Year at the 2013 Radio 2 Folk Awards (not for the first time) and holds the Queen's Medal for Music. She's done more than any other musician to preserve the rich musical heritage of the North East of England. In a programme recorded at Sage Gateshead during the 2014 Free Thinking Festival, she talks to Michael Berkeley about how she started visiting old musicians, when she was only nine, taking her tape recorder to capture voices and tunes. This was an oral tradition, so recording the tunes was a way of learning them - they weren't written down. What did the musicians think of this young girl turning up to record them? Most of them, she reflects wryly, were related to her anyway.

Kathryn Tickell's lifelong enthusiasm for musical discovery leads to a marvellously eclectic playlist for the programme. She introduces Percy Grainger music for theremin, the Brazilian composer Chiquinha Gonzaga, the Armenian folk-song collector Komitas Vardabet, and John Cage's Sonata No 5 for 'prepared' piano. Plus a comic song from the Tyneside singer Owen Brannigan and a poem in Northumbrian dialect which she warns listeners not even to bother trying to decipher?

Producer: Elizabeth Burke

A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3.

To hear previous episodes of Private Passions, please visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/r3pp/all.

Kathryn Tickell2014110220151018 (R3)

Michael Berkeley's guest is the Northumbrian musician Kathryn Tickell.

Kathryn Tickell is rooted in the remote hill farms of Northumbria; her grandparents were shepherds, and she grew up playing the Northumbrian pipes and fiddle at village dances. By the age of just 16, she was the official piper to the Lord Mayor of Newcastle and had released her first album. 19 more albums have followed. She was the first folk performer at the BBC Proms, was named Musician of the Year at the 2013 Radio 2 Folk Awards (not for the first time) and holds the Queen's Medal for Music. She's done more than any other musician to preserve the rich musical heritage of the North East of England. In a programme recorded at Sage Gateshead during the 2014 Free Thinking Festival, she talks to Michael Berkeley about how she started visiting old musicians, when she was only nine, taking her tape recorder to capture voices and tunes. This was an oral tradition, so recording the tunes was a way of learning them - they weren't written down. What did the musicians think of this young girl turning up to record them? Most of them, she reflects wryly, were related to her anyway.

Kathryn Tickell's lifelong enthusiasm for musical discovery leads to a marvellously eclectic playlist for the programme. She introduces Percy Grainger music for theremin, the Brazilian composer Chiquinha Gonzaga, the Armenian folk-song collector Komitas Vardabet, and John Cage's Sonata No 5 for 'prepared' piano. Plus a comic song from the Tyneside singer Owen Brannigan and a poem in Northumbrian dialect which she warns listeners not even to bother trying to decipher?

Producer: Elizabeth Burke

A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3.

To hear previous episodes of Private Passions, please visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/r3pp/all.

Kathryn Tickell20141102

Kathryn Tickell2014110220151018 (R3)

Michael Berkeley's guest is the Northumbrian musician Kathryn Tickell.

Kathryn Tickell is rooted in the remote hill farms of Northumbria; her grandparents were shepherds, and she grew up playing the Northumbrian pipes and fiddle at village dances. By the age of just 16, she was the official piper to the Lord Mayor of Newcastle and had released her first album. 19 more albums have followed. She was the first folk performer at the BBC Proms, was named Musician of the Year at the 2013 Radio 2 Folk Awards (not for the first time) and holds the Queen's Medal for Music. She's done more than any other musician to preserve the rich musical heritage of the North East of England. In a programme recorded at Sage Gateshead during the 2014 Free Thinking Festival, she talks to Michael Berkeley about how she started visiting old musicians, when she was only nine, taking her tape recorder to capture voices and tunes. This was an oral tradition, so recording the tunes was a way of learning them - they weren't written down. What did the musicians think of this young girl turning up to record them? Most of them, she reflects wryly, were related to her anyway.

Kathryn Tickell's lifelong enthusiasm for musical discovery leads to a marvellously eclectic playlist for the programme. She introduces Percy Grainger music for theremin, the Brazilian composer Chiquinha Gonzaga, the Armenian folk-song collector Komitas Vardabet, and John Cage's Sonata No 5 for 'prepared' piano. Plus a comic song from the Tyneside singer Owen Brannigan and a poem in Northumbrian dialect which she warns listeners not even to bother trying to decipher?

Producer: Elizabeth Burke

A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3.

To hear previous episodes of Private Passions, please visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/r3pp/all.

Kathryn Tickell2014110220151018 (R3)

Michael Berkeley's guest is the Northumbrian musician Kathryn Tickell.

Kathryn Tickell is rooted in the remote hill farms of Northumbria; her grandparents were shepherds, and she grew up playing the Northumbrian pipes and fiddle at village dances. By the age of just 16, she was the official piper to the Lord Mayor of Newcastle and had released her first album. 19 more albums have followed. She was the first folk performer at the BBC Proms, was named Musician of the Year at the 2013 Radio 2 Folk Awards (not for the first time) and holds the Queen's Medal for Music. She's done more than any other musician to preserve the rich musical heritage of the North East of England. In a programme recorded at Sage Gateshead during the 2014 Free Thinking Festival, she talks to Michael Berkeley about how she started visiting old musicians, when she was only nine, taking her tape recorder to capture voices and tunes. This was an oral tradition, so recording the tunes was a way of learning them - they weren't written down. What did the musicians think of this young girl turning up to record them? Most of them, she reflects wryly, were related to her anyway.

Kathryn Tickell's lifelong enthusiasm for musical discovery leads to a marvellously eclectic playlist for the programme. She introduces Percy Grainger music for theremin, the Brazilian composer Chiquinha Gonzaga, the Armenian folk-song collector Komitas Vardabet, and John Cage's Sonata No 5 for 'prepared' piano. Plus a comic song from the Tyneside singer Owen Brannigan and a poem in Northumbrian dialect which she warns listeners not even to bother trying to decipher?

Producer: Elizabeth Burke

A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3.

To hear previous episodes of Private Passions, please visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/r3pp/all.

Kathryn Tickell20141102

Kathryn Tickell2014110220151018 (R3)

Michael Berkeley's guest is the Northumbrian musician Kathryn Tickell.

Kathryn Tickell is rooted in the remote hill farms of Northumbria; her grandparents were shepherds, and she grew up playing the Northumbrian pipes and fiddle at village dances. By the age of just 16, she was the official piper to the Lord Mayor of Newcastle and had released her first album. 19 more albums have followed. She was the first folk performer at the BBC Proms, was named Musician of the Year at the 2013 Radio 2 Folk Awards (not for the first time) and holds the Queen's Medal for Music. She's done more than any other musician to preserve the rich musical heritage of the North East of England. In a programme recorded at Sage Gateshead during the 2014 Free Thinking Festival, she talks to Michael Berkeley about how she started visiting old musicians, when she was only nine, taking her tape recorder to capture voices and tunes. This was an oral tradition, so recording the tunes was a way of learning them - they weren't written down. What did the musicians think of this young girl turning up to record them? Most of them, she reflects wryly, were related to her anyway.

Kathryn Tickell's lifelong enthusiasm for musical discovery leads to a marvellously eclectic playlist for the programme. She introduces Percy Grainger music for theremin, the Brazilian composer Chiquinha Gonzaga, the Armenian folk-song collector Komitas Vardabet, and John Cage's Sonata No 5 for 'prepared' piano. Plus a comic song from the Tyneside singer Owen Brannigan and a poem in Northumbrian dialect which she warns listeners not even to bother trying to decipher?

Producer: Elizabeth Burke

A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3.

To hear previous episodes of Private Passions, please visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/r3pp/all.

Kathryn Tickell2014110220151018 (R3)

Michael Berkeley's guest is the Northumbrian musician Kathryn Tickell.

Kathryn Tickell is rooted in the remote hill farms of Northumbria; her grandparents were shepherds, and she grew up playing the Northumbrian pipes and fiddle at village dances. By the age of just 16, she was the official piper to the Lord Mayor of Newcastle and had released her first album. 19 more albums have followed. She was the first folk performer at the BBC Proms, was named Musician of the Year at the 2013 Radio 2 Folk Awards (not for the first time) and holds the Queen's Medal for Music. She's done more than any other musician to preserve the rich musical heritage of the North East of England. In a programme recorded at Sage Gateshead during the 2014 Free Thinking Festival, she talks to Michael Berkeley about how she started visiting old musicians, when she was only nine, taking her tape recorder to capture voices and tunes. This was an oral tradition, so recording the tunes was a way of learning them - they weren't written down. What did the musicians think of this young girl turning up to record them? Most of them, she reflects wryly, were related to her anyway.

Kathryn Tickell's lifelong enthusiasm for musical discovery leads to a marvellously eclectic playlist for the programme. She introduces Percy Grainger music for theremin, the Brazilian composer Chiquinha Gonzaga, the Armenian folk-song collector Komitas Vardabet, and John Cage's Sonata No 5 for 'prepared' piano. Plus a comic song from the Tyneside singer Owen Brannigan and a poem in Northumbrian dialect which she warns listeners not even to bother trying to decipher?

Producer: Elizabeth Burke

A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3.

To hear previous episodes of Private Passions, please visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/r3pp/all.

Kika Markham20141026

Kika Markham2014102620150524 (R3)

Michael Berkeley's guest is the actor Kika Markham, widow of Corin Redgrave.

'Actors by their nature are curious, fickle, insecure people: flirts. They should not live together.' So says Kika Markham; but she didn't follow her own advice; instead she fell in love with the actor Corin Redgrave - they were together for 33 years until his death in 2010.

Kika's own career began in the 1960s; she made her name in a series of television films, directed by Ken Loach, Dennis Potter, and then, for the cinema, by Francois Truffaut. Now in her early seventies, Kika Markham is still on television, playing the mother of Mr Selfridge in the successful ITV period drama.

In 'Private Passions' she talks to Michael Berkeley about the central role of music in her life. She remembers working with Francois Truffaut, and falling in love with him - against all advice. She chooses music by the French composer who wrote soundtracks for many of Truffaut's films, Georges Delerue.

But it's her marriage to Corin Redgrave that forms the heart of the programme. She talks movingly about living with Corin during the final years of his life, after he suffered a brain injury and lost a great deal of memory. There were huge challenges for them both. And one of the losses, at first, was music - he could not bear to listen. But there came a moment when Kika sat at the piano, and Corin responded to her playing.

Her choices include Beethoven's 'Spring' Violin Sonata, in which she used to accompany her father, the actor David Markham; a song from 'Guys and Dolls'; and the love duet from Handel's 'Rodelinda'.

Producer: Elizabeth Burke

A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3.

To hear previous episodes of Private Passions, please visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/r3pp/all.

Kim Brandstrup20151101

Kim Brandstrup is one of the leading choreographers of his generation. He talks to Michael Berkeley about his passion for telling stories through music and dance. Born in Denmark, he originally trained in contemporary dance, but he now also works extensively in ballet, as well as film, theatre and opera, for companies including The Royal Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet, the Metropolitan Opera, Glyndebourne and Rambert Dance - and his new piece for them is just opening at Sadler's Wells.

He chooses music from that piece, Schoenberg's Verklarte Nacht, and film scores by Prokofiev and Miles Davis, reflecting his days as a student of film in Copenhagen. He tells Michael how film has influenced his choreography and informed his narrative style.

His other music choices include Bach, and a wonderful, rousing gospel song he remembers from his childhood.

Producer: Jane Greenwood

A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3.

Lucy Winkett20150405

Michael Berkeley talks to the Reverend Lucy Winkett, the Rector of St James's Church, Piccadilly, and formerly Canon Precentor of St Paul's Cathedral, about her lifelong passion for music.

A classically trained soprano, she won a choral scholarship to Cambridge and subsequently studied at the Royal College of Music but gave up a career as a singer for the priesthood. The first woman to sing the Eucharist at St Paul's Cathedral, she tells Michael about the opposition she faced from traditionalist members of the church, how she faced up to it, and the joy of being in charge of music at the Cathedral.

Lucy chooses music she's sung, music that inspires her, and some - rather surprising - music that helps her prepare for Easter Day. Her choices include Gibbons, Messiaen, Rachmaninoff, Bach, and a wonderful piece of early jazz from 'Sister' Wynona Carr.

Producer: Jane Greenwood

A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3.

Mark Miodownik20140831

Mark Miodownik2014083120150823 (R3)

From concrete to chocolate and teacups to tennis racquets, it's the everyday stuff of life that fascinates Mark Miodownik. He's Professor of Materials and Society at University College London where he is also Director of the Institute of Making, a research hub for scientists, designers, engineers, artists, architects - and musicians. A passionate communicator about the vital role of science in society, he's written a bestselling book Stuff Matters; he's the scientist in residence on Dara O'Briain's Science Club on BBC2; and he's listed by The Times as one of the 100 most influential scientists in the UK.

Mark is fascinated by how materials influence the way music sounds, and talks to Michael Berkeley about brass bands, tuning forks and how love can bloom over playing the saw. His musical choices include Bach, film music by Morricone, Scott Joplin and a little known piece for brass band by Holst.

Mark Miodownik2014083120150823 (R3)

From concrete to chocolate and teacups to tennis racquets, it's the everyday stuff of life that fascinates Mark Miodownik. He's Professor of Materials and Society at University College London where he is also Director of the Institute of Making, a research hub for scientists, designers, engineers, artists, architects - and musicians. A passionate communicator about the vital role of science in society, he's written a bestselling book Stuff Matters; he's the scientist in residence on Dara O'Briain's Science Club on BBC2; and he's listed by The Times as one of the 100 most influential scientists in the UK.

Mark is fascinated by how materials influence the way music sounds, and talks to Michael Berkeley about brass bands, tuning forks and how love can bloom over playing the saw. His musical choices include Bach, film music by Morricone, Scott Joplin and a little known piece for brass band by Holst.

Martha Lane Fox20160306

Martha Lane Fox20160306

To mark International Women's Day, Michael Berkeley's guest is Martha Lane Fox. At the age of only 25 she co-founded Lastminute.com, which floated at the peak of the dot-com bubble and was sold seven years later for £577m. Since then, Lane Fox was appointed, at 40, the youngest female member of the House of Lords (she's a cross-bencher) and the Chancellor of the Open University. She's also championed digital inclusivity and has recently founded Doteveryone. Voted one of the most powerful women in Britain by Woman's Hour, she has a mission to make the internet industry more open to other women - as she says:

'The "internet industry" is only 30 years old. Yet what is supposed to be a democratising force is built on a platform of profound gender imbalance. Women occupy just 17 per cent of tech jobs in the UK. The people building the internet, the services we all use, are overwhelmingly men. We have a national digital skills crisis. There are 600,000 vacancies in the sector, forecast to rise to 1m by 2020. If we do not understand why, and try to rectify it, we are missing out on half the talent pool.'

In Private Passions, Martha Lane Fox talks to Michael Berkeley about how and why, as the daughter of an Oxford don and gardening writer, she came to be a pioneer of the internet industry. She reveals her passion for karaoke. And she talks about the effect on her life of a car accident in Morocco. Music choices include Beethoven's Fidelio, Chopin's Nocturnes, Verdi's La Traviata, Scott Joplin, Ella Fitzgerald and Judy Garland's 'Get Happy' - a personal anthem.

Martha Lane Fox20160306

To mark International Women's Day, Michael Berkeley's guest is Martha Lane Fox. At the age of only 25 she co-founded Lastminute.com, which floated at the peak of the dot-com bubble and was sold seven years later for £577m. Since then, Lane Fox was appointed, at 40, the youngest female member of the House of Lords (she's a cross-bencher) and the Chancellor of the Open University. She's also championed digital inclusivity and has recently founded Doteveryone. Voted one of the most powerful women in Britain by Woman's Hour, she has a mission to make the internet industry more open to other women - as she says:

'The "internet industry" is only 30 years old. Yet what is supposed to be a democratising force is built on a platform of profound gender imbalance. Women occupy just 17 per cent of tech jobs in the UK. The people building the internet, the services we all use, are overwhelmingly men. We have a national digital skills crisis. There are 600,000 vacancies in the sector, forecast to rise to 1m by 2020. If we do not understand why, and try to rectify it, we are missing out on half the talent pool.'

In Private Passions, Martha Lane Fox talks to Michael Berkeley about how and why, as the daughter of an Oxford don and gardening writer, she came to be a pioneer of the internet industry. She reveals her passion for karaoke. And she talks about the effect on her life of a car accident in Morocco. Music choices include Beethoven's Fidelio, Chopin's Nocturnes, Verdi's La Traviata, Scott Joplin, Ella Fitzgerald and Judy Garland's 'Get Happy' - a personal anthem.

Melanie Reid20160327

For Easter Sunday, Michael Berkeley's guest is Melanie Reid, who writes a weekly column in The Times about her life as a tetraplegic. Six years ago, on Good Friday 2010, she was out cross-country riding in the Scottish countryside near her home in Stirlingshire. The horse refused a jump and she was thrown off - flipping her body. She broke her neck and back. Since then Melanie Reid has been paralysed from the armpits down.

When you're well and young, or young at heart, and busy devouring life, working, playing, laughing, eating, drinking, you assume you're in control. Things change though when the world topples from its axis and your glorious certitude that tomorrow will be as good as today is exposed as pitiful complacency.

In Private Passions, Melanie Reid talks about adjusting to life after her accident, 'a painful rebirth'. Although music has been important to her since childhood, after the accident she found that for several years she could not listen to it - the emotional effect was unbearable. Now, though, she finds music inspiring and sustaining. Her choices include Jacqueline du Pré playing Bach's 1st Cello Suite; Beethoven's 'Emperor' Concerto; Gustav Holst's 'Planets' Suite, Nielsen's Violin Concerto, and Strauss's 'Four Last Songs'.

In an inspiring conclusion to the programme, Melanie Reid talks about the happiness she has re-found recently, and the way her life has slowed down so that she can appreciate the beauty of nature, and the changing seasons. And she pays tribute to her loving husband and son, who both play the bagpipes - a cue to play a very untraditional take on the pipes from the Red Hot Chilli Pipers.

Produced by Elizabeth Burke

A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 3.

Melly Still20160410

is a theatre and opera director whose work has been described as inventive, ambitious and magical. She stages the unstageable - mermaids, angels animals, underwater realms - putting whole worlds of myth and magic into the theatre or opera house.

She came to fame 10 years ago with Coram Boy at the National - the play about Handel, his Messiah and the Foundling Hospital. Since then she's directed at the Proms and Glyndebourne, and her new production of Cymbeline for the RSC opens later this month.

And music is central to her private life too, with two pianists and a DJ in her family.

She chooses music by Dvorak, Janacek and Wagner associated with her theatre and opera productions, jazz performed by her partner, and tantalizing music performed on instruments made of ice.

Producer: Jane Greenwood

A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 3.

Mona Siddiqui20150719

Muslim theologian Mona Siddiqui talks to Michael Berkeley about her passion for piano music, how she came to love classical music through the cinema, and the sometimes controversial role of music in Islam.

Mona Siddiqui was born in Karachi, but she moved to Britain with her family at the age of four and was brought up in Huddersfield. She's now Professor of Islamic and Interreligious Studies at Edinburgh University. She's a distinguished scholar, but above all she's a communicator, with a regular slot on Thought for the Day. Her latest book, My Way: A Muslim Woman's Journey, is a moving account of how her faith has shaped her life.

She's a leading voice for moderate Islam, unafraid to address the complex and controversial issues facing the Muslim community.

Her choices include piano music by Liszt and Tchaikovsky, an aria from Madame Butterfly, music from Schindler's List, and a ghazal song from Pakistan sung by Mehdi Hassan.

Producer: Jane Greenwood

A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3.

Northern Lights: Sara Wheeler20151206

As part of Radio 3's Northern Lights season, Michael Berkeley's guest is the award-winning writer on the Polar Regions, Sara Wheeler.

Sara Wheeler spent years resisting the magnetic North. She established her reputation with books about the South Pole, where the American Government appointed her writer-in-residence: she is the only person to have slept on Captain Scott's bunk, apart from that great Antarctic explorer of course. Her book about the Antarctic became an international best-seller, and she went on to write a biography of another Antarctic explorer, Apsley Cherry-Garrard. So it was not till middle age that she realized she couldn't resist the pull of the North Pole. Her book 'The Magnetic North' draws on journeys through Russia, Canada and Greenland, staying with the people who live within the Arctic Circle. She says 'The Antarctic, with its purity and beauty, symbolizes what the earth could be; the Arctic, which is peopled and polluted, symbolizes what the earth actually is. I was desperately trying to avoid the Arctic, but I realized as the years went by that for all its problems it was too important a part of the contemporary world for a writer to ignore.'

For Private Passions, Sara Wheeler has compiled a playlist of music inspired by the sounds of the Arctic: the calls of Arctic birds, the sound of ice cracking. She includes rare archive of music made by indigenous peoples in Greenland, recorded in igloos there at the beginning of the 20th century, but very similar to the music she heard herself when travelling a few years ago. Composers include Prokofiev, Tippett, Vaughan Williams and Einojuhani Rautavaara, whose 'Cantus Arcticus' captures the sound of Arctic birds.

Owen Sheers20151025

Owen Sheers20151025

Owen Sheers' career as a poet began aged 10, when he won a competition at Abergavenny Show for a poem in which he found a rhyme for "orange" - a mountain in the Brecon Beacons called the Blorenge. He says: "I won 50p and thought, 'there's money in this poetry game'. I've since been proved wrong."

He persisted with the poetry, publishing his first volume fresh out of university, and rapidly becoming one of Britain's most successful poets, as well as writing prolifically for theatre, television and radio and enjoying great success as a novelist - his latest book I Saw a Man was published earlier this year.

Owen Sheers is a writer who likes to get away from his desk, and he tells Michael about his delight at being Artist in Residence at the Welsh Rugby Union, and about his collaboration with composer Mark Bowden, which took him to Cern's Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.

He has chosen music from Haydn's Creation, one of Bach's Celllo Suites (which features in his first novel), music by Keith Jarrett and a favourite Welsh folk song.

Producer: Jane Greenwood

A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3.

Owen Sheers20151025

Owen Sheers' career as a poet began aged 10, when he won a competition at Abergavenny Show for a poem in which he found a rhyme for "orange" - a mountain in the Brecon Beacons called the Blorenge. He says: "I won 50p and thought, 'there's money in this poetry game'. I've since been proved wrong."

He persisted with the poetry, publishing his first volume fresh out of university, and rapidly becoming one of Britain's most successful poets, as well as writing prolifically for theatre, television and radio and enjoying great success as a novelist - his latest book I Saw a Man was published earlier this year.

Owen Sheers is a writer who likes to get away from his desk, and he tells Michael about his delight at being Artist in Residence at the Welsh Rugby Union, and about his collaboration with composer Mark Bowden, which took him to Cern's Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.

He has chosen music from Haydn's Creation, one of Bach's Celllo Suites (which features in his first novel), music by Keith Jarrett and a favourite Welsh folk song.

Producer: Jane Greenwood

A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3.

Phyllida Law20140727

Phyllida Law2014072720150426 (R3)

burst onto the stage in the mid 1950s and since then her career has spanned everything from the first British production of The Crucible, to musicals such as La Cage aux Folles and television including Dixon of Dock Green and Rumpole, not to mention a list of films as long as your arm, The Time Machine and The Winter Guest being just two.

Alongside all that she's somehow managed to fit in bringing up her two highly successful daughters Emma and Sophie Thompson, both of whom have followed in her footsteps. Recently she's turned her hand to writing, and she talks to Michael Berkeley about her moving and funny memoirs of the years she spent looking after her mother and mother-in-law in their old age.

Her music choices include Glenn Gould playing Bach, Schubert's Fantasia in F Minor and a joyous Malinese song introduced to her by her grandson which always gets her up and dancing.

First broadcast 27/07/2014.

Rachel Nicholson20150628

Rachel Nicholson has an extraordinary artistic background: her mother was Barbara Hepworth, her father Ben Nicholson. Yet despite, perhaps because of, the burden of that parentage, she herself did not begin to paint until she was in her forties. Now in her early eighties, she's established a reputation as a painter of rhythmically beautiful landscapes and still lifes; her work influenced perhaps by her father's sense of space and colour, but very much her own.

She paints every day in an attic studio in North London; for Private Passions she invited Michael Berkeley to her studio and gave a rare interview, revealing the central role music has played for her, right from earliest childhood. Rachel Nicholson has synaesthesia, which means that when she listens to music, she sees colours; so music provides inspiration when she's stuck, or searching for a new colour palette. She remembers sitting on the stairs listening to the music drifting from her mother's studio, but it was no ordinary childhood: Rachel was a triplet, and the babies were sent to a nursing college to be looked after as infants. Only later did she return home with a nanny from the college, and then she was sent away again to school. She was so excited when she first heard Bach's B Minor Mass at Dartington Hall School that she spent all her pocket money going to every performance. Other music choices include Haydn, Scarlatti, Handel, Schubert, Mozart, John Adams, and Priaulx Rainier - a composer who was a close friend of Barbara Hepworth's, and whom Rachel Nicholson remembers well.

A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3

Produced by Elizabeth Burke.

Richard Mabey20110206
Richard Mabey20110206

Michael Berkeley's guest this week is Richard Mabey, who has been described as 'Britain's greatest living nature writer'. His first book, 'Food for Free', came out in 1972, and since then he has published a stream of acclaimed books including a biography of Gilbert White, which won the 1986 Whitbread Biography of the Year', the ground-breaking bestseller 'Flora Britannica' (1996), and his latest book 'Weeds' (2010). He contributes frequently to BBC radio, wrote and narrated the 1996 BBC TV series 'Postcards from the Country', and has made films for the BBC on Kew Gardens and the Yorkshire Dales. He is currently working on a book about Flora Thompson, author of 'Lark Rise to Candleford'.

His musical passions are wide-ranging, from a charming madrigal by John Dowland (which reminds him of his schooldays) and George Butterworth's poignant setting of Housman's 'Is my team ploughing?' to a modern setting of a First World War protest song, an improvisation by clarinettist David Rothenberg and two colleagues over the song of marsh warblers, 'The Quail' from Canteloube's 'Songs of the Auvergne', a male-voice choir from a Corsican hill-town singing a traditional song, and two contrasting pieces from Latin America, including one played by the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela.

Robert Cohan20150322

is the founding father of contemporary dance in Britain. Born in Brooklyn in 1925, he was first struck by the power of dance whilst on leave from serving in France during the Second World War, when he was taken to see a ballet at Sadler's Wells. Back in New York in 1946, a single modern dance class at the Martha Graham studio convinced him of his vocation. He worked with Graham for almost two decades before moving to London in the late sixties, to found what became the London Contemporary Dance Theatre. Cohan defined the style of British contemporary dance with his breadth of vision, challenging physical style and inspirational teaching. And virtually all the major figures in 20th-century choreography have been influenced by Cohan - Siobhan Davies and Richard Alston to name just two.

Ahead of his 90th birthday celebrations at The Place, Robert Cohan talks to Michael Berkeley about the music that's inspired him during his extraordinary career. He movingly recalls his time on active duty in France, including the time when a can of ham and eggs saved his life by deflecting shrapnel. He reveals the sometimes tempestuous reality of working with Martha Graham, and shares his plans for his tenth decade in dance.

He shares his love for Elgar, Vivaldi and Prokofiev, but also celebrates the music of less well known composers Barry Guy, Alan Hovhaness, Jon Keliehor, and Eleanor Alberga.

Produced by Jane Greenwood.

A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3.

Robert Harris20160207

Robert Harris made his name with Fatherland, a thriller which imagined what life would have been like in Britain had Hitler won the War. It sold over three million copies, was translated round the world, and became the first of three films inspired by his books. He went on to write thrillers about the Enigma Code, the financial crash, the Dreyfus Affair, and the destruction of Pompeii. And Ghost, a memorable book and film about a ghost-writer to a politician who closely resembles Tony Blair. Robert Harris's most recent book is Dictator and it completes a trilogy about the Roman politician and philosopher Cicero, a project which has preoccupied him for 12 years.

In Private Passions, he talks to Michael Berkeley about the underlying theme running through his work: what really interests him is power, and the rise and fall of political fortunes. He looks back on the extraordinary overnight success of Fatherland, and its less than enthusiastic reception in Germany. Robert Harris reveals, too, the importance of music when he is researching a new novel, and shares his excitement at the discovery of composers of the Spanish Baroque. Other music choices include Bach, Beethoven, John Barry, and Amy Winehouse. And a rousing extract from a speech which he believes to be the best piece of political rhetoric ever delivered - we hear why.

A Loftus Media Production for BBC Radio 3

Produced by Elizabeth Burke.

Roger Allam20160501

Roger Allam is an actor equally at home with Shakespeare, musical theatre, detective shows, and comedy on both radio and television. From the Globe Theatre to Game of Thrones, through Endeavour, The Thick of It and Cabin Pressure, to the RSC and the West End, he refuses to be typecast.

He talks to Michael Berkeley about his lifelong passion for music and why he became an actor rather than an opera singer. And he explains how he overcame his initial reservations about the Globe Theatre to play Falstaff there (a performance that won him the Olivier Award for Best Actor).

Roger's musical passions are predominately 20th century, with music by Britten, Messiaen and Ravel, but he also chooses Bach, Schubert and a mesmerising piece of medieval music.

Producer: Jane Greenwood

A Loftus Media Production for BBC Radio 3.

Rory Kinnear20131013

Rory Kinnear2013101320150201 (R3)

Michael Berkeley's guest is the actor Rory Kinnear.

Rory Kinnear is in danger of becoming a national treasure. Audiences across the world know him thanks to two Bond movies, where he plays M15 officer Bill Tanner. He was the journalist in the TV thriller Southcliffe, he was Denis Thatcher in the Margaret Thatcher TV biopic, he's the straight man to Count Arthur Strong... And he's established a reputation as one of our finest Shakespearean actors - his performance as Hamlet at the National Theatre was screened across the UK as part of the National's 50th anniversary celebrations. This summer he played an unforgettably chilling Iago to Adrian Lester's Othello, again at the National. And he's just turned playwright - his first play, The Herd, directed by Howard Davies, has opened in London.

He's a difficult actor to pin down. But in conversation with Michael Berkeley he reveals the man behind the theatrical mask. He talks movingly about his father, the actor Roy Kinnear, who was killed during a film stunt, and how he kept sane after the accident by playing the piano. Rory still plays in rehearsal rooms across the world, grabbing his chance at the piano while the other actors eat lunch. He reveals too that music is the key to his relationship with his sister, who was born with profound disabilities; Rory composes music for her, and plays songs as a way of communicating with her. He works increasingly with musicians, at the Proms last year, and in recordings. And, be warned, every morning he walks across London listening to music on his huge headphones - and singing along at the top of his voice.

Music choices include Mark Padmore singing Bach, Haydn's Trumpet Concerto, a Beethoven violin sonata, Erroll Garner, and Big Rock Candy Mountain.

First broadcast 13/10/2013.

Rory Kinnear2013101320150201 (R3)

Michael Berkeley's guest is the actor Rory Kinnear.

Rory Kinnear is in danger of becoming a national treasure. Audiences across the world know him thanks to two Bond movies, where he plays M15 officer Bill Tanner. He was the journalist in the TV thriller Southcliffe, he was Denis Thatcher in the Margaret Thatcher TV biopic, he's the straight man to Count Arthur Strong... And he's established a reputation as one of our finest Shakespearean actors - his performance as Hamlet at the National Theatre was screened across the UK as part of the National's 50th anniversary celebrations. This summer he played an unforgettably chilling Iago to Adrian Lester's Othello, again at the National. And he's just turned playwright - his first play, The Herd, directed by Howard Davies, has opened in London.

He's a difficult actor to pin down. But in conversation with Michael Berkeley he reveals the man behind the theatrical mask. He talks movingly about his father, the actor Roy Kinnear, who was killed during a film stunt, and how he kept sane after the accident by playing the piano. Rory still plays in rehearsal rooms across the world, grabbing his chance at the piano while the other actors eat lunch. He reveals too that music is the key to his relationship with his sister, who was born with profound disabilities; Rory composes music for her, and plays songs as a way of communicating with her. He works increasingly with musicians, at the Proms last year, and in recordings. And, be warned, every morning he walks across London listening to music on his huge headphones - and singing along at the top of his voice.

Music choices include Mark Padmore singing Bach, Haydn's Trumpet Concerto, a Beethoven violin sonata, Erroll Garner, and Big Rock Candy Mountain.

First broadcast 13/10/2013.

Rose Tremain20160515

Rose Tremain is one of our finest writers, and her bestselling books - both novels and short stories - are garlanded with prizes. She defies categorisation and is equally at home with historical and contemporary fiction: she has created characters as diverse as Merivel, the physician turned fool at the court of Charles II; a 19th-century gold miner in New Zealand; and a transsexual growing up in rural Suffolk.

Rose talks to Michael Berkeley about her latest novel, The Gustav Sonata, the story of a long and loving relationship between someone who is profoundly musical and somebody who isn't. She chooses music which inspired the story and which features in it: by Schubert, Beethoven and Mahler, as well as music she loved as a teenager and as a student in Paris.

And Rose remembers her inspirational piano teacher, Joyce Hatto, whose career ended in disappointment and scandal many years later.

Producer: Jane Greenwood

A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 3.

Rose Tremain20160515

Rose Tremain20160515

Rose Tremain is one of our finest writers, and her bestselling books - both novels and short stories - are garlanded with prizes. She defies categorisation and is equally at home with historical and contemporary fiction: she has created characters as diverse as Merivel, the physician turned fool at the court of Charles II; a 19th-century gold miner in New Zealand; and a transsexual growing up in rural Suffolk.

Rose talks to Michael Berkeley about her latest novel, The Gustav Sonata, the story of a long and loving relationship between someone who is profoundly musical and somebody who isn't. She chooses music which inspired the story and which features in it: by Schubert, Beethoven and Mahler, as well as music she loved as a teenager and as a student in Paris.

And Rose remembers her inspirational piano teacher, Joyce Hatto, whose career ended in disappointment and scandal many years later.

Producer: Jane Greenwood

A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 3.

Rose Tremain20160515

Sarah Hall20150329

A husband and wife go for a walk in the woods; full of energy, the wife starts to walk on the tips of her toes - suddenly she takes off, across the forest. Startled, the husband calls out to her - but too late. She has transformed herself into a fox. If that unsettling story sounds familiar, it's because it won the BBC National Short story award in 2013; you might have heard Mrs Fox read on Radio 4.

Its author, Sarah Hall, was already an accomplished novelist. She was born in Cumbria in 1974, and her first novel, Haweswater, won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Novel, among other prizes. The awards have come thick and fast for every book since. She's been shortlisted and longlisted for the Booker Prize, with The Electric Michelangelo and How to Paint a Dead Man, and her 2007 novel, The Carhullan Army, was listed as one of The Times' 100 Best Books of the Decade.

Sarah's latest novel, The Wolf Border, about a plan to reintroduce wolves to the north of England, is published this month.

Sarah's music choices include Puccini, the Welsh lullaby Suo Gan, Dvorak's Song to the Moon, and others that reflect her love of bluegrass and film music.

Producer: Jane Greenwood

A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3.

Stephen Grosz20140803

Stephen Grosz2014080320150510 (R3)

waited until he was 60 to publish his first book, 'The Examined Life'. It was a huge overnight success - a bestseller here in Britain and translated into more than 20 languages across the world. It's a distillation of the lifetime he has spent as a psychoanalyst, tens of thousands of hours listening to people in hospitals, forensic clinics and in private practice. It reads like a collection of short stories, full of vignettes of memorable characters: the man who faked his own death, the pathological liar, the lovesick middle-aged woman who meets a man at a party - and turns up at his house the next week with a removals van to move in with him.

In Private Passions, in conversation with Michael Berkeley, Stephen Grosz tells his own story: his childhood in Chicago, the son of immigrants who ran a grocery store; student days in radical Berkeley; and now, settled in Britain, how he's facing the challenges of fatherhood and ageing. Music has played an important part right from the beginning, and Grosz admits that his choice of music is very psychologically revealing.

His musical choices include Scarlatti, Aaron Copland, Brahms's 3rd Symphony, gospel singer Bessie Jones, Schubert's Piano Sonata no 20, Bob Dylan - and a hilarious Alberta Hunter song about sex, My Handy Man Ain't Handy No More.

Produced by Elizabeth Burke. A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3.

First broadcast 03/08/2014

To hear previous episodes of Private Passions, please visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/r3pp/all.

Sunil Khilnani20160320

Professor Sunil Khilnani is the Director of the India Institute at King's College London and the presenter of Radio 4's epic history of India: 'Incarnations: India in 50 Lives.' His books include an accompaniment to the series and the acclaimed The Idea of India.

He talks to Michael Berkeley about his musical passions, which reflect a life lived all over the world, and chooses music by Mozart, Berg and Beethoven, as well as a ghazal from 13th century India; a piece of southern Indian classical music played on the saxophone; and a joyful piece of African music from his childhood.

Running through his music are the ideas of compression and the perfection of the miniature - themes that emerge time and time again in the cultural history of India in the lives of poets, musicians and miniature painters.

Producer: Jane Greenwood

A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 3.

Tanita Tikaram20160605

Tanita Tikaram became an overnight success when she was only a teenager; her debut album "Ancient Heart" sold four million copies in the late 80s and gave her hit singles like 'Twist in My Sobriety'. Since then she's gone on to release eight more albums, with some rather interesting silences in between - when she almost gave up on music altogether. She's currently touring Europe with her ninth album, 'Closer to the People'.

In Private Passions, Tanita Tikaram talks to Michael Berkeley about the effect of that massive early success, and about going to live in Italy to escape the rock music world. It was a wilderness moment, when she wasn't even sure she should be a musician. At this point, in her 30s, she began to discover classical music, through the work of legendary performers like pianists Rosalyn Tureck and Clara Haskil. She talks about how Bach opened up a new musical world to her, and how listening to classical music - and taking classical singing lessons - helps her find her "groove" when she is composing her own songs.

With Bach, Vivaldi, Ravel, Mozart's Piano Concerto No.23, Canteloube's Songs of the Auvergne, and Duke Ellington.

Produced by Elizabeth Burke

A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 3.

Tanita Tikaram20160605

Tim Rice20150503

has written the lyrics for some of the most successful musicals of our generation: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat... Jesus Christ Superstar... Evita... For 45 years he has been creating hit songs, collaborating first and famously with Andrew Lloyd Webber, then with Abba, Elton John, Freddy Mercury and Madonna. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, thanks to the success of his songs in Disney movies such as The Lion King, Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast. A three-time Oscar winner, he has been knighted for services to music.

In Private Passions, he talks to Michael Berkeley about the process of lyric-writing, about why it's an extraordinary experience to work with Elton John, and about what it is that makes a successful song lyric. He also reveals that his early ambition was to be a pop star, and that he started out as a singer - in fact, he recorded a single.

Music choices include a satirical operetta by Offenbach, Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Vaughan Williams's London Symphony, The Swan of Tuonela by Sibelius, Malcolm Arnold's Peterloo Overture and Britten's arrangement of the folk song The Plough Boy. And Tim Rice ends by revealing which is his favourite musical of all - music his father introduced him to as a boy: My Fair Lady.

Produced by Elizabeth Burke

A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3.

Val Mcdermid20150906

is one of the biggest names in crime writing. Her novels - 30 so far - have sold over 10 million copies worldwide and have been translated into 30 languages. But in Private Passions she reveals that what she really wanted to be early on was a singer. As a teenager she played the guitar and sang in folk clubs, though hampered by the fact that she never managed to learn to read music, though she tried both as a child and an adult. But she still sings, with the poet Jackie Kay and with other friends.

In Private Passions, Val McDermid talks about the creative inspiration she finds in music, and how listening to music can cure writer's block. She chooses music connected with the sea - Vaughan Williams's Sea Symphony. Having been brought up by the sea on the East Coast of Scotland, she has never been able to be happy away from the sea. She includes the piece of Villa Lobos which opened up classical music to her, and a Robert Burns song which her father used to sing. Other choices include Bruch, Kurt Weill, Janacek, Mozart's Requiem and Philip Glass.

Produced by Elizabeth Burke

A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3.

Virginia Ironside20150816

Agony aunt, novelist and stand-up Virginia Ironside talks to Michael Berkeley about her favourite music, the Swinging Sixties, ukuleles, and growing old disgracefully.

Virginia has worked for pretty much every British national newspaper, and currently answers readers' dilemmas in the Independent as well as writing a monthly column for the Oldie and a series of books - full of warmth and humour - about the perils and joys of getting older.

And she's playing the Edinburgh Festival with her one woman show Growing Old Disgracefully.

Her favourite music includes Schubert, Strauss, Paul McCartney, and the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, of which her son is a member.

Producer: Jane Greenwood

A Loftus Production for BBC Radio 3.

Why Music? Weekend: Frank Wilczek20150927

Why Music? Weekend: Frank Wilczek20150927

As part of Radio 3's Why Music? weekend, Michael Berkeley talks to the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Frank Wilczek. Frank Wilczek was brought up in Queens, New York, the son of a radio repairman. By the time he was a teenager it was clear that he was a mathematical prodigy. By the time he was 21, he was doing the ground-breaking research which won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2004. He's currently Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and he has a great mission to explain his work to a general public. He's intrigued by questions which have as much to do with philosophy as mathematics; his latest book explores beauty, including the beauty of art and music. Why are we so drawn to harmony? Is there in fact a 'music of the spheres' all around us, which we're not able to hear but which particle physics can detect?

In Private Passions, Professor Wilczek talks to Michael Berkeley about the 'deep geometry' of the world, and how this beautiful symmetry is revealed in music. He describes vividly the excitement of the scientific research which brought him the Nobel Prize: sleepless nights, skipped meals, too many cigarettes - and then the ideas which came to him while he was lying in the bathtub. A true Eureka! moment.

Frank Wilczek is a keen piano player and accordionist, and plays drums in a rock band. His music choices include Bach, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Queen, and Gilbert and Sullivan's opera - for which he has written some alternative comical lyrics celebrating the Hadron Collider.

Why Music? Weekend: Frank Wilczek20150927

As part of Radio 3's Why Music? weekend, Michael Berkeley talks to the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Frank Wilczek. Frank Wilczek was brought up in Queens, New York, the son of a radio repairman. By the time he was a teenager it was clear that he was a mathematical prodigy. By the time he was 21, he was doing the ground-breaking research which won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2004. He's currently Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and he has a great mission to explain his work to a general public. He's intrigued by questions which have as much to do with philosophy as mathematics; his latest book explores beauty, including the beauty of art and music. Why are we so drawn to harmony? Is there in fact a 'music of the spheres' all around us, which we're not able to hear but which particle physics can detect?

In Private Passions, Professor Wilczek talks to Michael Berkeley about the 'deep geometry' of the world, and how this beautiful symmetry is revealed in music. He describes vividly the excitement of the scientific research which brought him the Nobel Prize: sleepless nights, skipped meals, too many cigarettes - and then the ideas which came to him while he was lying in the bathtub. A true Eureka! moment.

Frank Wilczek is a keen piano player and accordionist, and plays drums in a rock band. His music choices include Bach, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Queen, and Gilbert and Sullivan's opera - for which he has written some alternative comical lyrics celebrating the Hadron Collider.