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Peak Performance
BBC Radio 3, tx 10, 17, 24, 31 July 2005, 15.30 – 16.00
Presented by Edward Smith
Produced by Chris Marshall

Four programmes in which England and Middlesex batsman Edward Smith talks to a leading musician about the similarities of approach to performance between the two disciplines of music and sport. The interviews will be illustrated by musical examples played by the interviewee.

The Presenter
Ed SmithCricketer and writer Ed Smith was educated at Cambridge where he scored a hundred on first class debut and took a double first in history. He has played county cricket for Kent and now Middlesex, and three Test matches for England in 2003.

He reviews books for The Sunday Telegraph and The Spectator and writes regularly for The Times. His first book, Playing Hard Ball, a comparison of cricket and baseball, was published to acclaim in 2002 and shortlisted for the WHSmith sports book of the year. On and Off the Field, his second book, a diary of the 2003 season, was shortlisted for the William Hill prize and won Wisden Book of the Year 2005.

Though he has appeared regularly on BBC radio, Peak Performance is the first time he has presented a radio series of his own. In four interviews with leading classical musicians, Ed Smith analyses the similarities between playing sport and playing music at the highest level. In doing so, he explores the nature of what it is like to live life as a performer – the subject of his next book.

Ed Smith is 27 years old and lives in London.

The Interviewees:

Natalie Clein - picture  credit David Crookes Cellist Natalie Clein (tx 10 July)
Natalie Clein, one of the most talented young cellists of her generation, first came to international attention when she won the 1994 BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition at the age of 16 and then went on to become the first ever British winner of the Eurovision Competition for Young Musicians in Warsaw.

She spent four years studying with Heinrich Schiff in Vienna before launching an international career. She has played concertos with many of the major British orchestras, most recently performing the Lutoslawski concerto with the Halle.

A committed chamber musician, she appears regularly at international festivals in collaboration with a wide range of musicians including Martha Argerich, Melvyn Tan, Imogen Cooper, Stephen Kovacevich, Steven Isserlis, clarinettists Michael Collins and Emma Johnson, and the Takacs Quartet.

 

Mark Wigglesworth - picture copyright Blake J. DischerConductor Mark Wigglesworth (tx 17 July)
Mark Wigglesworth, one of Britain’s finest young conductors, studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London before winning the Kondrashin Conducting Competition in the Netherlands in 1989. He has subsequently conducted many of the world’s most famous orchestras, from the Cleveland, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony and the Philadelphia to the Royal Concertgebouw, Berlin Philharmonic, LSO and the LPO.

He has conducted operas at Glyndebourne, Welsh National Opera, ENO and Covent Garden, and this year is conducting Mozart’s `Le nozze di Figaro’ at the New York Met.

He is currently recording the complete Shostakovich symphonies with the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra of Holland.

 

Sarah Connolly - picture credit Peter WarrenSinger Sarah Connolly (tx 24 July)
Sarah Connolly received rave reviews for her recent performance as Sesto in the ENO production of Mozart’s `La clemenza di Tito’. She is developing an international reputation as one of the finest singers of Baroque repertoire: other roles at ENO have included Handel’s Xerxes, Ariodante and Ruggiero (Alcina), Ottavia in Monteverdi’s `L’incornazione di Poppea’, Dido in both `Dido and Aeneas’ and `The Trojans’ and the title-role in Britten’s `The Rape of Lucretia’, which was televised for the BBC.

Abroad she has appeared at the New York City Opera and the Met, at the Paris Opera, the Florence Maggio Musicale and the Salzburg Festival. This season she is singing the title-role in `Giulio Cesare’ at Glyndebourne, and will shortly undertake Oktavian (Der Rosenkavalier), Gluck’s Alceste and Handel’s Dejanira (Hercules).

On the concert platform she has worked with the world’s finest conductors and orchestras, and has given many world premieres of contemporary pieces, including works by Mark-Anthony Turnage and Jonathan Harvey. Her recordings range from Handel arias, Bach cantatas and works by Rameau and Vivaldi to a recital disc of Schoenberg songs.

 

Craig Ogden (left) & Ed SmithGuitarist Craig Ogden (tx 31 July)
Described as `a worthy successor to Julian Bream’, Australian-born Craig Ogden is one of the most exciting young artists of his generation.

He has made many recordings, and has performed concertos with many famous orchestras including the LSO, LPO, RPO, Halle, CBSO, and the Melbourne Symphony. He performs as soloist and chamber musician all over the world, and is currently planning tours of the USA, Australia and South Africa, as well as a busy schedule of recitals throughout the UK.

He is Principal Lecturer in Guitar at the Royal Northern College of Music, where he is a Fellow.

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