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As Classic FM prepares to celebrate its 20th birthday, we reflect on some of the inspirational and influential stars and classical musicians that we have been lucky enough to meet.
Classic FM's Anne-Marie Minhall spoke to André Previn about his success and influence as conductor, pianist and composer. André left his native Germany in 1938 to live in Paris and to subsequently settle in Los Angeles in 1940. He soon found himself orchestrating film scores at MGM and in 1962 made his official conducting début with the St Louis Symphony Orchestra, which led to numerous engagements with orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra. Picture: Getty
"Music helped me survive my childhood” Lang Lang tells Classic FM when we caught up with him in 2011. Dubbed “the hottest artist on the classical music planet” by the New York Times, classical pianist Lang Lang has set the classical music world alight. In a generous interview with Classic FM, he spoke openly about his childhood, family and aiming high.
Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli spoke to Classic FM in November 2010, explaining that routine is the key to coping with such a gruelling programme "My preparation is rather like that of an athlete." Born in September 1958, Andrea’s musical talents were encouraged by his parents, allowing him to study piano from the age of six and later extending his studies to the flute and saxophone. But it was Andrea’s voice that was to be his ideal instrument and his participation in Luciano Pavarotti's 1992 hit, Miserere, and Fornaciari's 1993 world tour brought him international attention.
Superstar singer, songwriter and producer Gary Barlow taught himself how to play the piano at the age of ten. Having spent his teenage years gigging in the north east of England, he rose to fame as a member of Take That in the 1990’s. He is a prolific songwriter and collaborator and has won many awards, including 5 Ivor Novellos and has written for numerous stars including Katherine Jenkins, Russell Watson, Elton John, Donny Osmond, Charlotte Church and Elaine Page to name a few. Here, Gary Barlow visits the Classic FM studios to talk to Anne-Marie Minhall in a Guest List Special.
In a revealing interview with Classic FM, Romanian Soprano Angela Gheorghiu spoke to Nick Ferrari all about her upbringing in Romania, the joys of motherhood and what opera means to her.
Anne-Marie Minhall interviewed world leading tenor Placido Domingo for Classic FM. Born in 1941, Spanish tenor Domingo was taken by his family to Mexico in 1950 where he studied the piano, conducting and singing under Igor Markevich. His first important tenor role was Alfredo in Monterrey, Mexico, in 1961, the same year that he made his American début as Arturo (Lucia di Lammermoor) in Dallas. While he has undertaken a wide range of roles, Domingo became particularly identified with Verdi’s Otello.
In an interview with Nick Ferrari about Love Never Dies, his sequel to The Phantom Of The Opera, Andrew Lloyd Webber told Classic FM “Everything to do with it from the design, choreography, direction and indeed the performers were very right”.
In a career spanning more than 40 years, British sculptor Antony Gormley has created some of the most iconic modern sculptures that appear across the UK's landscape today including the Angel of the North in Gateshead and Iron: Man in Birmingham.
Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel spoke to Classic FM about his album 'Bad Boy' that features 16 arias including works from Verdi, Gerswhin and Sweeney Todd.
"Beethoven’s music is as valid today as it has always been" conductor Daniel Barenboim told Classic FM. Barenboim is renowned for his longstanding relationships with some of the world's finest orchestras - the Chicago Symphony, the Berlin Staatskapelle, and the Berlin Philharmonic, as well as the Berlin Staatsoper Unter den Linden, where he was artistic director for many years. Barenboim was one of the first musicians in the modern era to revive the idea of performing Mozart’s piano concertos without a conductor, directing them instead from the keyboard - as Mozart himself used to do.
This Oscar winning actress Angelina Jolie is the daughter of Academy Award-winning actor Jon Voight. With her portrayal as video game heroine Lara Croft: Tomb Raider in 2001 she achieved international recognition and resulted in her becoming one of the highest paid actresses in Holywood.
Film director and producer Danny Boyle was interviewed by Anne-Marie Minhall. Until recently he was best known for his box office hits Slumdog Millionaire and Trainspotting. Having masterminded the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, Danny Boyle again demonstrated his remarkable versatility and and firmly fixed as a truly great British talent
In 2011 Classic FM spoke to Hans Zimmer about composing the score for Sherlock Holmes. Born in Germany in 1957, the composer and producer began his career in London writing jingles for commercials before moving to America in 1985. He has composed numerous scores for film and his work has been recognised at many prestigious award ceremonies including winning an Oscar and a Golden Globe for The Lion King, a Grammy for Crimson Tide, a Golden Globe for Gladiator, and a Grammy for The Dark Knight.
Classic FM's Anne-Marie Minhall interviewed British jazz sensation Jamie Cullum. Jamie released his first album in 1999 and attracted interest from the likes of Michael Parkinson and Melvyn Bragg with the release of his album Pointless Nostalgi in 2002. He made his TV debut on Parkinson in 2003 resulting in a £1m record deal with Universal.
Anne-Marie Minhall spoke to one of Britains most famous actors, Daniel Craig. He has starred as James Bond in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace and alongside playing Bond he has starred in a number of Holywood hits including The Girl with the Dragon Tatto, Cowboys and Aliens and The Golden Compass.
Front man of pop band Blur, whose line-up includes Classic FM’s very own Alex James, spoke to Anne-Marie Minhall. Damon Albarn is a prolific composer and collaborator. From the hugely successful Gorillaz, through to his most recent project African Express, Albarn’s genre defying work combines unique sounds which both challenge and breakdown musical boundaries.
TV personality David Frost spoke to Classic FM's Anne-Marie Minhall. David is best-known as a political commentator and journalist. His most notable political interview was with Richard Nixon. In 1977 David Frost recorded and broadcast a series of interviews with former United States President Richard Nixon. The Nixon Interviews became the subject of the play Frost/Nixon, which was later made into a film staring Michael Sheen as David Frost and Frank Langella as Richard Nixon.
One of the world’s greatest tenors, Classic FM's John Brunning and Anne-Marie Minhall have had the privilege of interviewing the late, great Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti on a number of occasions.
Composer Sir John Tavener cites that hearing Stravinsky’s Canticum Sacrum on the radio in 1956, made a lasting impression. Classic FM's Anne-Marie Minhall had the pleasure of interviewing this prolific composer. All of Tavener’s works are hand-written on manuscript paper, either in ink or pencil. He is best known for religious, minimal works such as The Whale which was performed at the inaugural concert of the London Sinfonietta in 1966 at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London.
Classic FM was lucky enough to interview Britain’s best known natural history film-maker and legendary broadcaster in 2011 where he spoke to us about his love of classical music and its ‘primal’ power.