A Minute with John Brunning

John Brunning's comforting and friendly voice has been a fixture on Classic FM since it first went on air in 1992. We gave him a minute to answer some penetrating questions about his life and career.

John Brunning

If you could sit down and have a coffee with one great composer, who would it be?
J.S. Bach. Since he wrote a 'Coffee Cantata', the music and the beverage should prove equally stimulating.

Who was your favourite ever interviewee or guest?
Luciano Pavarotti. Meeting the great tenor at his summer home in the Italian seaside resort of Pesaro during a break in his Farewell World Tour in 2004 was an unforgettable experience.

Who would be your four perfect dinner party guests?
I like quiet dinner parties, so I’m happiest with a few close friends.

What was your most embarrassing on-air moment?
Giving out my own phone number when I first guest-presented Classic FM Requests! Doh! Worse – no-one called.

What was your first pet?
A budgie called Bobby.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Good old-fashioned English puddings: treacle pudding, bread-and-butter pudding, rhubarb crumble. Any of the above and many more besides served with good custard. And I’m not remotely guilty about it either.

If you could be a musical instrument, which would you be?
A viola. I’ve always had a tendency to empathise with the underdog.

What was the most memorable concert you attended?
Maxim Vengerov playing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with Mstislav Rostrapovich conducting the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican in London.

What’s your favourite way to relax?
Spending a day at our beach hut in the Blackwater estuary with my wife, Jill, and our dog. I enjoy sailing my ‘Topper’ dinghy too.

Which superpower would you like to have?
A photographic memory would be nice.

What's your favourite snack when you're feeling a bit peckish in the Classic FM studio?
A custard tart and a dry cappuccino prepared by Sven, our excellent resident barista.

What ambition are you still to fulfill?
I am keen to see my recently completed concerto for guitar and orchestra performed and recorded.

What is your all-time favourite piece of music:
This is impossible to answer, so all I can say is: today, my favourite piece is the Fauré Requiem.

And your all-time favourite book?
Again, I find this nigh on impossible to answer. I love historical fiction and Barry Unsworth is one of my favourite authors. So I’ll go for ‘Sacred Hunger’.

And film?
I’m not a great film buff, but I particularly enjoyed ‘Cinema Paradiso’.

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