Classic FM marks Sir Neville Marriner's 90th birthday with 24-hour takeover

26 February 2014, 09:00 | Updated: 26 February 2014, 12:03

Classic FM has announced a major celebration of Sir Neville Marriner to mark the British conductor's 90th birthday.

For the first time in its 21-year history, Classic FM will play one conductor's recordings for an entire 24-hour period. On Tuesday 15th April - Sir Neville’s birthday - every single piece of music broadcast on Classic FM will be conducted by him, as the station honours this remarkable musician.

Preceding this unique takeover, from Saturday 29th March Classic FM will devote a week of special programmes to the conductor. Neville Marriner at 90 Week will culminate in an exclusive broadcast of Sir Neville's 90th birthday concert on Friday 4th April from the Royal Festival Hall with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields - the ensemble he founded in 1958. Sir Neville has worked with the Academy for over fifty years and remains Life President.

The celebratory week will include an interview with Sir Neville and his son, the clarinettist Andrew Marriner, both of whom will be guests on Charlotte Green's Culture Club on Sunday 30th March (3pm to 5pm). The programme will also feature an interview with the current Music Director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, violinist Joshua Bell. Later that evening (7pm to 9pm), David Mellor will present an affectionate tribute to the conductor with some of his finest archive recordings.

From Monday 31st March, Jane Jones will host five special Full Works Concerts (8pm to 10pm), dedicated to profiling the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. On Monday, Jane begins with an exclusive broadcast of a concert recorded for Classic FM at London's Cadogan Hall in January, which sees Joshua Bell lead the orchestra in Bach's Violin Concerto in E and Beethoven's Symphony No.3 ('Eroica'). From Tuesday to Thursday, many of Sir Neville's most acclaimed recordings with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields will be played, whilst on Friday the celebrations continue with the broadcast of the conductor's 90th birthday concert, recorded on Tuesday 1st April at the Royal Festival Hall with the Academy.

Further celebrations during the week will include a special edition of Saturday Night at the Movies with Howard Goodall (5pm to 7pm) in which the film score discography of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields will be profiled, while Classic FM morning presenter John Suchet will feature the orchestra's brand new recording of Mozart's Piano Concertos Nos. 14 and 27 with pianist Ingrid Jacoby, conducted by Sir Neville, as Classic FM's Album of the Week.

Online at, listeners will be invited to vote for an additional piece for the Academy to perform at its concert on the 20th May at the Church of St Martin in the Fields where it held its first concert in 1958. The concert will also be recorded for exclusive broadcast on Classic FM and will showcase the best of Neville Marriner and the Academy, with discussion from the stage hosted by Classic FM’s David Mellor interspersed with pieces the orchestra has long been associated with.

Sir Neville Marriner said: “I am delighted that Classic FM is helping me to celebrate my 90th birthday. The Academy has been a major part of my life and I’m looking forward to celebrating over 50 years of working together.”

Sam Jackson, Classic FM’s Managing Editor said: "Sir Neville Marriner is a truly great Briton, whose contribution to classical music over the last 60 years has been genuinely remarkable.  As the nation's classical station, we're delighted to pay this extensive tribute to him, and we know our listeners will love the mix of exclusive concerts, archive recordings and personal tributes to this outstanding conductor."