Top 7 classical music podcasts to add to your playlist

25 March 2020, 15:22 | Updated: 25 March 2020, 15:26

Classical music podcasts
Classical music podcasts. Picture: Classic FM / Switched on Pop / Aria Code

By Helena Asprou

Looking for something to pass the time on your morning commute or while you cook dinner? Here are some of our favourite classical music podcasts

Podcasts have taken the world by storm over the last few years – but did you know it's not all true crime and politics out there? Here are seven classical music podcasts that have caught our eye (and ears)…

Listen to all of the podcasts below on the Classic FM app (for iOS), Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.

Case Notes
Case Notes. Picture: Global Radio

1. Case Notes

Are you intrigued by gruesome crimes and murder mysteries? If so, Case Notes is the podcast for you. Bringing together crime and classical music, this series delves into the depths of music history and uncovers unusual stories about some of the world’s greatest composers. Did you know that one bright spark was so obsessed with black magic that his friends feared for his life?

Produced here at Classic FM and presented by Tim Lihoreau, Case Notes includes original music written by Thomas Hewitt Jones and episodes include The Mystery of Haydn’s Head, The Stolen Stradivarius and The Mystery of Tchaikovsky’s Death. Listen to the latest episodes here.

David Walliams' Marvellous Musical Podcast
David Walliams' Marvellous Musical Podcast. Picture: Classic FM

2 David Walliams' Marvellous Musical Podcast

Mozart may have written wonderful music, but did you know he also loved a good fart joke? Or that Beethoven was so scruffy he was once arrested for being a tramp?

Best-selling children's author and TV personality David Walliams presents each episode of this podcast, produced by Classic FM, bringing to life the stories of the great composers. The episodes introduce children to composers like Mozart, Ethel Smyth, Liszt and Clara Schumann but also cover topics including Ballet, the history of the piano and some of the world's strangest instruments. Find out more and listen to all the episodes here.

Aria Code
Aria Code. Picture: WNYC Studios

3. Aria Code

For the opera aficionados among you, Aria Code is dedicated to exploring some of the most famous and enchanting arias of all time.

Hosted by Grammy Award-winner Rhiannon Giddens and produced in partnership with US classical music radio station WQXR, The Metropolitan Opera and WNYC Studios, this classy affair provides unique insight from the likes of singers Plácido Domingo, Diana Damrau and Sondra Radvanovsky.

Find out more:

Barbican. Picture: Barbican

4. Barbican

The Barbican Centre's podcast is perfectly tailored to the curious culture vulture. Its diverse episodes cover cinema and contemporary music as well as classical music – and each episode lasts for around 20 minutes, making them quick and easy to listen to while on the move.

Hear in-depth discussions on the music of Bernstein, extracts from Beethoven, exclusive tracks from the world’s finest classical performers and American soundscapes from the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. You’ll even have the opportunity to journey down the rabbit hole, exploring Unsuk Chin’s operatic adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. Listen on the Classic FM app, iTunes, Spotify and Acast.

Switched on Pop
Switched on Pop. Picture: Switched on Pop

5. Switched on Pop

Although this podcast describes itself as “a podcast breaking down the music of pop hits”, Switched on Pop is presented by two classical music geeks who are as comfortable talking about Liszt as they are Little Mix..

Co-hosted by Nate Sloan, Assistant Professor in Musicology at USC, and Charlie Harding, a songwriter and producer, Switched on Pop uncovers “a-ha” moments in music and links to the classical genre by posing fun questions like: ‘Does the falsetto in One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful” essentially make them our modern day Castrati?”. Listen on the Classic FM, Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

That Classical Podcast
That Classical Podcast. Picture: Global Radio

6. That Classical Podcast

The Guardian described That Classical Podcast's Kelly and Chris as “the twentysomethings making classical music hilarious”. On each episode the pair share their passion and knowledge of this genre in a refreshingly quirky and witty way.

Aiming to bring classical music to as diverse an audience as possible, their shows include: “Football Opera and Century-Straddlers: The Romantic Period”, “Opium-Cheese Nightmares and ‘Opening-Up Music: Berlioz & Mendelssohn”, and “Tuneful Farts and The Zoomtube: Woodwind”. Catch their latest episodes online at the Classic FM app, and on Spotify.

NACOcast with Sean Rice
NACOcast with Sean Rice. Picture: NAC

7. NACOcast with Sean Rice

With an impressive 30,000 subscribers, Canadian podcaster Sean Rice is truly taking Canada – and the rest of the world – by storm. Second Clarinet in the National Arts Centre (NAC) Orchestra, Sean is no stranger to musical creativity and he shares his unique insights about the orchestra’s concerts.

The NAC, based in Ottawa, Canada, is well known for its commitment to the performing arts and Sean’s podcast does it justice with views from students, analytical pieces delving into Shostakovich’s symphonies, coverage of music awards ceremonies and plenty of news about local talent. Join the conversation over on Spotify.

Listen to these podcasts – and many, many more – here via Global Player.