30 years of Classic FM: we’re celebrating with birthday concerts, exclusive interviews and more!

31 August 2022, 10:30 | Updated: 31 August 2022, 10:40

We’re celebrating 30 years of Classic FM
We’re celebrating 30 years of Classic FM. Picture: Classic FM
Classic FM

By Classic FM

On 7 September, Classic FM will celebrate its 30th birthday. Here are all the ways we’re marking 30 years of the UK’s favourite classical music radio station.

On Monday 7 September 1992, the ceremonial strains of Handel’s Zadok the Priest announced the arrival of Classic FM, the UK’s first national commercial radio station.

Three decades on, we’re celebrating our 30th birthday with lots of fantastic celebrations – from an exclusive 90th-birthday interview with the world’s best loved film composer, to some very special birthday broadcasts and concerts from across the nation.

Find out more about all the celebrations below.

  1. Celebrating live music across the United Kingdom

    On our 30th birthday, we’ll be championing concerts, festivals and events from around the country. On Sunday 4 September, join us as we broadcast a concert from the Fishguard and West Wales International Music Festival in St David’s Cathedral, featuring the Welsh National Opera Orchestra, conductor Teresa Riveiro Böhm and mezzo-soprano Dame Sarah Connolly.

    On Monday 5 September, Classic FM presenter Margherita Taylor MBE and Dr Robert Lovie will host an intimate concert from Braemar in Scotland, which promotes local Scottish artists alongside classical music stars and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Classic FM’s Orchestra in Scotland.

    On Tuesday 6 September, a concert from the Clandeboye Festival in Bangor, Northern Ireland will be broadcast, featuring pianist Barry Douglas and Camerata Ireland performing the music of Mozart and Beethoven.

    Join us for a concert from Fishguard and West Wales International Music Festival at St David's Cathedral
    Join us for a concert from Fishguard and West Wales International Music Festival at St David's Cathedral. Picture: Alamy
  2. Special broadcasts from Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland

    Alongside the live music celebrations across the country, Classic FM will tour the UK broadcasting live programmes from all four home nations. On Sunday 4 September, Aled Jones will present his Sunday breakfast show, from 7am to 10am, live from Cardiff.

    Alexander Armstrong will host Classic FM’s flagship morning show, from 9am to 12pm, from Glasgow on Monday 5 September.

    And the following day, on Tuesday 6 September, Anne-Marie Minhall will present her afternoon programme, 12pm to 4pm, from Belfast. All programmes will feature special music and guests.

  3. Classic FM Live at the Royal Albert Hall – a film music spectacular

    The celebrations for Classic FM’s 30th birthday will continue into the autumn with a special movie music concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London, on Monday 10 October. Classic FM Live with Viking will be packed with the greatest movie hits from the most iconic films including Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, Jurassic Park, Chariots of Fire and E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, all performed by a line-up of world-class musicians.

    Hosted by Classic FM presenters Alexander Armstrong and Margherita Taylor, there will be star performances from cellist Hauser, pianist Alexandre Tharaud, organist Anna Lapwood, violinist Braimah Kanneh-Mason, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra conducted by Chief Conductor Kirill Karabits and Ukrainian composer Myroslav Skoryk, finishing with a spectacular lights and fireworks finale to the music of John Williams to celebrate his 90th anniversary year.

  4. John Williams at 90

    On Monday 29 August, we broadcast an exclusive interview with the world’s most popular and loved film composer, John Williams, in his 90th year.

    The Star Wars and Schindler’s List composer joined Andrew Collins, host of Classic FM’s Saturday Night at the Movies, in an interview recorded in Hollywood’s iconic Amblin Studios. In the interview, Williams discusses a career that has spanned seven decades, touching on his career highlights, classical influences and challenges along the way.

    Listen again on Global Player here, and watch the interview here >

  5. Classic FM’s Big Birthday Bake

    This September, we’re inviting you to join in the 30th birthday celebrations by baking your finest cakes, scones, and muffins to help raise money for Classic FM’s charity, Global’s Make Some Noise.

    Take part in Classic FM’s Big Birthday Bake by baking for friends and family, and then asking all those that indulged in the sweet treats to donate directly to Global’s Make Some Noise. The money raised will go towards supporting small charities that make a big different in local communities across the UK. Classic FM’s Big Birthday Bake is proudly supported by Wright’s Baking, the home of Homebaking.

  6. Winners of Britain’s Big Platinum Performance are announced

    For Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year and Classic FM’s 30th birthday, we wanted to do something special to celebrate the thousands of amateur musicians who fill our nation with music.

    On 10 March, we joined with Making Music to launch Britain’s Big Platinum Performance – a nationwide search for the UK’s finest amateur ensemble. We asked groups up and down the country to send in a recording of an uplifting, celebratory piece of music, to be assessed by an esteemed panel of judges.

    Now, the seven winning entries have been chosen. Our congratulations go to the Carluke Primose Orchestral Flutes, London Welsh Male Voice Choir, East London Brass, Birmingham Symphonic Winds, Fulham Brass Band, Curzon Brass and the Carme Ensemble – all exceptional ensembles, who epitomise music-making in the country!

    The winning entries have now been professionally recorded, and will be played to the nation on Classic FM, and presented to Her Majesty The Queen.

  7. The Very Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra: With 10 Musical Sounds!

    As part of our 30th birthday celebrations we’re publishing a new interactive book, The Very Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra – the perfect introduction to orchestral music for the maestro-in-making in your life.

    Young readers can discover instruments from the violin to the trumpet, and learn about the composers and their famous pieces. The spreads tell the story of the classical tune, while the sound button brings it to life. Tune up and take your seat, the orchestra is about to begin...

    Buy your copy at Waterstones from Thursday 8 September 2022, or pre-order on Amazon now.

    The Very Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra
    The Very Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. Picture: DK Publishing / Classic FM
  8. Classic FM’s Rising Stars

    We’ve selected 30 outstanding young musicians for Classic FM’s Rising Stars 2022 – our second annual list of ‘30 under 30’ Rising Stars. The list has been compiled in collaboration with Julian Lloyd Webber, who hosted the radio series Rising Stars on Classic FM in 2021. “These musicians are quite extraordinary and I can’t wait to share their brilliant talents with Classic FM’s listeners!” Julian said.

    From 11 July, we played a recording by a different Rising Star in each programme on Classic FM.

  9. Moira Stuart Meets...

    On Sunday 11 September, we launch a new series of Moira Stuart Meets... , our interview series hosted by the beloved broadcaster and Classic FM presenter. Join Moira on Sunday nights at 9pm as she speaks to a celebrity chef, a children’s author, a star classical performer, a family-favourite actor and more about their musical passions.

    Moira Stuart presents a new series of our interview series on Classic FM
    Moira Stuart presents a new series of our interview series on Classic FM. Picture: Classic FM

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