Alex James's Date Night - Saturday 6 December, 7pm

Alex James explores all the important anniversaries, birthdays and on-this-day events in the world of classical music for the week ahead

Alex James begins tonight with some of the finest recordings to have come from the baton of Nikolaus Harnoncourt, pictured. who today celebrates his 85th birthday.  

The Austrian-born conductor is particularly known for his historically informed performances of music from the Classical era. Starting out as a cellist, he founded his own period instrument ensemble in the 1950s, and became a pioneer of the Early Music movement. Around 1970, he started to conduct opera and concert performances, soon leading renowned international symphony orchestras, and appearing at leading concert halls, operatic venues and festivals. His repertoire has since widened to include composers of the 19th and 20th century. 

Also this week: it's a happy 75th birthday to ‘The Man with the Golden Flute’, Sir James Galway, who celebrates on Monday; the premiere performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No.7; and Puccini puts the finishing touches to La boheme.