Catherine Bott is to present a new series for Classic FM, hailed by the station as the biggest in its 21-year history.
Until recently she was, with Lucie Skeaping, host of Radio 3’s The Early Music Show. That was cut down from two episodes per week on Saturdays and Sundays to only one, on Sundays, as part of weekend schedule changes made at the end of September, motivated by the BBC-wide requirement to reduce budgets (Radio 3’s target spending cut is £1.6m).
Bott’s new series for Classic FM, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Classical Music, will cover a broad range of music starting at 9pm on 27 October with a programme focusing on period performance, ‘asking whether it matters if classical works are performed on more modern instruments than the ones for which they were written’.
Further topics will include film music, contemporary works and, during the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth in 2014, the role of literature in shaping the history of classical music. The series follows on from Classic FM managing editor Sam Jackson and managing director Darren Henley’s 2012 book Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Classical Music… But Were Too Afraid to Ask.
Listeners will be encouraged to submit their questions, with suggestions for topics forming a key part of the programme. ‘We’ve long admired Catherine Bott’s warm, authoritative and infectiously enthusiastic approach,’ said Jackson. ‘I’m delighted to welcome her to the Classic FM family for this ambitious, exciting and, I hope, groundbreaking series.’