·         Katie Melua and Jess Gillam come together with the BBC Singers and BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Bob Chilcott in a jubilant festive concert full of seasonal music and Christmas sparkle.

·         In a year where communal singing is hard to come by, the BBC Philharmonic invite the public to join them in two Christmas classics, singing alongside the orchestra, Hacker & Dodge from CBBC and Cbeebies and ‘the drumming weatherman’ Owain Wyn Evans.

·         On Christmas Day the BBC Singers and BBC Concert Orchestra bring to life some of the greatest storytellers of our time interwoven with music, as Alan Bennett narrates his work Hymn set to music by George Fenton and Stephen Fry narrates Dickens’ timeless A Christmas Carol with music by Richard Allain.

·         In an alternative take on the festive period, Professor Brian Cox joins the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor Dalia Stasevska to explore the questions raised by music and the Cosmos concerning eternity, death, rebirth and meaning.

·         The BBC National Orchestra of Wales perform their own take of much-loved festive favourite, The Nutcracker arranged for brass with Welsh narration.

BBC Singers

·         A Choral Christmas with Katie Melua, Jess Gillam and Bob Chilcott

Tuesday 15 December, 7pm

Watch live on https://www.barbican.org.uk/ from the Barbican Hall, part of ‘Live from the Barbican’ (with reduced live audience, government guidelines permitting)

Friday 18 December, 7.30pm on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Sounds

Bob Chilcott conducts the BBC Singers and members of the BBC Concert Orchestra with special guests Jess Gillam and Katie Melua for a concert to sing in the festive season.

The celebration of the magic, jubilation, fun and joie-de-vivre of seasonal music is brought to life by Bob Chilcott, the BBC Singers’ very own Principal Guest Conductor. Singer Katie Melua and saxophonist Jess Gillam add their touch of Christmas sparkle into the mix with solo sets. With a limited live audience as well as a live stream, audiences can sing their way into the spirit of the season, either with us or at home as we bring the Christmas magic into your living room this year.

Stuart Nicholson Ding! Dong! Merrily on high

Christian Onyeji Amuworo ayi otu nwa

Bob Chilcott The Midnight of your birth

Ryuichi Sakamoto Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence

John Gardner Tomorrow shall be my dancing day

Traditional O little town (arr Bob Chilcott)

Leslie Pearson In Dulci Jubilo

Trad. Ukrainian Little Swallow (Carol of the bells)                                                            

Joni Mitchell River                                                                                                                         

Traditional Twelve Days of Christmas (arr Bob Chilcott)

Roger Harvey Festive Cheer

Elizabeth Poston Balulalow

Bob Chilcott The Shepherds Sing

Darius Milhaud ‘Brazileiria’ from Scaramouche

Bob Chilcott ‘Sweet was the song’ from On Christmas Night

Mack Willberg Jingle Bells

Johnny Marks Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (arr Bob Chilcott)

Anders Edenroth The World for Christmas

Traditional/Blaine/Martin Deck the Hall/Have yourself a merry little Christmas (arr Bob Chilcott)

David Willcocks O come, all ye faithful

Bob Chilcott conductor

Jess Gillam presenter/saxophone

Katie Melua guest vocalist

Rachel Mahon organ

Ashok Gupta piano

Members of the BBC Concert Orchestra

BBC Singers

Further information here

·         Radio 3 Carol Competition: BBC Singers live on Radio 3

Thursday 10 December, 8am; Wednesday 16 December, 2pm; Friday 18 December, 8am

Listen live on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Sounds

On Thursday 10 December, the BBC Singers and pianist Richard Pearce join Petroc Trelawny live on Radio 3 Breakfast in Maida Vale Studios as the six shortlisted entrants from this year’s Radio 3 Carol Competition are announced. Led by Owain Park, the BBC Singers perform the six shortlisted entries, plus the winning carol from the 2016 competition, Jessie Reeves’s Alleluia! A New Work Is Come On Hand.

In a special afternoon concert on Wednesday 16 December, the BBC Singers give listeners a second chance to hear the six final entries, alongside some other festive treats for Christmas.

On Friday 18 December, the BBC Singers once again join Petroc Trelawny on Radio 3 Breakfast as he announces the winner of this year’s Carol Competition.

Richard Pearce organ/piano

Bob Chilcott conductor

BBC Singers

Full details of the Radio 3 Carol Competition here

·         Contemporary Christmas Carols with readings

Tuesday 22 December, 2pm

Listen on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Sounds

Sofi Jeannin, Chief Conductor of the BBC Singers, directs the BBC Singers in a concert of carols from the late 20th and 21st centuries, interspersed with poetry reflecting the Christmas story. Featuring works from composers such as Toby Young, Errollyn Wallen, Roderick Williams and Sally Beamish.

James Whitbourn                            Christmas Welcome

René Veen arr. JEM                        Es ist ein ros entsproungen

Roderick Williams                           O Rex Gentium (World Premiere)

Sally Beamish                                    In the stillness

Toby Young                                        Come and dance

John Tavener                                     Rocking

Richard Allain                                    Dormi Jesu

Francis Pott                                        Balulalow

Judith Bingham                                Tu creasti Domine

Dupre                                                   Variations sur un vieux Noel

Paul Edwards                                     No small wonder

Walford Davies                                O Little Town of Bethlehem

Errollyn Wallen                                Peace on Earth

Jamie Burton                                     Tomorrow shall be my dancing day

Hafliði Hallgrímsson                      Christ was born on Christmas Day 3’20”

Michael Nicholas                             King Uzziah

Tobias Frank                                      Les anges dans nos campagnes

Stuart Nicholson                              I saw three ships

BBC Singers

Ashley Grote organ

Sofi Jeannin conductor

BBC Concert Orchestra

·         Radio 2 Brass Dectet with members of the BBC Concert Orchestra

Monday 14 December onwards, time TBC

Listen on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Sounds

Members of the BBC Concert Orchestra perform Christmas carols for brass for the Radio 2 Breakfast Show with Zoe Ball from the 14th December onwards.

·         On Christmas Night with the BBC Singers and A Christmas Carol with the BBC Concert Orchestra

Friday 25 December, TBC

Listen on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Sounds

On Christmas Day, the BBC Singers and BBC Concert Orchestra bring to life some of the greatest playwrights and story-tellers of our time, with gripping narrations against a backdrop of brilliant musical compositions.

First up, Alan Bennett introduces the BBC Singers performing Hymn, a piece originally written by Bennett narrating George Fenton’s score for string quartet. This choral version, transcribed by Clare Wheeler and arranged by Jonathan Manners is conducted by Nicolas Chalmers.

Following this, Stephen Fry narrates an abridged version of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, set with music by Richard Allain. A celebration of a Charles Dickens classic Christmas tale in the 150th anniversary year of his death.

On Christmas Night

Alan Bennett narrator

Nicolas Chalmers conductor

BBC Singers

A Christmas Carol

Stephen Fry narrator

David Hill conductor

BBC Concert Orchestra

BBC Philharmonic

·         Radio 3 in Concert – Schubert

Thursday 3 December, 7.30pm

Listen live on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Sounds

The BBC Philharmonic continues its exploration of the music of Schubert. Tonight, conductor Douglas Boyd explores the youthful exuberance of Schubert’s First* and Third symphonies, contrasted with the darker hues of his Fourth, which begins the programme.

*Recorded at MediaCityUK on 1 December 2020.

Presented by Tom McKinney.

Franz Schubert                  Symphony No 4 in C minor, ‘Tragic’

Symphony No 3 in D major

Symphony No 1 in D major

                Douglas Boyd conductor

                BBC Philharmonic

Further information here

·         Great Northern Christmas with Owain Wyn Evans

Friday 25 December, 1pm

Listen on Radio Humberside, Radio Cumbria, Radio Merseyside, Radio Tees, Radio Leeds, Radio Manchester, Radio York, Radio Lancashire, Radio Newcastle and Radio Sheffield

‘The drumming weatherman’ Owain Wyn Evans, who shot to fame after drumming the BBC News theme during the coronavirus crisis, brings his sunny presenting skills to a Christmas concert with the BBC Philharmonic. Broadcast across 10 local BBC Radio stations in the north of England, the concert features Winter Wonderland as recorded by the BBC Philharmonic in lockdown alongside festive classics from previous BBC Philharmonic / Radio Manchester Christmas Concerts.

In a year where singing together is difficult to do, whether it be with friends or in a choir, members of the public are invited to sing alongside Owain, the BBC Philharmonic and Hacker & Dodge from CBBC and Cbeebies in special performances of Winter Wonderland and Frosty the Snowman. The public are invited to send their recordings before midnight on the 6 December. During this special concert, a mix of performances from people around the country will be broadcast across local BBC radio stations in the North.

Further information on how to get involved here

BBC Symphony Orchestra

·         Brian Cox: Music and the Cosmos

Sunday 13 December, 8pm

Watch live online from the Barbican Hall, part of ‘Live from the Barbican’ (with reduced live audience, government guidelines permitting)

Wednesday 23 December, 2pm on BBC Radio 3, part of Radio 3’s ‘Light in the Darkness’ season

What does it mean to live small, finite lives in an infinite Universe? Prepare to confront some of the biggest questions of them all: questions of life, death and the very meaning of our existence.

Physicist Professor Brian Cox joins the BBC SO and Principal Guest Conductor Dalia Stasevska to explore the questions raised by music and the Cosmos concerning eternity, death, rebirth and meaning.

Jean Sibelius                     Symphony No 5 in E flat major, Third movement, arr. Iain Farrington

Charles Ives                       The Unanswered Question

Gustav Mahler                  Symphony No 10 in F-sharp majorFirst movement, arr. Michelle Castelletti

Brian Cox presenter

Dalia Stasevska conductor

BBC Symphony Orchestra

·         Winter Daydreams, a tribute to Alexander Vedernikov

Monday 21 December, 2pm

Listen on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Sounds

Recorded in 2019 with conductor and great friend of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Alexandrer Vedernikov, who sadly died recently, this concert features Tchaikovsky’s First Symphony ‘Winter Daydreams’, as part of BBC Radio 3’s Light in the Darkness season. This all-Russian symphonic concert is followed by choral music for Advent by Michael Praetorius and Heinrich Schütz performed by the BBC Singers with conductor Justin Doyle.

Sviridov                               Suite from The Blizzard

Rachmaninov                    Paganini Variations with Andrei Korobeinikov (piano)

Tchaikovsky                       Symphony No. 1 ‘Winter Daydreams’

Andrei Korobeinikov piano

Alexander Vedernikov conductor

BBC Symphony Orchestra

*Followed by German Baroque choral music for Advent from the BBC Singers and conductor Justin Doyle

BBC National Orchestra of Wales

·         Christmas Classics from around the World

Thursday 24 Christmas, 9pm

Listen on BBC Radio Wales and BBC Sounds

A studio concert exploring Christmas music and traditions around the world with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by Adrian Partington.

Ar Gyfer Heddiw’r bore (faban bach)     Plygain carol                                          

Respighi                                                              Adoration of the Magi                                               

Warlock arr. Philip Lane                               Bethlehem Down                                             

Mozart                                                                 Exsultate Jubilate,K.165

Barber                                                                  Choral Prelude on Silent Night from Die Natali

Anthony Collins (after Liszt)                       Christmas Tree Suite (1952)

I. Lighting the Tree; II. Old Times ; III. Games; IV. Bedtime

Piazzolla Arr.Desyatnikov                            Four Seasons Winter in Buenos Aires

Adolphe Adam                                                 Cantique de Noel (in E-flat)                                                        

BBC National of Wales

Adrian Partington conductor

Lesley Hatfield violin

Repeated on Friday 25 December at 2pm on BBC Radio Wales

·         Carols for Christmas with BBC NOW

Friday 25 December, 12am

Listen on BBC Radio Wales and BBC Sounds

A best of programme looking back through BBC National Orchestra of Wales’ Carols for Christmas archive.

Repeated on Friday 25 December at 6am on BBC Radio Wales

·         The Nutcracker for Brass

Friday 25 December, 7pm

Listen on BBC Radio Cymru and BBC Sounds

In a year where full-scale ballet is difficult to come by, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales perform their own take of much-loved festive favourite, The Nutcracker. This special version is arranged for brass and features Welsh narration by Kizzy Crawford, amongst other classic ballet pieces.

                Kizzy Crawford narrator

Edward Hodgson conductor

                BBC National Orchestra of Wales

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

·         Christmas Classics with the BBC SSO

Thursday 24 December, 10pm

Listen on BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Sounds

Jamie MacDougall and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra are joined by conductor Michael Seal for a traditional Christmas celebration. They perform special performances of magical orchestral classics, and favourite Christmas carols presented and performed by Jamie from the stage of City Halls Glasgow.

Jamie MacDougall tenor

Michael Seal conductor

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

·         Christmas at the Movies with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Friday 25 December, 2pm

Listen on BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Sounds

Another chance to hear this concert from 2016. The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and their conductor Clark Rundell take a tour of some of the most famous, familiar and fantastic film music. Hear music from movies such as Star Wars, Gone with the Wind and Lord of the Rings performed by an 80-piece orchestra. Jamie MacDougall presents and sings, and there’s something for all ages: music from West Side Story, Casablanca and Citizen Kane as well as some Disney and Pixar favourites.

Jamie MacDougall presenter

Clark Rundell conductor

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

BBC Orchestra and Choirs: Afternoon Concerts on Radio 3

Across the week of 7 December, Radio 3 celebrates the BBC Orchestras and Choirs with a series of live afternoon concerts.

·         BBC National Orchestra of Wales live from Hoddinott Hall

Monday 7 December, 2pm

Listen live on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Sounds

Nicola Heywood Thomas presents the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, live from Hoddinott Hall, Cardiff.

Gavin Higgins                    What Wild Ecstasy

Berio Folk Songs

De Falla                                El Retablo de Maese Pedro

Clara Mouriz mezzo soprano

Jorge Navarro Colorado tenor

Michel de Souza baritone

BBC National Orchestra of Wales

Ryan Bancroft conductor

·         BBC Symphony Orchestra live from Maida Vale

Tuesday 8 December, 2pm

Listen live on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Sounds

Natasha Riordan presents the BBC Symphony Orchestra, live from Maida Vale Studios, London.

Robin Holloway/Schumann                        Canonic Studies

Copland                                                               Emily Dickinson Songs

Schumann                                                           Overture, Scherzo and Finale

Sophie Bevan soprano

BBC Symphony Orchestra

Ryan Wigglesworth conductor

Further information here

·         BBC Philharmonic perform Dvořák

Wednesday 9 December, 2pm

Listen live on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Sounds

Tom McKinney presents the BBC Philharmonic, live from Media City, Salford.

Antonín Dvořák                Legends, op. 59, B. 117: No. 4 in C major. Molto maestoso

Legends, op. 59, B. 117: No. 9 in D major. Andante con moto

Legends, op. 59, B. 117: No. 7 in A major. Allegretto grazioso

Czech Suite, Op 39

Legends, op. 59, B. 117: No. 6 in C-sharp minor. Allegro con moto

Legends, op. 59, B. 117: No. 8 in F major. Un poco allegretto

Legend in B flat minor, Op. 59 No. 10

                Martyn Brabbins conductor

                BBC Philharmonic

                Further information here

·         The BBC Singers and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Thursday 10 December, 2pm

Listen live on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Sounds

Emma Cleobury presents the BBC Singers, live from Temple Church, London.

Following this, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra perform live from Glasgow City Halls.

The Scottish Symphony Orchestra concert will also be available to watch live at bbc.co.uk/bbcsso

BBC Singers live from Temple Church, London

Messiaen                            La Nativité du Seigneur interspersed with thematically related choral works.

BBC Singers

Nicholas Chalmers conductor

Ashley Grote organ

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra live from Glasgow City Halls

Andrée                                 Concert Overture in D

Schumann                           Cello Concerto                                 

Sally Beamish                    Reckless

Mozart                                 Symphony No.34, K.338

Steven Isserlis cello

Chloé van Soeterstède conductor

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Further information here

·         Witches, Wardrobes and Wonderlands with BBC Concert Orchestra

Friday 11 December, 2pm

Listen live on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Sounds

Penny Gore presents the BBC Concert Orchestra, live from Watford Colosseum.

Shirley Thompson                           Wildfire

Gerald Finzi                                       Farewell to Arms, Op. 9*

Jocelyn Pook                                     Wonderland

Einojuhani Rautavaara                  Lintukoto (Isle of Bliss)

Gerald Finzi                                       Two Sonnets, Op.12*

John McCabe                                     The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Suite

Alessandro Fisher tenor

Anna-Maria Helsing conductor

Further information here