• Malala Yousafzai’s 2013 UN speech set to music by composer Kate Whitley for BBC Radio 3 commission, premiered by BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales
  • Six leading female composers to guest-edit and curate parts of the Radio 3 schedule on 8th March
  • First live Radio 3 broadcast of Truro Cathedral’s recently formed girl choristers, with world premieres by Sasha Johnson Manning and Dobrinka Tabakova.

At a speech given yesterday (26th January) at the Association of British Orchestras conference, BBC Radio 3 Controller Alan Davey announced a host of special programming for International Women’s Day (8th March), including the broadcast of a Radio 3-commissioned world premiere, setting the text of Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai’s historic 2013 UN speech to music for the first time.

The new piece by Kate Whitley, Speak Out, uses extracts from Malala’s speech about every girl’s right to an education. BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales with Cor y Cwm (Youth Choir of the Year) give the world premiere performance on 8th March at BBC Hoddinott Hall, Cardiff, led by Principal Guest Conductor Xian Zhang. It will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 the same evening.

Malala Yousafzai says: ‘I am honoured and excited that my speech inspired a composer to set it to music and that it will be performed and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on International Women’s Day by the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales in Cardiff. As the speech is a call to raise our voices, it makes me very happy that it will be sung by a large choir, that so many voices will rise to share the message of education for all. It is wonderful that the message and the music will reach many more people through the live radio broadcast.’

Kate Whitley says: ‘I feel very lucky to have been asked by Radio 3 to write a piece for such an important day celebrating women around the world! The theme for International Women’s Day 2017 is 'Be Bold For Change' - trying to find ways to make a more gender inclusive world - which chimes exactly with what Malala's text is about’

BBC Radio 3 Controller Alan Davey says: ‘I feel very proud that BBC Radio 3, with the BBC Orchestras and Choirs, can use its platform and influence to change perceptions and connect audiences to remarkable music by unfairly forgotten female talents of the past. Our International Women’s Day programming this year reflects our ambition to extend the established ‘canon’, giving much-deserved recognition to the brightest and best of female composing talent past and present.’

Radio 3 will also mark International Women’s Day by inviting six renowned female composers to take over the schedule, guest-editing and curating parts of regular programmes, with Alissa Firsova taking over Breakfast, Sally Beamish at the reins for Essential Classics, Tansy Davies in charge of Afternoon on 3, Errollyn Wallen curating In Tune, Annette Peacock in the studio for Late Junction, and Kerry Andrew sharing her own Late Junction Mixtape.

Choral Evensong will come from Truro Cathedral on 8th March, with the first live broadcast from the cathedral’s recently formed girl choristers, performing the world premieres of newly commissioned pieces by Sasha Johnson Manning and Dobrinka Tabakova, among other works.

Other special Radio 3 programming on the day includes a special edition of Composer of the Week exploring the music composed by, performed by and written for women in sixteenth-century Ferrara, and an Open Ear concert recorded at St John-at-Hackney featuring contemporary works by Joanna Bailie, Carola Bauckholt, Arlene Sierra and Kaffe Matthews.


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