Sean Shibe and Mahan Esfahani announced as new BBC Radio 3 presenters

25 February 2019

Mahan Esfahani and Sean Shibe have been announced as presenters in a new wave of cutting-edge programmes for the station. The exciting and innovative artists are set to bring new energy to the station, joining fellow new signings Danielle de Niese and Jess Gillam.

Harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani is set to explore JS Bach in a three-part series entitled The Alternative Bach which challenges controversial opinions on what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ in interpretations of Bach’s music. Listeners can enjoy a fresh and meaningful journey through a selection of his favourite recordings, many of which are unfamiliar by today’s standards. Episode 1, Traveller, airs on Sunday 17 March at 23:00.

Described as ‘against the grain’ and having ‘taken the musical word by storm’, Esfahani has drawn the attention of critics and audiences worldwide, achieving a Borletti-Buitoni prize, a BBC New Generation Artist status and three nominations (2014, 15, and 17) for Gramophone’s Artist of the Year. Esfahani is renowned for his performances of Bach, not least for his highly acclaimed recording of the Goldberg variations (2016, Deustche Grammophon), and has many Bach centred projects in the pipeline, including a collaboration with cellist Pieter Wispelwey to perform Bach’s Gamba Sonatas, and a tour of China with violinist Jennifer Pike. He is also a passionate performer of new music and recently performed an entire programme of contemporary and electronic works at the Barbican, including a new work by Miroslav Srnka which demands the use of two E-Bows to produce sustained sounds.

Sean Shibe writes and hosts a six-part special Guitar Zone, to be aired on Sunday evenings. As the first guitarist to be selected for the BBC R3 New Generation Artist scheme, and the only guitarist to be awarded a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship, Sean Shibe brings his unique perspective of the instrument and its rich history to Guitar Zone, exploring the development of the guitar across the centuries.

Noted for his bold artistic vision, Sean Shibe's Guitar Zone follows on from his hugely successful project SoftLOUD, which juxtaposes lute manuscripts with electric guitar arrangements of multi-tracked repertoire, in an exploration of the dynamic extremes of the instrument. The “bracingly original” and “spectacular” project was premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe and East Neuk Festivals, and was released shortly after as a recording on Delphian Records. A keen proponent of new works and collaborations, he looks forward to performances of Michael Murray’s guitar concerto with the Pacific Symphony in California, and a new work by Jerwood+ composer Daniel Kidane at LSO St Luke’s, and enjoys collaborations with artists such as tenor Ben Johnson, flautist Adam Walker and performance artist Marina Abramovic.

Alan Davey, Controller of BBC Radio 3, comments “Classical music is a modern, living art form and nowhere do you see that more than in the great performers and composers who are bringing us vital new work or interpretations of the great music of the past…These new presenter signings of a series of musicians will serve to complement the expertise offered by our existing presenting line-up.”

More information can be found here.

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