The Light Programme: Gavin Sutherland & Friends

in Daily Programme

by Elrik Merlin on Saturday, 28 May, 2011

Today’s Light Programme features the work of conductor, arranger and pianist Gavin Sutherland (b 1972), who is one of the small group of composers, conductors, producers and radio presenters who have almost single‐handedly brought about the revival of Light Music in Britain over the past few years.

Born in Chester‐le‐Street, County Durham, England, he studied conducting, piano and orchestration at Huddersfield University.

Sutherland was appointed as pianist and staff conductor for Northern Ballet Theatre from 1992 – 98. On the basis of his first CD, British Light Music Discoveries on ASV, Sutherland began working with the Royal Ballet Sinfonia on the concert platform and the orchestra of Birmingham Royal Ballet (involving both national and international tours). He has featured as Principal Guest Conductor of the Royal New Zealand Ballet, and has also guest conducted frequently for English National Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, New Adventures and South African Ballet Theatre. In June 2008 he was appointed Music Director of English National Ballet.

He has made over seventy recordings all over the world, predominantly with the Royal Ballet Sinfonia and the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. He has played a significant part in the current revival of British Light Music through several popular series of discs and his appearances on the BBC’s Friday Night is Music Night, although he has recorded works as wide‐ranging as Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, the chart‐topping Carry On Album and the single release of the Radio 4 UK Theme – the latter is included in today’s programme.

Today’s programme features primarily Sutherland’s light music recordings, but also a number of other pieces of light music from composers such as Robert Binge, and film music by William Alwyn and Richard Addinsell. Sutherland has a particular interest in the pieces of music used by British television companies to start the broadcast day (in the years before 24‐hour TV) which were often written by leading light music composers of the time, and several of these “start‐up themes” will be heard today.

For more on Gavin Sutherland, see the full Wikipedia article from which some of the above was derived. Several of Sutherland’s recordings are available from Naxos – click here for details.

The Light Programme is Radio Riel’s regular programme of light music, presented every month by Elrik Merlin and produced by Radio Riel in conjunction with the Alexandrian Free Library Consortium of Second Life. You can listen to the programme now at; outside the US, tune to in‐world, or simply click here if your browser is configured to launch a player automatically.

For more information on the Alexandrian Free Library, current exhibits and the work of Consortium members in general, please visit the Alexandrian Free Library website, or one of their branches in‐world.


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