Welcome to our Podcasts page. Come and join Jonathan James each week during our Out of Doors festival where he will be chatting with various guests about their experiences of nature and music.

What’s coming up?

18 July 2020 –
The Music of Birdsong

Interviewee Tony Whitehead (RSPB Ornithologist)

25 July 2020 –
The Music of Storms

Interviewee Jay Richardson (sound artist)

1 August 2020 –

Music and the Sea

Interviewee Sarah Jane Brown (painter)

15 August 2020 –
The Music of the Sun and Moon

Interviewee: Molly Hollman (photographer)

22 August 2020 –
The Music of Flora and Fauna

Interviewee Jessica Cottis (conductor and lepidopterist)

Music and Birdsong

Music and Birdsong

In a lighthearted exploration to kick off the series of podcasts examining the connections between music and nature, Jonathan James captures the dawn chorus in his local park before reflecting on four ways composers have captured birdsong in their music, with reflections from Tony Whitehead, Communications Manager from the RSPB.

In conversation with Tony Whitehead

Tony has been with the RSPB for 31 years and is also a sound technician and curator of concerts that encourage people to listen differently. The perfect conversation partner, in other words, to explore how to listen to birds and appreciate their musicality, including the all-important question: do blackbirds improvise?


Music and Storms

Composers have always enjoyed whipping up a storm. Baroque theatre was the perfect crucible, and as the orchestra grew larger and mightier through the centuries, so the storms got more and more ferocious. Jonathan James ventures in the eye of various musical storms and compares them to the actual thing, in conversation with Sound Artist, Jay Richardson.

Jay Richardson Album: https://jaymrichardson.bandcamp.com/album/in-the-concrete-silence
Proceeds from the album will be going to:  https://www.lensational.org

Music and the Sea

For a composer, the sea is an obvious source of inspiration. The waves, the calm, the depths and the surface, all of these invite a musical response. Jonathan James takes to the coast to see how composers from Telemann to Britten represent the ocean in all its colours and complexity. This week he’s accompanied by Sarah Jane Brown, a painter with a deep connection to the sea and its musicality.

Creative Listening

Due to unforeseen circumstances the podcast scheduled for 8th August has had to be postponed until the 22nd August. We apologise for any inconvenience and hope you enjoy this talk on creative listening with Jonathan James instead, offering  8 tips for deepening our musical listening and for making it more creative.

Music of the Sun and Moon

Jonathan James and photographer Molly Hollman chat about the deeply inspiring and romantic worlds of moonlight and sunrise in this week’s podcast, comparing how they are treated in visual art and music and dipping into works by Field, Chopin, Debussy and Nielsen as they go.

Molly Hollman – mollyhollman.myportfolio.com

Music of Flora and Fauna

Jonathan is joined by conductor Jessica Cottis to discuss the ambitious vision of nature and humanity coming together in Mahler’s third symphony, bringing this series of podcasts to a very grand close. Jessica, it turns out, is a real lover of nature and of butterflies in particular. For her this is one of the finest symphonies ever written.