Scala, UK’s new classical radio station, launches

Martin Cullingford Mon 4th March 2019

Simon Mayo opens the station with Carmen

Simon Mayo launches Scala, the UK’s new classical radio station

Simon Mayo launches Scala, the UK’s new classical radio station

As of this morning, the UK has a new classical music radio station, Scala Radio. Launched by Bauer Media - which also produces Jazz FM and Absolute Radio, plus magazines including Closer, Grazia and Empire – it aims to be a station with the feel of BBC Radio 2 but with classical music instead of pop. It broadcasts under the tag line ‘Classical music for modern life’. Among the line-up of presenters are Simon Mayo, Mark Kermode, Goldie, Charles Nove, Mark Forrest, Sam Hughes, Jamie Crick and 19-year-old Jack Pepper.

Mayo was the station’s opening presenter, the first three tracks played offering hints as the eclectic approach to repertoire choices: the Prelude to Act 1 from Carmen, followed by Dvorák’s Slavonic Dances and a version of Daft Punk’s Get Lucky played by the Vitamin String Quartet. Listening to a later segment on launch day, the performances included Elgar from the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Andrew Davis, Mozart from Claudio Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic, John Williams conducting his own music for Harry Potter and Voces 8 singing a rendition of a piece by Radiohead. The station's website makes it incredibly easy to see exactly what’s been played throughout the day, and who performed it.

The schedule also promises mini-series and shows about classical music in areas such as gaming and mindfulness, and seeks to reflect where classical music meets the mainstream. ‘We’ve completely reimagined a format, and designed it to appeal to a modern audience,’ said Steve Parkinson, Bauer Group MD, National Radio. 

You can listen live to the new station at scalaradio.co.uk

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