Behind The Classics

Hosted by Zerlina Vulliamy

Sundays 11:00 - 12:00

There’s music you know and music you love, music you think you know and music you’ve never heard before. Tune in to Behind the Classics every Sunday at 11am to hear some of your favourite pieces and discover some of the stories behind them! Each week we explore a musical theme across all genres from classical, jazz, hip-hop, opera, funk, rock and find out what connects music across history. If you like music, there is something for you in this show.


episode 1 - intros

Ever wondered about the greatest way to start a piece of music or a song? Listen to episode 1 to find out.

episode 2 - melodies

Episode 2 is all about the greatest melodies ever composed.

episode 3 - love songs

In this episode, in time for Valentine’s Day, Zerlina takes you through the greatest love songs ever written.

episode 4 - opera

Ever wondered what is so popular about opera? Or an aficionado who wants to revisit the classics? Listen to episode 4 for your opera fix!

episode 5 - space

Episode 5 is all about music inspired by space.

episode 6 - international women’s day

To celebrate international women's day, the final episode of season 1 takes you through an amazing variety of female musicians throughout history to the present.


epsisode 7 - overtures

Zerlina welcomes you back to season 2 with an episode all about overtures.

episode 8 - duets

Some of the greatest pairings in musical history feature in this episode of Behind the Classics, which is all about duets.

episode 9 - ostinati/riffs/vamps/licks

Ever wondered what that short repeated musical idea was that you can’t get out of your head? Listen to episode 9 to find out more!

episode 10 - interview with solo pianist joanna macgregor, obe

In the 10th episode of Behind the Classics, Zerlina interviews internationally renowned pianist Joanna MacGregor OBE about her career and musical influences. “Joanna MacGregor is one of the world’s most innovative musicians, appearing as a concert pianist, curator, and collaborator.

episode 11 - water

Episode 11 features some of the most beautiful music, all inspired by water.

episode 12 - night music

Music inspired by the ever illusive night time is the subject for episode 12.

episode 13 - the last tracks

This episode is all about the last music that some of the greatest musicians ever wrote before their deaths.

episode 14 - latin music

Enjoy this end of season 2 episode which features some of the best Latin music!


episode 15 - dance music

Get your skates on and boogie to episode 15, which charts the music people have been dancing to across history.

episode 16 - basslines

Ever wondered why a bassline makes a song so good? Or why musicians have been using the same basslines in music throughout history? Listen to episode 16 to find out.

episode 17 - major 7th chord

What is that sweet chord you might ask? Episode 17 takes you through the use of the major 7th chord.

episode 18 - music of protest

This episode features the many ways music has been used as a method of protest throughout history.

episode 19 - 100th anniversary of the armistice

To celebrate and commemorate the centenary of the ending of the First World War, Zerlina takes you through some music written during the war, remembering musicians who were sadly lost on the battlefield.

episode 20 - making an opera part 1

This episode of Behind the Classics is slightly different. In partnership with the Oxford Contemporary Opera Society, Zerlina talks about the experience of making an opera, as well as taking you through some operas written more recently. This is the first of 3 segments called ‘Making An Opera’ which concludes in Trinity term, coinciding with the production of ‘Marilyn Forever’ by Gavin Bryars, a 21st century opera about Marilyn Monroe directed by Zerlina Vulliamy.

episode 21 - winter

The finale of season 3 is features music to get you in that winter mood!



Welcome back to Behind the Classics! To start 2019, this episode is all about sampling and borrowing in music whether it be subtle borrowing in classical music or complex sampling in hip hop.