BBC Radio 3 celebrates International Women’s Day 2022 with the broadcast premiere of Maddalena Casulana’s 1583 First Book of five-voice madrigals. Casulana’s piece will be performed in full for the first time in 400 years by vocal ensemble Fieri Consort at London’s King’s Place, and broadcast live for the first time ever on BBC Radio 3 on Tuesday 8 March.

The Alto part of Casulana’s book disappeared after World War II from a music collection in Poland, and was lost for decades, making any performance impossible. It was only recently traced back to a library in Moscow by musicologist Professor Laurie Stras. A special episode of Music Matters focuses on the discovery, in a programme also featuring an exploration of women pioneers of classical music record production (first broadcast on Saturday 5 March and repeated on Monday 7 March).

The premiere of Casulana’s five-voice madrigals is part of the station’s International Women’s Day celebrations, focusing on female composers and performers past and present, and featuring speech programmes exploring and debating issues from a female perspective. As in previous years on International Women’s Day, all the music broadcast on BBC Radio 3 for 24 hours will be by female composers, with all the live music programmes produced by female producers.

Complementing the station’s on-air programme, four behind-the-scenes films will be available on BBC Homepage and BBC Radio 3 social media channels, featuring female engineers, sound mixers and studio managers who work on the stations’ programmes, where they give an overview of their jobs and tips for anyone looking for a career in these fields.


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