Pine and Simcock play the skyline

A new series on BBC Radio 4 sees Courtney Pine and Gwilym Simcock evoking the UK’s landscapes and skylines in music

Saxophonist Courtney Pine and pianist Gwilym Simcock (pictured) are among the musicians taking part in a special series for BBC Radio 4, Playing The Skyline, rendering landmark skylines of London, Wales and Scotland in music.

Presented by Tim Marlow, the series will be broadcast across three episodes on 14, 21 and 28 July, with each instalment focusing on one part of the UK. Pine, Simcock and other contemporary musicians including James MacMillan and members of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra will discuss the landscape at hand before performing a newly composed piece inspired by the skyline.

Episode 1 (9am and repeated at 9.30pm, Monday 14 July) takes place on Millennium Bridge in London, with Courtney Pine and composer Anna Meredith discussing the view across St Paul’s, the Shard, Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf, before Pine performs his musical interpretation of this skyline.

Episode 2 (9am and repeated at 9.30pm, Monday 21 July) sees Gwilym Simcock and singer/songwriter Kizzy Crawford create musical pieces inspired by the skyline of Port Talbot, south Wales, looking at this steelworks-dominated landscape from the sea.

The series is rounded off in Episode 3 (9.30pm, Monday 28 July) with a look at the cultural variety of Scotland, including the contrast of lowlands/highlands, rural/industrial and Gaelic/English. Composer James MacMillan is joined by local schoolchildren and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra to render in music the skyline of Cumnock, a village in Ayrshire, and Ben Wyvis in Easter Ross.

You can find out more about the series and tune in online at

Sally Evans-Darby

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