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TUNE IN As one of Classic FM’s longest-serving hosts, John Brunning is a firm favorite with listeners around the world The British radio station Classic FM has been delighting listeners around the world with its selection of popular classical music since 1992. Viking is thrilled to partner with Classic FM on a variety of projects, including the Classic FM Hall of Fame, in which listeners can vote for their favorite music. We are also pleased to be able to bring the Classic FM sound into your stateroom, where you can listen to all the programs live. From Margherita Taylor’s selection of smooth music every day during the week to the Full Works Concert on weekday evenings, Classic FM ensures that the time spent relaxing in your room is even more enjoyable. How did your career in radio start and develop? Well, my career in radio had rather dodgy beginnings because I ran a pirate station from the bedroom of my mother’s bungalow where I grew up in Colchester. Eventually we got busted by the authorities. I was about 15 at the time, which was just as well because had I been 16, they would have prosecuted me. I still have the letter somewhere from Chris Chatterway, the then Secretary of State, saying how naughty I had been and not to do it again. My legitimate career started when I did a few shifts for Capital (radio). I had a program called The Way It Is, in the early 1980s. From there, I got a permanent job in Glasgow. I had a couple of years up there and then I moved down to Invicta Radio in Kent and did some work in news. Then I started at Classic FM in 1992, a couple of weeks before the station’s first on-air date in September. That was in 70 VIKING.COM EXPLORE MORE 2020

CULTURE news as well, but the controller heard about my love of music and suggested a change of direction. I was reluctant at first, but I have no regrets now because I love the music and it is the ideal job for me. Where did your passion for classical music stem from? When I was a lad, my father used to work for Co-op Insurance and I used to go with him on his rounds. I was very young at the time, I must have been five years old. We stopped at this elderly lady’s house. Well, she seemed elderly, but looking back she was probably about 30! She had an old gramophone and three 78rpm records. One was Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor. I loved the sound of the organ, so I used to play it ad nauseam. My poor father! And that was it, really. The truth is, I love all sorts of music, but classical music has always been very close to my heart. Who are your favorite composers and why? There really are too many favorites to list! The three Bs, obviously: Beethoven, Bach and Brahms, I love all of them. I am very fond of Haydn, but if I had to choose one it would have to be Tchaikovsky. His music is so melodic and so beautifully put together. And what is your favorite piece of music? Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and the no. 6, the Pathétique, are particular favorites, but ask me again tomorrow and I will probably come up with something completely different! I think the 6th is such an emotional roller coaster. It has got all of life encapsulated within it, so it is probably the 6th that I would go for. Name your top three bucketlist destinations. I would love to go to New Zealand. I have been to Australia and loved it. I would like to go to India because I think it is just a fascinating place—and Chile and Argentina are places I have always fancied as well. I can speak a bit of Spanish and enjoy trying it out on people here, but I think I would like to spend some time being forced to speak the language. Clockwise, from far left: Classic FM radio host John Brunning; the Main River in Germany passes through stunning countryside; John has met many string quartets over the course of his career; a love of old gramophone records led to his discovery of classical music; German composer Ludwig van Beethoven EXPLORE MORE 2020 VIKING.COM 71