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No voice in classical music broadcasting is more iconic than that of Donald Macleod.
'Hello, and welcome to Composer of the Week': that gorgeously sing-song, softly authoritative greeting every weekday at noon since as long as I can remember. Macleod grew up in Scotland and he comes to the Edinburgh International Festival every year to present concerts for BBC Radio 3. Some are recorded at the Usher Hall, but most are broadcast live from the morning recital series at the Queen’s Hall. For listeners who can’t make it in the flesh because of geography or work commitments, mobility problems or ticket costs, these broadcasts are a way of dipping into that special Queen’s Hall live atmosphere.
Macleod is one of R3’s surest pairs of hands. One of his producers once told me that 'with Donald, the whole hall could collapse and he would keep talking, steady as a rock'. Yet he claims that even after 30 years on the airwaves, he still gets nervous (though I'd challenge anyone to hear it in his voice). And though he says it’s a shock to the system to emerge from 'the monastic day-to-day life researching Composer of the Week' into Edinburgh in full festival swing, he loves the sense of community that comes from listeners telling him how much his programmes mean to them.