Music

Joy to the World 2023: a guide to CBC Music's Christmas special

This popular annual broadcast takes place on Sunday, Dec. 17.

This popular annual broadcast takes place on Sunday, Dec. 17

In Iceland, a trio of reindeer sport Christmas lights on their antlers.
In Iceland, a trio of reindeer sport Christmas lights on their antlers. (Jay Coneyl/Getty Images)

Joy to the World, CBC Music's annual Euroradio holiday special, will take place on Sunday, Dec. 17, 2023, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. NT).

Julie Nesrallah will be your guide for this spectacular lineup of Christmas concerts originating from the countries of the European Broadcasting Union. One of the most popular events of the year on CBC Music, Joy to the World has been an annual tradition since 1995, uniting the globe through music for the holiday season. This year's broadcast will include performances from France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Sweden.

Scroll down for a detailed schedule, and don't forget to tune in on Dec. 17 on CBC Music or via CBC Listen.


Note: broadcast times are 30 minutes later in Newfoundland and Labrador.

9:05 a.m.: Paris, France

The day begins in the Auditorium of Radio-France's broadcasting centre in Paris. Václav Luks leads the Radio-France Chorus and the Orchestre national de France through two sections from J.S. Bach's Christmas Oratorio. The soloists are soprano Katharina Ruckgaber, contralto Lucile Richardot, tenor Julian Prégardien and baritone Tobias Berndt.

10:05 a.m.: Stuttgart, Germany

Next stop: Southwest Germany, where the SWR Vocal Ensemble and conductor Krista Audere perform music by Arvo Pärt, Jan Sandstrom, Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel. The concert comes to you from Gaisberg Church.

11:05 a.m.: Prague, the Czech Republic

From the Convent of St. Agnes in Bohemia, the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra and Children's Choir join forces for Benjamin Britten's A Ceremony of Carols. You'll also hear music for strings by Maciej Małecki and Edward Elgar. Vlastimil Kobrle conducts.

12:05 p.m.: Hamburg, Germany

Soprano Diana Damrau and trumpeter Matthias Höfs take the stage of the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg for thrilling works by G.F. Handel and J.S. Bach. You'll also hear beloved music by W.A. Mozart as well as traditional Christmas songs from around the world, arranged by Richard Whilds. Gianluca Capuano leads the NDR Philharmonic Orchestra.

1:05 p.m.: Sofia, Bulgaria

Travel back in time to the 16th century for a selection of some of the earliest known attempts at sacred polyphony in East Slavic lands. The choral ensemble Cantanti dai Monti Verdi specializes in this music. Their performance comes to you from BNR Studio 1 in Sofia.

2:05 p.m.: Frankfurt, Germany

The Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra presents a Christmas concert for the whole family, with highlights from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker and works by Paul Hindemith and Frederick Delius. Polish conductor Michał Nesterowicz leads this performance from the main auditorium at Frankfurt's Alte Oper.

3:05 p.m.: Stockholm, Sweden

A concert with a truly international flavour from the German Church in Stockholm: the Amsterdam-based ensemble Musica Temprana will perform lullabies and villancicos from Peru, Bolivia, Mexico and Ecuador under the direction of Adrián Rodríguez van der Spoel.

4:05 p.m.: Munich, Germany

The day comes to a close at the Prinzregententheater in Munich for a concert titled Christmas at the Movies. You'll hear highlights from the soundtracks of Christmas cinema classics. Gavin Sutherland leads the Munich Radio Orchestra.

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