Composer, pianist and producer Alexis Ffrench is to host Apple Music Radio’s first classical music show. The popular musician and classical soul-pioneer will guide listeners along exhilarating and often unexpected pathways of music.

“Growing up I heard Mozart in Stevie Wonder, Beethoven in Wu-Tang Clan and Bach in Bob Marley” says Ffrench. “I’ve always seen music as being connected by one wondrous arch. In Classical Connections Radio, I want to join the dots and present classical in the way I believe it’s meant to be presented - as beautiful music to be enjoyed without barriers.”

Classical Connections Radio features the best new releases, interviews with the most exciting classical artists and a few surprises, too. In his “Sampology” feature, Alexis unlocks the classical roots of a recent chart hit, while we get to hear his incredible improvisational skills in “60 Second Sonata” as Alexis spontaneously crafts a piece of music at the piano, inspired by a listener. In “Journeys”, Alexis finds the influences in his own work through the composers and artists who have formed his musical DNA over the years and in “Songs to Live By” he highlights five tracks to accompany favourite pastimes, moods or activity.

In the augural episode, we hear music ranging from Bach, Debussy, Piazzolla and Max Richter to the Beatles and Ariana Grande (with classical twists). In Sampology, the chosen track is British rapper Little Simz’ Introvert which Alexis connects with Ravel’s Boléro, Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 4.

If Classical Connections Radio is about gathering different musical strands, it’s also about bringing together a musical community. “Classical music is not about dates or understanding different periods” Alexis says. “It’s people, it’s emotions and it’s love. That’s why it’s so dear to me and that’s why this show is for everyone.”

The one-hour, weekly show launches on Saturday 10 December at 10am PT/6 pm UK on Apple Music 1 immediately after Elton John’s show Rocket Hour.