thu 23/05/2024

Classical Features

'Right now, we're in chaos': pianist and Leeds Lieder director Joseph Middleton on catastrophic cuts to arts funding

Joseph Middleton

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – for ever.” Replace a few of George Orwell’s words in 1984 and most musicians right now would find alarming resonance in the statement: “If you want a picture of the present, imagine a boot stamping out classical music – for ever.”  

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First Person: violinist and animateur Bjarte Eike on filming the celebrated Alehouse Sessions

Bjarte Eike

BBC Four is broadcasting our Alehouse Sessions which filmmaker Dominic Best filmed in Battersea Arts Centre one snowy night in December. I know it feels very unlikely that we, the Barokksolistene, a Scandi group of baroque specialists, have made a programme for British TV singing sea shanties and folk ballads alongside Purcell.

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First Person: young composer Chris Brooke on his fanfare for the Coronation Bandstand Project

Chris Brooke

Having started my musical journey with the clarinet at the age of seven, I’ve enjoyed 12 years of making music since, playing in recitals and concerts both as a soloist and in an array of local ensembles. I have always had an interest in writing music – experimenting with it for about as long as I’ve been playing – but I started studying composition formally in 2017 with David Stowell at Guildhall Young Artists Norwich.

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First Person: Donatella Flick on why the conducting competition in her name is needed more than ever

Donatella Flick

What are the qualities that make a great conductor? It’s something that has been debated for years, brought into focus recently not least because of Cate Blanchett’s award-winning performance as fictional maestra Lydia Tár. Despite what you may think of the film, it has reignited debate about what it means to be a conductor today, and what qualities they should possess.  

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First Person: Anna Clyne on composing collaborations, not battles, in her latest concertos

Anna Clyne

Collaboration fuels a lot of my music – I love the interaction that takes me outside of my natural tendencies – it’s a source of inspiration and an opportunity to see my own music and creative process through a different lens.

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Axing the BBC Singers: four associated musicians on why it's so wrong

theartsdesk

Sent by a surely reluctant BBC PR, an ardent choral singer and supporter of new music, last Tuesday’s email had a title to make one groan: “New Strategy for Classical Music Prioritises Quality, Agility and Impact”. Very W1A. But this was no laughing matter – ker-pow-ing out of the thicket of corporatespeak were two devastating punches to the solar plexus.

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First Person: conductor Harry Bicket on filming the complete Handel for The English Concert's big new project

Harry Bicket

Of the many questions we asked ourselves during lockdown, I suspect that many of us looked at our lives and professions and asked, “Why?”.

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Extract: The Northern Silence - Journeys in Nordic Music and Culture by Andrew Mellor

Andrew Mellor

“Silence,” Andrew Mellor contends, “is more prominent in the northernmost reaches of Europe.” Yet it is more like a texture or an apprehension of vacancy than a state of true soundlessness: sometimes “real and pure”, sometimes it “lingers despite the noise”.

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First Person: Kings Place Artistic and Executive Director Helen Wallace on a year of 'Sound Unwrapped'

Helen Wallace

2023 is surely the year the performing arts reach peak "immersive", a word endangered by its own ubiquity. From Punchdrunk’s Burnt City to Danny Boyle’s The Matrix we are promised a swallowing-up by art. Kings Cross is the location for two visual and aural initiatives: David Hockney’s 3D Bigger & Closer at the Lightroom, and Sound Unwrapped at Kings Place, a year-long series of intimate, immersive events kindled by live performance.

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First Person: Royal Academy of Music Principal Jonathan Freeman-Attwood on why a conservatoire should make recordings

Jonathan Freema

Why is it important for a music conservatoire to make recordings? What is the educational context? These are questions we have continued to reflect upon at the Royal Academy of Music – celebrating its bicentenary this year – since we took our first steps towards what has become an established and invigorating part of Academy life.

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