sat 23/10/2021

First Person

First Person: Roxanna Panufnik on a new version of her 'Letters from Burma' in aid of Myanmar refugees

A month ago, I sat in St Martin-in-the Fields listening to London Mozart Players recording my orchestral version of Letters from Burma. I have never been to Burma but I was inspired to compose this work after reading a collection of 54 letters by...

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From cancellation to new vigour: pianist and artistic director Joseph Middleton on Leeds Lieder

April 2020 was to have been the celebratory 10th Anniversary Festival of Leeds Lieder, the organisation I’ve been fortunate enough to direct since late 2014. I’d called the Festival Ode to Joy and in a curious turn of programming, geekery...

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First Person: playwright Tanika Gupta on being back in the rehearsal room once more

On the first day of rehearsals for Out West at the Lyric Hammersmith in May, myself and fellow playwrights Roy Williams and Simon Stephens stood, masked up and lateral flow tested for Covid, and listened as the Lyric Hammersmith's artistic director...

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First Person: Boris Giltburg on lockdown interruptions to filming Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas

About a year ago, in a distant pre-pandemic world, I remember walking down Edgware Road one cold London evening. I was heading towards Jaques Samuel Pianos, my favourite haunt in London, to meet filmmaker Stewart French from Fly On The Wall. There,...

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First Person: composer and Renaissance man Tunde Jegede on transcending genres

In this era when there is so much talk and discussion around crossing musical boundaries, diversity in music and inter-disciplinary work it seems strange that there is still so little knowledge of how, why and when it works. Ironically, much of this...

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First Person: violinist Abigail Young on getting back to her Japanese orchestra in Covid year

February 2020: an item a long way down the agenda of the nightly news caused me to remark, fairly casually, “I wonder if that will affect me”. I had already heard about Covid-19, the new virus emerging from China; now it was spreading...

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First Person: Anna Lucia Richter on Monteverdi and a transition from soprano to mezzo

It’s actually quite a strange feeling to know that my CD Il delirio della passione is now out. I recorded this amazing, all-embracing Monteverdi project with Luca Pianca and Ensemble Claudiana over a year ago, in January 2020. That was another world...

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‘The Healing Power of Music’: composer Nigel Hess on great-aunt Myra’s wartime concerts

It has been well-documented over the last few months that there has been an upsurge in listener numbers for many radio stations offering classical music – notably BBC Radio 3, Classic FM and Scala Radio – and, during these unprecedented times it...

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Classical musicians on life after Brexit - 4: singers speak out

Forget the pandemic, it's Brexit which could ring the death knell for artists who are currently hoarse from begging to be taken seriously as a respected export. From Tchaikovsky to Britten, music itself has always been offered visa free but as the...

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Classical musicians on life after Brexit - 3: violinist Sara Deborah Struntz-Timossi

Sara Deborah Struntz-Timossi is an international award-winning violinist who has toured with early music ensembles like the European Union Baroque Orchestra, Dunedin Consort and The English Concert, as well as performing across Europe as a soloist...

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'Having to establish a real conversation with the audience is a good challenge': Raffaello Morales on a possible musical future

As this most remarkable year prepares to enter the history books, most of us who are part of the music industry have come to realise that the western world is desperately looking for solutions to an emergency of unprecedented dimensions in post...

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First Person: conductor Johannes Vogel on Beethoven’s Ninth as re-orchestrated by Mahler

Think of the finale at a big fireworks show: the anticipation; the build up. There is nothing bigger than the Ninth Symphony. It is the climax of this year’s Beethoven celebrations. A year ago, no-one would have expected 2020 to be turned upside...

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