wed 20/01/2021

First Person

First Person: tenor Nicky Spence on working with Blackheath locals on screen Stravinsky

As patron for a community organisation, I see clearly how opera is the biggest collaboration going. Between stage, orchestra  pit, school liaisons, chorus leaders, make-up bays and the magicians of the technical team, every cog is of equal...

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First Person: Gregory Batsleer on choirs for the 21st century

Choral music is one of the UK’s oldest and most-loved art forms. It has been at the centre of my life ever since I started singing in primary school and has grown to become a crucial part of my identity as both a musician and artist. I am a signed-...

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First Person: pianist Danny Driver on teaching online and the importance of music education

There’s an old saying that goes: if life deals you lemons, make lemonade. To say that the COVID-19 pandemic is a lemon would be a huge and trivial understatement – it has had a massive effect on people’s way of life across the globe, it has cost...

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'Masses of performers are still grounded': pianist Sophia Rahman on a UK music scene in crisis

Have you ever tried watching a film, programme or even an advert without the soundtrack? If so, you’ll know that music is a cornerstone of all the culture you enjoy, not only Strictly or the Proms. From the grandest of ceremonies to the everyday...

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'Rehearsing Beethoven with Barenboim felt like an historical moment': Vienna Philharmonic trombonist Kelton Koch on a new normal

Joining the Vienna Philharmonic as a student and young professional was an absolute thrill. I had begun to play with the orchestra as an academist in October 2019 and as a full-time member in the Opera in January 2020. I was experiencing many “...

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First Person: Antonia Bain on directing a short kitchen opera for film

The Narcissistic Fish is a brand new opera specifically created to be filmed. Set in Leith and written in Scots, it tells the story of restaurant owner and chef, Angus, and his brother Kai who are arguing over the death of their father, while the...

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‘We are still standing and planning for the brightest future we can’: Svend McEwan-Brown on the survival of a festival

They say that you discover who your true friends are when you find yourself in direst need. East Neuk Festival, our success story on the Fife coast, which should have been happening this week, faced the deepest crisis in its 16-year history this...

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'Composing supports children to understand music from the inside': educator Nancy Evans on a revolution in primary schools

Next month (July 2020) marks 20 years since I started work at Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, initially as their first Education Manager and then in my current role as Director of Learning and Participation. So when we were awarded a...

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'We must channel the energy and pain that is being expressed right now': Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE on time for action on diversity in classical music

The worldwide reaction to the horrific murder of George Floyd via the renewed focus on the Black Lives Matter movement is not a minority issue. It concerns people of all ethnicities, education and economic backgrounds who want a better, fairer world...

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The power of resilience: flautist Noemi Gyori on positive ways to face adversity

The magnitude of challenges that the entire classical music industry is facing due to the coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented. In the twinkling of an eye, cultural life became suspended. Many of us, mostly freelancers and entrepreneurs, smaller...

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'This experience has revealed just how much I love music': pianist Paul Lewis on life in lockdown

As an instrumentalist, you can sit down and play music and escape from the stress. It’s a privilege to be able to do something that takes you to a different place – you’re removed from everything that’s happening. When you stop, there are reminders...

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First Person: Gabriel Prokofiev on 14 years of his Concerto for Turntables and Orchestra

For most people a turntable, or record player is used to play back old vinyls bought from a market or second hand store, or perhaps a carefully packaged reissue of a classic album. We gently place the needle at the beginning of the record and are...

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