sun 21/04/2024

Classical Features

First Persons: composers Colin Alexander and Héloïse Werner on fantasy in guided improvisation

Colin Alexander

For tonight’s performance at Milton Court, the nuanced and delicate tones of strings, voices, harmonium and chamber organ will merge and mingle together to tell tales of a rain-speckled landscape, luck and misfortune, forgotten valour, daily creative rituals and memories slowly vanishing into flames.

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First Person: Leeds Lieder Festival director and pianist Joseph Middleton on a beloved organisation back from the brink

Joseph Middleton

Everyone needs friends and everything is connected. As we throw the doors open on to the 2024 Leeds Lieder Festival I am struck by just how remarkable classical music can be for a community, particularly when it is looked after and invested in by its own community.

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First Person: conductor Peter Whelan on coming full circle with the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra

Peter Whelan

There's something undeniable about the way music can weave itself into the fabric of our lives, shaping our passions and leaving an indelible mark on our journeys. For me, this magic has been particularly intertwined with the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra. My first encounter with them, back in 1992, wasn't live in a concert hall, but rather through the flickering screen of a television.

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First Person: Laurence Cummings on his 25th and final year as Musical Director of the London Handel Festival

Laurence Cummings

At the time of writing, rehearsals are well under way for the London Handel Festival 2024. It’s a big year for me as it’s my 25th and final year as Musical Director.

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First Person: violinist Tom Greed on breaking down barriers in the presentation of chamber music

Tom Greed

For musicians, the period from early 2020 to mid-2021 was one of great reflection, with so many questions to puzzle over. Could we satisfy the basic need to interact with others and express ourselves? What on earth was Zoom, and how, as performers, could we learn to use technology to provide live experiences? Would things ever go back to the way they were? And should they?

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First Person: contralto Hilary Summers on going beyond her baroque and contemporary comfort zones

Hilary Summers

Back in the summer of 2020 when the arts industry was largely dormant and many professional singers were either moodily knocking back the gin or uploading poor quality phone videos of themselves bellowing Puccini arias from their doorsteps, I received an email.

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Best of 2023: Classical music concerts

David Nice

However dark the future may seem for UK arts funding, each year begins with a beacon of light, passed on to shine twice more, in the Easter and summer holidays: the ever more resourceful and generous concertgiving of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, always among the highlights of the classical music scene.

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First Person: Natalia Franklin Pierce, Executive Director of Nonclassical, on 'creating a sense of belonging'

Natalia Frankli

Despite my double-barrelled surname (my parents weren't married when I was born – so I was given both their names), a career within contemporary classical music definitely wasn't on the cards for me as a child. My Dad was a self-made man from a North London council estate, and while my parents loved music, classical music didn’t feature much and they regretted not being able to play any instruments.

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First Person: Pulitzer Prize winning composer David Lang on the original Jewish love story

David Lang

I wouldn’t say that I am super religious, but I am definitely religion-curious. It is a big part of my family background, and, to be honest, a big part of the history of my chosen field, Western classical music. For the past 1000 years, the church has been the most powerful commissioner of Western music, and its most active employer of musicians.

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First Person: conductor Edward Gardner on some of his questions and obsessions about Mahler's 'Resurrection' Symphony

Edward Gardner

“If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music.”

“What is best in music is not to be found in the notes.”

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