sat 24/07/2021

First Person

'You have to be willing to kill your darlings': conductor Clark Rundell on advice from composer Louis Andriessen (1939-2021)

It’s taken me a day to try to find some words to share at the passing of my dear friend, mentor and guardian angel Louis Andriessen and I’m grateful to theartsdesk for giving me the space. It is such a profound loss because of the profound gifts he...

Read more...

First Person: Héloïse Werner on a live collaboration with fellow composers and performers

It’s not every day that you have the opportunity to perform with musicians like the ones I’ll be sharing the St John’s Smith Square stage with on Saturday 3 July; organist Kit Downes and cellist Colin Alexander are some of the best musicians I know...

Read more...

'In music, we are together': saxophonist Jess Gillam on returning to concerts with audience

For over a year, many concert halls' doors have been firmly shut, the curtains drawn and the lights out. As we begin to emerge into a new world and live performance makes a comeback, I feel we are facing a bittersweet moment in the arts. As some...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

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,...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

‘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...

Read more...

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...

Read more...
Subscribe to First Person