Baritone Julien Van Mellaerts wins Wigmore Hall/Kohn Foundation International Song Competition 2017

John Gilhooly (pictured above) was bullish in his speech at this year’s Wigmore Hall/Kohn Foundation International Song Competition 2017 earlier this evening. 

“I’m glad so many of you stayed for the prize giving.

Some commentators insist that the song recital is living on borrowed time.

They point to patchy programming at leading concert venues and the incompatibility of the modern digital world with narrowing attention spans with deep listening to refined settings of poetic texts.

However one thing is for one certain. The art of the song recital is alive and flourishing in Wignmore Street and in music schools all over the world.

We are not striving to preserve an art form rather we want to unlock one fo the richest stores of human creativity and to share its contents with the largest possible audience.”

Read More

25 years of Classic FM

Classic FM celebrates 25 years on-air this week.

I remember tuning in to listen to the station on the first day it broadcast – 7 September 1992. My birthday. The day I was doing a long shift on my holiday job at nearby Centre Parcs in Elveden. (I was a kitchen porter, if you’re interested in the detail.)

There was a sense of excitement about the launch of a new radio station, similar to the buzz when Channel 4 started ten years before. A moment in broadcasting history.

I don’t remember ever listening to Radio 3 before Classic FM started. Orchestral music was a big part of my life thanks to County Youth Orchestra and my university studies, but that hadn’t translated into dedicated Radio 3 listening. I didn’t start listening to Radio 3 in earnest for another 13 years.

Read More

Masterclasses are valuable experiences

Susan Tomes, pianist and writer, mused on masterclasses on her blog yesterday. The anecdote that inspired the post makes for a depressing read. 

I commented on her post. I’ve shared the same comment below. 

“There is something remarkable to be observed in a masterclass.

First, you hear a complete performance of a movement from a work you may not have heard before.

You think you’ve heard something amazing – a moment where the performer has tried to create a magical moment. We’ve all willed them on. We’ve all experienced something.

Then you hear someone with more experience encourage that same performer to look at the work from a different perspective.

Then we hear the resulting performance.

In the moment, the transformation itself is amazing.

The performer gets something rare and incredibly valuable. The audience gets the best of both worlds.

I’ve always felt incredibly humble in a masterclass. I don’t understand why anyone would consider participating in one an onerous task.”

Read More