David Nice, Journalist für die britische Kultur-Website theartsdesk, besuchte Ende September die Bamberger Symphoniker zur Saisoneröffnung in ihrer oberfränkischen Heimat und ließ sich von der Stadt und ihrem Klang verzaubern.

Bamberg ist ein wahres Kleinod im Herzen Europas und Weltkulturerbe der UNESCO – das hat auch David Nice entdeckt und wundert sich: „Strange, then, that the British don’t seem to realise, as do the Americans, Chinese, Japanese and Italians – acknowledging the only town not so far north of the Alps equal to any of their own – that Bamberg ought to be German destination No. 1.“ Und so stand für David Nice eine Erkundungstour der Bamberger Altstadt und ihrer Klöster, Museen und Kirchen auf dem Plan. In seinem Reisebericht ‚Top Town, Top Orchestra’ legt Nice seine Eindrücke der Stadt und ihrer Geschichte, aber vor allem sein Konzerterlebnis an diesem Eröffnungswochenende dar. Er beschreibt die Interpretation von Strauß’ Alpensymphonie als “a showcase both for the warm, now muscled Bamberg sound and for Nott’s way of keeping every phrase alive and moving.”

Mit Jonathan Nott, dem Chefdirigenten der Bamberger Symphoniker, traf sich Nice für ein Gespräch über die Vielschichtigkeit der Repertoireauswahl, seine langjährige Arbeit mit dem bayerischen Weltklasseorchester und dessen legendärem ‚Bamberger Klang’. Das Interview wurde heute auf theartsdesk veröffentlicht und gibt einen unvergleichlichen Einblick in die Arbeit einer der großen zeitgenössischen britischen Dirigenten, der den Großteil seiner Karriere auf dem europäischen Festland und in Bamberg verbracht hat. An Bamberg mag Nott besonders, dass das Orchester fester Bestandteil des Stadtalltags ist. „It’s a place where classical music is cherished, where you feel you do belong to society, you meet someone from the audience in the baker’s and they say, that was a good solo you played last night, you feel as if it’s not elite, it’s bread and butter“, so Nott im Gespräch mit David Nice.

Den Artikel über David Nices Aufenthalt in Bamberg könnt ihr hier nachlesen und sein Interview mit Jonathan Nott ist seit heute hier online.

Mehr Informationen über die Bamberger Symphoniker findet ihr hier.

 

Bamberger Symphoniker

Bamberger Symphoniker

 

(Written on October 20, 2014 )

Earlier today Labour MP Tom Watson has been reported suggesting that BBC radio 3 should give up its FM slot to Radio 6 Music.

Since the threat of closure four years ago, digital-only station 6 Music has enjoyed a huge increase in audience numbers. In July the BBC released figures for the previous quarter showing, for the first time, BBC 6 Music overtaking BBC Radio 3 in listener figures. BBC Radio 3, which is available on both digital and analogue platforms, had an audience of 1.88 million per week. This is down 5.6% from the same time last year and down 9.7% on the previous quarter. However, BBC 6 Music attracted 1.89 million listeners per week – a 5.5% increase on the same time in the previous year.

Watson’s argument explains that as BBC 6 Music is able to top BBC Radio 3 solely on the digital platform, giving it an FM space would increase its audience even further. He said: “It does strike me if the Radio 3 audience continues to diminish and BBC 6 Music continues to grow its audience, the BBC should seriously consider it, they must put it on their agenda.” He also comments that he is in no way suggesting the closure of BBC Radio 3, but highlights that it may be becoming a “niche station” and might be better suited to the digital-only platforms to make way for newer, more popular stations.

Despite the steady decline in BBC Radio 3’s audience numbers the BBC have assured listeners that they “are very proud of both stations and think they are working brilliantly for listeners as they are.” They are also confident that the figures for the next quarter will show improvement after the broadcast of The Proms over the summer months on BBC Radio 3.

BBC 6 Music is a digital-only station and so its listenership is obviously more used to that platform. As a channel it is produced and packaged with that in mind so would adding it to the analogue platform allow it to gain much more? BBC Radio 3’s audience, despite not increasing over the past few years, has managed to hold on to its percentage of listeners. Year on year more people in the UK are tuning into the radio and BBC Radio 3 are still maintaining 4% of the audience. Ivan Hewitt points out that Radio 3 are clearly doing something right, but in order to keep and gain listeners they will have to do something to allow for our “constant shifts in culture” whilst still maintaining integrity as a station that provides “high culture and classical music”.

What are your thoughts? Get involved in the conversation and tweet us @WildKatPR.

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(Written on October 14, 2014 )

At 8pm last night BBC viewers and listeners everywhere were in for a treat…

In their first ever pan-channel broadcast the BBC launched BBC Music, an ambitious wave of new programmes, innovative partnerships and ground-breaking music initiatives with a spectacular version of God Only Knows. The reworking of the song, originally by The Beach Boys, was performed by 27 musicians from all genres of music, uniting to create ‘The Impossible Orchestra’.

The launch of this new initiative shows the BBC’s strongest commitment to music in over 30 years. Bob Shennan, Director BBC Music, said: “This is an exciting moment for BBC Music as we launch to a global audience. With the 80-piece BBC Concert Orchestra at its heart and comprising an array of iconic music stars, from a wide range of musical genres, this ‘impossible’ orchestra is a celebration of all the talent, diversity and musical passion found every single day throughout the BBC. Our audiences are very clear in their passion for music and that’s why BBC Music exists: to create, curate and celebrate music – for the love of it.”

God Only Knows features the song’s original writer and creator, Brian Wilson, alongside a list of world-famous musicians including Sir Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Danielle de Niese, Nicola Benedetti, Baaba Maal, Jamie Cullum, Gareth Malone, Jools Holland and, of course, the BBC Concert Orchestra.

Brian Wilson said that he felt “incredibly humbled that the BBC would choose God Only Knows to promote their new music initiative. All of the artists did such a beautiful job I can’t thank them enough. I’m just honoured that God Only Knows was chosen. God Only Knows is a very special song. An extremely spiritual song and one of the best I’ve ever written.”

The location of the film is also very special as the Alexandra Palace Theatre is the home of the first ever BBC broadcast over 90 years ago!

The song has now been released as a single in a first-time collaboration between Sony, Warner and Universal Music and all of the proceeds are going to BBC Children in Need. It is already available to download and will be in shops later in the week.

During 2013/14 the BBC has broadcast over 41,000 hours of musical content making it the world’s largest music broadcaster. This has included 600 classical music concerts a year on Radio 3, Radio 1′s Big Weekend and The Proms. BBC Four is also the biggest commissioner of music documentaries in the UK.

Also this week, BBC Ten Pieces has launched in cinemas and on iPlayer as the BBC Learning team joins with over 200 partners and classical musicians to help inspire primary school children and introduce them to classical music. Approximately 100,000 children will see the film at over 300 screenings across the UK and eventually the DVD of the film will be made available to primary schools for free.

All information about BBC Music can be found on their new homepage.

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(Written on October 8, 2014 )

WildKat PR are excited to announce the North American debut of China’s National Centre for the Performing Arts Orchestra Beijing!

Between 2nd-13th November, China’s NCPA Orchestra will be performing in venues across North America on their landmark seven-city tour. Along with Chief Conductor Lü Jia they will play to crowds in Washington’s Kennedy Center and the Lincoln Center in New York among others. Their diverse programme melds Eastern and Western traditions, including works by Ravel, Dvořák and Tchaikovsky alongside Zhanhao He and Gang Chen’s The Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto and Chen Qigang’s Wu Xing – The Five Elements (Suite for Orchestra). Featured in these pieces are world-renowned pianists Yuja Wang and Xiaoyu Lius, and violinist Siqing Lu. They have played with some of the world’s most prestigious orchestras from across Europe and America as well as gaining numerous awards and acclaim for their performances and recordings.

This tour also marks the 35th anniversary of the official diplomatic relations between The United States and China. This important relationship was born shortly after the Philadelphia Orchestra’s landmark tour to China in 1973, which enabled a unique collaboration that has allowed trade, education and culture between the two countries to flourish.

WildKat PR are working with the NCPA as we embark on our first major North American and Canadian tour. Beyond the expected remit of our work we will also be hosting pre-concert and VIP receptions, overseeing the ticket sales and managing the box office. WildKat PR will also be liaising with all teams across the tour from the NCPA to each individual venue, including management and press teams to coordinate marketing and promotional materials and  overseeing the distribution.

Details of the tour are as follows

Sunday 2nd November, 3pm

Symphony Center, Chicago

Monday 3rd November, 8pm

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington

Wednesday 5th November, 8pm

Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, New York 

Friday 7th November, 8pm

Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Verizon Hall, Philadelphia

Sunday 9th November, 8pm

National Arts Center, Southam Hall, Ottawa, Canada

Tuesday 11th November, 8pm

Koerner Hall, The Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto, Canada

Thursday 13th November, 8pm

Maison Symphonique, Plas des Arts, Montreal, Canada

Programme information for each specific concert can be found on the China NCPA Orchestra’s official tour website and you can follow the orchestra on their facebook page.

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(Written on October 6, 2014 )

WildKat PR is pleased to welcome Poppy Ackroyd and Carols Cipa to its client roster ahead of their highly anticipated album launches later this year.

Poppy Ackroyd’s Feathers will be released on the 17th November following her highly acclaimed debut album Escapement which was released in 2012.  Following a classical training, Poppy’s signature classically-inspired sound is a mixture of the melodic and percussive sounds created by both the piano and violin.  Escapement also incorporated sound recordings of birdsong and rainfall recorded throughout Scotland, where Poppy studied.  The album was heralded as “the soundtrack to your catharsis” by Sputnik Music and “an exhilarating venture into a dreamlike state of mind and music…” by Surviving the Golden Age.

Carlos Cipa currently studies at the University of Performing Arts in Munich.  His love for composers such as Satie, Debussy and Ravel coupled with an interest in indie rock music inspired him to start writing his own piano music which incorporates these two focuses.  His next album, All your life you walk, follows 2012’s The Monarch and The Viceroy and his acclaimed collaboration with composer Sophia Jani, Relive, released in January 2014.  His recent performance at Hamburg’s Dockville Festival was described as “a truly magical solo piano performance” by the Quietus.

Poppy and Carlos will tour together at the end of 2014, with dates at Bristol’s Cube Cinema (16th December), Nottingham Contemporary (17th December) and London’s Cafe Oto (20th December).

 

01 Poppy Ackroyd (c) Kat Gollock

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(Written on October 6, 2014 )

This evening the city of Leeds will be illuminated tomorrow as it celebrates Light Night with 50 free arts events taking place in different corners and alternative spaces within the city. Now in it’s tenth year, Light Night opens the doors of museums, galleries, theatres and open spaces, showcasing a vibrant mix of events for all ages, from light installations to street theatre, music, performance, film, dance, circus, exhibitions and family friendly activities.

In the window of Nation of Shopkeepers in Cookridge Street, Richard Birkin’s Night Sun will be installed to brighten up the dark street. First commissioned by Nottingham City Council for their Light Night earlier this year, Night Sun was developed by Richard as a single and app.

Passersby are invited to turn the handle of a toy music box, which will spring the installation to life. As people keep turning, the musical story unfolds. Speaking with the Yorkshire Evening Post, Richard said: “I had this piece of music that I wanted to write and record with a string quartet. The question then was how I was going to present it. I did not want it playing on a loop. A city is filled with ambient sounds anyway. I wanted something that would pull people in.”

Leeds Light Night takes place tomorrow evening. Be sure to visit Night Sun and check out other events around the city.

Night Sun can be experienced, shared and purchased here.

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(Written on October 2, 2014 )

The National Children’s Orchestras (NCO) auditions are starting this Sunday in Cardiff. They will continue throughout October as the NCO travels all around the country as part of their quest to find the very best young musical talent. The NCO offers incredible opportunities to talented young musicians aged 7-13 from all over the country, and a chance to play at some of the most prestigious concert venues in the UK, including The Royal Albert Hall and The Royal Festival Hall.

NCO has six national orchestras which meet on residential courses during school holidays, and these comprise the Main Orchestra, Under 13 Orchestra, Under 12 Orchestra, Under 11 Orchestra, Under 10 Orchestra and the Training Orchestra (strings only).

NCO believes that the audition process should not be a daunting one. A big part of the NCO experience is about enjoyment, therefore the NCO want auditions to be enjoyable too. There is no set grade requirement to apply, and no scales or aural tests.  Applicants need to prepare two contrasting pieces of their choice which last up to five minutes each, and which contrast in speed and style. There are also two short pieces of sight-reading.

“What The National Children’s Orchestras of Great Britain offers is unrivalled in the UK. Whether working with a 7-year-old, new to the excitement of ensemble playing, or with a 13-year-old, desperate for new musical challenges, the NCO provides a unique orchestral experience. Not only do children gain access to the very best level of tuition and performance opportunities, they also find themselves in the company of other children who share the same passions as them – the perfect mix of fun, friendship and phenomenal playing!”

Sir Simon Rattle OM CBE, NCO President

For more information regarding auditions, including frequently asked questions, please visit NCO’s website.

You can also find out more about the NCO and their exciting schedule by visiting their Facebook and Twitter pages and you can hear NCO play by listening to their YouTube account.

The NCO is lacking in applicants for certain instruments: Violas, Double basses, Trombones, Tubas, Harps and Percussion so they’d be especially interested to receive applications from these instrumentalists. For any enquiries or to find out if there is still space at a venue, phone the NCO office on 01934 418855.

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(Written on September 26, 2014 )

Tim Benjamin’s opera Madame X is playing it’s final performance of this year at the Royal Northern College of Music tomorrow evening.

This entertaining and theatrical opera has enjoyed performances in Todmorden, Halifax and London with audiences being able to publish their feedback here with many reviews giving 4 or 5 stars!

Madame X tells the story of Masetto and Zerlina – a young immigrant couple – who are impoverished, cold, and starving. Masetto, a brilliant portrait artist, is being ripped off by his unscrupulous agent, and circling art collectors will not take “no” for an answer. Shivering in a shabby loft, struggling to make ends meet, and exploited by the wealthy and powerful collectors Lady Brannoch and Mr Wilmore, Masetto lives for his art, protected only by his muse and love, Zerlina. Their plight becomes increasingly perilous, desperate, and deadly, until at last: revenge.

Tickets for the final performance on 25th September can be bought here.

For more updates on Madame X visit the websiteTwitter or Facebook. You can follow Masetto and Zerlina on Twitter too.

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(Written on September 24, 2014 )

This week Baritone John Brancy will be taking the spotlight in the first production of the Tobin Center’s first ever season!

Fantastic Mr Fox is the first of many productions to be staged at the Tobin Center and John will be performing the title role. Based on the children’s book by Roald Dahl with music by Tobias Picker, Fantastic Mr Fox is a 70-minute opera in three acts. There are no intervals but instead the acts are separated by entr’actes sung by a children’s chorus. Described as ‘an enchanting modern fable’ the opera tells the story of Mr Fox and his family and their everyday lives. However when Mr Fox steals one hen too many, the local farmers conspire to rid themselves of all foxes. John’s previous performances have shown his ‘impeccable timing, dynamic physicality and robust voice’ (Opera News) so San Antonio is in for a treat! Listen to John talk about Fantastic Mr Fox on Texas Public Radio here.

The Tobin Center is San Antonio’s newest world-class venue. It features a state-of-the-art, multi-purpose 1759-seat performance hall, a 250-seat studio theatre and an outdoor performance plaza. The main auditorium also has ‘flat-floor’ capability, which allows performances of all kinds to take place and an extension of the seat capacity to 2100. The acoustics of the hall can be altered to fit the performance and, due to sound insulation throughout, performances can run simultaneously in all of the center’s venues. The center will now be home to Opera San Antonio, as well as many other local performing arts organisations and youth groups.

Fantastic Mr Fox is being performed on 23rd and 26th-28th September at the Tobin Center. More information and tickets can be found here.

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Photo: Kristin Hoebermann

 

(Written on September 22, 2014 )

Cellist Corinne Morris will be curating a series of concerts at 1901 Arts Club throughout November 2014. Belle Époque – L’Invitation au Voyage are three unique recitals where Corinne Morris explore different themes.

The first recital “Master Works for Cello and Piano” will take place on 12th November 2014 where Corinne will be joined by Kathron Sturrock. Corinne will introduce familiar and not so familiar French repertoire from the late 19th century to early 20th century with works by Debussy, Godard and Saint-Saëns. The following recital on 19th November 2014 will explore salon Music & Poetry, discovering the links between composers and contemporary poets. The programme includes works for soprano, cell and piano and will feature the Melicus Duo Concord Singers. The final recital will be a showcase of large-scale European Chamber Music works, typical of the Belle Époque, with Fenella Humphreys and Viv McLean.

For a more information and to purchase tickets for the recitals, visit the 1901 Arts Club website here.

Corinne Morris

(Written on September 19, 2014 )