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According to industry body BPI, sales of classical recordings fell by 5% last year and for many, the classical genre continues to carry a certain stigma, which is difficult to shake. It is no secret that classical music hasn’t always found it easy to move with the times. However, recent years have shown a flourish of exciting new material – from fringe opera to flash mobs.

At the forefront of this revolution is contemporary opera festival Tête-à-Tête, which saw its opening night last night at ‘The Place’. The final performance of the evening was composer Tim Benjamin’s Life Stories, produced by Radius. The double-bill featured R.I.P and Silent Jack – two one-act operas based on gripping, dark short stories by Anton Chekhov and Anthony Peter.

Feedback after the performances of Life Stories earlier this month demonstrated the impact that contemporary productions have. With 18% of audience members first-time opera-goers, and 96% giving positive or strongly positive reviews, the possibility for performances such as this to attract a new public is clear.

A second London performance of Life Stories will take place at 8:55pm at ‘The Place’ tonight. Click here for details of how to buy tickets and support the opera revolution!

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(Written on July 22, 2015 )

Classical News

In today’s news, Ivan Hewett reports on the problem with the opening night of the Proms, auto-translating opera glasses are tested out in Avignon and Alan Curtis dies.

The Telegraph

The problem with the First Night of the Proms

It’s the world’s greatest music festival – so why does it always get off to such a shoddy start, asks Ivan Hewett

The Guardian

Dadaville at the First Night of the Proms – and six great Proms premieres

In the spirit of the concert series’ opening night, Tom Service honours the long tradition of presenting new music at the Proms

Classical Music Magazine

Auto-translating opera glasses trialled at Avignon

The world’s first auto-translating opera glasses made their debut at this year’s Avignon Festival.

Alan Curtis, scholar, conductor and harpsichordist, dies aged 80

The American scholar, conductor and harpsichordist Alan Curtis (17 November 1934 – 15 July 2015) has died aged 80.

Classic FM

Sharks are a little less scary thanks to Joshua Bell and the London Symphony Orchestra

In an effort to boost the image of these endangered animals, the Discovery channel has commissioned a new piece of music to represent sharks – dialling down the terror and dialling up the majesty.

Die Zeit

Von Wölfen und Menschen

Die Wunderdunkelheit der Seele. Der schottische Installationskünstler Douglas Gordon zeigt mit “Neck of the Woods” Musiktheater in Manchester.

Klassik Akzent

Klassische Ouvertüren – Große Dirigenten der Wiener Philharmoniker

Die Wiener Philharmoniker sind eines der vornehmsten Orchester Europas. Jetzt legt Decca ein klassisches Album des Traditionsorchesters neu auf: bedeutende Ouvertüren von Mozart, Beethoven und Schubert.

Die Welt

Oper Frankfurt beendet Spielzeit mit Rekordergebnis

In der Saison 2014/15 hat die Oper Frankfurt/Main für rund 7,5 Millionen Euro Eintrittskartenverkauft, teilte das Opernhaus gestern mit.

Il Messaggero

Verdi, 82 lettere del maestro salvate grazie alle donazioni: rischiavano di andare perdute

«Caro Arrivabene, ieri sera Aida benissimo, esecuzione d’insieme e di parti buonissimo, mise en scène, idem, Stolz e Pandolfini benissimo, Waldman bene… Il pubblico le ha fatto buon viso.

San Francisco Classical Voice

Summertime and Musicals Are Easy (But with Substance) 

The season of musicals has arrived with a vengeance. Here we are taking a look at just two productions opening this week for long runs, one riding on Stephen Sondheim’s illuminating/devastating lyrics, the other a West End-Broadway sensation on tour.

Twitter

Maria Camahort @mariacamahort: Back home after two gigs with the quintet and at @ArtinAction1 !!! Great place to spend the day!! :)

Your Call… @yourcallopera Lisa waiting for the train to the first day of rehearsals – not long until the performances @teteateteopera!

The Amati Magazine @AmatiMagazine: …and @RichardBratby‘s visit to Newark became our most-viewed piece EVER in just three days.

First night of the Proms...The First Night of the Proms 2009 in the Royal Albert Hall, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 17, 2009. Photo credit should read: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire

Opening night at the Proms

Photo: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire

(Written on July 17, 2015 )

The world looked on in absolute horror last month as a deadly 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal. The effects of the disaster have directly affected 8 million people with over 7,000 official casualties and many more unofficially. The earthquake destroyed scores of buildings in Kathmandu in particular but has also severely affected the region’s rural areas. Aid is desperately needed, food and water are in short supply and the risk of disease threatens.

Music of all genres has always had the unique ability to bring people together for a cause and there are a few concerts planned to help raise money for the relief operation in Nepal. Below is a selection, please attend and give generously, the people of Nepal need our help.

Southwark Music Service Concert for the Nepal Earthquake Appeal, 10 May Parish Church of St. Mary Newington, 7pm

In aid of the Disasters Emergency Committee Nepal Earthquake Appeal, the tutors of Southwark Music Service will present a programme of jazz, classical and other genres performed by various ensembles linked to the Service.

Sir Neville Marriner and Friends Play for Nepal, 28 May St James’ Piccadilly, 7:30pm 

A prestigious line up of oboist Nicholas Daniel, violinist Kenneth Sillito and past and present members of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields all conducted by Sir Neville Marriner will join forces for the Disasters Emergency Committee Nepal Earthquake Appeal on 28 May. Repertoire includes Elgar, Bach, Marcello and Tchaikovsky. All involved are donating their time and services for free.

Classical Music Gala Concert for Nepal, 29 May St Barnabas Church, London W5 1QG, 7:30pm

Pianist Alicja Fiderkiewicz and cellist Corinne Morris have called upon their solo and chamber musician friends to organise this concert on 29 May. Alongside a world premiere by Keith Burstein, Murray McLachlan, Artur Pizarro, Viv Mclean, Carlo Grante and Nico de Villiers will join Alicja and Corinne at St Barnabas Church with all proceeds also going to the Disasters Emergency Committee Nepal Earthquake Appeal. The target is £10,000, come along to help them reach and exceed this goal.

Nepal Earthquake Fundraiser, 9-10 May Brixton Jamm 261 Brixton Road, 6pm onwards

If you fancy something other classical music, Brixton Jamm’s usual Saturday night will be dedicated to raising money for Circus Kathmandu, a local charity involved in setting an example in fair and best circus practises in the area. They have been on the ground in Nepal for some time before the earthquake and engage young people whilst also working closely with anti-trafficking organisations. You can be sure that by supporting this charity, the money will go straight to those who need it most. The great lineup includes artists such as Basement Jaxx, Kissy Sell Out and Audio Bullys. Find out the full list on the Facebook event page.

If you cannot make these events please consider donating directly to the DEC or to the Red Cross.

nepal-appeal

Photo: EPA/Narenda Shrestha

(Written on May 7, 2015 )

It is a great pleasure to welcome the talented singer and composer Sophie Dunér to our client roster.

Sophie is from Sweden, and has lived and performed internationally. Her roots are in jazz, and her music and performances are a fusion of jazz and contemporary classical idioms. Through this fusion, Sophie has created her own fresh and wild voice. As the renowned producer of her album The City of My Soul, Michael Haas, states: “it’s Dunéresque – a newly created genre!”

The City of My Soul was released with Big Round Records, a Parma Recordings Company. The City of My Soul was one of Parma’s top albums for digital sales in February 2015, and Sophie will also be featured on a compilation of the PARMA Music Festival 2014, to be released in June. Sophie has also collaborated with top musicians including, electric cellist Jeremy Harman from the Sirius Quartet, The Callino Quartet, Rory Stuart, Matt Pennman, Kahlil Kwame Bell and most recently Dominic Duval, Bertram Lehmann and Fernando Huergo. She has toured the U.S and Buenos Aires, as well as performing across Europe.

Sophie is multi-talented, and is also a painter. Many of her paintings reference the musical influence in her life. Her work is included alongside 17 other European artists in an art book by Swedish gallery owner Christian Boétus – a copy of The City of My Soul has been included in every book. Audiovisual concerts are now a large part of Sophie’s work. Her songs are already strongly connected to her paintings, which are projected digitally at performances.

You can visit Sophie’s Website here, and listen to her live performances on YouTubeThe City of My Soul is available to purchase here.

Buenos Aires

Photo credit: Petra Björstad©

(Written on March 26, 2015 )

WildKat PR is delighted to welcome a new artist management company to our roster: Noel Music Management (NMM). Working with both professional soloists and renowned orchestral musicians, NMM is committed to helping musicians forge their careers through finding them paid performances whilst also helping with advertising, marketing and PR. They already represent 13 soloists, 2 chamber groups and 140 orchestral musicians, including players from the London Symphony Orchestra and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

We will be working with them specifically on their newly inaugurated Friends and Patrons Scheme which aims to further the opportunities already available to the musicians. The Scheme embraces ‘crowdfunding’, an innovative new way to raise funds which is becoming increasingly popular, most prominently by the Danish National Chamber Orchestra recently. It allows Patrons to invest in and support a growing arts organisation at a time when the arts are facing severe cuts, so guaranteeing the industry’s future. Those interested can donate any amount of money, from £40, the equivalent of a concert ticket, right up to £10,000 and Funders receive an array of benefits in return. These range from discounted and VIP tickets, to a bespoke concert series in their name or a composition dedicated to them.

Friends and Patrons will clearly see their contributions directly benefitting tomorrow’s classical musicians through scholarships and covering concert costs. These Funders will also be supporting Noel Music Management’s four key values: challenging the normal concert protocol and adopting new approaches; curating concerts that are wide reaching and inspire change; performing educational concerts that increase understanding of the genre; and also putting on inclusive concerts which attract a diverse audience and are suitable for all.

WildKat PR is excited to see how the Scheme will develop.

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Noel Music Management

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Written on February 3, 2015 )

Classical News

The Guardian

The playlist: experimental music – James Hoff, Richard Skelton, Pauline Oliveros and more

These unconventional artists and composers use everything from computer viruses to mud-crusted violins to create new sounds and reimagine masterpieces

Danish National Chamber Orchestra fights cuts by crowdfunding

Private donations and public support mean that this innovative orchestra will not be disbanded despite the loss of its state funding

Classical Music Magazine

Government publishes new GCSE, AS and A Level subject content

The Department for Education has published details of the subject content for the GCSEs, AS Levels and A Levels in music to be taught from autumn 2016.

Decca Classics signs soprano Aida Garifullina

Decca Classics has signed soprano Aida Garifullina on an ‘exclusive, multi-album contract’.

Classic FM

ABO conference: Vaizey ‘sick and tired’ of councils abandoning music

The Conservative minister was speaking at the opening session of the 30th conference of the Association of British Orchestras at the Sage Gateshead.

Zeit Online

Dirigent Eschenbach erhält Ernst-von-Siemens-Musikpreis

Christoph Eschenbach wird als Pianist und Dirigent ausgezeichnet.

Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin

»Sprache und Taten sind gefährlich, nicht Musik«

Darf man beim Singen weinen? Wie fühlt sich Überwältigung an? Kann Musik wirklich trösten? Ein Gespräch mit dem Bariton Christian Gerhaher, der ein weltweit gefeierter Star ist – und ein tiefgründiger Zweifler.

Deutschlandradio Kultur

Wiener Meister einer Zwischenepoche

Mit der “Wiener Klassik” werden Haydn, Mozart und Beethoven verbunden. Von den ungezählten Meistern zweiten Ranges ist seltener die Rede.

Codex Flores

Nott übenimmt Leitung des Orchestre de la Suisse Romande

Jonathan Nott ist seit dem Jahr 2000 Chefdirigent der Bayerischen Staatsphilharmonie.

pizzicato

Hurrah: Danish Chamber Orchestra Is Kept Alive

Private donations and crowd funding were successful.

Twitter

Sinfini Music ‏@SinfiniMusic : BBC announce Ten Pieces Prom as climax to the project: http://www.sinfinimusic.com/uk/features/news/bbc-ten-pieces-interactive-weekend-at-2015-proms …

ABO @aborchestras:Second day of #abo15 kicks off with a musical moment before we look at what we can learn from sport.

The Stage ‏@TheStage : One in five showbiz professionals affected by mental health issues, survey finds http://bit.ly/1wDtale 

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Aida Garifullina. Photo: Decca Classics

 

(Written on January 29, 2015 )

Today, 28th January 2015, the Department for Education published their new plans for the content of GCSE and A Level Music exams to be brought into effect from autumn 2016.

The state of music education has been a hot topic in recent weeks and months and was particularly publicised by pianist James Rhodes’ Channel 4 documentary and subsequent ‘Don’t Stop the Music’ campaign to give every child the opportunity to learn a musical instrument. Fueling the fire, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, warned in November 2014 against studying arts subjects in favour of science and maths, arguing that the arts would ‘hold them [students] back for the rest of their lives’. Many prominent musicians such as Nicola Benedetti spoke out against this statement.

The main changes to note from today’s announcement is that, at both levels, the dates open to study are being widened from 1700 to 1900 (this narrowness has been widely criticised) to 1650 to 1910.  This means a much large portion of the Baroque period is included and will now account for the beginning of Bach and Handel’s lives who were both born in 1685. Although the Baroque period is usually said to begin in 1600, 1650 is still a much more standardized year to begin musical education than the original guidelines. The same can be said of the additional 10 years at the end of the timeline. Indeed, bringing music education in line with widely recognised facts in the classical music industry is surely only a positive thing. For this development we have ISM’s Protect Music Education campaign to thank.

Interestingly, commentators have also noted that the usual overwhelming focus on the Western Classical Tradition at GCSE and A Level has been changed to include a compulsory study outside of this. As the world, business, finance and politics become more interconnected, understanding other countries’ history and culture is increasing in importance. Part of this is understanding others’ music and I think this change in the curriculum is a good starting point.

Another positive change, although small, is a change of phrasing: ‘performance and composition’ has become ‘performing and composing’. This subtle difference somewhat removes the pressure on the final outcome of recitals and compositions but emphasises the enjoyment of all parts music making: practising, refining, crafting harmony, correcting errors, discovering that pupil’s personal style. Again, ISM’s campaign was successful.

Hopefully these changes will contribute to the widening belief that music education is beneficial and relevant but that it will also encourage more young people to experience the enjoyment of music.

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Photo: Wikipedia

 

(Written on January 28, 2015 )

A very exciting initiative launched yesterday, 26th January 2015: Musical Orbit. The website is offering musicians the opportunity to book one-to-one lessons, as well as free webinars and masterclasses with some of the top principal players from major orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Mozart Players. Whether you have an audition, final exam or recital, through Musical Orbit you can receive bespoke feedback from industry experts on your playing to allow you to perform to your absolute best.

This opportunity means Musical Orbit is also a central online hub, allowing musicians to connect, for young artists to build relationships within the industry and to receive playing tips. Professional musicians wanting to give back to the industry can do so in their own time, anywhere in the world. The hub will also provide discounts to the most popular concerts, with promo codes that are available only on the Music Orbit website.

To celebrate this exciting project, Musical Orbit is offering the chance to win FREE music lessons if you sign up before next Monday (2nd February 2015). Get yourself over there quickly to be mentored by some of the best classical musicians in the world!

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Keep up to date with news from Musical Orbit through their Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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(Written on January 27, 2015 )

Classical News

The Times

LSO needs a new hall to lure Rattle

The London Symphony Orchestra’s illustrious conductor’s podium looks set to welcome a homecoming star in Sir Simon Rattle, although he may have a condition — a new concert hall.

ENO battles another backstage civil war

Our chief cultural writer on what to make of chairman Martyn Rose’s resignation and the leaked letter accusing his colleagues of mishandling the budget

The Strad

Boris Goldstein Violin Competition names second-round candidates

Fourteen violinists have made it through to the second round of the International Boris Goldstein Violin Competition Bern.

Classical Music Magazine

Parting shot from ENO chairman declares John Berry ‘the problem not the solution’

The outgoing chairman of English National Opera, Martyn Rose, has called ENO’s direction under artistic director John Berry ‘wholly unsustainable’ in a letter sent to Sir Vernon Ellis, ENO’s president.

BBC Music Magazine

Download the prelude from Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1

The original manuscript for JS Bach’s Six Cello Suites is lost, making it difficult to know exactly when they were written.

Berliner Zeitung

Die Botschaft der Geigen

Auf manchen von Amnon Weinsteins wurde in den Orchestern der Konzentrationslager gespielt.

pizzicato

Berufschoristen verärgert über Pariser Philharmonie

Weil die Pariser Philharmonie den Chor ihres residierenden ‘Orchestre de Paris’ als residierenden Chor auserwählt hat, protestieren die Pariser Berufschoristen, die sich in dem Kollektiv ‘Colère lyrique’ zusammen geschlossen haben, um ihrem Ärger besser Ausdruck zu verleihen.

Park schlägt zurück: Chung in Bedrängnis

Im Kampf zwischen dem Dirigenten Myung-Whun Chung und der am 29. Dezember zurückgetretenen Orchesterdirektorin des ‘Seoul Philharmonic’, Hyun-jung Park, war diese zwar offiziell unterlegen, aber sie hat mittlerweile ein Lauffeuer gegen den von ihr gehassten Chefdirigenten angefangen.

Klassik.com

Lösung in Streit um Kopien an Musikschulen

VG Musikedition schließt Vertrag mit dem Verband deutscher Musikschulen

The New York Times

Met Opera Cancels Premiere; Broadway Shows Canceled

The snowstorm forced the Metropolitan Opera to cancel one of the highlights of its season: Monday night’s planned premiere of a new production of a double bill of Tchaikovsky’s “Iolanta,” starring Anna Netrebko, and Bartok’s “Bluebeard’s Castle.”

Tweets

Springfield School ‏@SpfldUK : Are you a budding composer? @soundandmusic are offering a summer school opportunity from 2-8 August 2015 – http://soundandmusic.org/summerschool 

The Mozart Project ‏@themozartproj : Born today in 1756, here’s Mozart birth certificate showing his extremely long full name. Happy 259th Wolfgang!!

Royal Opera House @RoyalOperaHouse :We’re now on sale for Spring Season! Let us know if you need any help ^E http://bit.ly/1GXtI0y 

ENO News 27th Jan The English National Opera. Photo: Donald Cooper/Photostage

 

(Written on January 27, 2015 )

WildKat PR is very excited to introduce our newest client: the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (CMS). Based at New York’s infamous Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, CMS features some of the finest chamber music performances on a world stage. As well as thrilling seasoned concert goers, they also seek to engage a wider audience with chamber music through their performances, education programmes, and recording activities.

Motivated by their commitment to the continuation of the chamber music tradition, they founded CMS Two which is a prestigious, unique and wildly competitive three season residency for the most significant ensembles and individual musicians. Far from being an ‘extra’, CMS Two members take part in all aspects of the Society’s activities and it boasts alumni such as Lang Lang and Hilary Hahn.

We will be working with CMS on a very exciting concert on 8th May 2015 at London’s Wigmore Hall which, alongside standard repertoire from Schumann and Brahms will also feature the world premiere of a specially co-commissioned piece by British composer Helen Grime. This new string trio continues the longstanding relationship between the two cross-Atlantic concert halls.

CMS-logo

(Written on January 23, 2015 )