Friday 25 June 2021

On-line & Radio Happenings: record number of BBC New Generation Artists, WNO's Modern Life podcast and Radio Café Zimmermann

Whilst we are all relishing the prospect of live performances, there is still plenty happening on-line an on the radio, with the announcement of new BBC New Generations Artists (a record number), new podcasts from Welsh National Opera (WNO) looking at the adaptation of opera to fit contemporary themes, and an internet classical radio station, Radio Cafe Zimmermann.

BBC Radio 3 has announced a record number New Generation Artists joining the scheme. The eight artists who become members of the scheme in September 2021 and stay until December 2023 are British-Israeli pianist Tom Borrow, British mezzo-soprano Helen Charlston (whose recital with lutenist Toby Carr we caught at Grosvenor Chapel, see my review), Spanish violinist María Dueñas, German-Romanian baritone Konstantin Krimmel, Indian-American collaborative pianist Kunal Lahiry, the London-based Mithras Trio (see my review of their Conway Hall concert last year), Paris-based string quartet Quatuor Mona, and British bass William Thomas.

Also, for the second year running, the current New Generation Artists stay on for an additional year to give them more of the performing and recording opportunities that were lost during the time of COVID-19. These include, among others: Leeds International Piano Competition winner Chinese-American pianist Eric Lu, London-born jazz guitarist, composer Rob Luft, Macedonian-born Canadian mezzo-soprano Ema Nikolovska (winner of the Ferrier Loveday Song Prize at the Kathleen Ferrier Awards) and London-based Consone Quartet, the first period instrument quartet to be part of the scheme.

Over in Wales, WNO is presenting a mini-podcast series Modern Life, broadcaster Gareth Jones explores how traditional operas have been adapted to reflect contemporary themes and poses the question, should opera reflect modern life? Gareth is joined by a guests including former Daily Telegraph opera critic Rupert Christiansen and opera director Sir David Pountney.

Radio Café Zimmermann, named for the coffee-house in Leipzig where Bach performed many of his orchestral pieces, is a private internet radio station produced in Munich. The station covers music from the Renaissance to the present-day, is ad free (!), without registration and subscription and produces a new programme every day and opera arias every evening. They say that the idea behind Radio Cafe Zimmermann is to bring joy to everyday life with easily accessible classical music. Further information from their website (much of the info in German), with a separate streaming URL.

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