Out of the Shadows

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Critics' Circle Music Awards for 2020/21

The Critics Circle
The Music Section of the Critics' Circle has just announced the winners of their awards for 2020 and 2021. The Awards are unique as they are decided by the country’s most experienced professional arts journalists and critics on the basis of hearing the widest range of performances across the UK and Ireland. 

And the Young Talent Awards applaud the way award winners have triumphantly overcome the hardships and challenges of the last two years to make significant breakthroughs in their careers. And this year's awards also includes recognition for the outstanding achievements of individuals and organisations in response to the uniquely adverse circumstances of the pandemic.

  • Young Talent (composer): Alex Ho, who has had a determinedly creative lockdown, putting out valuable works and winning major commissions at a difficult time. His AMAZON, one of the most original multi-media works to come out of lockdown, was commissioned by London Sinfonietta and Music Theatre Wales, and created over Zoom using stop-motion animation, narration and ingenious use of ‘found sounds’.
  • Young Talent (conductor): Jonathon Heyward, American by birth, he is proving an indispensable asset to British musical life. In 2020-21, he conducted Hannah Kendall’s The Knife of Dawn at Covent Garden, championed Elgar in Germany, and made a rapturously acclaimed Proms debut with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain
  • Young Talent (voice): William Thomas, whose appearances in 2020/21 included Glyndebourne, Seattle Opera, his BBC Proms debut, Colline (La bohème) for ENO at Alexandra Palace and Sciarrone in Tosca for the company at Crystal Palace, and joining BBC New Generation Artists
  • Young Talent (piano): Nicolas Namoradze is a ceaseless hunter-out of unjustly forgotten repertoire – for example his championing of the works of York Bowen – and he is also a composer in his own right. And his neuroscientific research into how the brain processes music may alter the way musicians both practice pieces and learn them.
  • Lockdown Star: St Mary's Perivale, a tiny, Grade 1-listed redundant church in west London – has punched far above its weight with the range and quality of its streamed recitals. Dr Hugh Mather and the team – all volunteers – carried on with their three weekly recitals when Covid hit, providing young artists with paid employment and a platform during this hardest of times, raising their own funds, largely through donations, to pay the artists without any public subsidies.
    • There is also a special mention for Tom Poster and Elena Urioste for sheer joyousness, eclectic musical choices and beautiful playing in their streamed performances
    • And a special mention for the Wigmore Hall, an absolute beacon, and despite all its obvious advantages, the hall went far beyond what it needed to do.
  • Outstanding Achievement, Streaming and Digital
    • OperaGlass Works' Turn of the Screw, a highly creative response to circumstances and a satisfying digital product. Both musical and cinematic values were of the highest standard
    • VOPERA's L'enfant et les sortileges, something fresh and new in its blend of animation and live performance, as well as offering a meaningful and topical response to extraordinary circumstances
  • Outstanding Achievement in Opera
    • We wanted to express our admiration and gratitude to Birmingham Opera, and the late Graham Vick, for their extraordinary achievement over the years. This company, Vick’s brainchild, represents something unique in opera, and not only for the UK: a genuine attempt – and genuinely successful – to do something thoughtful, demanding and different (but not simply for the sake of it) – with huge imagination and energy, seeking to find what opera could mean in and for contemporary society.

Full details from the Critics Circle website.

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