Resilience and Hope – our latest newsletter
We sent out our latest newsletter this week – you can read it here or below:
Newsletter – Resilience and Hope
There’s no denying that these are tough times – the pandemic has stolen lives and livelihoods and left the arts world reeling. We continue to weather the storm, to support our artists and ensure there will be a cultural scene when we all emerge. There are signs of recovery, but we all know it’s going to be a long and difficult road.
If this time has brought any positives, it’s offered artists one rare commodity – time in one place, whether to rest and recoup, or to try new things. In this newsletter we look at a few of the projects our artists have devised in response to the emergency, and hear their thoughts about the future.
Responses to lockdown
The crisis has inspired creative reactions
Lawrence Power is commissioning ten short viola pieces and filming them in and around vacated London venues. The first of his Lockdown Commissions is Power by Huw Watkins, filmed on the roof of St John’s Smith Square.
Elena Urioste and Tom Poster released a performance every single day of lockdown, with music ranging from pop and show tunes to classics and world premieres, with the hashtag #UriPosteJukebox.
François-Xavier Roth made a series of Listen to Beethoven videos, analysing the symphonies and finding parallels as diverse as disco and the Beatles, Steve Reich and Philip Glass.
Alwynne Pritchard created 46 short videos as part of her Recorded Delivery project, using suggestions from members of the public and filming them in her bathroom.
Ilan Volkov broadcast 18 episodes of a show on Radio Halas, playing tracks from his eclectic record collection and interviewing colleagues from the contemporary music scene.
Some music went ahead despite social distancing
There was an emotional response when London’s Wigmore Hall reopened in June with a series of live lunchtime concerts, broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and on the hall’s YouTube channel. Pavel Kolesnikov played in the first week, in duo with Samson Tsoy, Paul Lewis performed on 10 June and Allan Clayton visits on 19 June. Kolesnikov also played a concert for supporters of Grange Park Opera.
For the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne’s first concert back after lockdown, François-Xavier Roth conducted them in a socially distanced performance of Mozart and Bartók.
Marc-André Hamelin gave a recital of Enescu, CPE Bach, Scriabin, Fauré, Liszt and Debussy in his own living room to raise funds for New York’s 92nd Street Y.
As well as his Wigmore Hall recital, Paul Lewis appeared on Live with Carnegie Hall, Emanuel Ax’s series of interviews with great pianists who have appeared at the iconic venue.
At the very beginning of the crisis, Kazushi Ono gave two special performances with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, without an audience, one dedicated to doctors, nurses and carers, and the other for families.
Stefan Solyom conducted the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra in Haydn’s ‘Farewell’ Symphony as his own farewell to the group after six years as Chief Conductor.
Eivind Aadland conducted the orchestra of Den Norske Opera & Ballett in Beethoven and took part in Oslo Philharmonic’s Mellomspill series, as well as conducting Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra in Mozart’s Symphony No.41, ‘Jupiter’ in their final concert before lockdown.
Thinking of the future
Some of our artists offer their perspectives on the crisis
‘Most of us talk about wanting to engage with music at the grass roots level but we don’t, because the job is rehearsing and playing, and if you have a family there’s no time to prioritise other things. It’s our collective responsibility, and we can all do so much more. I could go to my son’s school twice a week and do the one thing I can help with – teaching violin and viola and supporting their music education projects. Maybe we will all have more obligation to do that.’
Read the interview in The Strad.
‘I believe that live performance will survive – theatre didn’t die when cinema was invented – but these events will surely have an impact and promoters will want to explore this kind of audience when the crisis is over.’
Read the interview on our website.
‘The challenges and disruption of the crisis will force us to respond, so there will be a massive eruption of creativity. It may be hard for the oil tankers of the creative world to change direction, because they’ve got a certain momentum, but small companies that are more connected to their grass roots can shift quite fast. This could lead to an explosion in investigating how to make art forms extraordinary and exciting, by releasing some of the parameters of the theatre and concert hall going. When we come back, I don’t want to lose everything we have, but I do want to find other ways to explore the forms. I want to throw the whole thing in the air and see what happens.’
Read the interview on our website.
‘This might create an awareness that there is no substitute for real, personal interaction and the energy of the concert performance. When you’re on the podium there is so much energy – both from the musicians in front of you, and from the eyes and ears of the audience. That energy is not replaceable with any live stream or any living room experience, although it’s good that these live streams exist at the moment, so that people can rediscover music when there’s nothing else to do.’
Read the interview in Classical Music.
Sjaron Minailo ‘I worry that by promoting operas and concerts online, we’re also saying to the audience that going to the theatre is more hassle than just sitting at home watching. We should try to avoid our audiences getting too used to seeing only a fraction of the show when they watch on screen.’ Read the interview on our website. Paul Lewis ‘This experience has revealed just how much I love music. It’s fantastic to connect with it separately from the business side – the getting on planes, arriving and stress of performing. If I didn’t play another concert, I’d be very sad and would have to find another way of earning a living, but I’d still play, I’d still have music. I’ve been reminded of that.’ Read the interview on The Arts Desk. Topi Lehtipuu ‘There isn’t yet a Netflix for the arts, so what about a streaming company that could generate subscription revenue so that it can afford to create new content? This a big opportunity for the whole cultural sector.’ Read the interview on our website.