CMF 2021 Advent News 🎄

Despite the strictures imposed by the continuing pandemic at the start of 2021, both the CMF Team and Artists have been incredibly busy! We are so proud of the CMF family that we would love to share, or even re-share, with you some of the top highlights of this year, so come back each day in December to re-live some fantastic videos, reviews, articles, announcements and more as we count down to Christmas!

Christmas is a time of giving and your kind and generous donations complete the circle for us, making everything we do possible. Without you, CMF would not be able to offer the many educational and performing opportunities which make up the CMF Artist Programme – and our artists would not be able to give back to you, their audiences, through live performances, recordings and videos made with CMF, and beyond. 

Please complete the circle of giving and give CMF, the artists, and yourselves, a gift of music this Christmas. If you’d like to donate, please click the image below!

16th December

15th December

Today we look back at the special Beethoven 251 event held in July with a performance from Michael Foyle and Maksim Stsura celebrating Beethoven 250th birthday, 1 year late due to the pandemic disrupting original plans! The piano violin duo performed wonderfully – read a review from the day here!

14th December

Earlier this year we sadly lost CMF’s co-founder, Sir Roger Gifford. Tributes poured in from the CMF artists and others associated with him. Husband to Managing Director of CMF, Dr Clare Taylor, and a true inspiration to so many people, he will forever be remebered for the work he did in setting up City Music Foundation as part of his year as Lord Mayor of London in 2012 as well as his continuous contribution to the organisation. 

13th December

Part of being a CMF Artist means we help with all elements of our artists’ profile, where needed. This includes making sure their website is a strong asset to them. Some artists start on the programme with either a very basic website or nothing at all, so we fundraise to cover the cost of building or improving websites. One example from this year is saxophonist Richard Scholfield. Click here to have a proper look at his new website!

12th December

We’re highlighting another CMF artist release today – this time from A4 Brass Quartet. Their debut album ‘Mosaic’ was released on SOMM earlier this year. There were numerous fabulous reviews and we’d like to share Thoroughly Good’s blog here: 


11th December

Violinist Esther Abrami’s new single, an arrangement from Ravel ‘Pavane pour une infante défunte’, was released in April as part of her new debut album for Sony Music Masterworks (arranged by Ketan Bhatti). CMF Artist pianist Iyad Sughayer recorded with Esther together at the Stoller Hall in Manchester earlier this year – listen to the single below and watch the official music video!

10th December

In July, Mezzo-Soprano Rozanna Madylus performed at Buxton Opera Festival alongside John Tomlinson, who has been striding the world’s opera stages for several decades, notably in the role of Wotan in Wagner’s Ring, has long been contemplating the role of Shakespeare’s Lear and sees parallels between the two characters. They performed a new work by John Casken affords him the opportunity to incarnate the aging, delusional king in a musical setting that incorporates Shakespeare’s text in the form of speech, sprechstimme and singing. It is a role destined to crown Sir John’s glorious career. There was a wonderful review in Opera Review – see below to read the full write up!

9th December

We recently announced our new 2021 CMF Artists and in light of the announcement were invited on to BBC Radio 3 In Tune to chat all things CMF. Flautist Sirius Chau and pianist Victor Lim performed live and spoke about what they are looking forward to most in their upcoming years with CMF. You can listen to the interview again here: 

8th December

CMF Artist Toby Hughes’ (double bass) album Elegy was released on Champs Hills. Originally recorded in 2019, the release was delayed due to COVID, but finally came out earlier this year. The album features little-heard Adolf Misek, Reinhold Glière and Alfred Desenclos in a variety of musical forms, from arias to sonatas, from scherzos to tarantellas and received a stellar review in Gramophone in the summer! Click here to read the full review!

7th December

We actually are heading all the way back to 2019 when we first started our project with Owain Park when CMF commissioned a new four-song cycle ‘Battle Cry’ for CMF 2018 Artist mezzo-soprano Helen Charlston and Toby Carr on theorbo. After many COVID delays, we finally had the world premiere full performance in September 2021 at Barts Great Hall! Have a watch of the video from back in 2019 at Sound Unbound when Helen performed only the the first of the 4 songs…

6th December

The Echéa String Quartet have had another fantastic year and most recently are flying high after winning the Royal Over-Seas League String Ensemble Prize in October, earning them a £10,000 prize and yet more recognition for their work. The Echéa Quartet secured victory with a programme of Schubert and Brahms, as well as movements from Hungarian composer György Kurtág’s Officium Breve in memoriam Andreae Szervanszky.

Many congratulations from everyone at CMF

5th December
At the beginning of lockdown in March 2020, we created a new series – the CMF Artist Spotify Takeover! Every few weeks we gave one of the CMF Artists an opportunity to create their own playlist for the CMF Spotify account and also make a short video explaining their choices of tracks. We continued this into 2021 with some of the new artists and Yangqin player Reylon Yount shared his earlier this year. Have a watch of why he chose his tracks and you can listen to the playlist here: 

4th December
Back in May, the Patron of Barts Heritage, HRH The Prince of Wales, came to visit the North Wing at St Bartholomew’s Hospital. City Music Foundation Artists Michael Foyle and Alexander Soares performed for HRH in the Great Hall – see here the musicians with our Managing Director Dr Clare Taylor meeting the Prince…

3rd December
As we begun the year with the unexpected restrictions of audiences unable to be at concerts in person , our work had to pivot rapidly once again. One of the organisations who did this was Wiltshire Music Centre where we had a number of our artists perform with a live stream this year:
May – Reylon Yount (Yangqin)
May – Nishla Smith (Jazz Vocals)
June – George Fu (Piano)

We are also thrilled this partnership continued later into the year with Giacomo Susani (Guitar) performing recently in November and Siân Dicker taking to the stage on 15th December to round off the year – click here for tickets!

The partnership will also continue into 2022 with pianist Antoine Préat performing on 23rd March 2022 and Mezzo-Soprano Rozanna Madylus performing with pianist Rokas Valuntonis on 13th April 2022! 

2nd December
At the start of 2021, we began our a new series of lunchtime concerts at the stunning Barts Great Hall. Due to lockdowns we pivoted the beginning of the series with livestream concerts only, and audiences slowly joining from May. However, in April, we had cellist Margarita Balanas perform a specially commissioned arrangement of Dvořák’s Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104. Re-watch the concert below!

1st December
Let’s begin our advent countdown by taking it back to summer when the Eblana Trio received a fantastic 5* review in BBC Music Magazine for their debut album release ‘The King’s Alchemist’ with Willowhayne Records. Not only was it a 5* review, but also the magazine’s Chamber Choice of the month! Congratulations to the Eblanas!

CMF funded the recording of this album with support from Maria Bjornson Memorial Fund and Finzi Friends.


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