CMF Advent News 🎄

It’s certainly not news that 2020 has been an unusual year, however here at CMF we wanted to share, or even re-share, some of the top highlights of this year. Come back each day in December to re-live some fantastic videos, reviews, articles, announcements and more as we count down to Christmas!

24th December
We come to our final day of sharing highlights of 2020 – thank you for tuning in each day to see what we have shared, we appreciate it! How could we not end with one of the most impactful performances of the year….Friday 23rd October 2020 saw a performance of Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time at the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral with 4 CMF Artists performing. There’s very few words needed to accompany how atmospheric and impactful that evening was, so without typing too much more, please watch again below…..

23rd December
Iona Fyfe has had a strong finish to 2020 – The Cultural Award celebrates those who dedicate themselves to promoting the heritage and culture of the north-east of Scotland. 2019 CMF Artist Iona has been keeping north east culture and music alive across the world with her passion for Doric songs and stories, and she primarily performs ballads and folk songs from across Aberdeenshire. And even more congratulations to Iona who on 24th October also won Scots Performer o the Year sponsored by Tracs in the Scots Language Awards 2020.

Iona said:
Am a Scots sangster fae Huntly, Aiberdeenshire. I hae grown up aneth the tradition, learnin tradition ballads fae sangsters an’ gan tae singaroons an’ folk clubs. A bide in Glesca noo an’ I graduated wi a first class honours degree in Traditional Music fae I Royal Conservatoire o Scotland. Wiv been a ower the kintra an farther oot, singin oor sangs, ballads and bothy ballads in Germany, France, Italy, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Poland an as hine oot as Australia an’ Canada. A’ve bin a National Director o’ the TMSA (Traditional Music and Song Association) fir a puckle o year an noo sit on the Scotland & NI Regional Committee o’ I Musicians Union. In 2020, av bin warkin wi Oor Vyce – the campaign fir a Scots Language Act an hae bin deein their social media an communications.

22nd December
Our final clock tower concert share of the round up was Alex Hitchcock and Tom Millar‘s jazz concert in the summer. This was so great to watch from home and we certainly felt like we wanted to get up and get involved! Have another watch here:

21st December
Chosen from over 140 applicants, ten successful artists were selected to be the 2020 CMF Artists, through a series of stages culminating in a final live audition to be part of the 8th consecutive intake joining CMF’s innovative two-year programme. The judges included Ian Ritchie (Chairman), Simon Haram, James Gilchrist, Tasmin Little, Julius Drake, Jeremy Summerly & Howard Williams. The live auditions were originally due to take place in June 2020, however due to COVID restrictions, the second round auditions were pushed back to September and took place over two days in the elegant surroundings of 22, Mansfield Street, famous for wonderful salon concerts, with plenty of space to comply with government Covid-19 guidance in place at the time.

Managing Director of CMF, Clare Taylor says:
‘We are thrilled to announce this exceptional group of emerging professional musicians to become 2020 CMF Artists. At a time that is so challenging for performers, we are pleased to be in a position to take more artists than in any previous year – a testament to the outstanding calibre of applicants, as well as the current need to help musicians perhaps more than ever before. We very much look forward to working with them and welcoming them to the CMF family’. Read more about the new intake on Classical Music Magazine online here.

20th December
CMF helps emerging artists in many areas of their career, including with their websites. Whether it’s advising on current websites or creating a whole new one, we feel that this is an incredibly important part of an artist’s profile. One of our 2019 CMF Artists that we commissioned a new website for was accordionist Mingyuan Ruan. Take a look at the full website here.

19th December
Isolation Songbook was a creative response to a time of chaos and change by Helen Charlston. She says ‘The Isolation Songbook began as a way for me to deal with the reality of lockdown – professionally and personally. It has been an extraordinary privilege to be invited into the composers and poets own experiences of this time through these songs, and I know that the Isolation Songbook will remain a positive creative history of this time of change.’ With over 15 over composers commissioned to create new music, Helen performed these premiere at the Clock Tower in summer of 2020. Due to the huge success, Helen has recorded the works and will release with Delphian in 2021 – watch this space!

18th December
We’re bringing you another Clock Tower concert today – this time harpist Gwenllian Llyr. This was an incredibly special performance with 2 world premieres – Sue Rothstein’s Ar Drywydd Glas y Dorlan and Gwenllian’s own composition ‘Ffantasi ar Calon Lan’. The concert was part of the annual Wallace Collection Residency, which was unable to happen in the gallery itself this year, due to COVID restrictions. The full programme from the week’s concerts can be found by *clicking here*

17th December
Back in early 2020, Classical Music Magazine published an interview with Toby Hughes. Having recorded his debut album with Champs Hills Records, which was due to come in 2020, but postponed due to COVID, Lucy Thraves of Classical Music Magazine talked to him about how his career as a solo double bass player is taking off! Read the full article here

16th December
We had many of the CMF Artists on BBC Radio 3, and pianist Rokas Valuntonis was one of the last artists to be able to get into the studio before lockdown – have another listen to his interview and performance on BBC Radio 3 In Tune from March 2020…

15th December
The team were incredibly proud of the Clock Tower Series that was launched in reaction to the lockdown back in Spring 2020 – today we want to share with you violist Rosalind Ventris‘ performance in the St Pancras Clock Tower Room – and Rosalind is currently fundraising for her solo album project – you can find out more by *CLICKING HERE*

14th December
Taking it back to the beginning of 2020, Soprano Anna Cavaliero appeared on BBC Radio 3 In Tune in January with Sholto Kynoch ahead of her performance at the Oxford Lieder Song at Wolfson recital…Have a listen to the full interview with Sean Rafferty below!

13th December
Music returned to the Barbican in early October with a series of concerts for a socially-distanced, reduced audience, simultaneously live-streamed ‘from our Hall to your home’. CMF Artists Mihai Ritiviou and the Gildas Quartet were invited to perform the first classical live event ahead of the new series which later features Sir Bryn Terfel, the Britten Sinfonia and CMF alumnus Nubya Garcia. The artists offered a wonderful programme including Bach’s Partita No1 BWV 825, Caroline Shaw’s Entr’acte and Schumann’s Piano Quintet Op. 44. It was a very special evening reminding us that nothing can replace a live performance with an audience. You can watch the concert again here:

12th December
Nora Braun (cello), Giacomo Susani (guitar) and Constantin Riccardi (conductor) perform Susani’s own work Nona Onda, a Serenade for Cello, Guitar and Orchestra. The piece, commissioned by the Agora Music Festival, should have been premiered in the Kulturzentrum Beim Nëssert, Bergem (Luxembourg) in April 2020 but was postponed due to COVID-19. The organisers and the musicians involved decided to make an online world premiere with everyone recording their parts from home. Nona Onda is a Serenade in two halves based on the Romantic concept of the Ninth Wave, dramatically depicted in Idylls of the King: The coming of Arthur by Alfred Tennyson. It’s a beautiful piece. Watch the video below, made by Giacomo himself….

11th December
Back in April 2020, there was the exciting news that 2019 CMF Artist and violinist Emily Sun was signed by Cinque Artist Management in Australia. CMF still help Emily with all her UK engagements, but this was a fantastic achievement for Emily and a great agency to support her. 

10th December
Lockdown was a big theme of 2020, but when pianist Iyad Sughayer was asked by the BBC to part of an exciting documentary during the 2020 COVID19 pandemic ‘Lockdown in London’, we asked him a few questions to share his experience….

9th December
The Ligeti Quartet have been at the forefront of modern and contemporary music since their formation in 2010. The 2016 CMF Artists released their debut album on Friday October 9th on Nonclassical. CMF supported this through commissioning one of the works, and funding the recording, editing and mixing. This album features two of four planned projects by UK composer Christian Mason, taking inspiration from the Tuvan vocal tradition of Khöömii (Tuvan Songbook) and the practice of the Tenores in Sardinia (Sardinian Songbook), both different forms of overtone (or throat) singing and capturing their sonorities for string quartet. The album also features ‘Sivunittinni’ by Inuit singer and composer Tanya Tagaq, originally composed for the Kronos Quartet’s ‘Fifty for the Future’ project. A fantastic article from Ivan Hewitt at The Telegraph was published about the album ahead of the release – read it here!

8th December
The first lockdown in the spring was a time that I think we’ll never forget. The CMF Artists were undoubtably hit hard, with many artists not knowing how to handle the situation and what to do next. CMF were there to help the artists in any way we could – including launching the Clock Tower Series to give the artists a chance to just perform again, if nothing else! Cellist Ariana Kashefi performed in one of the concerts and also recorded a short video sharing her thoughts about how she coped during lockdown:

7th December
The Hidden City by Emile Holba, commissioned by City of London Corporation for Culture Mile. CMF was one of twenty organisations selected to be portrayed in the Culture Mile’s Hidden City Project, alongside key Culture Mile partners Barbican, LSO, Museum of London, GSMD and the City of London Corporation itself. Culture Mile is the City of London’s vibrant cultural quarter stretching from Farringdon to Moorgate and including CMF’s home in Smithfield. Photographer Emile Holba was commissioned to make a photographic narrative to demonstrate the diverse creativity to be found here, which is planned for an outdoor exhibition. Due to lockdown, Culture Mile took this exhibition online in the spring to enable everyone to see all these stunning photos from your home.

6th December
At the beginning of lockdown in March, we launched 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. They all also included a few fellow CMF artist tracks which you’ll be able to spot on each playlist. We kicked off the series with pianist Mihai Ritiviou – have a watch of his video below and you can listen to his playlist here

5th December
Pianist Samson Tsoy has gone against the grain this year with this successes – he had another very successful Ragged Music Festival with his performing partner, Pavel Kolesnikov – read the full review here from David Nice at The Arts Desk. But he also signed with Management – Victoria Rowsell! Congratulations to Samson and we look forward to seeing your career progress to the next level again!

4th December
Back in October this year we announced a very exciting new partnership with Barts Heritage – CMF will bring exceptional, wide ranging music to the historic heart of St Bartholomew’s Hospital with regular, free performances in the Great Hall throughout 2021. This programme aims to draw lovers of music and architecture, of history and medicine, and all those seeking the companionship and solace of shared musical experience to one of the most important and ancient institutions in the City of London. Have a read of the full news announcement here!

3rd  December
2019 CMF Artist & pianist Iyad Sughayer released his album of Khachaturian late in 2019 with BIS Records. In February 2020, his album secured ‘Critic’s Choice’ with International Piano, chosen by Michael Church – read the review here!

2nd December
This year has brought devastation to the CMF Artists’ live performance careers and we quickly realised that the only option for our artists to perform live again would be via a live stream concert. The CMF team worked tirelessly to launch the Clock Tower Live Series in June this year where a total of 18 concerts were broadcast live from the grand St Pancras Clock Tower – let’s take a look back at the first concert of the series with Lotte Betts-Dean, Bartosz Glowacki & Andrey Lebedev.

1st December
Let’s begin our advent countdown by taking it back to January 2020 with Anna Cavaliero‘s performance at St Bartholomew the Less in the heart of the City. The concert was a programme of Monteverdi, Handel, Strozzi and Anna performed with William Cole. It was a lovely way to begin 2020 and the full review from Robert Hugill can be found here.

Anna Cavaliero & William Cole – Picture by Vivienne Monk


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