CMF Artists at the 2023 BBC Proms

Severl City Music Foundation Artists have appeared at the BBC Proms this year. The BBC Proms is the largest classical music festival in the world.

Aaron Akugbo

Prom 61: Chineke! performs Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony

Europe’s first majority Black and ethnically diverse orchestra returns to the Proms with Beethoven’s joyful Fourth Symphony and Haydn’s exuberant Trumpet Concerto. On a mission to champion change and celebrate diversity in classical music, Chineke! also showcases music by pioneering Black British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and his American namesake, Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson. Plus there’s an opportunity to hear Valerie Coleman’s pandemic anthem, Seven O’Clock Shout.

Aaron Akugbo appeared as trumpet soloist in the concert. Born in 1998 and of Nigerian-Scottish descent, Aaron Azunda Akugbo hails from Edinburgh and is poised as a future leading exponent of his instrument. He brings a wide-ranging musical taste to his artistry and despite being classically trained, cites Louis Armstrong as his biggest musical inspiration. He is a charismatic performer with an abundance of natural humour which translates into an effortless engagement with people and audiences. Aaron is a member of Connaught Brass, who are currently on City Music Foundation’s two-year Artist Development Programme.

Rosalind Ventris viola

Rosalind Ventris

Proms at Truro

The Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective – a ‘sparky, shape-shifting ensemble of starry young musicians’ – makes its Proms debut. Schubert’s ‘Trout’ Quintet celebrates the expressive power of each individual instrument with its ebullient, characterful writing – music of unclouded joy and delight. The sun also shines through Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s richly melodic Nonet, captivating with its warm-hearted opening, song-like slow movement, wicked Scherzo and confident finale.

Rosalind Ventris, a 2019 City Music Foundation Artist, performed with Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective at the event.Rosalind Ventris (viola) leads an international career as a soloist and chamber musician. Her former teachers include David Takeno, Kim Kashkashian and Miguel da Silva, and she participated in masterclasses with Tabea Zimmermann, Nobuko Imai, Menahem Pressler, Steven Isserlis, Thomas Riebl and Gabor Takács-Nagy.

Helen Charlston

Helen Charlston

Prom 19: Mendelssohn’s ‘Elijah’

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra presents one of the most popular works in the British choral repertoire: Mendelssohn’s Elijah. Full of earthquakes and hurricanes, fiery chariots, wicked queens and holy visions, this intensely dramatic oratorio is brought to life by the SCO’s exciting young Music Director Maxim Emelyanychev alongside soloists including Roderick Williams and Carolyn Sampson and City Music Foundation Alumni Helen Charlston.

Acclaimed for her musical interpretation, presence and “warmly distinctive tone” (The Telegraph), Helen Charlston has quickly cemented herself as a key performer in the next generation of British singers.

Ariana Kashefi / Cello

Ariana Kashefi

Prom 63: The Rite by Heart

Ariana Kashefi took part in Aurora Orchestra’s Prom, a performance of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, which was performed from memory. Sharing a photo on Instagram, Ariana commented that it was “with the best people and an epic cello section”.

“I dreamed of a pagan ritual in which a sacrificial virgin danced herself to death.” A vision was the inspiration for Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, a ballet that caused a literal riot at its premiere in 1913.

This Prom is an unprecedented opportunity to get under the skin of the work that set the very foundations of society trembling with its urgent, jagged rhythms. Nicholas Collon and the pioneering Aurora Orchestra dramatise the Rite’s origins, reliving the scene of its notorious concert premiere and finally perform the whole thing from memory.

Margarita Balanas / Cello

Margarita Balanas

Margarita Balanas is Paavo Järvi’s Assistant Conductor at the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich in season 23/24 and in her first week in the role, she attended the BBC Proms with him. She shared some exclusive behind the scenes video on Twitter, calling the experience “unforgettable”.


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