Blog Archive

Batons, bottles and booties

March 8, 2024
Photo of feet sticking out of a hotel bed

Think living on the road for most of the year, learning scores on long-haul flights, and managing rehearsal politics in multiple languages is a challenge? Try doing it on 3 hours sleep, high on birth hormones and wearing a breast pump, and it will seem like a holiday. Welcome to parenthood on the podium.

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Missing Pieces: Hacking the Canon

July 30, 2021
One white jigsaw puzzle piece, with musical notation printed on it, set against a buttercup-yellow background

A range of databases cataloguing underrepresented composers and their works are proving essential to classical music organisations' efforts to revitalise their repertoire. However, they are volunteer-run, under-resourced and operating in isolated silos, resulting in resources that are less efficient than they could be, and woefully under-utilised. Do we need to stage a tech intervention?

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formidAble voices

June 5, 2021
A grey, white and black minimalist image of a wheelchair on the left of the image, in profile, facing a precipitous stairway which leads up and out of the frame.

Joanne Roughton-Arnold is a freelance opera singer, and Artistic Director and Co-Founder of formidAbility, a female- and disability-led opera company breaking new ground in accessibility and inclusion in opera, onstage and off. formidAbility engages a healthy mix of disabled and non-disabled professional artists and places audience accessibility at the heart of the creative process, rather than tacking it onto the periphery. Here, she discusses her fears - and plans - around the place of disabled creatives, crew and audience members in the future of the arts.

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Art music, inclusion and good intentions

March 30, 2021
A small British boy of African descent wearing a blue teeshirt with a yellow superhero logo on the front holds a conducting baton and looks towards the photographer. Behind him are four more boys, slightly older than him, waiting for their turn. On the left of the photo is a blonde, white woman, bending own and smiling at him in encouragement.

When it comes to inclusivity, the classical music industry is brimming with good intentions. But history has shown that good intentions are frequently derailed by roadblocks of our own making. So, how can we ensure today's good intentions convert into good embedded practices and outcomes in the future?

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Where should the podium go?

March 18, 2021
blurred, multi-silhouette of an orchestral conductor

What happens in an organisation with intentionally diffuse leadership? Conductors and spouses Holly Mathieson and Jon Hargreaves share Artistic Directorship of the Nevis Ensemble in Scotland. They've found that rather than giving two people 50% of the responsibility for the artistic health of the ensemble, it has proven to be a way to deliver twice as much value to everyone involved.

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I can't, I have rehearsal

February 7, 2021
Historic black and white photo of woman resting her head exhaustedly on the music stand of her fortepiano.

Most musicians have it virtually stamped across their forehead: "I can't, I have rehearsal." So what happens when performers can't perform?

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Logic gates and the conductor's brain

February 21, 2021
Binary code in green projected onto a human hand.

As musicians, we grapple daily with the task of situating ourselves in a field of nuance, subjectivity and opinion, and the journey toward musical expression couldn't be further from a linear trajectory on a 2D plane. It is at once bewildering and liberating to realise that the knitting of one aspect of your craft may require the unravelling of another. So there is something wonderfully freeing in becoming acquainted with the primary building blocks of computer systems, languages and logic - booleans.

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