Interview: Carl Craig and Chi-chi Nwanoku

Interview: Carl Craig and Chi-chi Nwanoku

In the run up to Carl Craig’s collaboration with Chineke! at the Royal Albert Hall, I talk to the veteran techno DJ about classical music and his creative process. 

Unconvincing fusion at the Cutty Sark

Unconvincing fusion at the Cutty Sark

Fusion was the overriding theme of this concert at the Cutty Sark – a night of unrelenting genre-bending that took its audience across Europe and sub-Saharan Africa on a voyage of musical discovery, retracing the steps of the 19th-century vessel poised above our heads.

Robin Hood: a satirical new opera in Peckham

Robin Hood: a satirical new opera in Peckham

In a week in which Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor opens at Zurich’s Opernhaus, Verdi’s Aida at the Met and Adams’ Girls of the Golden West at the Dutch National Opera – all of which feature a female protagonist, and yet have been produced by teams almost exclusively made up of men – how refreshing it was to open last night’s programme and discover that (almost) the entire creative team for Dani Howard’s brand-new opera Robin Hood are women. A further irony – that the opera documents the shenanigans of an all-male, masonic brotherhood – was not lost on me either.

Beethoven in Westminster

Beethoven in Westminster

The 9th Symphony at Brexit’s 11th hour


Beethoven is not part of Simon Wallfisch’s typical repertoire. The revered baritone and cellist, who will be performing Schubert’s Winterreise on the 15th in Oxford, could have spent his Wednesday afternoon rehearsing, but has instead chosen to brave the ‘poisonous’ Westminster atmosphere in order to sing ‘Ode to Joy’ in protest against Brexit…

SoundState: A bright future for new music at the Southbank

SoundState: A bright future for new music at the Southbank

A quick skim through Bachtrack’s 2018 statistics will reveal a more than sedentary attitude towards programming. The most performed living composer, Arvo Pärt, only entered the fray at number 46, whilst his female counterpart, Kaija Saariaho, was ranked a staggering 190th. It was, then, with some relief that I joined a packed audience at the Royal Festival Hall for the first in multiple offerings from SoundState – the Southbank Centre’s brand-new festival, committed exclusively to performing new music.

Read the full review on Bachtrack.

Mark Bowden's Sapiens: humanity in music from the London Sinfonietta

Mark Bowden's Sapiens: humanity in music from the London Sinfonietta

I can’t claim to have much prior experience of Mark Bowden – save for a few whispers amongst the au courant of my university’s music department, and a vague sense of some well received discs which, as is so often the case, I never got round to listening to. But as the final movement of his Sapiens sputtered into nothingness, leaving an enraptured audience grappling with the speculative message of Yuval Noah Harari’s second book Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, I felt both foolish to have overlooked Bowden’s music, and deeply fortunate to be present for the world première of this, his latest work.

Read the full article on Bachtrack

Seeking new horizons with the Royal Philharmonic

Seeking new horizons with the Royal Philharmonic

“Did you get your hearing aid to work, Ian?” “I didn’t need it in the end!” Just one scrap of conversation overheard in the lobby of Cadogan Hall after last night’s Hungarian bonanza, which – and I’m inclined to agree with Ian – was not lacking in oomph.

Read the whole review on Bachtrack

Lessons from Rossini

Lessons from Rossini

The composer is in many ways a source of inspiration to the aspiring musician – but, 150 years after his death, what lessons can be learned from his ‘great renunciation’?

Re-imagining: A showcase for innovation, both old and new at Kings Place

Re-imagining: A showcase for innovation, both old and new at Kings Place

To describe this afternoon’s programme without raising eyebrows is rather like how I imagine the pioneer of the peanut butter and jam sandwich felt when justifying their discovery.

Read the full article on Bachtrack here

Polymath composers and their extra-musical successes

Polymath composers and their extra-musical successes

We all knew that one student at school who seemed to miraculously excel at everything: they played in the football team, sang in the choir and starred in the school play, effortlessly straddling the full spectrum of achievement much to the envy of the rest of us. 

Read the full article on Bachtrack

Banksy’s stunt wasn’t even original – and why we should support ads on Sydney Opera House

Banksy’s stunt wasn’t even original – and why we should support ads on Sydney Opera House

Read it on the The Spectator website here

Photo credit: Christian Mehlführer

Where classical music meets the sports field

Where classical music meets the sports field

A round up of the greatest composer-sportsmen of the 20th century