Classical:NEXT caught up with 2018 Showcase Artist Belle Chen at the Southbank Centre in London. Following her tour of Sweden and publication of her guest article in Gramophone magazine, both of which were results of her Classical:NEXT performance, we wanted to find out her top tips for preparing and executing a successful showcase. Overlooking the Thames, Belle explained the multi-prong approach she used to make the most of her Classical:NEXT experience.
“After finding out that I was one of the Showcases, the first thing I did was figure out what a Showcase actually is. I perform solo concerts normally, but showcases are shorter and so I did research on what format it is and what kind of audience would be there.” Classical:NEXT showcases are 30 minutes each and therefore need careful preparation. “I spent the weeks before designing a showcase set that would grab attention by the minute. I wanted to bring my highlights, the best of, as opposed to just playing repertoire or a more paced out show as I normally would. I work a lot with sound and I do a lot of improvisation as well, so what I did was start to video myself actually and I had session fillers and I would watch myself and try put myself in the shoes of the industry, of people just coming in and out, asking myself all the time ‘If I came in at this point, would I stay or would I leave?’ And I kept polishing.”