• 14 - 17 MAY 2024

Innovation Award 2015

The Classical:NEXT Innovation Award was a new initiative to the 2015 edition, designed to place the spotlight on forward-thinking activities taking place around the world. The new award is complementary to already existing industry awards, The goal of this honorary prize is to raise awareness about innovative activities going on all over the world. The composition of the Nominating Committee (see below) is intended to inform classical music professionals about worthwhile experiments and approaches taking place beyond their own respective national scenes or from locations which receive much publicity.

The 2015 Award

Fresh from being named CEO of Luminato Festival in Toronto, Anthony Sargent CBE moderated this year's closing event which featured music by Dutch sextet Fuse.

Lucerne Festival's Ark Nova and the Southbank Centre's The Rest is Noise Festival were the recipients of the first-ever Classical:NEXT Innovation Award, which was presented during the Classical:NEXT closing event. The winners were selected from among 21 pioneering projects, with all members of Classical:NEXT's online platform, C:N NET, called upon to vote online for their favourite. Women's Conductors at Morley and Groupmuse were both named as runners-up.

Gillian Moore, Director of Music at the Southbank Centre, was presented with an award statue designed by nonstopcollective honouring The Rest is Noise Festival, which courageously programmed an entire year of 20th century music in the Southbank Centre, and vouched for the contemporary functions of art music: “Classical music is about making sense of this complex world we live in."

Michael Haefliger of Lucerne Festival accepted the Award for the inflatable concert hall Ark Nova which helped bring culture as well as community projects into Japan's Tohoku region following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster. “We did not plan this ahead but innovation can happen at any moment and everywhere. It takes place at the intersection of art and community and cause.” The third edition of Ark Nova will take place in Fukushima soon and further plans are in the works.

"This award aims to give international recognition to the people who are doing the most to push things forward with daring yet intelligent, effective and successful “out-of-the-box” thinking, planning and action. I firmly believe the time has come to add such a distinction to the list of already existing awards. As with Classical:NEXT itself, the Innovation Award is a democratic, community effort and a work-in-progress. This first year is a small beta-version, a prototype. It will be just the starting point and we hope to refine and expand it over the coming years."

Jennifer Dautermann, Classical:NEXT Director

The Voting

The 2015 award winners were determined by an online vote open to the entire Classical:NEXT community, i.e. the almost 2,000 delegates who have attended any of the first three editions from 2012 to 2014 and are linked via the online networking platform C:N NET. The winner was be announced on site at the closing ceremony of Classical:NEXT in Rotterdam on 23 May 2015. Feel free to browse the 21 wonderful nominees and find out how they innovate in the world of contemporary and classical music by visiting their C:N NET pages.

More information about the award and the nominating journalists and bloggers can be found below.

The Nominees

The nominees for the 2015 Innovation Award were:

Ark Nova (Switzerland/Japan)

The Lucerne Festival's mobile, inflatable concert hall designed to bring encouragement to the people living in the Tohoku Region that was affected by the catastrophic Tsunami and Earthquake on 11 March 2011.

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Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music (Australia)

This three day annual event in a regional town in Central Victoria, Australia, is popular in its community for affordable or even free yet excellent performances with an emphasis on premiere or rarely performed long form works written after 1960.

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Alasdair Campbell (United Kingdom)

The man behind Glasgow's experimental music festival Counterflows and co-curator of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra's Tectonics provides a platform for high profile artists grass-roots local musicians and bold cross-genre collaborations.

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Centro Mexicano para la Música y las Artes Sonoras (Mexico)

This institution is devoted to supporting and encouraging the Sonic Arts and the development of new classical music in Mexico.

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The Click Clack Project (Australia)

The Click Clack Project provides pathways to professionalism for talented classical musicians and the most energetic creators from the community of Melbourne, who collaboratively generate high calibre sonic performances and workshops.

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Decoder Ensemble (Germany)

Hamburg's newest venture of sound sees itself as a "band" for contemporary music, and is one of the most unpredictable formations focusing on young composers.

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Ditto Ensemble (South Korea)

Ditto Ensemble has caused a sensation amongst a Seoul public including teenagers and people in their 20s through unprecedented activities for a classical group such as street guerrilla concerts, photo shoots, music videos, and much more.

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Festival Internacional de Música de Bogotá (Colombia)

Coming up as a total novelty in the musical scene of Bogotá, the first edition "Bogotá es Beethoven" attracted a new audience in 55 mostly free concerts in four days, and will be continued this April as "Bogotá es Mozart".

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Groupmuse (US)

Groupmuse is an online platform that connects thousands of people around the USA to classical music house party concerts that are hosted in living rooms.

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HK Philharmonic's Virtual Orchestra (Hong Kong/China)

Singers and players across the city, and some from other parts of the world, are recruited to play music together connected online.

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Insula Orchestra (France)

This rising orchestra plays on period instruments with a modern-day sonority based on emotional and stylistic research - resulting in popular performances, recordings and a full range of cultural and educational initiatives.

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International Minifiddlers (Finland)

A distance education project creating a worldwide network by instructing violin pedagogues and their pupils around the world online in real-time.

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Maratona Cultural: Orquestra na Rua (Brazil)

Musicians from many different places come together to form a spontaneous orchestra that, in just one afternoon, prepares and presents a free concert. All rehearsals and preparation happen in the street, using public spaces to show the whole production behind a concert.

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Ville Matvejeff: The New Generation Opera (Finland)

The New Generation Opera, founded by Ville Matvejeff, brings opera to a wider public by combining cutting edge mobile technologies with cinematic narrative adding a new visual tempo to the Gesamtkunstwerk.

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The Orchestra Sinfónica de Galicia (Spain)

A leading orchestra on the Iberian peninsula with a large YouTube Project archive and exciting offers for younger audiences to access classical music.

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Parlour Tapes+ (US)

Looking forward and backward at the same time, Parlour Tapes is a contemporary classical label for cassette tape and a hotbed of creative energies that mounts stimulating, encouraging, and at times completely over-the-top projects and unlikely concert-happenings.

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Ragazze Kwartet (The Netherlands)

This string quartet features a wide-ranging repertoires brought to the audience in energetic, theatrically staged performances with more than just a twist.

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The Rest is Noise Festival (United Kingdom)

Based on the book of the same name the Southbank Centre’s festival featured an entire year of contemporary music programme using film, debate, talks and a vast range of top class concerts to reveal the stories behind 20th-century music.

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Philharmonia Orchestra (United Kingdom)

UK's pioneering orchestra leads the field for its quality of playing, and for its innovative approach to audience development, residencies, music education and the use of new technologies in reaching a global audience.

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Women Conductors @ Morley (United Kingdom)

A special free pilot orchestral conducting programme for young women set up in 2014, which now has been awarded full funding to proceed on a larger scale.

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Agatha Zubel (Poland)

Composer-performer Agatha Zubel excites with a gripping extension of modern vocal technique and her acute sensitivity and presence.

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2015 Nominating Committee

The award’s nominees have been selected by a committee of music journalists and bloggers from 14 countries from Brazil to China, who in their work focus on renewal and trends in classical music. The Nominating Committee is not fixed but can vary every year. These are its members for 2015, in alphabetical order:

Anu Ahola (Finland)

Finnish Music Quarterly

Alex Ambrose (USA)


Carolina Conti (Colombia)

Señal Radio Colombia

Floris Don (The Netherlands)


Jessica Duchen (England, UK)


Moritz Eggert (Germany)

EggoMusic | Bad Blog of Musick

Heloisa Fischer (Brazil)

helofischer.com | Viva Müsica!

Séverine Garnier (France)

Classique Mais Pas Has Been

Kate Molleson (Scotland, UK)


Ian Parsons (Australia)


Francisco Serrano (Mexico)

Auditorio Nacional

Luis Suñén (Spain)


Rudolph Tang (China)


Yoon-Jong Yoo (South Korea)

Seoul International Music Competition