The Opening Ceremony of Classical:NEXT is always a big occasion: not only does it signal the beginning of the the global important music meeting for another year, but it also brings this spirit directly to the stage. Both the intercontinental and innovative perspective of Classical:NEXT are underlined at the opening ceremony. Every year, Classical:NEXT kicks off with an opening gala that showcases the NEXT music of a specific country, as well as keynote speeches from some of the biggest names in classical and contemporary music. Past keynote speakers include Martin Hoffmann, Thomas Hampson, Daniel Hope and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and galas have been curated by representatives of the Austrian, Luxembourgian and Canadian music scenes.
Classical:NEXT 2017 Opening
For Classical:NEXT 2017, we are changing the game. Instead of showcasing a country, the 2017 Opening asked: ‘What’s the point?’. Without falling into the populist pitfall question of whether classical music is relevant, we can showcase how exactly it is relevant today. The opening programme, a joint production of Chineke! Foundation, Sphinx Organization, de Doelen and Piranha Arts, featured a small selection of the many projects and people from around the world that are answering this question in ways relevant to their communities.
The Chineke! Orchestra, the main live ensemble of the evening, are one particularly recent and shining example. The organisation aims to be a catalyst for change, by increasing the representation of BME musicians in British and European orchestras. At Classical:NEXT, the orchestra presented a varied programme, with soloists Tai Murray (violin), Isata Kanneh-Mason (piano) and Chi-chi Nwanoku MBE (double bass), as well as Nicole Jordan (soprano), and conducted by Shaun Matthew. There will also be words from Chi-chi Nwanoku, Afa S. Dworkin of the Sphinx Organization and conductor Marin Alsop.
The evening also featured short introductions to several projects that serve as positive examples of the changes classical music can make within communities. See more information on these projects below.
2017 Opening Performers