Innovation Award Longlist 2022
We are happy to present to you this year’s nominees for the Classical:NEXT 2022 Innovation Award. Each project or person has been singled out by the expert members of the nominating committee for their outstanding profiles from amongst the myriad of other candidates in their respective home countries and across the globe. Longlist, shortlist, public vote - Read here how our Innovation Award works.
Big hART for 'The Acoustic Life of Sheds' (Australia)
Nominated by Harriet Cunningham
Big hART's Acoustic Life of Sheds invites composers, musicians and artists to celebrate rural, industrial and maritime architecture as sound-shells reimagined for audiences in the landscape. The sonic creations are presented as promenade concerts with audiences travelling between sites, experiencing different sheds and performances over a single day. In 2022 the Acoustic Life of Boatsheds ferried people to hear new music at a heritage shipyard, a colonial dock and a wooden boatbuilder’s shed.
Reason for nomination: This project is a collaboration between artists, creators and shed owners from different walks of life, engaging 90 musicians, visual artists and sound designers and producing 26 new works to date.
CRM Musical Sculptures (Italy)
Nominated by Gianluigi Mattietti
This project is a unique public art experience, based on interactive musical sculptures and musical and plastic adaptive art installations by Michelangelo Lupone, Laura Bianchini and Licia Galizia of the CRM (Centro Ricerche Musicali). The musical sculptures use different materials that the audience can touch, causing musical mutation, which varies also in relation to the environment, and creating vibrations with joyful character and brilliant and detailed timbres.
Reason for nomination: Each sound installation in this series involves the interaction of the spectators, who collaborate in the creation of the musical event by touching and manipulating the musical sculptures.
Death of Classical (USA)
Nominated by Brian Wise
Some of the most sought-after concert tickets in New York City (NYC) are for a church crypt and a catacomb at Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery, presented by this wryly named organisation. This year, Death of Classical (DOC) unveils a third subterranean series, the Cave Sessions, and a fourth series, The Speakeasy Sessions, in churches across the city. DOC has collaborated with NYC institutions such as the New York Philharmonic and more, in order to expand the reach of classical music.
Reason for nomination: DOC has partnered with institutions such as the historic Green-Wood Cemetery (a non-profit arts organisation), highlighting aspects of NYC history, as well as the New York Philharmonic and others.
Debussy NOW! (Hungary)
Nominated by Máté Csabai
Debussy NOW! is a genre-bending project between jazz singer Veronika Harcsa, harpist Anastasia Rasvalyaeva and guitarist and electronic artist Márton Fenyvesi. The trio reworked classical songs with electronica and harp, seeking to find the revolutionary spirit of a pioneer composer. The music was also published on CD by BMC Records in the fall of 2020 and the project was performed in Budapest, Belgrade and Ljubljana in 2021.
Reason for nomination: This project shows that musicians from different fields should collaborate. With the singer’s extravagant approach and buzzing atmosphere of electronica, Debussy’s music remains true to their spirit.
Edinburgh International Festival/Leith Academy residency (UK)
Nominated by David Kettle
The Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) has been in residence with secondary school Leith Academy since 2018, building a long-term collaborative relationship between the school, the festival’s staff and visiting artists in projects embedded within the curriculum and complementary to it, across several art forms as well as business studies, marketing, design and more. The festival’s aims are about learning how to contribute to the community, and school staff and pupils are central to the conception of all activities.
Reason for nomination: This is very much a two-way process: the relationship and its constituent projects are created jointly by the EIF and Leith Academy.
Festival Artes Vertentes - International Arts Festival of Tiradentes (Brazil)
Nominated by João Luiz Sampaio
The Artes Vertentes Festival takes place every year in the historic city of Tiradentes in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, and it is now in its 10th edition. The programming includes not only music with artists from all over the world, but also literature, visual arts, theatre, dance and cinema. The concept is to understand music in dialogue with other arts and reflect on contemporary issues. The festival also connects with the city and its inhabitants, through the annual educational program for children.
Reason for nomination: The festival believes that it is only through collaboration that art can reflect the world. Musicians work with writers, visual artists and filmmakers, shedding new light on art itself.
Heartbeat Opera (USA)
Nominated by Brian Wise
Heartbeat Opera is a small company that specializes in inventive, interdisciplinary collaborations. A prime example is its Fidelio, which drew upon (recorded) singers from six American prison choirs and was set within today’s American criminal justice system. Its Carmen was set on the US/Mexican border while its Madama Butterfly addressed Orientalism and clichés of geisha culture. Heartbeat stages its radical adaptations of classic operas in a variety of venues, both traditional and offbeat.
Reason for nomination: Heartbeat Opera is a small company but it leverages its partnerships with larger institutions to put forward imaginative, contemporary and thought-provoking spins at familiar operas.
Jazz & Classical Encounters at Spier (South Africa)
Nominated by Matthijs van Dijk
A one day festival that combines and showcases current and cutting edge local music in both the jazz and contemporary classical genres, taking place annually at the Spier Wine Farm since 2019. In a country that has a lot of jazz festivals, it's the only one of its kind to include classical music in its lineups.
Reason for nomination: The festival brings fans of both genres together, helping build audiences for both, as well as creating opportunities for musicians from both disciplines to collaborate and perform together.
Musical Storytelling (Lithuania)
Nominated by Rasa Murauskaitė
The Musical Storytelling project responded to the need for a broader integration of marginalised groups such as migrants, refugees, and disabled people. The project offered a setting for discussing and learning about diversity and inclusion through the universal language of music. More than 100 young people from different corners of Europe participated in youth exchanges in different countries, having musical workshops and concerts connecting professional musicians and people from aforementioned groups.
Reason for nomination: Three different organisations joined forces to promote the inclusion of often marginalised groups via professional musical activities – that is an act of collaboration in its very essence.
Nevis Ensemble (UK)
Nominated by David Kettle
Dubbed 'Scotland's street orchestra', the Nevis Ensemble plays entirely for the community: in schools, museums, supermarkets, streets, even on ferries. Bringing together a brilliant collection of young players, it covers well-loved classical music, brand new commissions and jazz/pop music in an informal way, putting sustainability at the heart of what it does and embarking on numerous tours to sometimes remote communities since it was founded in 2018.
Reason for nomination: Collaboration is at the heart of what Nevis does, collaborating with local communities and also in long-term relationships with charities and support organisations across Scotland.
Ngarra Burria (Australia)
Nominated by Harriet Cunningham
Ngarra-Burria (Dharug words meaning ‘to hear, to sing’), builds bridges for First Peoples musicians to step forward, further develop their composition skills, and connect with the art music sector. Initiated in 2016 by Aboriginal composer Christopher Sainsbury, the programme takes a two-year cohort of composers on a voyage spanning the many realms of art music, including contemporary classical/new music, jazz, experimental, sound art and installations.
Reason for nomination: Ngarra-burria is a partnership between Moogahlin Performing Arts (NSW’s leading Indigenous performing arts company), the Australian Music Centre, the ANU School of Music, and Ensemble Offspring.
Opera Calcetin (Chile)
Nominated by Romina de la Sotta
Opera Calcetín is a music project that motivated singers from the choir of the Municipal Theatre of Santiago and other Chilean artists to make an original artistic project during the Covid-19 pandemic. Mixing sock puppets, video editing software and creativity, they performed The Magic Flute with their mobile’s phones from their homes. The performance had great success online, created a national network of collaborators and they have continued to develop projects that thousands of schoolchildren watch.
Reason for nomination: This project built a virtual network of collaboration. It started with choir singers working for free and then included more and more volunteers: hairdressers, designers, filmmakers and theatre managers.
Orquesta Filarmónica de Medellín (Colombia)
Nominated by Mauricio Pena
The Medellín Philharmonic Orchestra is perhaps the most successful example of a non-government run orchestra in Colombia. As a nonprofit organisation, the orchestra has developed a management model in which music, social responsibility and community and corporate relations intersect to provide the citizens of Medellín with a variety of musical experiences in different places and at different stages of their lives. This orchestra clearly aims to remain relevant well beyond the 21st century.
Reason for nomination: Young infants, older adults, private enterprises, local communities, rock bands for children, pop singers, ex-combatants, music students, world-renowned artists: this is the orchestra of all Medellín.
Patronato y Sociedad de Amigos de la OFUNAM (Mexico)
Nominated by René Solís Brun
The Patronato y Sociedad de Amigos de la OFUNAM is a private, non-profit organization, totally funded by classical music fans, established primarily to support the Orquesta Filarmónica de la Universidad de México (National University Philarmonic Orchestra), a leading orchestra financed by the National University of Mexico, a public university and largest higher education organisation in the country.
Reason for nomination: An example of the importance of a collaborative effort between members of the audience and musicians to support the arts in times of crisis such as Covid-19, through the use of digital media.
Spółdzielnia Muzyczna Contemporary Ensemble (Poland)
Nominated by Monika Pasiecznika
In 2013, a group of Krakow-based instrumentalists shared the stage as part of the European Workshop for Contemporary Music, conducted by maestro Rüdiger Bohn. The musicians then played together at Darmstadt’s Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik and established an independent ensemble called Spółdzielnia Muzyczna. They have since become the most exciting and innovative ensemble for new music in Poland and were recently awarded the Ernst von Siemens Prize.
Reason for nomination: Spółdzielnia Muzyczna means ‘Musical Cooperative’ – cooperation is the focus of all their artistic projects on many different levels and it is their key to success.
Symphony ("La Caixa" Foundation) (Spain)
Nominated by Lorena Jiménez Alonso
Symphony is an immersive audiovisual experience, taking spectators on an emotional and musical journey with the aim of bringing classical music to all audiences. The spectators feel like musicians in an orchestra, thereby experiencing and gaining a true understanding of classical music. They can enjoy works by Beethoven, Mahler and Bernstein performed by over 100 musicians from the Mahler Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel.
Reason for nomination: It is a great example of collaborations that bring classical music to diverse audiences and it creates a new immersive music experience by using virtual reality.
The Choral Hub (UK)
Nominated by Steve Long
The Choral Hub is a new mobile gaming app that teaches adults how to sing, encouraging the daily habit of Singing for Wellness.
Reason for nomination: This innovative app uses pre-recorded singing by professional singers to provide guide tracks to help anyone to learn to sing. We collaborate with a large ecosystem of vocal experts, publishers, and labels.
The Kanneh-Mason Family (UK)
Nominated by Jessica Duchen
The Kanneh-Mason family of musical siblings – headed by megastars Sheku (cello) and Isata (piano) – are inspiring a whole new generation of young people to get into classical music.
Reason for nomination: In their beautiful recording of Saint-Saëns's Carnival of the Animals (Decca), they collaborate with the celebrated children's author Michael Morpurgo to reach a new generation of young listeners.
Tutti a Santa Cecilia (Italy)
Nominated by Gianluigi Mattietti
Tutti a Santa Cecilia is a season of educational musical activities dedicated to schools, children (from babies), families and in general to new audiences who want to get closer to the universe of music. It dedicates special online events (such as ‘Santa Cecilia Online for Kids’ during the Covid lockdown) to schools and to all those who have difficulty getting around, with constantly updated educational material and live streaming where you can interact with the artists.
Reason for nomination: It brings everyone into closer contact with music, in concert halls or virtually, and creates new forms of collaboration, interactions, and dialogues between musicians and listeners.
Vilnius New and Experimental Music Series KONTAKTAS (Lithuania)
Nominated by Rasa Murauskaitė
KONTAKTAS is a new music series in Vilnius, which pays special attention to the collaborative processes between composer, performer and listener. Born in the darkest days of Covid-19 lockdown it offered a platform for composers and performers from Lithuania and other European countries to co-work and connect, and also encouraged a close relationship with listeners. KONTAKTAS promotes unlimited creativity and safe space to experiment via the act of collaboration.
Reason for nomination: The concept of collaboration is the very cornerstone of the birth of KONTAKTAS. Through this series, which already offered five highly inventive concerts, the different sides of the term itself were analysed.