• 17 - 20 MAY 2022

Innovation Award Shortlist 2021

This is the Shortlist for the Classical:NEXT 2021 Innovation Award. These nominees were named and voted for by the expert members of the nominating committee from the Longlist. Longlist, Shortlist, public vote - read here how our Innovation Award works. The recipients of the award are determined by an online vote open to the entire Classical:NEXT community, including all delegates who have registered for any of our editions and who are linked via C:N NET.

Voting is now closed!



Carlotta Libonati (viola) at Roman orange garden. Photo by Sabrina Harm

1:1 CONCERTS by Stephanie Winker, Franziska Ritter & Christian Siegmund (Germany)

Nominated by Hartmut Welscher

1:1 CONCERTS feature a 10 minute non-verbal 1-to-1 encounter between a listener and a musician. The concert attendees do not know who is going to play. Whether they hear a jazz saxophone, a double bass or a baroque flute will come as a surprise. Moreover, the concept explores extraordinary concert venues – concerts can take you to an art gallery, a qiuet backyard, an empty factory hall or an allotment garden. Spaces and venues are provided by private hosts.

Reason for nomination: More than ever, people are in need of genuine personal contact and a directly shared musical experience. 1:1 CONCERTS have created an opportunity for an authentic concert experience.

Conexão Heliópolis (Heliópolis Connection) by Instituto Baccarelli (Brazil)

Nominated by João Luiz Sampaio

The Baccarelli Institute is a non-profit organisation in Brazil that offers music education for 1,200 kids in Heliópolis, where it has formed the first symphony orchestra in the world in a slum. For the institute, music is a tool for personal development and empowerment of young people, which leads to a more diverse musical world. Heliópolis is one of the poorest neighborhoods of Latin America. During the pandemic, they raised money to help this community, organised a structure to offer online activities and created a series of 150 digital masterclasses for musicians across the entire country.

Reason for nomination: During the pandemic, Heliópolis faced financial difficulties. So Instituto Baccarelli became a centre for the distribution of food. They also implemented a program to keep teaching music for children.


ENO Drive & Live La Bohème. Photo by Lloyd Winters. Courtesy of English National Opera

ENO Drive & Live by English National Opera (UK)

Nominated by Jessica Duchen

Devised especially to provide socially-distanced live performances in the midst of the pandemic last summer, ENO Drive & Live was a production of 'La Boheme' staged at Alexandra Palace with drive-in audience in their cars.

Reason for nomination: This project absolutely caught the enthusiasm of the public. It seemed to think of all potential problems with the format and solve them in advance. The performances, moreover, were top quality.


Kultūra į kiemus (Culture to the Yards) (Lithuania)

Nominated by Lina Navickaitė-Martinelli

During the first lockdown (Spring 2020), “Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022” together with the community program “Fluxus Labas” have launched a project called “Culture to the Yards” devoted to bringing back such feelings as the thrill of anticipation of the live concert, the direct connection between the performers and the listeners/spectators around them. These experiences of sharing, as well as delivering culture were brought straight to the yards surrounded by apartment blocks.

Reason for nomination: Valuable as bringing professional art to open spaces and as a chance for culture and entertainment-hungry residents to spend meaningful time and gain positive emotions during the challenging period.


L'enfant et les sortileges by Vopera (UK)

Nominated by David Kettle

Brilliant, wildly inventive online reimagining of Ravel's opera, using singers' own recordings of their roles recorded at home, plus new reduced orchestration, melded together into a magical production that comments very movingly on our COVID times.

Reason for nomination: Ambitious use of technology to combine individual video/audio recordings into a convincing whole; the transformation of COVID challenges into creative opportunities in a very relevant production.


Bang On a Can Live Online Marathon

Live Online Marathon by Bang on a Can (USA)

Nominated by Mauricio Pena

Bang on a Can is dedicated to making music new. Since its first Marathon concert in 1987, it has been creating an international community dedicated to innovative music, wherever it is found. With adventurous programs, it commissions new composers, performs, presents, and records new work, develops new audiences, and educates the musicians of the future. Bang on a Can is building a world in which powerful new musical ideas flow freely across all genres and borders.

Reason for nomination: Bringing together people around the world through new music perfomed live online, finding the strength of not staying put and believing in audiences' curiousity and interest in new experiences.


Greek National Opera at Roman Agora of Athens in July 2020. Photo by A. Simopoulos

The COVID Era - Greek National Opera (GNO) (Greece)

Nominated by Dionyssis Mallouhos

GNO is one of Europe's most innovative opera houses with a unique artistic identity that engages global talents and inspires large and diverse audiences. Having the need to reach out inscribed in the core of its identity, GNO dealt with the pandemic resourcefully, by creating GNO TV for online streaming of its performances, presenting online festivals with new content, commissioning new works, giving stage performances at archaeological sites and adapting its program to the new challenges.

Reason for nomination: Using brand new tools, such as GNO TV, the GNO launched a new high-standard opera and developed co-productions with other big European lyric theatres. The GNO overcame the COVID crisis by keeping its relationship with the public alive through diverse and versatile content that targets a younger, more-digitally trained audience.


these bones, this flesh, this skin by Scottish Ensemble (UK)

Nominated by David Kettle

Scottish Ensemble strives to put collaboration at the heart of its activities and this new project brought together artistic director/violinist Jonathan Morton, composer Martin Suckling, choreographer Joan Clevillé (Scottish Dance Theatre) and cinematographer Genevieve Reeves in a new interactive music/dance/film work for solo violin and solo dancer, exploring themes of time, memory and attention. Through the bespoke online platform, the viewer is invited to combine different audio and visual layers to create their own experience.

Reason for nomination: This is a provocative creative response to the limitations of COVID: it's a work that harnesses the opportunities of digital and can only exist in that medium.


The beauty that still remains

To My Distant Beloved and The Beauty that Still Remains by On Site Opera and Eric Einhorn (USA)

Nominated by Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim

Eric Einhorn leads one of the most innovative opera companies in New York City. Before COVID, On Site Opera put on vibrant productions in unusual spaces that spoke to the work: Gregg Kallor's "Sketches from Frankenstein" in the catacombs of a historic cemetery; Mozart's "Finta Giardiniera" in a community garden or "Amahl and the Night Visitors" in a Manhattan soup kitchen. Always more than a gimmick, these locales enhanced the experience of opera as an immersive multi-sensory adventure. "To My Distant Beloved" delivered opera through an intimate chain of emails and live one-on-one, phoned-in performances. "The Beauty that Still Remains" did so by mail with gorgeous, tactile diaries.

Reason for nomination: Both projects acknowledged the COVID-induced loneliness of the classical concert-goer and alchemized it into a new relationship to the performer that was personal, conspiratorial and quietly cathartic. "To My Distant Beloved" was especially good at giving the listener that rare and precious feeling: of being seen.


La serva padrona

Trilogy of Quotidian Operas in Quarantine by Unreal Stage Producciones (Chile)

Nominated by Romina de la Sotta Donoso

In face of the public health and economic crisis caused by COVID-19, the independent company Unreal Stage Producciones developed an innovative format with media and digital tools, to offer a trilogy of operas by streaming, with 30 free online performances of each one. The plots of ‘La serva padrona’, ‘The Telephone or L'Amour à trois’ and ‘Il maestro di cappella’ were adapted to reflect Chile’s pandemic reality and current social issues, such as racism, classism, machismo, and social inequity.

Reason for nomination: The project offers free access to operas in an innovative format, adapting its plots to the pandemic reality in a country where tickets to full productions – all, very conservative - are highly expensive.