Thursday, 3 May 2012

Golden Music at the Barbican

The final part of my day on May 2 was a wonderful concert at the Barbican.  This was the Gold Medal competition of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama at the Barbican.  It was a sensational concert

The Gold Medal, the Guildhall School’s most prestigious prize for musicians, was founded and endowed in 1915 by Sir Dixon Kember. Since 1950 it has been open to singers and instrumentalists in alternate years and this year was for instrumentalists. The finalists performed a concerto with the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra, conducted by James Judd. The judges on the jury panel included ENO's Music Director Edward Gardner, chief culture critic for The Times Richard Morrison, and Martin Campbell-White, Joint Chief Executive of Askonas Holt artist management. 

All the music was of an exceptional standard – as Edward Gardner said in his adjudication, there was no discussion about technique in the judging only about interpretation, which is a great credit to the artists and the school. The winner was pianist Ashley Fripp for his performance of the Liszt Totentanz.  I had a soft spot for the runner up, pianist Ben Schoeman, (not just because he is a fellow South African) but also because he played the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No 1 – the first classical record I ever bought as a child (that should be records as it was recorded on 78s!).

We saw a short video about the progress of Milton Court, the expansion of the School’s facilities. It is based across the road from the current Silk Street building and will open in 2013, providing the School with state-of-the-art performance and teaching spaces including, a 608-seat Concert Hall
, a 227-seat Theatre, a Studio Theatre
, three major rehearsal rooms
 and a TV studio suite.  This will not only benefit the students but also add to London’s reputation as one of the world’s leading centres for music education as well as performance. We are very proud to be one of the school's Livery supporters.

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