How come so many classical music concerts play on the youthfulness of the featured performers? The Lake District Summer Music festival programme this year seems to be stressing the festival’s aim to showcase emerging talent, rather than the other aim of engaging leading international artists. Is this simply because the visual artists doing the publicity materials zoom in on fresh, younger faces? 

The potential audiences so sought by concert promoters, the interested non-expert, is not so daft as to imagine that a inexperienced musician can deliver a world-class performance. If however, only young artists are presented to the public, the public perception of classical musicians will be that of young, promising musicians. Don’t the public deserve to see finished, mature musicians, ready to present  the most exciting performances?

This year’s Prom performance of Vaughan Williams’ sublime Serenade to Music featured student singers from Glasgow and well, it was a good effort, considering they were students. (I relished the fine conducting and orchestral playing.) Compare this to the line-up of singers that RVW wrote for: all at the absolute top of their game, aged 39 - 54 (mostly in their forties; the contraltos are pictured with my blog entry of 2nd June). The 16 singers include 2 Brunnhildes, a Siegfried and a Wotan. Listen to the recording if you haven’t already - wow!

Please, promoters, remember that more experienced performers are likely to deliver a finer, more inspiring performance. Our musicians have no opportunity to develop to the highest levels if they find their performance opportunities disappearing to a younger generation who can carry off a photo-shoot in a wet T-shirt!  

April 2018