Classical:NEXT, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 20 - 23 May 2015
Dear Press colleagues,
Classical:NEXT 2015 has wound up beautifully and we would like to once more thank you for your participation and coverage. Please find below our final press release on Classical:NEXT 2015 in Rotterdam. We uploaded photos into our press Dropbox (high resolution) and onto Flickr (lower resolution). Selected audio and video material is and will be made available as well.
Symphony of a Thousand – Classical:NEXT in Rotterdam Embraced By All Sectors
Rotterdam: The fourth edition of Classical:NEXT has drawn to a close in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, with the presentation of the inaugural Classical:NEXT Innovation Award marking the conclusion of four rewarding days of expo, showcases and conference. More than 1,000 professionals from the classical and art music world came together to exchange with their peers and discover new opportunities and pathways within art music.
The results of the conference have drawn respect from all sides of the industry: housed within the de Doelen concert hall and congress centre for the first time, this year's Classical:NEXT saw attendance rise by 10 percent. The expo again demonstrated fast growth (over 25 percent from 2014), with 209 exhibitors presenting countries, labels, regions, institutions and tech enterprises at 71 stands. The more than 1,000 professionals from 45 countries, coupled with the Canadian opening night and Lebanon, Kosovo, Cyprus and Colombia being represented for the first time at the event, made this Classical:NEXT more international than ever.
Strong Orchestra and Live Sector Presence
Overall the balance of sectors present at the event has improved a great deal. Classical:NEXT director, Jennifer Dautermann, pointed out that "While we're extremely pleased that even more international professionals have joined us this year and attendance levels overall are on the rise, it is the optimisation of the balance amongst individual sectors which makes us especially happy. We've put increased effort into this in these past years."
Anselm Rose of German orchestra association Deutscher Orchestertag enthused: “I am thrilled by Classical:NEXT! It is a must for everybody in the scene such as producers, labels, promoters, orchestras, agents etc. Lots of fresh ideas, food for thought, new music, new formats and an excellent networking opportunity on an international level. Innovation in the music business starts right here.”
Depending on who exactly is counted as such, the “live” sector makes up about half of the participants with more than 70 orchestras and over 200 artists attending as well as almost 200 festival and concert promoters, more than 80 artist managers as well as 60 arts institutions, 300 labels and distributors, 100 publishers, 80 journalists and more.
Ark Nova and The Rest Is Noise Festival Receive Inaugural Innovation Award
Fresh from being named CEO of Luminato Festival in Toronto, Anthony Sargent moderated this year's closing event which featured music by Dutch sextet Fuse. Lucerne Festival's Ark Nova and the Southbank Centre's The Rest is Noise Festival were the recipients of the first-ever Classical:NEXT Innovation Award, presented during the Classical:NEXT closing event. The winners were selected from among 21 pioneering projects, with all members of Classical:NEXT's online platform, C:N NET, called upon to vote online for their favourite. Women's Conductors at Morley and Groupmuse were both named as runners-up.
Gillian Moore, Director of Music at the Southbank Centre, was presented with an award statue designed by nonstopcollective honouring The Rest is Noise Festival, which courageously programmes an entire year of 20th century music in the Southbank Centre, and vouched for the contemporary functions of art music: “Classical music is about making sense of this complex world we live in."
Michael Haefliger of Lucerne Festival accepted the Award for the inflatable concert hall Ark Nova which helped bring culture as well as community projects into Japan's Tohoku region following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster. “We did not plan this ahead but innovation can happen at any moment and everywhere. It takes place at the intersection of art and community and cause.” The third edition of Ark Nova will take place in Fukushima soon, further plans are in the works.
Expanded Musical Programme Anything But Routine
Musically, a new self-esteem eminated from the eight musical acts who took to the stage at de Doelen over two evenings, presenting music spanning from the Middle Ages to the 21st century and fusing traditional influences with modern approaches. Among the jury-selected artists were Ensemble U: (Estonia), Oorkaan/Cello8ctet Amsterdam (the Netherlands) and Kaleidoscope String Quartet (Switzerland). Denmark hosted an off C:N Showcase while the local programme 'Lunch with the Residents' saw a suite of Dutch artists perform lunchtime concerts for delegates that were also free to the general public in the frame of the Classical:NEXT Showcase Festival.
A total of 22 musical acts comprising 72 performers from 10 countries took to the stage during Classical:NEXT.
Six large-scale projects were presented to delegates via video as part of the Video Showcase programme while a further six pitched their project in rapid-fire sessions as part of this year's Project Pitches.
The music within de Doelen was complemented by a number of associated events running parallel to Classical:NEXT such as the SEKT Club for contemporary music; a Classical Music Rave and the renowned opera festival Operadagen Rotterdam.
Closing-event moderator, Anthony Sargent CBE proclaimed Classical:NEXT 2015 to be "one of the best music conferences that I've been to in years", refining his point by stating, "this is not just a conference that happens once a year. This is a movement.” Similar to the Early Music movement some decades ago, the Classical:NEXT movement of innovating the genre has “become comparable to the classical mainstream now, which listens to what is going on at Classical:NEXT. The smart ones realise that we are at a tipping point and the time for the Classical:NEXT movement has really come!”
Conference Programme Well-Received
This year's event was propelled by the growing sense of camaraderie among the Classical:NEXT delegates, playing off the momentum that has been built since Classical:NEXT started in 2012. After four years, a true community has formed around the event, now comprised of seasoned participants and new faces gathering to network, formulate new projects or build upon existing ideas.
The multifaceted conference programme is one of the key highlights of Classical:NEXT and this year was no exception with delegates filling the rooms in 25 jury-selected sessions alongside mentoring sessions, network meetings and off C:N conferences, which gave insights into areas such as the French market. 72 expert speakers from 16 countries led sessions about topics ranging from strategic management, new business models and unorthodox programming to streaming market convergence, the studies of audiences as well as metadata solutions to improve search options for classical music in download services.
Classical:NEXT 2016 to Take Place in Rotterdam
This year's edition was widely regarded as the most successful Classical:NEXT and not just in terms of numbers as Daniela Martin of Ensemble Variances emphasised:
“Classical:NEXT is relaxed and very fruitful at the same time. It is great that we know many among the community for some years now and can build long-term relationships. We booked many concerts and have already booked our hotel rooms for next year's edition.”
The organisers Piranha Arts and their partners at de Doelen have already announced that they will continue their collaboration next year. The next edition of Classical:NEXT will take place from 25-28 May 2016, coinciding with de Doelen's 50th anniversary, something that Gabriël Oostvogel, director of de Doelen, is looking forward to:
“Classical:NEXT 2015 was everything we hoped it would be: a really inspiring, fruitful four days with great people from all over the world. And great music! De Doelen is proud to be local partner in our 50th anniversary year!”
Canada:NEXT Opening Gala
A genre-bending, media-mixing gala Opening was held in the Jurriaanse Zaal in de Doelen on the evening of Wednesday, 20 May, heralding the start of Classical:NEXT 2015 and setting the tone for the following days with performances from some of Canada's finest ensembles and musicians.
Martin Hoffmann of the Berlin Philharmonic and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, chief conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, both delivered keynote addresses accentuating the need to balance this drive towards the new with classical music's existing formats and highly-revered heritage.
The evening was curated by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Canadian Music Centre and Music on Main. Koba Johnson, Programme Officer at Canada Council for the Arts, stated: "We were honoured to have been chosen to provide a window on contemporary classical music in Canada at Classical:NEXT this year. At the end of this important event we feel that the window has been opened wide and we are confident that our participation also in the years to come will lead to greater opportunities, collaborations and exchanges."
More impressions from the Opening can be found here.