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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

Press Release

Radio 3 welcomes its next crop of New Generation Artists

BBC Radio 3

BBC Radio 3 announces the latest intake for its New Generation Artists scheme – now entering its 11th year as part of the BBC's commitment to developing and nurturing young talent.

Launched in 1999 it has a reputation as one of the world's foremost music development programmes. It will also continue the recent initiative (started in 2006) of inviting one promising jazz musician onto the scheme. These young artists join the six other artists now starting their second year.

Among this year's intake are violinists Alexandra Soumm from France and Veronika Eberle from Germany; acclaimed cellist Nicolas Altstaedt; the innovative Escher String Quartet; and two young British musicians – tenor Ben Johnson and 18-year-old pianist Benjamin Grosvenor.

The jazz artist has been named as 26-year-old British saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings, who is considered one of the most eclectic and musically adventurous instrumentalists on the London jazz scene.

Having been selected for the programme, these performers, who are already beginning to make a mark on the national and international music scene, will be offered a number of unique opportunities to develop their considerable talents across the range of Radio 3 activities.

This includes broadcast concerts at venues in London (notably Wigmore Hall and LSO St Luke's) as well as performances and recordings with the five BBC orchestras, special studio recordings for Radio 3 and appearances at the BBC Proms.

As part of the scheme, Radio 3 has also collaborated with various record companies. A long-standing relationship with EMI has so far resulted in several co-produced CDs in the EMI Debut series, three of which have won Gramophone Awards for best Debut CD of the year.

Additionally, New Generation Artists regularly feature in some of Britain's most prominent festivals, including the City of London Festival, Aldeburgh Festival, Cheltenham Festival, York Early Music Festival, Brinkburn Festival and Edinburgh International Festival.

Radio 3 has also launched a series of commissions specifically for New Generation Artists in collaboration with the Royal Philharmonic Society.

With its huge range of musical talents, the scheme offers a cross-section of the most exciting British and international young artists who aspire to be the stars of tomorrow.

Notes to Editors

About the New Generation Artists

Alexandra Soumm – violin
A 21-year-old violinist from Montpellier, France, Alexandra won the Grand Prize of the Vienna Conservatory in 2002 and First Prize for the 2004 Eurovision competition for young musicians. She has performed with the Israeli Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, as well as making regular appearances at European music festivals.

In the Spring of 2008 Alexandra's debut recording of the Bruch and Paganini concertos was released on the Claves label, and Le Monde de la Musique described her interpretation as "displaying a passionate and lyrical personality." Her second disc with Claves, a recording of the violin sonatas by Grieg, was released in Spring 2010.

Ben Johnson – tenor
Ben studied at the Royal College of Music and then the Britten International Opera School. He won the First Prize at the 2008 Kathleen Ferrier awards, the first outright male winner for 13 years, and achieved much success at the RCM, including winning the Lieder Prize, English Song Prize and the singer's prize at the Gerald Moore Award, as well as a prize at the Wigmore Hall International Song Competition.

Currently in demand as an oratorio soloist, Ben has recently sung Handel's Messiah with the English Chamber Orchestra at Cadogan Hall and at the Hexagon in Reading, Bach's B minor Mass at the Three Choirs Festival and Handel's Samson with Harry Bicket in his BBC Proms debut.

Benjamin Grosvenor – piano
Benjamin first came to prominence as an outstanding winner of the Keyboard Final of the 2004 BBC Young Musician Competition at the age of 11. Since then he has become an internationally regarded pianist performing concertos with renowned orchestras from the London Philharmonic to the Tokyo Symphony to the Brazilian Symphony.

Benjamin's recordings for the EMI 200th anniversary edition of Chopin's complete works have received accolades in Gramophone and BBC Music Magazine, in which he was lauded for his "sensitivity of touch, general musicality and affection for the music." He currently studies with Christopher Elton at the Royal Academy of Music on an affiliated scholarship.

Nicolas Altstaedt – cello
Nicolas was unanimously awarded the Credit Suisse Young Artists Award 2010 as well as first prizes of the German Music Competition and Domnick Cello Competition 2005, the Adam International Cello Competition New Zealand 2006, a Borletti Buitoni Felloship 2009 and the Prize of Kulturstiftung Dortmund 2010. He was one of Boris Pergamenschikow's last students in Berlin, where he is continuing his studies with Eberhard Feltz.

His recent recording of the Haydn cello concertos, as well a recording of the cello concertos of Schumann, Tchaikovsky and Gulda, have been highly acclaimed. Last year he was granted a three-season residency with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, New York.

Veronika Eberle – violin
Twenty-one-year-old Veronika has established a reputation as one of the most promising violin talents to emerge from Germany in recent years. Born in Donauwörth, Southern Germany, she started violin lessons at the age of six and, four years later, became a junior student at the Richard Strauss Konservatorium in Munich.

Highlights among her future concerto appearances include debuts with the New York Philharmonic and the BBC Symphony. Her introduction by Sir Simon Rattle to a packed Festpielhaus at the 2006 Salzburg Easter Festival, in a performance of the Beethoven Concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic, spurred her international career.

Escher String Quartet
Acclaimed for its individual sound, inspired artistic decisions and unique cohesiveness, the Escher Quartet has already performed at prestigious venues and festivals around the world since its inception in 2005. The 2009-2010 season includes debuts at the Dallas Chamber Music Society and the Fortas Chamber Music Series in Washington DC. The quartet has been invited to return to the Louvre in March 2011.

Shabaka Hutchings – jazz saxophone/clarinet
Born in England and raised in Barbados, Shabaka completed an undergraduate degree in classical clarinet at the Guildhall School of Music in 2007. There, he studied principally under Joy Farrall and Andrew Webster but also received jazz tuition from Tim Garland and Jean Toussaint.

Highly regarded as a jazz soloist, Hutchings has performed with many new and established groups, including Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra, Jack Dejohnette, Polar Bear and Red Snapper. He has recorded with Courtney Pine, Mulatu Astatke/The Heliocentrics and Soweto Kinch, among others.

RK2

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