News in brief British composer Sir Malcolm Arnold (1921-2006) will be celebrated during a threeday festival this October. The 17th instalment of the annual International Malcolm Arnold Festival will take a hybrid format, with events held online as well as in London, following the festival’s move from Northampton. After an opening concert on 8 October, a series of concerts, masterclasses and talks will continue on 9 October before returning for a online-only festival day at the end of the month.
Diapason d’Or-winning baroque ensemble El Gran Teatro del Mundo will embark on its first UK tour in November. The six-piece ensemble won the 2019 Cambridge Early Music Prize at the York Early Music International Young Artists Competition and is promoted by competition organisers National Centre for Early Music. The group opens its tour at London’s St John Smith’s Square before performing in Southampton, Cambridge, Nottingham and Bristol, finishing with a filmed finale at the National Centre for Early Music in York.
The Steel City Choristers will give the world premiere of an anthem written for them by composer and patron Malcolm Archer. The work, created using the words of Fred Pratt Green’s poem When in our Music God will receive its first performance at a concert given as part of the St Andrew’s Music Festival. The singers will be joined by the Sheffield Horn Quartet at St Andrew’s church, Sheffield on 10 November.
Alan Davey to step down as controller of BBC Radio 3
Alan Davey has confirmed he will be stepping down from his role as controller of BBC Radio 3, BBC Proms, and BBC Orchestras and Choirs as of March 2023. Davey has held his current position for over eight years.
An offical statement explained that Davey has chosen to leave the role ‘to concentrate on his work supporting arts and music organisations and to pursue his academic interests.’ His replacement will be appointed ‘in due course.’
BBC chief content officer, Charlotte Moore, commented: ‘Under his watch over the past eight years, Radio 3’s editorial ambition has flourished and Alan has skilfully, and with passion, led our classical activities in an ever-changing world – constantly exploring new opportunities to reach the widest possible audience for our classical music output.’
Taking the role of controller in January 2015, Davey has increased Radio 3’s audience numbers to over 2 million weekly listeners through innovative programming including themed seasons and festivals. Under Davey’s leadership, Radio 3 has also embraced new music through series like The New Music Show as well as through commissions for both the radio station and the Proms.
For young listeners, Davey has commissioned playlists such as Classical Focus and Mindful Mix, and for young players, he has fostered emerging talent through Radio 3’s New Generation Artists Scheme, which saw a record number of participants in 2021 in response to the impact of the pandemic on the classical music industry.
Davey said: ‘Since Radio 3’s first day of broadcasting, it has known that the key to securing the future of music is in finding new talent and offering ways in to new audiences, and it’s the quality and expertise involved that makes the station so unique.’
Davey also led the BBC’s Orchestras and Choirs, as well as the BBC Proms, which this year premiered 24 new works and saw events taking place across the UK in Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Truro with the return of international orchestras following the lifting of Covid lockdowns.
Davey’s previous roles also include chief executive officer at Arts Council England and head of arts and director of arts and culture at the DCMS. His additional accolades include a CBE for his services to the arts as well as honorary doctorates from the Universities of Birmingham and Teesside.
Davey said: ‘Choosing when to move on is always tricky, but now is the time for me to hand over the role to someone else. They will inherit, to borrow a phrase, on a bad day the best job in Britain, and on a good day the best job in the world.’
Opera North general director to retire Opera North has announced that Richard Mantle OBE DL will be retiring from the role of general director next year, having held the role for almost three decades. The Leeds-based opera company has begun its search for Mantle’s successor.
Mantle joined Opera North in 1994, after previous roles with Edmonton Opera, Scottish Opera, and English National Opera. He was awarded an OBE for services to music in 2013 as well as honorary doctorates from the Universities of Leeds and of York.
Paul Lee, chair of Opera North’s Board of Trustees, said: ‘[Mantle] leaves an organisation that is radically different to the one he joined in 1994 – one which is immeasurably stronger and more diverse in its activities and the people it serves.’
Under Mantle’s leadership Opera North has toured productions across the country, and presented varied programmes at Howard Assembly Room, the company’s home in Leeds. Since overseeing that venue’s opening in 2009, Mantle has also led the company’s recent £18m redevelopment project, Music Works, adding rehearsal, education and front-of-house space.
Mantle said: ‘Now is a good time for a younger person to lead the team at Opera North, someone who will bring fresh ideas and articulate a new strategy for the company over the decade ahead.’
6 | Classical Music | Autumn 2022