Schumann Street makes RPS Awards shortlist

“For classical, it’s the Oscars, the BAFTAs and the Grammys all in one” BBC Radio 3

Spitalfields Music’s Schumann Street has been shortlisted for the Chamber Music and Song category of the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) Music Awards 2018. They are the highest recognition for classical music-making in the United Kingdom and other shortlist nominees for this category include the Scottish Ensemble and BBC Radio 3 Lunchtime Concerts.

Schumann Street was the highlight of a hugely successful Spitalfields Music Festival in December 2017. Set across the stunning Huguenot Houses of Spitalfields, Schumann Street was an ambitious staging and re-interpretation of Schumann’s iconic song cycle: Dichterliebe. Each of the 16 songs in this cycle was performed by a different artist drawn from a wide range of stylistic backgrounds including Bengali folk, rap, classical, soul and jazz. Audiences created their own paths through this immersive song-cycle installation and experienced intimate performances close-up, in a display of house music in its original form.

Spitalfields Music also produced Schumann Street Reimagined, a learning and participation project inspired by the installation performance. With help from composer John Barber and artists from Schumann Street, Year 4 pupils from Osmani and Shapla primary schools were introduced to the music of Robert Schumann and created their own song-cycle inspired by Dichterliebe. The pieces created in these workshops were given a public performance at Rich Mix, as part of the Spitalfields Music Festival.

Stephen Newbould, Chief Executive (Maternity Cover) of Spitalfields Music:
“I am delighted that the 2017 Spitalfields Festival Schumann Street project has been shortlisted for a Royal Philharmonic Society Award. The brilliant idea of our Artistic Curator André de Ridder, Schumann Street encapsulated all that Spitalfields Music stands for – a diverse array of amazing artists, a classic work re-imagined for contemporary audiences, an integrated learning project for young Tower Hamlets schoolchildren, and a site-specific setting in eight extraordinary Spitalfields Huguenot houses.”

Artistic Curator of the Spitalfields Music Festival 2017 and 2018, André de Ridder:
“We have been blessed collaborating with so many great and diverse artists on Schumann Street, who brought their incredible voices and creativity to this project. This RPS shortlist nomination is a tribute to them all, and to the artform of song and the endurance of such a masterwork like Schumann’s Dichterliebe and what it can still inspire us to do and feel. And equally to the spirit and places of Spitalfields Music, which again proved to be so adept at transcending musical borders and materials.”

The winners of this year’s Awards will be announced at the Royal Philharmonic Society Presentation Dinner on Wednesday 9 May.