News Release 2021 flight-free soundfestival shortlisted for prestigious classical music awards

News Release

2021 ‘flight-free’ soundfestival shortlisted for prestigious classical music awards.

Acclaimed festival director adds voice to calls for BBC Scotland to reconsider decision to axe programmes 

Ground-breaking chamber work, Distance: Soprano, Juliet Fraser performs in Aberdeen together with Talea Ensemble streaming live from New York in sound’s award-nominated 2021 “flight free festival”

As just announced today (26th January 2023) on BBC Radio 3’s Breakfast programme, Aberdeen’s soundfestival has been shortlisted for the UK’s premier classical music awards – the RPS awards. sound is nominated in the “Series and Events” Award for the 2021 festival, which explored the climate emergency through specially commissioned works and environmentally themed performances and encouraged performers and audience members to travel to the festival using sustainable modes of transport. It included a ground-breaking multi-media chamber work by composer Laura Bowler which saw soprano Juliet Fraser performing in Aberdeen with the Talea Ensemble streamed live from New York.

 “We are thrilled to have been shortlisted in these prestigious awards,” says sound Director Fiona Robertson. “It recognises the contribution that the arts sector can make, both practically and artistically, to the climate emergency. It shows that it is possible to bring some of the world’s leading performers and composers to a festival in the UK, without an enormous carbon footprint. It also showcases the commitment of artists and composers to highlighting the environmental challenges facing us.

The winners of the RPS Awards, which are the classical music equivalent of the BAFTAs, will be announced on Wednesday 1 March 2023.

Fiona has also added her voice to calls for BBC Scotland to reconsider the decision to axe its specialist classical music, jazz and piping programmes.

soundfestival and the artists taking part in the festival benefit from the coverage of Scotland’s national broadcaster. It has provided a vital platform for emerging talent over the years and the loss of these important programmes will not only make its output poorer, but it will also mean that so many remarkable young composers and performers will lose an important opportunity to showcase their work to a wider audience. Losing the programmes will leave audiences with little, if any chance, to experience the unique contribution that they make to music-making in Scotland. We hope very much that the BBC will reconsider their decision.


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Notes for Editors

List of all RPS Award shortlists:

Highlights of 2021 soundfestival included:

  • As the world prepared for COP26, 2021 soundfestival programme explored the climate emergency through specially commissioned works and environmentally themed performances - including 1.5 Degrees, From the Coast and Distance - with a “no fly” commitment from performers
  • A focus on the Double Bass
  • Over 30 Premieres were featured in the festival including including Laura Bowler’s Distance (World Premiere) a groundbreaking multimedia chamber work featuring soprano Juliet Fraser joined by Talea Ensemble live streamed from New York; Ailie Robertson’s Unfurl (World Premiere); Luke Styles’ Five Phases Sphere (World Premiere); David Fennessy’s Aberdeen (Scottish Premiere), Tansy Davies’ Grand Mutation for violin, horn and piano (first live performance).
  • 2021 soundfestival introduced spotlight concerts, 30-minute performances giving a platform to emerging and local composers and performers
  • soundfestival 2021 and elements within it were funded by Creative Scotland, the PRS for Music Foundation, Aberdeen City Council, the University of Aberdeen Development Trust, Foyle Foundation, Diaphonique, Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation, RVW Trust, Hope Scott Trust, Hugh Fraser Foundation, Idlewild Trust, The Leche Trust, Gannochy Trust, David and June Gordon Memorial Trust, Aberdeen Endowments Trust, Witherby Publishing Group Charitable Trust, William Syson Foundation and The EIS Education Committee