News from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland that Daniel Pioro has joined RCS as Associate Artist in Contemporary String Performance to work with thirteen students is an exciting new development.
The idea is to create a collaborative music-making experience for developing musicians within the conservatoire that develops artistic thinking, performance, and genres. Pioro will work with cellists, violinist, viola players and composers, in addition to bringing additional artists to collaborate with the group.
It’s typically Pioro, reflecting the approach to curation he takes in both his live performance and on albums. His 2019 Dust release featuring Edmund Finnis’ Elsewhere is an excellent starting point.
I’ve been a massive fan of Pioro’s playing too. His Wigmore Hall appearance was electrifying, combining his trademark love of sound, and his distinctive approach to performance. Read the Wigmore review to get a sense of what I’m talking about here. That Pioro is bringing all of this into an education setting seems like a natural progression.
And it’s great for music education in the HE sector too, positioning Royal Conservatoire of Scotland as an exciting destination for students, embracing unconventional approaches in pursuit of creativity. The announcement sets RCS apart. It will be interesting to see what other announcements follow from other colleges in the coming months.
An interesting time to identify small changes in how the music world now sees itself or wants to
Thinking more widely, this period of time transitioning from lockdown to opened-up living is turning out to be, as I predicted in various emails to PRs and arts administrators ten days ago, a fascinating time.
For the past year there have been murmurings about how classical music needed to change, and how this hiatus may well be an opportunity to bring about that change. In the announcements made by Wigmore Hall yesterday for example, there are glimpses of change – specifically artists aligned to brands, and announcing Rebecca Omordia leading Wigmore’s African Concert Series. I see this is a strong statement of intent. A brand positioning statement on diversity issued at a point in time when cut-through is maximised. And a statement that we’re looking at music in a holistic way to serve under-represented genres, and reshape classical in the UK.
Expectations shouldn’t be too simplistic. The change I’m noticing isn’t big bang stuff. It’s more about who is doing what, how they’re communicating it, and what that says about the wider sector. What’s important is using this moment in time to highlight the differences. And so far seeking out those smallish changes is energising.