#MiddayMusic presents Ryan Drucker (piano) and Toby White (cello) and Lotte Betts-Dean (mezzo soprano)

This week our Young Artists Ryan Drucker (piano) and Toby White (cello) and Lotte Betts-Dean (Mezzo soprano) performed for #MiddayMusic. You can watch their videos below. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to catch Elliot Gresty (clarinet)  perform next Monday, fresh from his performance on Radio 3’s InTune yesterday  (his interview starts at 31:00). We also have the wonderful Katie Coventry (mezzo soprano) performing next Wednesday.  Details of their repertoire can be found in the details section on YouTube.  All of our #MiddayMusic videos can be watched on our exclusive playlist.


Ryan Drucker & Toby White: Engaging audiences through livestreaming

Musicians’ Company award winners, Ryan Drucker (piano) and Toby White (cello), are part of Jumis Ensemble, a four-piece ensemble that aims to bring music and prosperity to all corners of society.

“Although Covid-19 has had a severe impact on everyone, it’s given Jumis Ensemble some space and time to grow and think creatively”, says Ryan. “Over a number of Zoom calls, we’ve begun a process of questioning certain traditions as well as working out ways to reach wider audiences.”

“One thing we’re trying out are livestreamed concerts. We recently pre-recorded three works as live takes, preparing them to sound and look great using multiple camera angles. We then streamed the performances on YouTube and Facebook which we introduce and chat about live.

For us to be able to do this, we had to invest a lot of time improving our knowledge and understanding of recording and streaming software. We’re aiming to do this monthly should restrictions continue. We’re also thrilled to be collaborating with the composer, Rhiannon Randle, who is writing four solo works for each ensemble instrument and a piano quartet for us next year. Each solo will feature in a livestream this year.

For our #MiddayMusic piece, Toby and I decided to embrace the cello’s well-known singing qualities by playing three songs we both love. The first is a beautiful short song entitled Zdes’ khorosho (‘How fair is the spot’) by Rachmaninov. Then there is Rachmaninov’s Vocalise which, although originally arranged for voice with orchestra or piano, has been arranged for every instrument around (some are a little suspect!). I was actually playing an arrangement of Vocalise for solo piano but I have to confess it’s hard to beat the version with cello (I don’t tell Toby that!). Finally, we play Mendelssohn’s Song without Words which has been lovely to revisit. On this occasion, I think we were both struck by some of its turbulent nature as well as some of the poignant moments of mature retrospection.”

You can find out more about Jumis Ensemble at www.jumisensemble.com, and on Facebook and Instagram @jumisensemble



Lotte Betts-Dean: Forever singing, performing and entertaining

“Getting to grips with working and performing online has been quite a steep learning curve, but isn’t it wonderful that we live in a time where we can adapt what we do to keep performing,” says Australian vocalist, Lotte Bette-Deans. “Though of course nothing beats live performance!”

“Over the last few months, I’ve had some wonderful opportunities to perform, mostly online, through new initiatives such as Home Concert Club, Living Room Live, #MiddayMusic and #OperaHarmony. I’ve also guested on podcasts, performed in front of socially distance outdoor audiences for Opera Holland Park and Summer at Breinton, and created content and delivered live-streamed recitals for organisations such as City Music Foundation and Tait Memorial Trust.”

Lotte has also been delivering Musicians’ Company Merton Dementia Hub Concerts via Zoom and, through her old children’s choir, a weekly course on vocal styles and techniques for young choristers in Australia. Baking and jogging have also featured in Lotte’s life.

“I feel so lucky to have been able to continue to work in music at a time that is so difficult for the industry, but the strength of the music community fills me with hope. In the coming weeks, I have lots of exciting events planned, including three filmed recitals with pianist Joseph Havlat, a concert of voice and viola repertoire for the Melbourne Digital Concert Hall series and a performance at this year’s entirely online Oxford Lieder Festival alongside guitarist Sean Shibe. I will also be filming a concert with the Marsyas Trio, including the world premiere of a new commission by Michael Finnissy.”

For my #MiddayMusic concert I’m presenting a wonderful piece for voice and piano by Prokofiev entitled ‘Gadkiy utyonok’ which translates as ‘The Ugly Duckling’. More of a short monodrama than a song, the piece is set to a complete Russian translation of the famous Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale. I first performed the piece at last year’s Oxford Lieder Festival and have been looking forward to revisiting it as it’s so full of colour, humour and character with some very virtuosic writing for both pianist and singer.

Details of Lotte’s upcoming performances, as well as her plans to record repertoire for voice and guitar with fellow WCOM Yeomen Andrey Lebedev and Dimitris Soukaras, can be found at lottebettsdean.com, Facebook – www.facebook.com/lottebettsdean, Twitter – http://twitter.com/lottebettsdean, Instagram – http://www.instagram.com/dottelettsbean/ and YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/user/cbettsdean