Innovation Award

Thursday 16 May 2024, 8:00 pm, Colosseum

About the Award

The Classical:NEXT Innovation Award raises awareness of forward-thinking projects taking place around the world, as nominated by the dedicated Nominating Committee, consiting mainly of renowned international journalists. Their role is to inform classical music professionals about potential recipients outside of their own national or professional periphery. Nominations from the Committee form the initial Longlist, from which they select the final 10 nominations for the Shortlist. The Award recipients will then be selected by an online vote of all registered Classical:NEXT delegates.

The Reception will start at 19:00, all delegates are welcome to join!

The Classical:NEXT 2024 Innovation Award Ceremony will be moderated by Hyung-ki Joo, pianist, composer, curator.

Shortlist Innovation Award

The Sound Voice Project, United Kingdom

A remarkable project that seeks to connect with people who have lost or are losing the use of their voices due to medical illnesses such as laryngeal cancer, Motor Neurone Disease and Parkinson’s Disease, bringing together unique interdisciplinary collaborations with professionals in healthcare, biomedical research and technology. Led by composer Hannah Conway, working with librettist Hazel Gould, The Sound Voice Project platforms voices and narratives rarely given the stage. An immersive opera-video installation and live concert performed by people who have experienced voice loss, appearing together on stage with the professional singers, who include Roderick Williams, Lucy Crowe and Gweneth Ann Rand was shown at Kings Place and the Aldeburgh Festival last year and the project continues to develop, with the new immersive sound installation 100 VOICES touring public spaces and hospitals in 2024.

Modena Belcanto Festival, Italy

Modena Belcanto Festival is a new festival that takes up the legacy left in Modena by great opera singers such as Luciano Pavarotti and Mirella Freni, but wants to interpret them in contemporary forms and styles. The synergy between the city’s various musical institutions, starting with the Pavarotti-Freni Municipal Theatre, has led to the creation of a programme where musical production (with the staging of Bellini’s opera I Puritani) and the education of young singers merge with diverse cultural proposals ranging from early music to electronics, from cinema to pop music.

km0 - Ibermúsica, Spain

km0 is a new concert series at Madrid’s Auditorio Nacional organised by Spanish leading concert promoter Fundación Ibermúsica. The four recitals of the concert series, featuring Spanish artists, take place at the Chamber Music Hall. During the one-hour recital, the artists explain the works and the public can also chat with them after the concert at the lobby of the concert hall. Also, all the concert programmes of these recitals have a focus on Women composers and Spanish living composers, including the premiere of new works commissioned by Ibermúsica. Albert Guinovart (piano), Laura Verdugo del Rey (guitar), Silvia Márquez (clavicembalo) and María Zubimendi (accordion) are the artists featured in this season.

The Catalyst Quartet, United States

The Catalyst Quartet has emerged as one of the most forward-looking chamber groups in the U.S. Its “Uncovered” project is a multi-volume set of albums devoted to historically underrepresented composers, among them, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Florence Price, and William Grant Still (the set’s third volume was nominated for a 2024 Grammy Award). In its residency at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the quartet collaborates with all kinds of visual artists in the galleries, rethinking the concert experience. And recognizing the value of brevity in the digital age, the Catalyst commissioned 11 miniature (1-2 minute) string quartets by noted composers for its “CQ Minute” project.

Serenade, United Kingdom

Serenade empowers artists to create enhanced digital music experiences, which bring fans closer to the artists and albums they love. Powered by blockchain technology, their Digital Pressing is a limited edition music format that is chart accredited in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Australia and New Zealand, allowing artists to share extra bonus content (from track commentaries to unreleased recordings to BTS footage and photos) with their most engaged fans without the complicated overheads of producing more physical.

Extensión Usach, Chile

The Extension Department of the Universidad de Santiago de Chile (Usach) is in charge of designing a rich cultural program whose heart is in art music. They have an annual season with 50 free concerts, with an average of 360 attendees per concert and an audience growth rate of 5.9%. This university does not teach composition or musical performance, but it has five stable professional casts: three choirs, one of the oldest early music ensembles in the country, with 45 years of experience (Syntagma Musicum), and the orchestra that performs the most premieres of Chilean contemporary music in the country (Orquesta Usach), which is 41 years old.
In addition to free concerts in their hall, which is the one with the best natural acoustics in the city (Aula Magna Usach), they offer free concerts in the most deprived and peripheral sectors of a city with more than 5,600,000 inhabitants that is characterized by territorial inequality.
They perform all repertoires, from the Renaissance to contemporary music: they offered, for example, the premiere in modern times of the zarzuela “Destinos vencen finezas” (1698) by Juan de Navas, and now they offer the world premiere of “Despedida”, a symphonic choral work by Miguel Farías, today the Chilean composer of greatest global significance, whose works have recently been premiered by Los Angeles Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic and San Diego Symphony. They also have a label that has published 23 albums of Chilean classical music in four years, and three radio shows.

Gateways Music Festival, United States

Founded in 1993, the Gateways Music Festival Orchestra brings together professional classical musicians of African descent from across the North America, providing a sense of community for participants while helping to mentor and inspire younger generations of black musicians. Though long based at the Eastman School of Music in upstate New York, it has a rapidly growing national presence, with performances this season at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center in Washington and Chicago’s Symphony Center. Its touring programmes are fresh and engaging, whether performing Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale alongside Wynton Marsalis’ A Fiddler’s Tale or juxtaposing a world premiere by Jon Batiste with works by Florence Price and Johannes Brahms.

NOEMA (Garden of Repose —a Multimedia Choral Concert), Hong Kong, PR China

Formed during the Covid pandemic, when choral singing was treated as a public health hazard, NOEMA (from classical Greek for “the content of thought”) became Hong Kong’s first fully professional vocal ensemble, formed to “raise the quality and perception of choral singing in Asia.” Their sixth production, Garden of Repose, embodies their approach, revealing both superb musical quality and programatic savvy in ripping the Requiem mass from either liturgical and concert settings to reimagine the Catholic ritual (using both Latin and vernacular text-settings by modern and living composers) as a theatricalized, immersive installation, where both performers and audience members move through space (with innovative lighting and sculptural set pieces) musically tracing the emotional arc of grief. The project is presented by the 52nd Hong Kong Arts Festival.


Founded in 2012, the Center for Experimentation and Production of Contemporary Music (Cepromusic) is Mexico’s leading new music ensemble and a publicly funded programme that brings together artistic and academic activities to support the creation and promotion of contemporary music. In addition to its regular seasons at the Palace of Fine Arts, the CEPROMUSIC ensemble has made eight international tours to Germany, Colombia, Scotland, Spain, England, Brazil and three to the United States, with great critical and public success, as well as artistic and academic residencies in Colombia, Spain, the United States, Mexico and the United Kingdom. In 2018, its career was recognised with an invitation to the Darmstadt Summer Festival. The ensemble’s repertoire seeks to evoke the broadest aspect of the current scene: from new complexity to improvisation, or from macro-timbral to real-time code.

sound festival, Aberdeen, United Kingdom

Week-long new music festival taking place in October in and around Aberdeen, bringing high-profile performers and composers to the city, involving many local venues and organisations, and providing support to emerging composers through formal projects, informal chats and networking

Nominating Committee

Harriet Cunningham (Australia)

Harriet Cunningham is a freelance writer and researcher based in Sydney, Australia. In print, she is best known as one of the Sydney Morning Herald‘s music and theatre critics. She is addicted to listening and thinking about live music – any kind of live performance, in fact. She has been known to play the violin.

Romina de la Sotta (Chile)

A Chilean journalist covering classical music since 2001, Romina de la Sotta has written in newspapers and in Resonancias, the musicological research journal of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. She worked as Radio Beethoven’s journalist between 2002 and 2008 and again from 2020 to the present. He has interviewed hundreds of composers, performers and conductors from Chile and around the world.

Jessica Duchen (United Kingdom)

Jessica Duchen is a music critic, author and librettist. She contributes to The Sunday Times, The I and BBC Music Magazine, and her libretti include Roxanna Panufnik’s Silver Birch, shortlisted for an International Opera Award in 2018. Her latest book is the novel Immortal, about Beethoven’s ‘immortal beloved’.

Lorena Jiménez Alonso (Spain)

Lorena Jiménez is a musicologist, classical critic and PR manager. Her reviews and interviews have appeared in magazines such as Ritmo, Audioclásica, Pro Ópera and La Scena Musicale. She has a degree in Musicology from the University of Oviedo and a Master’s in Arts Administration from the University of Dresden.

David Kettle (United Kingdom)

David Kettle is a journalist and writer on music based in Edinburgh, Scotland, with a particular interest in contemporary music. He is a music critic for The Scotsman, The Daily Telegraph and The Strad, and writes widely across numerous other publications.

Gianluigi Mattietti (Italy)

Born in Rome, living in Parma, Gianluigi Mattietti completed his musical studies in composition and electronic music at the Conservatory of Rome and has a doctoral degree in musicology at the University. He was professor in composition at the Conservatory of Cagliari, now he is professor in musicology at the University of the same town, writing essays and books mostly about contemporary music. He is a music critic for Italian music magazines, and vice-president of the Italian Music Critics Association.

Mauricio Peña Cediel (Colombia)

Mauricio has worked as executive director of the Bogota Philharmonic Orchestra, as head of music of Bogota’s Culture, Recreation and Sports Bureau, as artistic administrator for the Colombian National Symphony Orchestra, and as head of Banco de la República’s music division. He now directs MPC Music Management, providing artist management, booking, consulting and production services.

René Solis Brun (Mexico)

Born in Mexico, René Solís Brun graduated with an MBA from Harvard in 1958. He worked in the manufacturing and retail sectors before joining the publishing sector. He worked first in magazines, then books and now with digital platforms/newsletters/online radio in Spanish, all free access and dedicated to widening classical music appreciation and horizons. He founded eight and a half years ago. He has been a music aficionado all his life and has attended several Classical:NEXT events.

Brian Wise (United States)

Brian Wise is a journalist, producer and editor based in New York. His writing has appeared in publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC Music Magazine and He is the producer of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s national radio series. He is also the editor of Overtones, the Curtis Institute of Music’s magazine, and is a contributing editor to Strings.

Ken Smith (Hong Kong, PR China)

Ken Smith has covered the arts in Asia for more than two decades for the Financial Times and Opera magazine, among other media. A winner of the ASCAP/Deems Taylor Award for distinguished music writing, he is also the winner of the 2020 SOPA award for excellence in arts and culture reporting.

Industry Expert: Steve Long (United Kingdom)

An industry veteran with over 30 years experience in the classical music recording business, Steve Long works in recording, production and label management.


A Classical:NEXT registration gives you access to all Classical:NEXT events including the expo, conference and showcases. Furthermore the Welcome Reception, Opening Ceremony, Innovation Award incl. Reception.

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