September is Classical Music Month in the US – to celebrate we would like to introduce you to rising artists of the genre. Classically trained and skilled at their craft, these musicians showcase their style through modern and traditional repertoire and technique.
In our series ‘5 Artists You Should Know’, we introduce you to talent from regions all over the world who are dominating their territory and genre. We’re excited to tell you more about these five rising artists in the Classical Music space and encourage you to take a listen: Danbi Um, Elgan Llŷr Thomas, Clarissa Bevilacqua, Ashley Jackson, and Santtu-Matias Rouvali.
Avie Records Violinist Danbi Um was born in Seoul and raised in NYC. In 2023, she shared in an interview that 1930s and 1940s early Hollywood music inspired her and revived her passion for music. She’s a fan of artists such as Chet Baker and Frank Sinatra, and she draws in her audiences through her unique sound. Um has earned various awards including a Silver medal for Menuhin International Violin Competition and is the winner of the prestigious 2018 Salon de Virtuosi Career Grant.
Earlier this month, Um released her debut album, Much Ado: Romantic Violin Masterworks! This season she debuts with the Cleveland Chamber Music Society, Chamber Music San Francisco, and returns to the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center for both national and international tours. BBC Music Magazine states that Um is “Technically assured, passionate, involved playing … there’s always a good feeling for the shape and direction of the melodic lines.”
Elgan Llŷr Thomas
Delphian Records artist Elgan Llŷr Thomas comes from Llandudno, North Wales. Thomas is a former English National Opera Harewood Artist, Scottish Opera Emerging Artist, Equilibrium Young Artist, and has also made his international opera debut.
Thomas’ recent performances include Breaking the Waves as Dr. Richardson in his house debut at the Opéra Comique, Paris, and his role debut as The Duke of Mantua Rigoletto for Opera Holland Park. His upcoming appearances include joining Barbara Hannigan on a European tour of The Rake’s Progress as Tom Rakewell with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra.
In June, he released a collaborative album titled Unveiled: Britten | Tippet | Gipps | Brown | Thomas alongside Craig Ogden and Iain Burnside. Thomas has also been featured on publications such as, BBC News, The Big Issue, Front Row, Pink Times, Opera Now, and more!
Based in Chicago, Nimbus Records Violinist Clarissa Bevilacqua captivates audiences with her musicality and skill. Bevilacqua has won the prestigious Classeek Ambassador Programme competition, and is part of their artist roster for the season 2023-2024. She is an Affiliate Artist of the Guarneri Hall Program in Chicago and is the Artistic Director of the DYNAMIKfest, a classical contemporary chamber music festival in the heart of Salzurg, Austria.
At the start of the year, Bevilacqua released her debut album Augusta Read Thomas: Dream Catcher, featuring Augusta Read Thomas complete works for solo violin, and Violin Concerto #3: “Juggler in Paradise” with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales directed by conductor Vimbayi Kaziboni. Dream Catcher gained international recognition after being recommended by Gramophone Magazine and The Strad, which hailed her playing as “luminously elevated” and “elegant and nimble”.
MRI Entertainment Soloist, Chamber Musician, Curator, and Harpist, Ashley Jackson is a multi talented artist who is making her mark with her voice. Jackson has performed with the New York Philharmonic, The Knights, and is a regular member of the Harlem Chamber Players. Jackson has curated dominant recording projects featuring Black American composers, including her debut album Ennanga, as well as collaborations with Helga Davis, Rootstock Republic, and WQXR.
Signum Records Conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali is a force in the classical music scene. Rouvali was elected as Principal Conductor of the Philharmonia in 2021 and is the 6th person to hold that title since the Orchestra was founded in 1945. He’s released several projects throughout the years including Santtu Conducts Mahler and Santtu Conducts Strauss released this year. The Times states, “Rouvali, who is often drawn to Strauss’s orchestral epics in concert, doubled down in this blast of a performance. What a sound he drew from the Philharmonia — the strings were a blaze of scorching sunlight, the woodwind and brass bold and gleaming.”
This season Rouvali conducts ten London concerts, and takes the Orchestra to other residency venues in Bedford, Leicester, Basingstoke and Canterbury, and on tour to Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Spain. When he’s not conducting, Santtu loves to spend time meditating, foraging and hunting in the forests around his home near Tampere.