September was Classical Music Month in the United States. In celebration of the masterful musical genre, we’d like to introduce you to a few new faces of classical music. These classically trained artists take a fresh and modern approach to traditional repertoire and technique.
London-based violinist, composer, and performer Anna Phoebe crosses genres and disciplines through collaborative projects. As a violinist, Anna has toured internationally both as a soloist and with world-renowned groups. Phoebe was a featured soloist with the highly regarded orchestra, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and supported Rock bands such as Roxy Music and Jethro Tull. Her personal group even supported folk legend, Bob Dylan. Anna Phoebe’s recent solo album Sea Souls is a psychological exploration of the sea, inspired by the Kent Coastline where she lives. The album features twelve pieces that evoke the soundscapes and emotions of the sea, ominous beauty and mystery.
Classically trained pianist Belle Chen blends classical, avant-garde, electronica, and sound art. In 2014, the Australian-Taiwanese pianist gained recognition in the UK with her EP Listen, London, which contrasted classical repertoire with street sounds around London. Her following albums received praise from musical professionals like Brian Eno (“original and provocative”), James Rhodes (“hugely impressive”), Max Reinhardt (“a revelation”), and BBC Radio 3 (Top 4 Best New Music of 2016 BBC Introducing).
Pianist and music director Richard Bundy was born in Guyana, raised in Northern Saskatchewan, Canada, and is currently residing in the UK. Bundy has been a frequent collaborator with Anna Phoebe, most recently performing piano on Phoebe’s new album Sea Souls. While Richard mostly now composes and performs neo-classical piano music, he’s had quite a career as a film composer. He won the Mark Brydon (Moloko) prize for best song with “The Light” and worked with vocalist Jhelisa Anderson on the movie soundtrack The Protagonist starring Tilda Swinton screened at The Cannes Film Festival.
Neil Cowley is an English pianist and composer who incorporates electronic, ambient, and neo-classical production into his works. Early in his musical career, Cowley studied classical music and later became a member of various groups including Fragile State, the Green Nuns of the Revolution, and the Neil Cowley Trio. His trio took home the 2007 BBC Jazz Award for their album Displaced. After years playing in small ensembles and working as a session musician (Cowley was the pianist for Adele’s song “Hometown Glory”), Neil has most recently been exploring electronics through solo and collaborative work. In 2021, Neil released his debut solo album Hall of Mirrors; a highly personal account of his relationship with his old friend, the piano.
Belgian composer and new classical pianist Jef Martens has amassed over 200 million streams since he started releasing neo-classical music nearly two years ago. Martens studied piano, composition, and law in Antwerp, and after school went into the music industry, not through classical piano, but the DJ scene under the name Basto!. After a number of successful years as a chart-topping songwriter, producer, mixer, and touring DJ, Jef has returned to his roots by writing classical compositions for piano, strings, choir, and electronic instruments.