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The view from the performers

'Now we have to really fight for what we love and believe in. We have to be the ambassadors for music.'

- Rakhi Singh

A panel of artists discuss the highs and lows of making and performing music during lockdown. You'll hear how music has lifted the nation’s spirits and how musicians have responded creatively to the challenges of COVID-19, coming up with innovative solutions and connecting with new audiences.

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Nicky Spence (Chair)
Opera singer

Nicky is an opera singer who made his Metropolitan Opera debut before the age of 30, and is now inhabiting the repertoire of Strauss, Janáček and Wagner. Nicky appears in concert regularly at leading opera houses both at home and abroad, gives recitals prolifically, has recorded over 20 recital discs, and won several industry awards. He is also a keen charity worker, working with Blackheath Halls, Scottish Opera Young Company, Songpath and the ISM.

Jas Kayser
Drummer, composer and band leader

Jas is a 24-year-old British drummer, composer and band leader. She has featured in bands with leading British lights Nubya Garcia, Ashley Henry and Jorja Smith as well as American drummer Ralph Peterson’s Big Band and had a starring role on drums alongside Lenny Kravitz in the official video for his song ‘Low’. Her Debut EP Unforced Rhythm of Grace has been supported by Jamie Cullum, BBC 3, Jazz FM and Jazzwise.

Lisa Jên Brown
Actor, singer, writer and songwriter

Lisa is an actor, singer, writer and songwriter from North Wales. She is the main songwriter and composer for her band 9Bach, signed to Peter Gabriel ’s Real World Records. Their second album Tincian won Best Album at The BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2015. Lisa has been a long-time vocal collaborator with Gruff Rhys and duets on Public Service Broadcasting's Every valley album.

Rakhi Singh
Violinist, curator and producer

Rakhi Singh is a violinist, curator and producer. She is Music Director and co-founder of Manchester Collective with which she curates and directs over 70 concerts annually, nationally and internationally. Described in the Guardian’s Classical picks as ‘the golden tone of violinist Rakhi Singh’ and ‘**** Expert soloist/director Rakhi Singh’. She regularly plays and curates on BBC Radio 3 and recently started up a record label, Paplu, with electronic musician/producer Vessel.

Christopher Stark

Christopher is a London-based conductor and co-founder of the award-winning Multi-Story Orchestra. He has conducted all the Orchestra’s car park performances since their inception, including celebrated performances at the BBC Proms. He also works in opera, for organisations including Glyndebourne, Oper Köln, Garsington, ETO and OAE. Committed to community music, he is Principal Conductor of Ernest Read and Blackheath Halls Symphony Orchestras. He has recorded for NMC and broadcast with both Multi-Story and Aurora.

Gabriella Swallow

Gabriella has emerged as one of the most versatile and exciting cellists of her generation. She was awarded the coveted Tagore Gold Medal at the RCM, made her Wigmore Hall debut with soprano Ruby Hughes in 2013, and in 2016 made her BBC Proms debut with Guy Johnston and his 12 Cello Ensemble. She is passionate about new music and has given many world premieres including a double concerto with Guy Johnston by Colin Riley.