Simon Rattle: UK classical music is fighting for life after ‘swingeing’ funding cuts | Classical music

“Deeply alarming” cuts to classical music by Arts Council England and the BBC are cutting away “at the flesh of our culture”, Sir Simon Rattle, Britain’s best-known living conductor, has said.

In a speech at the Barbican on Sunday, Rattle, the outgoing music director of the London Symphony Orchestra, said the last few months “have been devastating” for the sector.

He added: “After the Arts Council’s swingeing cuts in November, which have affected all of us and left some extraordinary groups fighting for their lives, we were all stopped in our tracks by the proposed vandalism by the BBC, of which the closure of the BBC Singers was only the tip of the iceberg.

“When the two largest supporters of classical music in this country cut away at the flesh of our culture in this way, it means that the direction of travel has become deeply alarming. It’s clear we are facing a long-term fight for existence and we cannot just quietly acquiesce to the dismantling or dismembering of so many important companies.”

Last year, ACE announced it was slashing £50m a year from arts organisations in London in its 2023-26 settlement to fulfil a government instruction to divert money away from the capital as part of the levelling up programme. A number of UK arts organisations were removed entirely from its national portfolio, including the English National Opera, Donmar Warehouse and Oldham Coliseum.

The BBC, meanwhile, recently changed course on its proposed 20% cuts to its English orchestras, as well as its decision to scrap the BBC Singers chamber choir, after widespread pressure from musicians, the public and politicians. Many of the corporation’s divisions have faced cuts recently after the government’s licence fee freeze.

“There is nobody here tonight, even musicians, who do not recognise the enormous challenges faced by the world at present and in this country in particular, where people are struggling even to feed and heat themselves,” Rattle said.

“But none of this is a force majeure. It is rooted in political choices. And we do have to ask ourselves, when we are hopefully on the other side of this, what kind of country we want to live in?”

He said musicians had no choice but to become masters of doing more with less. But with support constantly being cut, there was no more room to manoeuvre and organisations would inevitably fail. As other political decisions affect music in schools and colleges, the “vital organic pipeline” would also start to run dry, he said.

“We understand that this is a time of belt-tightening and that change is inevitable. We could help, if we were ever asked or consulted: classical music is still a very fragile, interconnected ecosystem, and we know about adapting it without damaging any of the vital functions along the way,” Rattle said.

“This is frankly not true of many of the people who are currently making decisions without any coherent plan. Of course, they are also in a difficult situation, as the government has slashed their financial possibilities – political choice. But there’s a kind of dishonesty at the heart of many of the decisions.”

Anyone with knowledge of how an orchestra functions “will know you can’t reduce the membership by 20% by natural wastage or in any other means – it is then no longer an orchestra and also all the years of building up a team expertise have gone out of the window,” he said.

“And by the way, without an orchestra or chorus you no longer have an opera company – these are not things that can just be reassembled later, or bought in from Ikea.”

Rattle is to leave the LSO this year to become chief conductor of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Munich – a decision he previously said was down to “entirely personal” reasons. After this year, Rattle will take up the lifetime role as the LSO’s conductor emeritus, following a trajectory taken by the late André Previn.

The conductor was the public face of ambitious plans to build a £288m concert hall in London, which were later scrapped by the City of London Corporation.

He said: “We are in a fight, and we need to ensure that classical music remains part of the beating heart of our country – of our country and of our culture.”

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Classical Music Playlist, April 24, 2023

Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921)


Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921)

French composer Camille Saint-Saens loved to travel, and because he wrote his Piano Concerto No. 5 while vacationing in Cairo and Luxor, the work is sometimes called the “Egyptian” concerto. After an energetic opening of the second movement, he even included what he said was a romantic “Nubian love song” sung by boatmen as the composer was sailing down the Nile. The Saint-Saens “Egyptian” Concerto is today’s Midday Masterpiece.

6:00 a.m.

Jean-Marie Leclair

String Sonata in Bb major Opus 4/2

Musica Alta Ripa

6:11 a.m.

Jan Kaliwoda

Symphony No. 2 in Eb major Opus 17

Cologne Academy; Michael Alexander Willens, conductor

6:40 a.m.

Philip Glass

The Truman Show: Truman Sleeps

Valentina Lisitsa, piano

6:42 a.m.

Connor Chee

Navajo Vocable No. 4

Angelica Hairston, harp

6:47 a.m.

Antonio Vivaldi

Bassoon Concerto in A minor in A minor RV 497

Arion Mathieu Lussier, baroque bassoon

6:59 a.m.

Felix Mendelssohn

Ruy Blas: Overture Opus 95

London Symphony Orchestra; Claudio Abbado, conductor

7:10 a.m.

Johann Sebastian Bach

Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D major BWV 1050

Tafelmusik; Jeanne Lamon, conductor

7:32 a.m.

Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile

Look Away

Joshua Bell, violin; Chris Thile, mandolin; Edgar Meyer, bass

7:36 a.m.

William Byrd

The Earl of Oxford’s March

Canadian Brass; Robert Moody, conductor

7:40 a.m.

Frederic Chopin

Polonaise No. 4 in C minor Opus 40/2

Folke Nauta, piano

7:50 a.m.

Adolphus Hailstork

Three Spirituals

Virginia Symphony Orchestra; JoAnn Falletta, conductor

8:00 a.m.

Antonin Dvorak

Scherzo capriccioso Opus 66

Los Angeles Philharmonic; Andre Previn, conductor

8:14 a.m.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Symphony No. 35 “Haffner” in D major K 385

English Baroque Soloists; John Eliot Gardiner, conductor

8:38 a.m.

Hans Zimmer

The Frozen Planet

BBC National Orchestra of Wales

8:44 a.m.

Astor Piazzolla


Yo Yo Ma, cello; Nestor Marconi, bandoneon; Antonio Agri, violin; Horatio Malvicino, guitar

8:47 a.m.

Percy Grainger

The Gum Suckers March

Dallas Wind Symphony; Jerry Junkin, conductor

8:52 a.m.

Johannes Brahms

Symphony No. 4: III. Allegro giocoso in E minor Opus 98

Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra; Riccardo Chailly, conductor

9:00 a.m.

Cecile Chaminade

Piano Trio No. 1 in G minor Opus 11

Trio Parnassus

9:22 a.m.

Josef Suk

Spring: V. Longing Opus 22a

La Pieta; Angele Dubeau, conductor Francine Kay, piano

9:27 a.m.

Franz Krommer

Concerto for two clarinets in Eb major Opus 91

Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields; Kenneth Sillito, conductor Sabine Meyer, clarinet; Julian Bliss, clarinet

9:52 a.m.

Catrin Finch; Seckou Keita

From Bach to Baisso

Seckou Keita, kora; Catrin Finch, harp

10:00 a.m.

Antonio Vivaldi

Violin Concerto, Op. 4, No. 1 in Bb major Opus 4 RV 383

Academy of Ancient Music; Christopher Hogwood, conductor Monica Huggett, violin

10:09 a.m.

James Horner

TITANIC: My Heart Will Go On

La Pieta; Angele Dubeau, conductor Angele Dubeau, violin

10:14 a.m.

Ernest Chausson

Symphony in Bb major Opus 20

Philharmonia Orchestra; Francesco d’Avalos, conductor

10:46 a.m.

Sergei Rachmaninoff

Prelude in C-sharp minor in C# minor Opus 3/2

Vladimir Ashkenazy, piano

10:52 a.m.

Adolphus Hailstork

Symphony No. 1: 2nd Movement

Virginia Symphony Orchestra; JoAnn Falletta, conductor

11:00 a.m.

Fanny Mendelssohn

Piano Trio in D minor

Nash Ensemble

11:26 a.m.

Agustin Barrios

Danza Paraguaya No. 1

Xuefei Yang, guitar

11:28 a.m.

Johann Sebastian Bach

Orchestral Suite No. 2: Badinerie BWV 1067

The English Concert; Trevor Pinnock, conductor

11:31 a.m.

Hubert Parry

Symphonic Variations

London Philharmonic Orchestra; Matthias Bamert, conductor

11:46 a.m.

Dmitri Shostakovich

Prelude and Fugue No. 5 in D minormajor

Wei Luo, piano

11:52 a.m.

Emmanuel Chabrier

Espana (Spanish Rhapsodie)

Boston Symphony Orchestra; Seiji Ozawa, conductor

11:59 a.m.

Antonin Dvorak

Symphony No. 8: IV. Finale in G major Opus 88

Los Angeles Philharmonic; Rafael Kubelik, conductor Avi Avital, mandolin; Anneleen Lenaerts, harp

12:09 p.m.

William Grant Still

Lyric Quartet: III. The Jovial One

Catalyst Quartet

12:14 p.m.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Piano Concerto No. 15 in Bb major K 450

English Chamber Orchestra; Jeffrey Tate, conductor Mitsuko Uchida, piano

12:38 p.m.

Enrique Granados

La Maja de Goya

Eduardo Fernandez, guitar

12:42 p.m.

Amy Beach


Reykjavik Wind Quintet

12:47 p.m.

Carl Maria Von Weber

Oberon Overture J 306

Hanover Band; Roy Goodman, conductor

12:57 p.m.

Johannes Brahms

Piano Quintet: I. Allegro non troppo in F minor Opus 34

Artemis Quartet Leif Ove Andsnes, piano

1:13 p.m.

Tessa Lark

Applachian Fantasy

Tessa Lark, violin

1:19 p.m.

Giovanni Paisiello

Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major

Saint Cecilia Chamber Orchestra; Pietro Spada, conductor Pietro Spada, piano

1:43 p.m.

Malcolm Forsyth

Golyardes’ Grounde

Canadian Brass

1:48 p.m.

Franz Liszt

Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 in D minor

Chicago Symphony Orchestra; Georg Solti, conductor

2:00 p.m.

Camille Saint-Saens

Piano Concerto No. 5 in F major Opus 103

Orchestre de Paris; Serge Baudo, conductor Aldo Ciccolini, piano

2:29 p.m.

Alessandro Scarlatti

Sonata (Concerto IX) in A minor

Europa Galante; Fabio Biondi, conductor

2:40 p.m.

George Walker

String Quartet No. 1 “Lyric”: II. Molto adagio

Catalyst Quartet

2:47 p.m.

Ludwig Van Beethoven

Symphony No. 9: II. Molto Vivace (Scherzo and Trio) in D minor Opus 125

Cleveland Orchestra; Christoph Von Dohnanyi, conductor

3:00 p.m.

George Friederich Handel

Concerto Grosso No. 5 in D major Opus 6/5 HWV 323

Handel & Haydn Society; Christopher Hogwood, conductor

3:16 p.m.

Joe Hisaishi

Howl’s Moving Castle: Merry-Go-Round of Life

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Joe Hisaishi, conductor Yuja Wang, piano

3:21 p.m.

Gabriela Lena Frank

Leyendas: VI. Coqueteos

Del Sol String Quartet

3:25 p.m.

Bernhard Crusell

Clarinet Concerto No. 1 in Eb major Opus 1

Cologne Academy; Michael Alexander Willens, conductor Eric Hoeprich, clarinet

3:49 p.m.

Antonin Dvorak

Symphony No. 8: IV. Finale in G major Opus 88

Los Angeles Philharmonic; Rafael Kubelik, conductor Avi Avital, mandolin; Anneleen Lenaerts, harp

3:59 p.m.

Louise Farrenc

Nonette in E-flat: I. Adagio – Allegro in Eb major Opus 38

Minerva Chamber Ensemble; Kevin Geraldi, conductor

4:12 p.m.

Leo Brouwer

Zapateada (aire popular cubano)

Pepe Romero, guitar

4:16 p.m.

Alan Hovhaness

Symphony No. 2 “Mysterious Mountain” Opus 132

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic; Gerard Schwarz, conductor

4:36 p.m.

Ludwig Van Beethoven

Piano Concerto No. 5 “Emperor”: III. Rondo in Eb major Opus 73

Bavarian Radio Symphony; Kurt Sanderling, conductor Mitsuko Uchida, piano

4:48 p.m.

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Serenade for Strings: I. Andante non troppo in C major Opus 48

St. Petersburg Philharmonic; Vladimir Ashkenazy, conductor

4:58 p.m.

William Dawson

Negro Folk Symphony

Detroit Symphony Orchestra; Neeme Jarvi, conductor

5:28 p.m.

Felix Mendelssohn

Symphony No. 4 “Italian”: IV. Saltarello (Presto) in A major Opus 90

Israel Philharmonic Orchestra; Leonard Bernstein, conductor

5:35 p.m.

Sergei Rachmaninoff

Vocalise Opus 34/14

Orchestra of St. Luke’s; Michael Stern, conductor Joshua Bell, violin

5:42 p.m.

Antonio Vivaldi

String Symphony No. 1 (Concerto) in A major RV 159

The English Concert; Trevor Pinnock, conductor

5:49 p.m.

Joe Hisaishi

Princess Mononoke Suite (from Princess Mononoke)

New Japan World Dream Orchestra; Joe Hisaishi, conductor Joe Hisaishi, piano

5:59 p.m.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Piano Concerto No. 9 “Jenamy” in Eb major K 271

English Chamber Orchestra; Murray Perahia, conductor Murray Perahia, piano

6:31 p.m.

Leo Delibes

Lakme: Flower Duet (Viens, Malika..Sous le Dome epais)

Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra; Johannes Wildner, conductor Denise Slepkovska, mezzo-soprano; Adriana Kohutkova, soprano

6:38 p.m.

Philip Glass

Metamorphosis II

Anne Akiko Meyers, violin; Akira Eguchi, piano

6:46 p.m.

Leonard Bernstein

West Side Story Suite for Piano Trio

Eroica Trio

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How to make your home safer and more comfortable for a senior dog

Easy improvements, recommended by veterinarians and other experts, to prevent injuries and help your aging pup get around easier

Hammy, the author’s 13-year-old beagle, at his home in Washington, DC. (Shuran Huang for The Washington Post)

A couple years ago, Hammy started needing help getting into our SUV. Then last year, with little fanfare, he stopped sleeping in bed with me. Most recently, he’s gotten fussy about his food — blasphemy for a beagle. These changes happened slowly, so when I stepped back recently to think about Hammy’s life stage, at age 13, I was surprised to realize my little hound has not only earned senior status but may be “geriatric,” which veterinarian Mary Gardner describes as a more fragile phase for our animal companions.

Gardner, co-founder of Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice, a nationwide network of veterinarians who provide in-home geriatric services, estimates from data on U.S. dog populations that 44 percent of our pups are senior or geriatric. She says many vet schools don’t address the special needs of these wobbly, skinny, sleepy, gray-muzzled, sweet canines — which include modifications at home. Gardner regularly visits residences where a dog has been struggling to get around and get comfortable — problems often easy to fix.

None of us likes admitting age-related limitations. But whether you and your pooch of a certain age live in an apartment building with slick floors or a townhouse with a treacherous staircase, there are many ways to make our older dogs’ lives — and ours — better and safer.

“Mobility is the number one issue we deal with,” Gardner says. “I see these hardwood floors, and dogs can’t get up and around, can’t get to their sunny spot.” Arthritis, obesity, disc issues, chronic inflammation and loss of muscle mass can all be culprits. Adding traction will give your pup confidence, cut down on splayed legs and prevent wipe-outs when he gets the zoomies, geezer-style. The solution can be as simple as adding rugs to highly trafficked areas; just make sure they have a non-slip mat underneath. Ruggable, for instance, makes thin rugs that attach to a grippy pad and can be easily thrown in the wash. One friend spread non-slip, waterproof dog pads around her house to assist her aging poodle-mix Owen.

Meg Hamilton, a veterinary acupuncturist who has helped many older dogs, including Hammy, suggests lining the major arteries of your home with quarter-inch thick yoga mats (find them for $5 on Five Below). If you have a slippery porch, deck or exterior stairs, a coat of anti-skid paint works wonders.

If you live with an older human — perhaps one who uses a walker — rugs and mats will increase their fall risk. So you may opt for inexpensive anti-slip paw coverings such as Expawlorer socks or disposable balloon-like boots from Pawz. Julie Buzby, an integrative veterinarian in South Carolina, created ToeGrips, a system of small bands that wrap around each toenail, allowing for better traction. Trimming nails and the long fur between your dog’s toes will also help.

Carpet runners or non-slip treads can be key for wobbly dogs negotiating stairs. (At our house, we made treads from artificial turf.) Pay particular attention to the bottom of the stairs, where dogs need a non-slip landing. When stairs become too difficult for your pup to navigate solo, block him with a large cardboard box or baby gate. Gardner also suggests installing a couple tension rods between the walls of your staircase to obstruct the top and bottom. “These old guys aren’t jumping over things,” she says, “so you can get away with something a little less secure.”

If your senior dog insists on trying to zip up and down steps, it is possible to train him to put on the brakes. Jackie Moyano, a training and behavior consultant in Maryland, created a video to demonstrate how to use treats to make dogs more mindful on staircases.

When the halcyon days of leaping are only a doggy memory, set up a mini staircase or ramp to reach beds, sofas and vehicles, such as Pet Gear products, available from Chewy. Whatever assist you use, make sure it has a grippy surface, and avoid jumping-down injuries by training dogs to descend the stairs or ramp, too. Save money by looking for used products on sites such as eBay and Craigslist, or for products made for humans, such as this anti-slip toddler step stool.

Nearly all senior dogs have osteoarthritis, says bioethicist and author Jessica Pierce, and most go untreated. A dog who was glad to flop onto a tile floor back in the day will likely want more cushion in their golden years. Orthopedic beds, which provide therapeutic benefits for dogs with joint pain and muscle stiffness, are terrific but often pricey; a hand-me-down baby mattress can be a more affordable option. Kuranda makes a cot-style orthopedic bed that evenly distributes weight and is ideal for dogs who have trouble getting up and down.

Similarly, raised water and food bowls — especially those angled toward the dog — are helpful for pets with neck and back pain. Make sure your dog has easy access to water, too, adding bowls in a few favorite rooms.

Keeping older dogs comfortable also means paying attention to what they do and don’t enjoy, which may have changed. Pierce talks about asking consent of our pets, even if you’ve been together 15 years. If your dog ducks when you reach to pet her head, for example, maybe it’s time to scratch elsewhere.

Pierce also suggests a “pain audit” of the sounds in your house. “Pain seems to increase noise sensitivity in many dogs,” she explained in an email, “so make sure that potentially aversive noises (beeping microwaves, loud music, screaming kids) are minimized or your dog has minimal exposure to them.” Create a place where your pup can retreat — Pierce calls it the “Alone Zone.” And if the doorbell bothers your dog, post a note asking visitors not to ring it.

Like humans with dementia, older dogs can experience cognitive dysfunction, sometimes appearing lost or pacing in the middle of the night. Nightlights can help reduce anxiety and disorientation. The Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine suggests blocking unsafe areas of the house, such as stairways and spots your dog may get stuck, like behind the couch.

Exercise your pup’s mind

Cognitive enrichment is critical for senior dogs — as it is for humans. “If you go to a nursing home, you’ve got to play canasta,” Gardner says. “Same thing with our older dogs, except most of their games are food-motivated.”

There is an amazing array of puzzles that require dogs to roll, shake, lick or snuffle a product to access food or treats. Low-cost fun is limited only by your imagination: I often play hide-and-seek with Hammy, calling his name and rewarding him with a treat when he finds me. I also set up scavenger hunts around the house and backyard, hiding treats at various levels.

Even if your floors are lined with yoga mats, your dog may still need extra support — and constantly lifting him can take a toll on your own body. Support and mobility harnesses with a handle can be a game changer, letting you help your dog be more active while preventing yourself from injury, says Buzby. She suggests the Help ‘Em Up Harness (a lifting aid designed for all-day wear that several other experts also recommended) and the GingerLead Dog Sling (a hind-end support for walks). One of Hammy’s friends, a petite woman who recently said goodbye to her 14-year-old pup Piedra, said this dog sling was a huge help getting her pal up and down steps.

In addition to physical assistance, older dogs need more of our love, patience and, often, money. Gardner surveyed people caring for senior animals and found they spent more than three hours a day in a caregiver role — administering medications, taking poky walks, cleaning accidents. She advises knowing your emotional, financial, physical and time limitations. The better you can avoid burnout, the more you’ll enjoy these months and years with your sweet, white-faced friend.

Melanie D.G. Kaplan is a writer in D.C. Her website is

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Cultivating the soundtrack of your life | Column | Columns | Opinion | Daily Collegian

There are few songs that have never become stale and followed me throughout my years — attached to very specific memories.

Music’s the soundtrack to my life. Songs can take me back to feelings, moments and the many eras of my life.

I’m eternally grateful to the person who invented the Sony Walkman cassette player. I don’t know what I’d do without a portable music player to carry around.

I’m the type of person to repeat songs. I repeat them until I get bored, and then a year later, I rediscover the song, realizing how much I loved it.

However, few songs have never become stale — even after each repetition. Each time I rediscover, repeat or push play on Spotify, it immediately takes me back to a memory.

Those soundtrack songs to my life are (this is a no-judgment zone): “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire, “Test Drive” by John Powell from “How to Train Your Dragon” (this is a no-judgment zone), “Fear” by Ben Rector, “Landslide” by The Chicks, “Crash Into Me” by Dave Matthews Band, “Life is a Highway” by Rascal Flatts, “Best I Ever Had” by Gavin DeGraw, “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay and “Pepas” by Farruko.

There are many more, but those are just some of the songs that bring me back to some of my happiest memories.

Like a scrapbook in my mind, my Spotify playlist called “specific memories,” takes me back each time. With each press of skip, I flip the page in my mind’s eye to eras in the memories of my life, friends and family.

Ben Rector’s earlier albums took me through my high school years, particularly with the song “Fear.” With lyrics that I could relate to, Rector never failed to make me feel better — crying happy and sad tears in my car with the volume up to 40. Even now, he’s still my No.1 played artist on Spotify Wrapped. If I ever see him in concert, I’ll consider my life complete.

For bonus points, graduating seniors should listen to his song: “We Will Never Be This Young Again.” Jeez, oh man I just cried to that song two days ago.

“Life is a Highway” reminds me of my high school cross country friends during a time when we were carefree teenagers and a momentary slip-up became a joke that still sticks with us today. When our biggest concerns were how we were going to apologize to Rusty after goofing off at practice and how many hills we had to run that day.

“Best I Ever Had” reminds me of my sophomore year of college, when my friend Grace and I drove to Ocean City, New Jersey, for the sunrise. We were having a rough time in college, and both of us FaceTimed each other every day from our respective colleges.

This song played while we watched the sunrise and sunset. This became a moment of peace as we drove home, promising to make the trip again.

“Pepas” by Farruko takes me back to Lisbon, Portugal, so vividly. This song played in a club I was visiting with my friends. I can clearly picture the blue lights, dark spaces and the sequence of events that led us to meet new friends.

“Viva La Vida” by Coldplay is the most recent memory filed away in my soundtrack scrapbook. It’s attached to good friends and a night out at the Phyrst. I’ll forever remember it as the last time we were all students of Penn State at the same time before starting the newest chapter of our lives.

These memories are happy memories just as much as they’re bittersweet. Happy because those songs represent times with people that mean so much to me, but bittersweet because I know everything’s temporary.

Time moves on; the song must end, and the seconds count down toward the finishing note of the melody. But the song, the music and the memory stay cemented in our mind’s soundtrack scrapbook.

I look forward to adding more songs and more memories in the future to the soundtrack I already hold so dear.


Hi, I’m Magdalena | Senior Column

In about two weeks — for the first time in my life — after 16 years of my current 22, I’m no…

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Young Artists Shine At Classical Music Show | Lucknow News

Lucknow: The Pradeshik Sangeet Pratiyogita (PSP) began at UP Sangeet Natak Akademi (UPSNA) on Monday.
The winners of the annual music competitions organised in all the 19 divisions of the state from January 2-6 are participating in the PSP. The competitions were held in various disciplines including classical singing, playing classical musical instruments and kathak performance in three age groups- 8-15 years, 16-20 years and 21-25 years. The PSP will decide the overall winners.
On Monday, classical singing competitions were organised for 8-15 years and 16-20 years. In ‘khayal tarana’ vocal form, Priyanshi Pandey (Kanpur) and Adhya Mukherjee (Varanasi) won in their respect age groups.
In thumri-dadra form, Kulaya Bharadwaj (Kanpur) and Vageesha Pandey (Vidhyanchal) were declared winners in their age groups respectively.
Kinjal Sharma (Varanasi) and Archita Maurya (Ayodhya) won in dhrupad dhamar in their categories respectively.
The participants were judged by Swagita Mukherjee (Lucknow), Ragini Sarna (Varanasi) and Pandit Vinod Dwivedi (Kanpur).
The finals will continue till April 28.
The competitions for 21-25 years age group for Dhrupad Dhamar, Khayal Tarana and Thumri Dadra will be organized on Tuesday.

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First Look: BET+ Sets Premiere Date For ‘AVERAGE JOE,’ Starring Comedian Deon Cole

First Look: BET+ Sets Premiere Date For ‘AVERAGE JOE,’ Starring Comedian Deon Cole
Courtesy of BET+

BET+ announced today that a premiere date for the highly-anticipated, dark comedy series AVERAGE JOE starring comedian and NAACP award-winning actor Deon Cole, has been set.

Article continues after video.

Inspired by the life of creator Robb Cullen, AVERAGE JOE  is a darkly comedic, intense one-hour ensemble, taking place in the historic city of Pittsburgh. The series will follow the life of blue-collar plumber, Joe Washington, who discovers his recently deceased father lived a secret, second life and stole millions of dollars from dangerous people just before he passed away. With certain people believing that Washington has information about its whereabouts, a chain of events gets set in place that forces Joe, along with his family and friends, out of their very average lives and into a life-or-death race against time to uncover the truth about the small fortune’s location.

First Look: BET+ Sets Premiere Date For ‘AVERAGE JOE,’ Starring Comedian Deon Cole
Photo Credit: Andrew Thomas Clifton/BET+

Starring Cole as the titular character, the upcoming show also features Tammy Townsend, Malcolm Barrett, Cynthia Kaye McWilliams, Michael Trucco, Ashley Olivia Fisher, and Pasha Lychnikoff. AVERAGE JOE is executive produced by Cullen alongside McG, Mary Viola, and Corey Marsh, with Wonderland Sound and Vision serving as producers.

The 10 episode series will premiere Monday, June 26 exclusively on BET+, with new episodes airing weekly.

Take a peek a some first look photos below.

First Look: BET+ Sets Premiere Date For ‘AVERAGE JOE,’ Starring Comedian Deon Cole
Photo Courtesy of BET+
First Look: BET+ Sets Premiere Date For ‘AVERAGE JOE,’ Starring Comedian Deon Cole
Photo Credit: Andrew Thomas Clifton/BET+
First Look: BET+ Sets Premiere Date For ‘AVERAGE JOE,’ Starring Comedian Deon Cole
Photo Credit: Andrew Thomas Clifton/BET+
First Look: BET+ Sets Premiere Date For ‘AVERAGE JOE,’ Starring Comedian Deon Cole
Photo Credit: Andrew Thomas Clifton/BET+

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Lagos Stands Still As Davido Led Other Top Artistes To Thrill Fans And Music Lovers At The Much Talked About And Anticipated Timeless Concert Sponsored By Firstbank

FirstBank’s sponsorship of Timeless is the third time it is supporting Davido since it first supported Davido’s 30 Billion concert in 2017.

The support of the timeless concert is part of the Bank’s [email protected] initiative. [email protected] by FirstBank showcases and facilitate the successes of the art and entertainment industry to the world.

The much-anticipated timeless concert by David “Davido” Adeleke, unarguably one of Nigeria’s biggest music exports of all time, was an electrifying music showpiece that further reiterated the lofty height and growth that has defined the Nigerian Music industry in recent years as Nigeria’s premier banking giant, FirstBank once again, threw its weight behind Davido.

The Timeless Concert in Lagos was the climax to the treble of concerts to complement the 31 March 2023 launch of his fourth studio album, ‘Timeless’. Before the Lagos concert, Davido performed at the Irvine Plaza in New York on 2 April 2023 and in London on 5 April 2023.

The 17-track project album has topped several charts, breaking and setting several records. Big amongst these was the recognition of the Timeless album as the first African album to hit Number 1, topping the US iTunes Albums Chart which is credited to be the world’s biggest music market.

Davido the Timeless Concert in Lagos was indeed more than music, as it unified individuals from all works of lives, irrespective of tradition, culture, economic strata and nationalities. Fans and music lovers trooped to the venue, the historical Tafawa Balewa Square, from far and wide to show their love and support for Davido, have fun, relax, connect and reunite.

A show without a well-constructed stage is a no show as staging promotes the interaction and connection between the artistes and fans.

The Timeless stage, the biggest in West Africa and second biggest in Africa, was groundbreaking in both design and aesthetics.

The beauty of the stage was reminiscent of the words of Canadian international bestseller, Yann Marte: “Nature can put on a thrilling show. The stage is vast, the lighting is dramatic, the extras are innumerable, and the budget for special effects is unlimited”.

These words simply depicted the nature, class and details applied to the construction of the Timeless stage as its exquisiteness was conspicuous during the day well ahead of the fall into the night when the concert took centre stage at Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre.

The hosts of the night, celebrity skit makers and comedians, KieKie and Mr Macaroni added spice to the event, as they thrilled fans to a more than music experience, whetting their appetite for the grand performance of the evening; who else but Davido.

Timeless Concert was lit with a sensational performance by several leading artistes including, Asake, Mayorkun, Skiibii, Iyanya, B-Red, Pheelz, Fave, Spyro, Iyanya, Khaid.

Other artistes that added spark to the night include Peruzzi, The Cavemen, Majeeed, Odumodublvck, Starboy Terri and May D, amongst many others.

Expectedly, Davido’s entrance received a never-ending ovation as fans could not hold back their excitement of seeing him perform yet again. The Nigerian music legend and globally acclaimed music sensation’s well over two-hour electrifying performance on stage had his fans spellbound on several classical hits from previous albums and those from his most recent album, Timeless.

The hits performed from his previous and most recent albums included, Skelewu, Dami Duro, Gobe, Aye, Unavailable, Over Dem All and Feel.

Davido also performed Electricity, a duet with Pheelz, a smash hit in 2022.

A déjà vu of some sort to Davido fans, as FirstBank was the headline sponsor of Davido 30 billion concert in 2017.

Also, as part of its yearly DecemberIssaVybe fiesta and supported events in 2021, the Bank sponsored ‘A Decade of Davido’ Concert, organised to celebrate 10 years of achievement of the Nigerian American pop singer and global music sensation. Fast forward to the Timeless concert in 2023, the Bank’s yearly DecemberIssavybe fiesta, no doubt came pretty early much as it is a long road to December from this month, April.

The bank’s dedication to going beyond functional products and benefits for its stakeholders and providing these types of enabling experiences sets it apart in the industry and solidifies its position as a leader in not just directly supporting the arts and entertainment industry but economically impacting its value chain.

Anyone not following the Bank is surely on a long thing but hey, it is never too late as there are still many exciting moments the Bank creates on its social media ecosystem via @firstbanknigeria (Instagram); @FirstBankngr (Twitter) and First Bank of Nigeria Limited (Facebook).

FirstBank’s support of Davido’s Timeless Concert is undoubtedly a curtain raiser as the bar has been raised for another back-to-back hit for the financial giant to create more memorable experience for its customers and social media followers in 2023 as the year fast edges into DecemberIssavybe due to hold in some 9 months’ time.

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Wonkybot Sends ‘Dr Epic’ Back To The ’80s In Musically-Inspired Season 2 Finale; Drops Soundtrack EP

Wonkybot Studios has just dropped the highly anticipated season two finale of supervillain comedy series The Dr. Epicopolis & 1102 Show of Shows, alongside a soundtrack EP which includes the original song “Supervillain” featured in the finale.

The episode can be heard below!

Created by television scribe and Wonkybot founder Stewart St John, ‘Dr. Epicopolis & 1102’ is a full-cast, supervillain comedy series centering around Dr. Ezekiel Epicopolis (St John), a flamboyant, mad-scientist whose desire to become the world’s most feared supervillain never materializes due to his oversized ego and dysfunctional crew of workplace misfits. Epic is assisted by his six-foot-five inhuman minion 1102 (Michael Plahuta), diabolical robot EB3 (Todd Fisher), and Sveltlanna, aka ‘Ms. Cosmetix’, a sexy supervillainess scheming to become Epic’s wife.

In the season two finale entitled “1984 Or Bust”, Dr. Epicopolis, 1102 and Svetlanna must travel to the past to stop Epic’s renegade robot EB3 from ushering in the singularity, but the only way they can time jump is through the soundwaves of an 80s-inspired song Epic has to sing, compliments of a seven-year-old Indian princess supervillain (guest star Taksvhi Kaushik) who controls time.

It’s the culmination of a season-long story pitting Dr Epic and EB3 in a brutal battle for the presidency of the Supervillain Cartel.

“Stewart came up with a wild storyline this season that had us all laughing,” said Todd Fisher, Wonkybot co-founder and co-executive producer of the series. “I also think we really pushed the production boundaries for what an audio series can be as we tried some really cool new things – like the infusion of an interactive component that allowed fans to vote on storylines.”

“Music also played a big role this season,” added Plahuta who, in addition to scoring the show, also co-composed and produced original songs for the hit audio series with musical partner St John. “Stewart and I wanted to turn some key moments into funny musical opportunities within the show, so we ended up writing a hilarious ballad for 1102 where he’s singing about his lady love Milliana, a pop song for EB3 where he’s warbling about his hatred of mankind and push for the singularity, and of course the 80s-style song ‘Supervillain’ , a tune that Dr Epic needs to sing in order to travel back to ’84.”

The final EP track listing is: Series Main Theme, ‘Supervillain’, ‘Robotic’ (Feat. Todd Fisher as EB3), and ‘Milliana [Baby It’s The Truth]’.


Wonkybot Entertainment is a content production company creating high-quality franchise IP geared to exist across all media platforms. The company produces all of its audio-first content in-house through production arm Wonkybot Studios and sound house Wonkybot Cinematic Audio, and distributes through its Wonkybot Podcast platform. Wonkybot is repped by CAA, who also rep the co-founders individually.

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