Gala concert at St James's Palace

Our supporters were delighted by a special evening of performances from a host of the talented young musicians supported by Future Talent.
June 15, 2023

On Thursday 8 June 2023, we welcomed supporters, partners and friends to St James’s Palace for a special gala concert and reception featuring outstanding performances by some of our young musicians.

On arrival, guests were met with some distinguished playing of traditional Indian classical music by Anjali (sitar) and Amrita (dilruba), who joined Future Talent's Junior Programme through our partnership with SAA-uk, a leading organisation in the teaching and performance of South Asian arts.

Guests then made their way to the Picture Gallery for the concert. Future Talent Chairman and co-founder Nick Robinson welcomed the guests and TRH The Duke and Duchess of Kent, before inviting Anjali and Amrita to the stage to take their applause.

The host for the evening, Future Talent Ambassador Alexander Armstrong, then took centre stage to introduce pianist Xiao Xiao.

Xiao Xiao took the audience on a journey with her performance of Mozart’s Piano Sonata in D major (1st movt.), showcasing her expressive and impressively accurate playing.

Xiao Xiao was followed by flautist David, the inaugural recipient of Future Talent’s Harvey Parker Award for Woodwind. David gave an emotive rendition of Otar Taktakashvili’s Sonata for Flute and Piano (2nd movt.), which garnered a rapturous reception from its listeners.

Before their performances, host Alexander Armstrong had a quick chat with each performer, quizzing them on their musical activities and their experience of Future Talent’s support.

Next up was violinist Poppy, who has been supported by Future Talent for 9 years, during which time she has achieved advanced diploma distinctions and was awarded a Diana Award and a Rotary Young Citizen’s Award in recognition of her work for several charities.

Poppy wowed the audience with her performance of Saint-Saëns’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A minor, making easy work of the piece’s many intricacies.

Trumpeter Cole was next to take to the stage, who delivered Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto in Eb major (3rd movt.). Cole displayed impressive tone and musical agility beyond his young years, impressing the onlooking supporters.

Alexander Armstrong next welcomed three of Future Talent’s cellists – Haru, Yoko and Avram – and pianist Edward to the stage, to form the ensemble that would perform David Popper’s Requiem for 3 Cellos and Piano. As each of their lines winded and danced around one another supported by Edward’s distinguished pianism, the three cellos sounding together made for a wonderfully unique listening experience.

Oboeist Sophia followed the quartet, performing Poulenc’s Sonata for Oboe and Piano (1st movt). Sophia – who will begin her studies at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA next January – moved the audience with her fantastic playing, as her oboe’s sweet sounds weaved with accompanist Dominic John’s piano with sublime subtlety.

The concert’s final performance – but not the last of the night – came from Future Talent alumnus and former Coombs Scholar, saxophonist Rob Burton.

Rob masterfully negotiated the difficulties in Demersseman’s Fantasie Sur Une Thème Original, showing us all why he has carved such a promising start to his career since he was a BBC Young Musician finalist in 2016, performing with leading orchestras and for several premieres of new music.

Rob was welcomed back to the stage shortly after his performance to speak about a very special piece of artwork he had been recently commissioned to complete by Future Talent’s own Chairman Nick Robinson…

Future Talent Chairman Nick Robinson, Alumnus Rob Burton and Lady Helen Taylor presented Katharine's new portrait

We discovered that it was a beautiful portrait of Future Talent co-founder HRH The Duchess of Kent, whose vision and passion for providing support and meaningful opportunities to young musicians from low-income backgrounds was the driving force behind the formation of Future Talent in 2004.

Katharine, who also celebrated her 90th birthday earlier this year, was visibly touched to receive the special painting and expressed her thanks and gratitude to Rob.

Before the end of the evening, the guests at St James’s Palace were treated to a final musical delight from the VOCES8 Future Talent singers supported by our partnership with the VOCES8 Foundation, and some of the VOCES8 Scholars.

The young singers’ accomplished renditions of Elgar’s As Torrents in Summer and a wonderful arrangement of Yazzoo’s Only You left the event’s patrons with a final reminder of the diversity and breadth of Future Talent’s musical support.

To close the evening, Future Talent CEO Clare Cook gave a final address to thank the young musicians for their brilliant performances and the evening’s guests for their ongoing support, contributing to a special and memorable occasion for the whole Future Talent family.

Finally, Clare shared a few exciting insights into plans surrounding the Charity’s 20th anniversary year in 2024, which you can read more about here.

📸 Photography by Kt Bruce

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