Launch events, talks, book signings and more – keep an eye on this page for the latest events connected to The Northern Silence.

Malko 2024

From 15-20 April 2024 I was back working with the Malko Competition for Young Conductors. It was a treat to anchor over 28 hours of live broadcasting from the gorgeous Jean Nouvel concert hall of the Danish Broadcasting Corporation in Copenhagen, and talk to the 8 expert guests who visited us over the week in the Malko Studio (pictured here: Klaus Tönshoff, solo clarinet of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, and Jesper Nordin, artistic director of the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra).

There is truly no week like Malko week, and the winner this year, Samuel Lee, is the real deal. Watch the entire Grand Final here:

Nordic Conductors’ Forum

Photo: Ole Wuttudal/Talent Norge

It was a privilege to be invited to give the keynote speech at the Nordic Conductors’ Forum in Oslo on 9 November 2023. The event included a conference for Nordic orchestra leaders and international agents and masterclass for six young conductors from across the Nordic region with Klaus Mäkelä and the Oslo Philharmonic. It is an offshoot of Dirigentløftet – Talent Norway’s programme to support orchestral conducting from grassroots to the highest professional level, and turn Norway into ‘a nation of conductors’.

Carl Nielsen International Chamber Music Competition

This week (12-16 April) I’m commentating on the 2023 Carl Nielsen International Chamber Music Competition, taking place across three venues in Copenhagen (here I am, in my little studio at the Royal Danish Library right on the harbourside). So inspiring to hear astonishingly talented young wind quintets and string quartets, but also to be reminded how utterly brilliant and original Carl Nielsen’s string quartets really are. Tune in here.

Music Matters

On 8 April, BBC Radio 3’s flagship current affairs programme took as its theme ‘Classical Music in British Society’. I was asked to expand on certain observations made in The Northern Silence – and in a series of recent articles including this one – comparing the situation for the arts and classical music in Scandinavia and Finland to that in the UK. My facial expression goes some way, perhaps, to capturing what a bittersweet/disheartening topic of conversation that is for anyone who holds a British passport.

Anyhoo…it was a privilege to speak alongside Richard McKerrow, Sarah Price (who teaches at Liverpool University, where I was an undergraduate), Kully Thiarai, Bobby Duffy, Ed Vaizey and Nwando Ebizie.

Listen again here.

Recent accolades

Presto’s Book of the Year Award, given to The Northern Silence in December

It’s humbling to have received a few accolades for The Northern Silence in the run up to Christmas. In November, it was included in Times Literary Supplement’s Books of 2022 list (in the summer, it was similarly listed in the Financial Times Best Summer Books list).

On 9 December, The Northern Silence was named Book of the Year at the Presto Music Awards – the annual gong show of the go-to online retailer for classical recordings, sheet music and books (but a bricks and mortar shop too, in Leamington Spa).

Books & Company, Copenhagen

Books & Company on Sofievej, Hellerup

On 7 December, I’ll be at Books & Company in Hellerup, on the northern edge of Copenhagen, to introduce The Northern Silence to this beautiful shop’s inquisitive and literature-hungry clientele.

This feels like something of a homecoming for The Northern Silence, as the bulk of it was written around the corner from the shop at Gentofte Hovedbibliotek in the dark days of 2020.

Also chuffed that I’ll be joined by two other immigrants to Denmark from two other English-speaking countries: Vanessa Blander Hedegaard – a Canadian-born violinist in the Royal Danish Orchestra – and the Welsh harpist Helen Davies, who will play Nordic folk music for us.

The event will be conducted in English. Full details and tickets from Books & Company here.

BBC Proms – Thursday 11 August

BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall

I’ll be at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 11 August for Finnish conductor Eva Ollikainen’s debut at the world’s biggest classical music festival. I look forward to joining presenter Tom McKinney during the interval to discuss the performances live on BBC Radio 3.

This is a standout concert for Nordic music fans. Not only does it open with the world premiere of Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s ARCHORA, it closes with Ollikainen’s performance of Sibelius’s Symphony No 2. Though Finnish, Ollikainen is Chief conductor of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra…where Thorvaldsdottir is Composer-in-Residence.

London Review Bookshop

It was a great privilege to send The Northern Silence out into the world in June at the gorgeous London Review Bookshop in Bloomsbury. Thank you to all the staff, all those who came along (and sold-out copies of the book), and to James Jolly for his kind and thoughtful questioning.