The Humanitas Visiting Professorship in Classical Music and Music Education is one of the musical highlights in the University of Oxford’s calendar. It holds a breadth of events – ranging from lectures and symposia to recitals and masterclasses – that make accessible some of the world’s leading performers.

Andreas Scholl 2017-2018

Andreas Scholl, a German countertenor, male classical singer in the alto vocal range, specialising in Baroque music served as a Humanitas Visiting Professor in Voice and Classical Music 2017-18.

The series opened with an ‘in conversation’ event titled ‘Beyond Bach’ in the course of which Andreas Scholl and Professor Suzanne Aspden spoke about the intricacies of performing 18th century music, Andreas’s becoming as an artist, as well the influence that his teachers had on him and his own teaching style.

This was followed by five masterclasses with young singers and concluded by a student concert at New College Chapel.

Ian Bostridge 2014-2015

Ian Bostridge is a British tenor whose international recital career has taken him to the Salzburg, Edinburgh, Munich, Vienna and Aldeburgh Festivals and to the main stages of Carnegie Hall and La Scala, Milan.

One of the main ways through which this ideal of liberal education works, in its vision of unconstrained but disciplined intellectual exchange, is through what one might call the circulation of metaphor, so that the most unlikely of disciplines can offer inspiration to each other. Sciences inspire the arts, the arts the sciences.

In his first lecture Bostridge discusses the idea of a liberal education. He argues that an education should be free and also free-ranging: so that the unexpected can be discovered and experienced by student and teacher alike, that the intellect might soar and know no boundaries. He also makes the case that a liberal education may, and indeed should, consist as much of science as of history or classics or music

In the above video Bostridge delivers his lecture, ‘Why Winterreise? Schubert’s song cycle, then and now’.

Midori 2013-2014

Midori is a violinist and educator.

Midori’s Humanitas Visiting Professorship presented a compelling perspective on how classical music can be shared with different communities around the world.

Her series opened with a symposium on Teaching, Learning, and Developing Highly Specialised Skills in the Creative Arts. Lauren Stewart (Goldsmiths), Tânia Lisboa (Royal College of Music), John Rink (University of Cambridge), Victoria Sharp and Robert Adediran (London Music Masters) showcased cutting-edge ideas on how music is taught and learnt both inside and outside academia.

Midori then presented a lecture, entitled 20 Years of Community Engagement, in which she shared personal insights and lessons from her career as both a musician and a promoter of the developmental potential of children.

Midori’s tenure ended with a solo recital of Bach’s Partita No. 2, Sonata No. 3, Partita No. 3, and Sonata No. 1.

Imogen Cooper 2012-2013

Imogen Cooper is one of the foremost performers of Schubert’s piano works.

Imogen Cooper begins her series with a piano recital of Schubert’s piano works. Between pieces she speaks widely about Schubert’s life and his music, from the maturing of his style evident in the first sonata to the relationship between his later pieces and his diagnosis with syphilis.

Cooper then gives a lecture entitled The Hidden Power of the Re-creative Process in Music. Cooper stresses the importance of live performance in giving music full potency, as she points out that it is a desire to share human experience that fuels the composer genius. Moreover, she suggests that this connection between long dead composer and today’s world can be considered a spiritual one. The creative, performance and absorbing experiences of composer, performer and audience have cathartic and healing values.

In the final symposium she is joined by world renowned British actor Simon Callow CBE and Professor Eric Clarke to discuss Performance – Interpretation or Identification?

Sergio & Odair Assad 2015-2016

Sergio & Odair Assad are acclaimed Brazilian classical guitarists noted for both their writing and performing of music.

Brazilian-born brothers Sérgio and Odair Assad have set the benchmark for all other guitarists by creating a new standard of guitar innovation, ingenuity and expression.

The Assad Brothers began playing the guitar together at an early age and went on to study for seven years with Dona Monina. The Assad’s repertoire includes original music composed by Sérgio and his own take on classic folk and jazz music, as well as various styles of Latin music. Their classical repertoire includes transcriptions of the great Baroque keyboard literature of Bach, Rameau, and Scarlatti and adaptations of works by such diverse figures as Gershwin, Ginastera, and Debussy; thus making their touring programs a compelling blend of styles, periods and cultures.

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