Artistic Director Geoff Parkin previews the plans ROSL ARTS have in 2022; how we will mark the 70th anniversary of the Annual Music Competition, take our activities on the road and what will be up on the walls of the clubhouse

ROSL Annual Music Competition

In 1952, a young Australian violinist called Robert Cooper won the first of what was to become the ROSL Annual Music Competition. Started by a group of music loving members who wished to support young talented Commonwealth musicians in London, Robert set the standard and the course of an event that was to grow in significance and stature over the decades. In fact, the second competition was also won by an Australian, pianist Geoffrey Parsons, and the third by Jamaican pianist Oswald Russell, both of whom went on to distinguished careers, and proved ROSL to be at the centre of discovering and promoting international musical talent in the UK.

2022 marks the 70th birthday of the Annual Music Competition and I hope that ROSL members will join with us with pride in celebrating this milestone birthday of our unique professional arts programme. We will be back to our normal schedule for 2022, with our section finals taking place in February and March. At 16 years old, the lighting system in our beautiful Princess Alexandra Hall is starting to fail, and I am pleased to say that, supply chains willing, we should have an upgraded system in the hall by the next competition, so that our events and performers will be lit better than ever!

I am also pleased to announce that our 2022 Gold Medal Final will take place on Thursday 7th July at Wigmore Hall. This will be the first time in decades that our final has taken place on Wigmore Street, and I am thrilled that our finalists will be able to perform in what is widely regarded as the finest chamber music venue in the world, and we look forward to seeing our members there.

ROSL ARTS events at Over-seas House and further afield

As ever, many of our events will focus on the unique support we offer to our family of young musicians, not least our hope that we will be able to return to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2022. The unique atmosphere of Edinburgh during the festivals offers our musicians unparalleled performance opportunities, the chance to try new repertoire in front of friendly audiences, and make new musical partnerships which in many cases have proved to last for the course of their careers. We also hope to finally welcome our young Pettman Scholars from New Zealand, who have waited so long to spend time in the UK, learning with our world-class professors, attending concerts at BBC Proms
and performing with us in Edinburgh.

In summer of 2021, we programmed a series of “EdFringe” concerts in our magnificent Princess Alexandra Hall in London, which proved popular with members and audiences, and as such we hope to hold a small series again in 2022. We are already programming in further London events, including a performance of Twelfth Night by travelling (on bicycles!) Shakespeare theatre company the Handelbards, and an art talk given by Cindy Polemis on Hogarth and Europe (to tie in with the forthcoming Tate Britain exhibition). We will also meet remarkable sisters Patricia and Jean Owtram, and learn about their true story of helping to crack the Enigma code during World War II.

We also have two exciting concerts planned, one on the theme of animals, to include narration by renowned actor Simon Callow, tying in with our summer exhibition at ROSL, and a concert in late August to celebrate Australian musicians and composers as part of the UK/AUS Season of Culture.

We continue our support of our musicians around the UK, with concerts so far planned at the Buxton, Lichfield, Lake District, and Shaldon Festivals. I am also pleased to announce a new partnership with St George’s Bristol, where we will support a new series of concerts featuring ROSL prizewinning musicians.

2022 will also mark the second iteration of our ROSL Composition Award, in association with the London Sinfonietta, and we look forward to receiving entries from emerging composers from around the Commonwealth, workshopping the selected finalists works with Sinfonietta, and giving those finalists the opportunity to pass their knowledge on to the next generation of young composers studying for their GCSE in music.

Proved ROSL to be at the centre of discovering and promoting international musical talent

Visual Arts for 2022

The Winter/Spring visual arts schedule will see our Biennial Photography Competition on display until 6 February. Showing the shortlist of 20 entries themed around “International Friendship”, our six esteemed international industry judges made an insightful and poignant selection based around images taken over the past year from all over the world (more information can be found on page 30).

We are also excited to reveal that ROSL ARTS are collaborating with influential Art Historian Ruth Millington on a curated exhibition, and series of talks and events preceding the launch of her book Muse: Uncovering the hidden figures behind art history’s masterpieces (published by Vintage Publishing on 7 April 2022), opening 17 February 2022. As Ruth states, “For too long imbalanced narratives have created romanticised notions of the passive, powerless female muse. This book questions such stereotypes, and instead celebrates those remarkable individuals whose immense contributions have changed art history, from the Renaissance to today.” The exhibition will showcase a print series by Dina Razin from illustrations made especially for the book, alongside a ‘Muse Manifesto’ and loaned artworks from some of the featured artists and muses.

“Rising Stars” returns in late April, displaying semi-finalists for the RBA Rome Scholarship, a prestigious travel award for a young artist who either lives, works, or studies in the UK, which will offer development for an emerging talent. Our own international two-month supported residency at The Art House’s purpose-built studios in Wakefield also returns in Autumn 2022.

This opportunity is designed to help develop the practice of two early to mid-career artists and is open to those living and working in commonwealth (or former commonwealth) countries who have not yet exhibited or studied in the UK.

With further collaborative projects due in the second half of the year, 2022 is promising to be an exciting year for the unseen and as yet undiscovered! Watch this space…

2022 is promising to be an exciting year for the unseen and as yet undiscovered! Watch this space…