ECHO – this is the name of the network set up by Europe's leading concert halls, a cooperation that aims to work on joint initiatives and a mutual exchange of ideas. Every year the 22 members nominate six outstanding young artists and send them off on a large-scale tour.
Each year the »Rising Stars« appear at the Elbphilharmonie in the space of a week. Concerts in front of a large audience were not possible in 2021 because of the pandemic, but the concerts have been transferred to the internet and are available to stream for a whole year. Each stream starts with a short talk from the artist, followed by the actual concert.
Palau de la Música Catalana
Philharmonie de Paris
ECHO Rising Stars, the journey continues! :by Andrew Manning, ECHO Secretary General
History and origins
It’s amazing to think what a long and illustrious history the ECHO Rising Stars series has already had. I’m always proud when the founding Directors of the ECHO network remind me that supporting young emerging artists was one of their first actions, starting Rising Stars in the early days of the network in the 1990s.
Nurturing emerging talent is as vital today as it always was. For halls and audiences the energies, and creative impulses, combined with world class talent that these young artists bring are always such a rich discovery. The industry has certainly changed, but the early stages of an international career in this wonderful – yet highly competitive sector – remain a high stakes moment.
Evolution of the ECHO Rising Stars series
We are pleased to have been able to keep the ECHO Rising Stars series moving and evolving. Even with an established series and concept nothing can – nor should it – stay static. Our member halls are constantly adapting their formats, approaches and activities with the Rising Stars, always going the extra mile to make exceptional experiences for the artists to perform, engage, inspire and learn.
Each artist also gets a new piece, written especially for them and premiered during their season as an ECHO Rising Star. This season commissions have been to a great range of composers including Misato Mochizuki, Charlotte Bray and Vasco Mendonça. For an artist to have a piece written especially for them and then to develop performance experience of the piece, giving many national premieres in some of the world’s best acoustics, is something we are so thrilled to be able to facilitate. Following this experience we find that the piece usually enters the repertoire of the artists as they go forwards with their career.
We also offer training and support in the field of education, learning and participation and are working towards the goal of each artist contributing to and experiencing this work in each ECHO venues they visit.
The series also has an accompanying programme of professional development and mentoring for the artists. This provides an opportunity to foster sense of community as a group of artists, and to explore with this peer group their visions for the future of classical music. Together with experts from the sector we offer sessions exploring topics as far ranging as mental and physical health of musicians, resilience, social impact, the political dimension to music, and communication skills.
COVID-19, Rising Stars and the current moment
Of course this past year has been like no other. It is a conservative estimation to say that across our 22 ECHO halls at least 6.600 concerts / performances have been cancelled in the past 12 months. In a sector which traditionally plans so far ahead this causes a huge knock on effect, in terms of future planning but also across all aspects of our operations. The financial impact on all those in our sector - most acutely felt by independent artists and other freelancers in the industry - has been extreme.
Due to Covid we are therefore having lots of close conversations with all our ECHO halls and with the ECHO Rising Stars artists, looking at what the greatest needs, opportunities and urgencies are of the current moment and how we can create opportunities for the artists and for our audiences at this moment despite the challenging circumstances. Big questions and topics around resilience, creativity, responsibility and vocation come to fore in this shared dialogue.
Whilst a sustained and expanded digital element remains an exciting part of our present and future, at our core we remain venues dedicated to live music and to that unique moment of the connection between artists and audiences, experiences of unique human and artistic energy and passion. This is what we all, not least our Rising Stars, look forwards to returning to as soon as possible.
We look forward to exploring this new context through this most powerful medium that is music, in the company of past, present and future generations of ECHO Rising Stars, and with you our trusted and cherished audience members.
In cooperation with ECHO - European Concert Hall Organisation
With support by M.M.Warburg & CO
Supported by Classical Futures Europe and the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.