Interview with Jack Bazalgette
Jack Bazalgette is a conductor, singer, and animateur based in Hackney. He has worked as chorusmaster with the Prague Symphony Orchestra, conducts the Malcolm Street Orchestra, and was Senior Conductor of the Cambridge University Symphony Orchestra.
Jack has been artistic director for concert tours of the UK and Germany, is Associate Director of Tiffin Boys’ Choir and, in lockdown, has developed music programmes for mental health and music education charities. Jack is currently the Artistic Director of noisenights and the co-founder of Through the Noise.
We were thrilled to chat with Jack about how noisenights works, his inspirations and what’s next for this exciting initiative.
Can you describe the new model for classical music concerts that you are championing?
Of course! A noisenight is no ordinary concert.
We wanted to create a uniquely welcoming, affordable and fun space for classical performance, so we started by taking inspiration from some of our favourite performance spaces, many of which are Jazz Clubs and fringe venues. After a year of thinking about what would work, we think we’ve got something really special to offer.
Here’s how a typical noisenight works.
The main classical act perform a rush-hour set and a late set, each lasting about 45-60mins. The first set is handy if you’re going to get food afterwards; the late set is aimed at anyone who wants a bit more of a party. Immediately after the late set ends, there’s live Jazz, Funk, crossover and afrobeat bands til late. Tickets are always affordable (usually starting at £8).
We think noisenights will be an amazing way to experience great chamber music.
How have you gone about programming this new series? What were some of the defining factors?
I’d say the main consideration has been “can I imagine this performer and this music captivating this crowd in this place”.
That might not be as hard-and-fast an answer as you were hoping for! We’ve also looked for artists who love to deliver programmes that combine the known and the new. It’s been amazing working with them all – I can’t wait to see them on the noisenight stage!
How did through the noise start and what is the mission of the organisation?
through the noise was started at the beginning of the pandemic.
Despite the chaos and gloom in the music world, we could see some positive signs. Classical music, against the odds, flourished, in new and diverse ways. Classical streaming rocketed amongst young people; charities offering classical music for mental health flourished; and live streams from orchestras and opera houses attracted millions of viewers. We decided that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of rebuilding our industry to be more positive, inclusive and outward-looking.
We do three things to achieve that mission: we put on uplifting concerts which we think will reach new audiences; we run mental health projects for those who have suffered most this past year; and lastly, we run an independent, curated listing of the best live events in London, so that it’s easy to know what to go and see.
Do you have any highlights for the upcoming noisenights series?
There are too many to list here really! Laura van der Heijden and Max Baillie playing Kodaly’s duo followed by folk songs they’ve arranged especially will be magical I’m sure. I’m also really looking forward to hearing Errolyn Wallen’s Five Postcards played by Sarah and Natalia of the Chineke! Duo.
What inspires you to do what you do?
I suppose I’m inspired by the amazing, transformative effect I know classical music can have on people, especially when they’re feeling low, as many are at the moment. I can’t wait to reconnect performers and audiences through sharing the experience of live music – that’s definitely what motivates me at the moment.
Do you have a favourite piece of classical music that you can’t wait to hear live again?
Aside from all the wonderful pieces being performed in noisenights this summer, I’m really looking forward to hearing a big orchestra back on stage. I’ve missed the feeling of being taken away by an entire world of sound. Luckily, I’ve got tickets to see the London Symphony Orchestra when they return to the Barbican next week, and I just can’t wait to hear Dvořák’s joyful Slavonic Dances. My parents used to play some of the movements as a four-hands piano duet, and I associate the opening with freedom and happiness!
How can people get involved with this exciting crowdfunder?
https://www.throughthenoise.co.uk/noisenights is the place to back the noisenights and get tickets. At the time of writing noisenight one is 84% funded, so get in there fast if you want to come!
©Alex Burns 2021