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Classical:NEXT 2019 Innovation Award – winners announced

The winners of the Classical:NEXT 2019 Innovation Award were announced at the closing ceremony of Classical:NEXT in Rotterdam on 18 May 2019.

The winners of the Classical:NEXT 2019 Innovation Award were announced at the closing ceremony of Classical:NEXT in Rotterdam on 18 May 2019.


In honour of the 200th birthday of German pianist and composer, Clara Schumann, this year’s award celebrated women in music.

The nominating committee created a 37-strong longlist featuring candidates from 26 countries across Europe, North America and Asia. Winners were determined by an online vote open to the entire Classical:NEXT community.

Classical:NEXT 2019 Innovation Award winners

Winners of the Classical:NEXT 2019 Innovation Award were as follows:

  • Resonancia Femenina (Chile) This women’ music collective was born in 2012 in the city of Valparaíso, Chile, as a project that seeks to vindicate the situation and presence of women in music, transforming into a platform for the dissemination and promotion of musical works performed by women. The collective came together to create the first phonographic record of works by 21st century Chilean composers – featuring works by Katherine Bachamnn, Natalie Santibañez and María Carolina López – before going on to record with Comuarte México and Murmullo de Sirenas España. It has also carried out projects that seek to open spaces for the appreciation of women musicians, establishing the first international gathering of women in music in Chile and awarding the Añañuca prize to a woman outstanding for her career and musical contribution to the country.
  • UmculoShirley Apthorp (South Africa) From her home base in Berlin, South African-born music journalist, Shirley Apthorp, watched the evolution of post-apartheid South African opera and decided to found an organisation bringing together European know-how with South African talent and insight. Since 2010, Umculo has produced ten operas in, with and for South Africa’s disadvantaged communities, using old and new music to tackle such social issues as gender-based violence, crime, corruption and poverty. Social outcomes show growing success while Umculo’s work wins consistent acclaim for its artistic achievements and courage. Umculo’s 2019 production, The Gift, will be created by an all-female team from Langa, near Cape Town, addressing the controversial topic of ‘corrective’ rape.
  • PRS Foundation – Keychange (UK, International) Keychange is a pioneering international initiative which empowers women to transform the future of music and encourages festivals to achieve a 50:50 gender balance by 2022. 60 emerging artists and innovators from across Europe will be invited to international festivals to take part in a series of showcases, collaborations and a programme of creative labs. Backed up by an innovation fund for the network to test new projects and ideas, Keychange aims to accelerate change and create a better more inclusive music industry for present and future generations. Keychange is led by PRS Foundation, supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, in partnership with Musikcentrum Sweden, Reeperbahn Festival, Iceland Airwaves, BIME, Tallinn Music Week, Way Out West, Liverpool Sound City and Mutek.

The Classical:NEXT 2019 Innovation Award ceremony was closed by Spark – The Classical Band.