Borletti Buitoni Trust

Talking of inspirational musicians, the Borletti Buitoni Trust (BBT) is one of my go-to ways of finding new artists I should be listening to.

A former desk partner and friend used to work for them, helping the award winners to create interview videos, recordings or promotional films, whilst other colleagues advised on new bows, the cost of sound-proofing a flat or searched out flights to get to concerts and masterclasses.

One of the best things about the trust is that the award can be used any way the winner desires. Rather than being forced to commission a concerto from a pre-selected composer, the artist can pay some of their living costs; alternatively, they can put the money towards part of the costs of a recording that is already in train, ensuring they’re able to share in some of the profits.

The only aim of the trust is to help talented musicians break-through from being nationally successful to the international stars of the classical world. In some cases, the money has been the lift to allow a soloist to leave orchestral life and branch out on their own. That flexibility is reflected in the variety of top-notch artists who have been winners, and the spread of countries awards come from:

Alina Ibragimova (who I heard play all the Bach violin sonatas and partitas in St Bartholomew’s church on midsummer night some years ago)

the Pavel Haas , Elias, Danish string quartets

the boundary-bending Jorgen van Rijen and Bram van Sambeek

Malin Christiansson (a soprano, who gave what I can only describe as a luminous recital in St Giles Cripplegate one golden summer evening, the notes floating out across the waters of the Barbican lake)

Joshua Hopkins, a rich-toned baritone whose Vaughan Williams recording has probably the most tantalising 30 second clip of “Let Beauty Awake”

I could go on, but awards are made every two years, and the latest crop are just in.

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