Professor Julian Lloyd Webber, Principal of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Dr Louise Lansdown, Head of Strings are proud to release a special video, filmed during lockdown, where talented young musicians from around the world, all studying at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, perform a socially distanced tribute to Edward Elgar (1857-1934) by performing his famous work, ‘Nimrod’ from the ‘Enigma Variations’, conducted by Professor Lloyd Webber, as a way of highlighting the dire situation for the arts in general and music in particular as a result of the global pandemic.
The video – released to coincide with Elgar’s birthday on 2nd June – showcases the work of sixty-three students, aged from around eighteen to twenty-five years old, who represent here just under half of the Strings department overall. Hailing from twenty-three countries as diverse as China, South Africa, Taiwan, Paraguay, Spain, Ireland, Portugal, The Netherlands, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, France, Germany, UK, Iceland, Italy, Argentina, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Malaysia and Korea, the students all filmed their contributions at home under local inernational lockdown restrictions. In the very few cases where videos supplied could not be used for technical reasons, all of the audio files supplied were happily able to be included in the overall mix.
Professor Julian Lloyd Webber commented:“Soon after lockdown began, we looked for a way to bring our many string students from around the world together again. We decided to create a virtual performance of Elgar’s famous ‘Nimrod’ – a piece of music that sounds immediately British yet which carries a global message of sadness accompanied by an underlying sense of hard-won achievement”.
Dr Lansdown noted: “I conjured up this plan a few weeks after lockdown began to give our strings students something hopeful and unifying on which to focus as we had sadly all been separated. The strings students of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire represent a bright part of the future of music and the arts and we all wanted to draw attention to the plight of musicians and artists across the world whose live performing careers and livelihoods have been annihilated by the worldwide pandemic. They intend for the beautiful message of Edward Elgar’s ‘Nimrod’ to be a symbol of unity and hope, showing that they can still create music, separated but together”.