Herbert’s Ones To Watch 2020 

We feel that this year is an auspicious one and we hope it is exactly that for you. To kick it off, Herbert and I wanted to share our predicitions of which ten classical music artists will cause some serious waves this year.

If you like and hear what you see, please go and watch, listen and support these talented rising artists. 

 1.Nana Ouyang

Nana Ouyang by Jumbo Tsui 

19-year-old Nana Ouyang is a rising cellist that supercharges what it means to be a ‘triple-threat.’  At just 15 she released her debut cello solo album ’15.’  The same year – also a budding actress, she starred as the lead in Jackie Chan’s Sci-Fi Film ‘Bleeding Steel.’ She since has been building her acting career, her 14 million followers on Chinese social platform ‘Weibo’ and has also caught the attention of the fashion world. Watch the space for what Nana does next. 

2. Matthew Jamal 

Mathew Jamal by Nancy Koté
Matthew is a tenacious and exciting New-York based instrumentalist, composer and model that fuses classical, Latin & Jazz to create his distinct sound. Whilst attending Manhattan school of Music where he studies Classical and Jazz, he plays in band Soulful Symphony, alternative/indie group Quiet Luke, and Drew Anderson’s The Newtet. 2020 marks the year when Matthew will release his first solo album and collaborative project and may mark this artist’s big break. 

3. Hildur Guðnadóttir 

Hildur Guðnadóttir by Rune Kongsro

Icelandic composer Hildur Guðnadóttir has started the year with a bang with a Golden globe win for ‘Best Original Score’ for Todd Phillips’ ‘The Joker.’ This also marks the first solo female win in the history of the coveted prize. If you haven’t yet seen the film, it’s worth it to see how Hildur’s score becomes the true supporting act to Phoenix’s sickening performance. This also follows a Emmy win for her score for ‘Chernobyl’ last year. It it’s rumoured that she will be Hildur will also be nomination for this year’s Academy Awards. 

4. Johan Lenox

Johan Lenox by Brian Overend 

Boston-born singer and producer Johan Lenox who released pop EP ‘everybody’s cool but me’  last year on Island Records is also a classical composer and arranger. As well as being known for sampling excerpts of chamber music on his pop tracks – Lenox is one half of the creative duo behind Yeethoven & Yeethoven II – two critically acclaimed orchestral performances which brings together the music of Beethoven & Kanye West. Rumour has it that as he gears up to release his debut pop album later this year, he’s also working on some brand new classical material.

Ell Kendall by Owen Diplock

Ell Kendall is an up-and-coming sound artist that layers individually recorded sounds to create seamless pieces of music. ‘Marlen,’ the first track of his debut EP which was released late last year already has received critical attention with plays on Seattle’s KEXP and London’s BBC Radio 3. His second music portrait ‘Nuha’ was released on 22nd January and he will be concentrating on building his list of gigs this year, which includes a performance at this years Q3 Ambient Fest in Potsdam  

6. Kelsey Lu 

Kelsey Lu by Jerry Buttles 

Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter and cellist “Lu” (she doesn’t like ‘Kelsey’) is building a distinctive path for herself, which is characterised by the adamant fluidity she brings to her creative expression. In her debut (and critically acclaimed album) ‘Blood,’ –  which is an ode to her complex upbringing in North Carolina – you can experience her cello playing and singing and the raw honesty of both. It will also give you a good sense of her atmosphere-driven sound (what she has named ‘Luthereal.) Lu has already won support from Sampha, Blood Orange and Solange (to name a few) and we have no doubt she win yours too. 
Jakub Józef Orliński by Pablo Sáez

Failing to follow in the footsteps of his artistic family (who were all visual artists), Jakub Józef Orliński  decided to go to music school to see if he could find an outlet for himself in another type of art – the rest as they say ‘is history.’ Orlinski possesses an undeniably beautiful tone which has accelerated his career ever since his debut in Aix-en-Provence in 2017 to the world’s stages. If you want to see him live this year check out if he is coming to your city here. 
Alison Lau by Charlotte 

I heard Alison sing at Wilton’s Music Hall  in London some years ago now and I still remember the  performance like it was yesterday. It was because Hong-Kong based Alison has a crystal-clear tone married with a richness and strength that makes her one of the most exciting young singers out there. If you can move past the Jenkins-ess title, have a listen through her debut album released in 2018 and see for yourself.
Jacob Muhrlad by Elisabeth Olsson Wallin

Swedish composer Jacob Muhlrad is quickly becoming one of Scandinavia’s most renowned rising composers and is the youngest composer to date to have a piece performed at The Royal Swedish Opera. Muhlrad also made his debut at Carnegie Hall in New York at just 24 years – achievements made more impressive considering that he cites his dyslexia as being an obstacle he faced as a composition student. 2020 will be the year that Muhlrad proves that his notoriety can really travel across the world with more music and concerts in the works .
The Ayoub Sisters by Ämr Ezzeldinn

Since shooting to fame as a result of a viral cover of Mark Ronson’s ‘Uptown Funk’, Egyptian-Scottish sisters Laura (violin) and Sarah (cello) have been building their Ayoub stamped answer to classical cross-over – see here. Having spent time over the last few years performing in the Middle East and building a name for themselves, this last year saw real sparks build in Europe with performances including opening for Alexis Ffrench at Southbank’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, London. They are hitting the ground running this year with new music, videos and gigs.  


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