1 November 2022

In the Green Room with the Young Classical Artist's Trust

By Lark Music

Welcome to the new series, In the Green Room, with the Young Classical Artist’s Trust (YCAT).

Lark Music is thrilled to announce its partnership with YCAT, an organisation that supports talented young musicians in their transition from completing musical studies to taking their first steps as professional performers on the international stage.

YCAT’s ethos is synonymous with Lark Music – to offer a caring, personal and professional service to create a sustained relationship.

We know many of our clients enjoy watching young musicians develop, and in turn the artists can enjoy a personal connection as their audience follows their career.

We therefore look forward to introducing young musicians to Lark Music clients through events including lunchtime concerts at Wigmore Hall in London, as well as through interviews, reviews and video clips of their performances in this new In the Green Room with YCAT series.

A message from YCAT CEO Alasdair Tait

YCAT is delighted to be partnering with Lark Music. Our musicians are at the very outset of their professional lives, and after so many years of hard graft to get to this level of excellence, broadening their audience is one of the crucial elements that helps kickstart their careers.

Part of YCAT’s job is to introduce our artists to as wide an audience as possible and our objective is to help them to play as many concerts as we can.

Excellence is a given, so we take on fascinating people – really interesting, diverse, quirky, creative musicians, those who we can really help to grow and develop into major performing artists.

I know the value of YCAT because 25 years ago I was a YCAT artist myself and my career, in a string quartet, would never have been what it is without the care and attention that YCAT provided. Everything that happened can be put down to the doors that were opened for me at this time.

So, having been a beneficiary, when I was approached to run YCAT 14 years ago, although I was still a performing musician and teacher, it made me stop and realise what a difference YCAT had made to me.

YCAT is one of the most important organisations for young artists, not just in the UK, but anywhere in the world. It is unique. We offer international visibility and that is the biggest challenge for a young musician. How do people get to know a young artist when they are still unknown?

Increasingly, promoters want to go for the safe option, the known names, so it is harder for musicians to get these opportunities – let alone earning an income anywhere close to being able to sustain themselves.

We arrange important debut concerts alongside local, community events to give artists confidence to grow in a safe environment. The personal bespoke nature and long-term hands-on support is not just a one-year scheme. We support our artists for up to five years, during which time there is almost daily contact as we link them to international venues and orchestras for their first international tours.

In a way, our musicians are the ‘Kitemark’ – the ones to watch – but during my tenure I have seen the challenges they face increase exponentially and with our 40th anniversary coming up in 2023 we want to continue to expand opportunities such as our reciprocal link with the Concert Artists’ Guild in New York.

It is difficult enough to secure concerts in Europe (and we also send artists to South America, Asia and Australia) but the US is very difficult to break into. Visa costs and processes do not help, so a like-minded partner means YCAT musicians can be introduced ‘over the pond’ and vice versa. Having said that, even last year post pandemic, we had managed more than 700 performance opportunities for our artists internationally!

To become a YCAT artist there is an annual audition process, open to anyone, but a level of excellence is a given. It is a rigorous process; three rounds, finishing with a public final where the judging panel assesses who are the individuals they believe have the strongest, most interesting and curious musical voice which YCAT can work with and in whom we can best invest our resources.

Wigmore Hall Lunchtime Concerts have been central to YCAT from the beginning. It is the international shop window where the artists want to be seen and it offers the opportunity for us to invite lots of interesting people to the concerts and share the videos online for those who cannot be there in person.

Wigmore Hall is the best stage in the world to showcase young artists and it means more to them than playing anywhere else in the world. That is gold dust.

Do join us.

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The next In the Green Room series introduces YCAT cellist Gabriel Martins