Nicola Benedetti, Alison Balsom and Miloš at iTunes Festival 2014

A rare classical outing at London's Roundhouse

Nicola Benedetti, Alison Balsom and Miloš at iTunes Festival 2014

iTunes Festival takes place annually at London’s Roundhouse, and first welcomed classical artists in 2011 when Lang Lang joined the line up along with 2CELLOS. The first classical instalment (of two) of the 2014 festival embraced three of today's most exciting and talented performers. Nicola Benedetti, Alison Balsom and Miloš Karadaglić all came together under the bright lights of London’s Roundhouse for an eclectic programme of works by Piazzolla, Vivaldi and Rodrigo, and more.

British trumpeter Alison Balsom (below) kicked things off with a spot of French glamour from her latest album, Paris, which she recorded and arranged with Guy Barker. Opening with their atmospheric arrangement of Piazzolla’s Oblivion, the set also included Duke’s April in Paris, Satie’s Gymnopedie and Kosma’s Autumn Leaves.

Balsom interspersed these with a couple of lively jazz standards – Miles Davis’s ‘If I Were A Bell’ and Clifford Brown’s ‘Joy Spring’ – and some Baroque works. There were some rushed passages in the first movement of Albinoni’s Oboe Concerto, but in both that and the Allegro assai from Vivaldi’s Concerto RV320, Balsom displayed moments of flair and virtuosity. The Southbank Sinfonia provided a wonderfully adaptive and sensitive accompaniment throughout.

The performance incorporated video projections and some lighting effects, which worked well given that the concert took place at the Roundhouse, not usually a classical venue.



When Miloš took to the stage he said: ‘It's very very exciting to be a classical musician and play at the Roundhouse.' The treat was all ours. The Montenegrin guitarist plays with a wonderfully warm sound which he couples with the most delicate and beautiful pianissimos, all used to great effect here.

His performances of works by De Falla, Velázquez and Piazzolla (accordionist Ksenija Sidorova joined him for the passionate Libertango by Piazzolla) were superb and he evoked a great mood in the jazz pieces he included – particularly Jobim’s ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ where he really made the instrument sing. He even managed to make the overplayed Spanish Romance feel like a piece I had never heard before. The highlight, though, was his extremely moving performance of the slow movement from Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez.

Nicola Benedetti's performance next was superlative. She stormed onto the stage with the third movement from Vivaldi's ‘Spring’ before reducing the audience to rapt silence with her stunning rendition of John Williams's Theme from Schindler's List.

It was a lively and mixed programme with pepperings of folk standards (Burns’s 'My Love Is Like A Red Red Rose'; Marsalis’s 'Wynton’s Reel') in between a beautiful arranagement of Korngold’s Marietta’s Lied and a performance of Monti’s Czardas, for which she welcomed her sister, Stephanie, and accordionist Sidorova to the stage. She left us on a high with her poised and energetic performance of Gardel’s Tango por una Cabeza.


Photos: iTunes Festival, London 2014


iTunes Festival 2014 closes today (30 September) with performances from Placido Domingo and Khatia Buniatishvili. Visit: for more information




Nicola Benedetti makes classical chart history

Artist interview: Alison Balsom

Review: Alison Balsom Italian Concertos

Artist interview: Miloš Karadaglić

Review: Miloš Karadaglić Aranjuez


  • Article Type: | Blog |
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