In the Swiss alpine village Andermatt, Frankie Parham, Roger Granville and Maximilian Fane have developed a new concert series to foster both the musicians and audiences of tomorrow. Meet the dynamic trio and discover their unique take on community-, talent- and audience development in an inspiring alpine location.
A short commute from Zurich, Lugano and Milan sits Andermatt in the Swiss Canton of Uri. 1830 marked an important year in the alpine village’s history, as it saw the opening of the famous Gotthard Pass. While the new route connected northern and southern Switzerland, Andermatt profited from the country’s improved connectivity and transformed into a popular sanitarium. Resting at around 1400 meters above sea-level, the destination also served as a garrison town for the Swiss Federal Army since 1885. These days, however, a new chapter in the mountain village’s history is being written – with an Egyptian visionary and three Britons in love with classical music playing leading parts in the story.
Creating moments of communion
Frankie Parham, Roger Granville and Maximilian Fane all grew up in the United Kingdom and have a love of music that is both infectious and charming. Each member of the trio follows a busy international schedule. Nevertheless, they regularly meet in Andermatt. The mountain village has developed into a year-round destination in recent years, with apartment buildings, hotels, a Scottish-style 18-hole golf course, a modern ski resort from Andermatt to Disentis and a state-of-the-art concert hall.
“In any community you need food for life, but you also need food for the soul,” Roger explains. “It is a completely proven fact: culture unites people from all generations, from all walks of life. Enjoying a concert together is a moment of communion.”
A stage for emerging talents
After successfully having founded Florence’s New Generation Festival, the three music lovers created Andermatt Music to run their Young Artist Concert Programme – a series of concerts showcasing young soloists and chamber musicians.
Besides community development, the programme focuses on supporting young artists in their formative years: “One of the things we’ve realised from working with young musicians is that you have to do everything possible to showcase their talent,” Frankie explains. “The industry is very competitive. The ones who end up making it are sometimes more privileged in terms of their socio-economic background or have personal contacts. So much incredible talent just falls by the wayside and never gets seen."
The most important thing is to catch these people who would otherwise probably fall through the net.
“It’s not just about giving one-off opportunities to young talents, it’s about creating a long-term professional development plan,” elaborates Maximilian. “We work with organisations we trust, and which support artists for several years – not just by providing performance opportunities but also supporting them in terms of self-branding, recordings and general mentorship.”
Strategy aside, the excitement of performing lies at the centre of the programme: “Being a musician myself, the zenith of all this work is to make sure that these talents have a wonderful time performing,” Maximilian believes. “Because when you make your passion a career and you’re starting off, it’s tough, it’s really tough. So making sure that we can provide very positive experiences for young artists is actually part of our secret.”
And sometimes, perhaps, it just comes down to a simple introduction. “Arguably, one of our biggest responsibilities is making introductions. Introducing the great cannons of our culture to as many people as possible. And, once that introduction takes place, then you can bask in the joy of having played a little part in making someone’s life culturally, spiritually all the richer.”
Experimenting with new programmes
Uniting communities, offering young talents a stage… But what is a musician without an audience? “If you want to promote new-generation artists, you also have to cultivate new-generation audiences. It all comes down to offering a unique programme that is attractive,” says Frankie. So what do the young cultural producers have in mind? “We have developed a festival programme that will encompass Mozart, Brahms, Radiohead, and the great talents of the 1920s Harlem Jazz Renaissance,” explains Roger. “Imagine a syncretic programme that gives you the green light to love everything and to find Radiohead meeting Brahms. Then suddenly you are being introduced to Mozart and, as a result, realise, consciously or subconsciously, that they are all magnificent.”
In it for the long-term
Writing the new chapter of Andermatt’s history, the three agree on, will not be done over night. “What I would love to see here in Andermatt is a residency framework,” says Max. “We are in the process of creating a safe space to which musicians can return to, showcase themselves and hopefully proceed to having incredible careers.”
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