Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (BCMG) and Royal Birmingham Conservatoire announce the first 11 musicians to join the NEXT Music programme, a brand new, innovative programme of study to support early career musicians who want to dedicate their professional life to contemporary music.

Created by Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (BCMG) and Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, NEXT is the only programme in the UK providing intensive, year-long training in contemporary music performance practice, offering musicians an unprecedented opportunity to learn from some of the most exciting performers and composers working today.

NEXT Musicians will receive coaching and one-to-one teaching sessions from BCMG players and world-famous soloists, and will have many opportunities to perform, including in side-by-side concerts with BCMG. Classes in contemporary music history and analysis, instrumental techniques and digital technologies complement musicians’ studies, while regular lectures from artistic directors, publishers and other invited guests from the music industry help with the necessary skills to present and promote new music to different audiences.

NEXT Musicians will work directly with the world’s leading composers on the interpretation of their music and will build and develop their own ensembles and present and design performances using cutting edge performance techniques.

The NEXT Musicians for 2018-19 are:

Renate Sokolovska Flute

Mana Shibata Oboe and Cor Anglais

Stanley Kaye-Smith Bassoon

Iris van den Bos Percussion

Laura Farre Rozada Piano

Boglárka György Violin

Ed Pether Violin

Nathanael Gubler Viola

James Heathcote Cello

Tom Pickles Cello

Michael Coleby Conductor


Stephan Meier, Artistic Director of Birmingham Contemporary Music Group comments:

“Looking at the role contemporary music plays in our cultural life, and more specifically in the music industry, you tend to find young musicians either orientated towards what is perceived as ‘classical’ music, for example in orchestras or opera, or engaged in self-organised attempts to set up some contemporary activities.  NEXT seeks to support the latter approach, providing a semi-sheltered greenhouse, as it were, to transfer skills, techniques, knowledge and performance experience, and to allow musicians to fully concentrate on what is needed to professionally work in the sector, and space and time to brood on all kinds of contemporary music developments. There are, of course, opportunities to do this in an informal way but I think that NEXT will be the first year-long course in the UK to address contemporary music performance, practice and promotion in a structured, sustainable way.   

BCMG is celebrated as one of the world’s finest contemporary music ensembles, and its musicians are second-to-none in expertise, knowledge and sheer passion for the music of today.  The combination of their experience, and the commitment and fantastic facilities at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire gives NEXT the potential to have a substantial and lasting input into our musical culture - a real game changer.”

Professor Julian Lloyd Webber, Principal of Royal Birmingham Conservatoire comments:

“NEXT builds on Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s long-standing relationship with BCMG and is designed to significantly impact the next generation of contemporary music and musicians.

We pride ourselves in being a forward-looking institution. NEXT will be at the cutting edge of new music creation and performance, offering students a unique opportunity to develop their careers in novel and exciting directions.

NEXT is made possible through the support of Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne

Further press information from:

Seb Huckle BCMG Marketing Manager, on 0121 616 2619 or [email protected]

Further NEXT project information from:

Miranda Heggie BCMG Project Manager: NEXT, on [email protected]  


Photographs for press use may be downloaded at:



About Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (BCMG)

BCMG is recognised as a world-leading, new music ensemble, acclaimed internationally for its excellent performances, ambitious commissions and high-quality learning programme. Since its foundation in 1987, BCMG has:

  • Reached more than 10 million people;
  • Given more than 500 concerts in over 190 venues;
  • Performed across the UK and in Europe, Mexico, India and the USA; and
  • Commissioned and premiered over 175 new works helping to launch the careers of many notable composers mainly through our renowned Sound Investment scheme.

About Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

Part of Birmingham City University, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire is a world-class institution providing exceptional training for the musicians, actors, stage managers and performers of the future. Its outstanding facilities attract the best and brightest students to Birmingham, along with internationally renowned performers and teachers. With limitless collaboration opportunities for staff and students, the Conservatoire is a stimulating environment with an international reputation which celebrates diversity.