NCEM to take part in New Generation Baroque Ensemble nurturing scheme

“This partnership with BBC Radio 3 and the RCM is a wonderful opportunity and a chance to really make a difference,” says NCEM director Delma Tomlin

THE National Centre for Early Music, York, is collaborating with BBC Radio 3 and the Royal College of Music in a project to inspire British classical talent during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The BBC Radio 3 New Generation Baroque Ensemble Scheme will support the “ongoing professionalisation” of a selected early music ensemble over a two-year period, with one ensemble being chosen each year.

The focus will be on providing opportunities for live performance, broadcasting sessions on BBC Radio 3, mentoring, coaching and provision of rehearsal facilities in the early years of a baroque group’s professional career.

It is envisioned the ensemble will be a primarily instrumental group of three to six musicians, who perform repertory from 1600 to 1800 using historically informed playing techniques, instruments and stylistic conventions.

The ensemble must be based in Britain throughout the programme and should be available for studio recordings, coaching sessions, open rehearsals and performances in York, Beverley and London, as well as being interested in developing management and professional career skills.   

It is envisaged the first group will join the programme from October 2021.  The NCEM will act as the central administration and point of contact for the duration of the project, and ensembles will be expected to enter into a formal contract with the NCEM.

Please note that selection will be made by the NCEM, BBC and RCM on the basis of talent spotting, appraisal and recommendation. The scheme is not a competition and there is no application process. For information on all NCEM opportunities, email

This nurturing and support project aims to counter the trend for ensemble playing –practised widely by young British early music instrumentalists during their formative years – losing momentum after post-graduate studies.

While the main scheme has been postponed in response to the Coronavirus crisis, the team behind it wanted to still support young players at this turbulent time by offering access to experts in the field as part of a special development day.

The New Generation Baroque Ensemble developmental workshop will be held at the Royal College of Music, London, on Sunday, November 15.

The autumn event, organised in strict compliance with guidelines on social distancing, will give ensembles an opportunity to present selected repertoire to representatives from the NCEM, BBC Radio 3 and RCM, receiving feedback on the session and generally on career development.

Expressions of interest in taking part should be submitted by Friday, October 9, with full details at

NCEM director Delma Tomlin says: “The NCEM has been thoroughly supportive of the professional development of early music ensembles since its inception – working nationally, and internationally through the Creative Europe EEEmerging programme and the biennial Young Artists Competition.

“This partnership with BBC Radio 3 and the RCM is the culmination of many years’ work to promote UK-based instrumental ensembles.  It is a wonderful opportunity and a chance to really make a difference.”   

Alan Davey, controller of BBC Radio 3 and classical music, says: “Throughout the pandemic, one of our main concerns as broadcasters has been to support performers and composers in these difficult times, through leading on the return to live music, new commissions and replays of archive performances.

“The New Generation Baroque Ensemble Scheme’s November workshop is further testament to our support for upcoming and established artists on the scene at a time of much uncertainty in the world.”

Ashley Solomon, the RCM’s head of historical performance, says: “I am delighted that the RCM will be involved in this new initiative in collaboration with our colleagues at the BBC and NCEM.

“Nurturing and inspiring the new generation of historical performers is part of our ethos at RCM and I look forward to working with and mentoring the successful ensemble. It is a wonderful and unique opportunity for these New Generation Baroque Ensembles as they embark on their professional careers.”

The BBC Radio 3 New Generation Baroque Ensemble Scheme joins the stable of talent projects run by the BBC, such as BBC Introducing Classical/Jazz/World, New Generation Artists and New Generation Thinkers.