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Edward Seckerson

Writer and broadcaster Edward Seckerson is chief classical music and opera critic for The Independent. He wrote and presented the long-running BBC Radio 3 series Stage & Screen, in which he interviewed many of the most prominent writers and stars of musical theatre. He appears regularly on BBC Radio 3 and 4. On television, he has commentated a number of times at the Cardiff Singer of the World competition. He has published books on Mahler and the conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, and has been on Gramophone Magazine's review panel for many years. Edward presented the 2007 series of the Radio 4 music quiz Counterpoint. He has interviewed everyone from Leonard Bernstein to Liza Minelli; from Paul McCartney to Pavarotti: from Julie Andrews to Jessye Norman.

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Finishing the Heats

Posted by Edward Seckerson
  • Thursday, 21 May 2009 at 10:21 am
For those less sad than I, the title is a pun on the Sondheim song "Finishing the Hat" from "Sunday in the Park with George - a song, a show, about the art of making art.

Tell me about it. For the second year running I've spent a whole day listening to 44 students sing 44 Sondheim songs in the hope of reach the final of The Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year Competition which takes place at the Playhouse Theatre at Embankment on Sunday 31st May at 3.30. As Chairman of the Jury it's down to me to ensure that we get the best possible mix and the best possible show on the day. As ever the varying but sometimes very high standard of the heats reflected the level of care - or not - that some schools and some tutors bestow upon their students. Only one of those tutors took the trouble to be there for his two students on the day. Is it a coincidence that they both got through? I don't think so.

Expect a high standard from the twelve that have been chosen. Some will rise to the occasion, some will not - but all with have learned something. I offered a smattering of feedback to entrants this time around: "Did that feel comfortable? What about a little more mix in the belt? Don't afraid to be dirtier! Don't overwork the lyric. Why so angry?"

One lad gave us "Being Alive", hitting every line of lyric like his life, and ours, depended upon it. It was relentless but it had passion. He'd already left the building when we decided to get him back. I gave him some notes, he took them, he sang the song again. He's in the final.

Join us on the 31st - Playhouse Theatre. 3.30.
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