The Black British Classical Foundation is a charity trying to address the situation where ethnic minorities are under represented in the field of Opera and the classical arts in general.
Across society, powerful role models can inspire future generations, whether it is in sports, science or arts. By fulfilling this need we hope to encourage minority audiences to see possibilities for themselves, to say, “Yes, I can do that too!”.
Our major project is biannual competition. “The Voice of Black Opera” for BAME singers from the British Commonwealth. The previous winner was Elizabeth Llewellyn from Jamaica who has gone on to sign a number of prestigious roles including the lead role, Mimi, in La Boheme with the English National Opera.
From the early days of the Brixtonian in Brixton, the Brixtonian -Back-A-yard in Covent Garden to the Havana Club also in Brixton, the owners, Vincent Osborne and the late Jonathan Campbell supported the development of young Black Opera Singers through financial support via their bars and restaurants.
‘The Brixton Open’ art competition for residents of Lambert was also one of their philanthropic giving back to the community.
‘New Voices Old Song’ was the forerunner of the Black British Classical Foundation. Apart from platform performances in the bars of the Brixtonian, ‘New Voices Old Song’ took part in many festivals including The Covent Garden Festival.
New Voices also went on tour to the Caribbean including Barbados, St.Lucia and St.Kitts. By day workshops within schools and by evening, Operatic Concerts playing to full and appreciative audiences.
In recent years the concept was formalised into a charity with a vision to increase the uptake of People of Colour in the classical arts, especially in Opera, Black British Classical Foundation was born.
Currently, we are working in Prisons, developing choirs, using music to develop and enhance soft skills.
Dementia is another of our interests and looking at how the role music can play in being an aid memoir.