38 BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE Tasmin Little Our Personality of the Year Award is new for 2019. Each year, the award will go to an artist who has made a significant contribution to musical life in the UK. SPECIAL AWARD ‘I’m off to Canada on Wednesday, and tomorrow’s going to be hectic,’ Tasmin Little tells BBC Music Magazine, ‘so I thought today would be the best time to have a chat.’ This neatly sums up the busy life of the brilliant British violinist. Since the late 1980s, Little has scarcely taken a break from a schedule of concerts at home and abroad, recordings and radio, masterclasses, TV documentaries, outreach work ranging from schools to prisons… and, of course, magazine interviews. Few musicians have done as much as she has to bring classical music to a wide audience, unearth and champion neglected repertoire, commission new works and act as an important spokesman for the artform, influencing the great and the good. ★ence, she becomes the recipient of the first ever BBC Music Magazine Personality of the Year Award. From next year, however, that schedule is going to change radically. Little has announced that the summer of 2020 will be her last on the stage and in the studio. ‘By that point, I will be 55,’ she explains, ‘and I have always said I will stop playing when I am at my peak – while I can still play to the best of my ability, with assurance, maturity and technique all at my disposal. Stopping at this point will also give me many years of being able to do other things. I think it’s quite hard for people who aren’t either performers or close to them to understand exactly how full-on the nature of this profession is.’ ★anging up her bow next year also brings with it a numerical neatness, says Little, as 1990 was the year that, with her BBC Proms debut and first CD release, her career really took off. So, a round 30 years at the top. Whether introducing the delights to Delius to mainstream TV audiences in the 1990s or launching her innovative Naked Violin series of free downloads in 2008, her drive to find new ways of introducing people to the joys of classical music has been relentless. Those three decades have also brought recordings, mostly on Chandos, of a wide array of works, from classics by Elgar and Vaughan Williams to little-known masterpieces by Finzi and Moeran. Most recently, she has recorded the world premiere of Roxanna Panufnik’s Four World Seasons and a disc of music by Ethel Smyth, Amy Beach and Clara Schumann. ‘I like to think I’ve always been at the forefront of things that are new,’ she reflects. ‘I actually planned this disc of female composers three or four years ago, well before everyone was saying how important it was to redress the gender imbalance. Of course, that they are now doing so is marvellous. I absolutely love the disc, and am so glad that it has come out when people are becoming aware of the wonderful women composers who have been previously neglected.’ BBC Music Magazine Personality of the Year Thirty years at the top: Tasmin Little will bow out on a high ‘I like to think I’ve been at the forefront of things that are new’
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