Classic Brit Awards launch ceremony at the Savoy Hotel
The Classic Brit Awards have gone from strength to strength since their inauguration in 2000, with last year’s show reaching millions of viewers from the none-too-shabby confines of the Royal Albert Hall. Highlights of that evening were relayed to the ballroom of the Savoy Hotel during last night’s 2012 Awards launch ceremony, but not before the members of London-based Amore stealthily emerged from the audience to serenade us operatically from the small stage. It was a shrewd and vocally impressive start to a typically glamorous affair, attended by Gareth Malone and Paul Mealor among others.
Co-host Margherita Taylor wasted no time in reeling off the nominations for this year’s awards – including a record-breaking eighth nod for Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti, in the Best Female Artist category – and singing the praises of her employers, Classic FM. Indeed, the classical radio heavy-weights picked up the only bona fide award of the night, in “Special Recognition” of their contributions over the past 20 years. From the widespread whoops and cheers, it was clear that a large contingent of the station’s staff were present at the ceremony.
Further musical relief ensued, with a wonderfully nuanced rendition of Chopin’s Nocturne No. 2 by saxophonist Amy Dickson. The dashing Noah Stewart, nominated for Breakthrough Artist and Album of the Year, wrapped proceedings up with the traditional spiritual number Deep River, that brought the excitable crowd to a standstill, and deservedly drew a tremendous ovation upon conclusion. The night served as an understated but musically impressive curtain raiser for the main event in early October, with talk of surprise collaborations and guest appearances surely whetting the rumour mill for many weeks to come.