Mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnston has launched a new platform that spotlights classical music in miniature, Bitesize Proms. The eight week virtual festival brings together 100 world-class artists to broadcast on Instagram every night at 7pm BST, with “Late Bites” of poetry, jazz, contemporary music, and young artist performances at 10pm BST. The initiative raises funds for the charity Help Musicians UK, which Jennifer has also been supporting with her project Notes from Musicians’ Kitchens.
Dame Evelyn Glennie, President of Help Musicians, performs the opening concert on 17 July. She presents “Beat of Hope,” which she composed with Jill Jarman as a tribute to the NHS. The work was recorded on mobile phone during lockdown and features found objects like garden tools plus small percussion instruments, piano, and voice.
“I have been overwhelmed by the response to this project, with so many famous musicians involved,” says Jennifer. “Friends, professional contacts, and the wider community have been so generous and supportive. I am particularly thrilled that Dame Evelyn has agreed to perform in our opening concert on Friday night.”
Each artist appears for no fee to help raise money for Help Musicians, which has given significant support to professional freelance artists through the coronavirus pandemic.
“I am delighted to be taking part in Bitesize Proms, having performed at the BBC Proms many times over the last 30 years,” says Dame Evelyn. “I believe passionately in teaching the world to listen and this innovative new platform does just that. As President of Help Musicians, and a previous recipient of their generosity, I and many others feel called to action in these drastic times. I encourage everyone, from Prommers of old, to those who are new to classical music, to listen to Bitesize Proms and donate to Help Musicians this summer.”