This year, at ROSL ARTS we are celebrating our 65th Anniversary, and next month we are putting together a weekend of concerts to celebrate all the musicians we have worked with, past and present. To kick off our celebrations we are going back through our history to see where it all began…
ROSL ARTS found its roots as the Royal Over-Seas League Music Circle in 1947. It began as a platform for outstanding young musicians to perform in central London at Over-Seas House, growing into what is now known as our Annual Music Competition, which began in 1952 and was won by Robert Cooper, with a grand prize of £10! The ROSL Annual Music Competition is now the centrepiece of ROSL ARTS’ year-round programme of events. Over £75,000 was awarded in prizes in the 2017 competition to solo performers, accompanists and chamber ensembles. The awarding of prizes marks the beginning of a relationship between ROSL ARTS and our competition alumni, which continues throughout their careers. These alumni have all gone on to incredibly successful careers and still have a close relationship with us, coming back for performances, to watch, or even judge the Annual Music Competition.
1999 saw the introduction of ROSL ARTS’ Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme. For 18 years we have been taking our prizewinning musicians to our clubhouse on Princes Street, Edinburgh. ‘Music at 100 Princes Street’ won the Herald Angel Award in 2007 and has since developed to become ‘Music & More at 100 Princes Street’, encompassing visual arts as well as the music for our international audience in Scotland.
At ROSL ARTS, we have a well-established visual arts programme which supports young Commonwealth artists. Formally beginning in 1984 as the ROSL Annual Exhibition, ROSL presented over 50 works of art by British artists such as Tracey Emin and Peter Howsen as well as their Commonwealth contemporaries. This exhibition was then restructured as a group show in 2000, where artists from around the world were brought to the UK for a residency at ROSL, which we still maintain today. In 2016 and 2017, scholarships have been awarded to artists from Canada, Pakistan, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia. Artists were selected in partnership with Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool; Rhubaba, Edinburgh; Auto Italia, London; Liverpool Biennale and David Dale Gallery, Glasgow. Throughout the year exhibitions are held at Over-Seas House, London and Edinburgh. Recent exhibitions include young Scottish artist Kerr Rodgie, with his first London solo show and Incognito, displaying postcard submissions from many ROSL members and artists worldwide, all sold in aid of ROSL's humanitarian work. We also recently exhibited the Young Master’s Prize by the Cynthia Corbett Gallery, and currently have an exhibition entitled ‘NO PLACE’ in partnership with Bearspace Gallery.
We combine both sides of ROSL ARTS's remit every year, bringing the visual art and the music together, with the presentation of a purchased work from the department of Ceramics & Glass at the RCA, to the winner of the Annual Music Competition's Overseas Award, the latest being Abel Selacoe, who was awarded an artwork by Glass artist Viil Coward. A rounded programme of Music and Visual Art allows ROSL to continue the support of early career international creatives and bring the work of these talented individuals to our membership and the wider public.
At the end of October, we will be celebrating our anniversary with a series of three concerts showcasing the variety of musicians ROSL ARTS has supported over the years. To begin the celebration, join us for an exceptional evening of chamber works by Poulenc, Schubert and Chopin on Thursday 26 October. The concert will feature ROSL prizewinners from over the years, who have gone on to major careers as soloists and orchestral principal players. The following night, Friday 27 October, we are featuring 1995 ROSL Gold Winner, pianist Ashley Wass with internationally-renowned violinist Matthew Trusler, for an evening of cinematic treasures which marks 100 years since the creation of Chaplin’s Mutual Comedies and explores the fascinating relationship between music and film in the hands of one of the 20th century’s greatest cultural icons. Finally, to round off our celebrations on Saturday 28 October, 1999 ROSL Accompanist prize winner Simon Lepper and ROSL vocal alumni join forces to perform famous operatic arias, duets and ensembles. This will be followed by an optional three-course dinner with wine. Featuring Sarah-Jane Brandon soprano, Ashlyn Tymms mezzo soprano, Nico Darmanin tenor, Njabulo Madlala baritone, alongside Simon Lepper piano.
Tickets start at £15 for Friends of ROSL ARTS and can be bought here.
If you are interested in supporting ROSL ARTS as we head into our next 65 years and would also like ticket discounts and invites to exclusive events, find out more information about becoming a Friend here.