LOCKDOWN has not stopped Samling Institute for Young Artists from creating inspiring opportunities for young musicians to work with stars of classical music.

Baritone Benjamin Appl and pianist James Baillieu, who are both alumni of the acclaimed Samling Artist Programme, held a remote masterclass with 17-year-old Ben Ryan, of Darlington, as part of the institute’s Samling Academy programme for young singers in the North-East.

The trio explored one of Benjamin Appl’s favourite Britten folksongs, The Foggy, Foggy Dew, developing performance skills and discussing some of the additional challenges musicians have to overcome when performing online and without a visible audience.

The was carried out via Zoom using a pre-recorded piano accompaniment provided by James Baillieu, and was also filmed in high quality so that Hexham-based Samling were able to make a film of edited highlights to share online at www.samling.org.uk/staying-connected.

Following the masterclass Benjamin Appl, Ben Ryan and James Baillieu also recorded a complete performance of the song together, giving Ben Ryan a unique opportunity to perform with the two stars.