The online platform Classeek keeps on growing. 5 years after its launch, it proudly undertook a whole series of developments including concerts of young talents broadcasted online. In January it has announced a new partnership with the International Classical Music Awards. Jury member Pierre-Jean Tribot from the Belgian Crescendo Magazine made the following interview with Catarina Amon, founder and CEO of Classeek.
Classeek was founded in 2017. What is your assessment 5 years later?
The most obvious assessment is that Classeek is a beautiful adventure. Because it’s like a love story, still driven by, still driven by the same passion from day one. We don’t regret anything and we would do it all over again. Our commitment to serve its mission ‘Discover, follow and support talent globally’ does not dry up. Freshness, creativity and innovation are essential. Classeek is naturally also a learning path. We try, we sort out what works and what doesn’t, and that’s how we move forward in time. Today I am proud of what Classeek has become and what we have been able to build.
We are developing a real community, with exceptional ambassadors at the service of young people, who have recommended a group of artists who have performed on our stage and in livestream and who have participated in our Program. In 2022 for the first time we opened a space for applications and we received 98 applications from high quality young artists between 20 and 30 years old for our 2022-2023 Program. And we have 2000 users on the platform on ClasseekLink with great stories to tell!
In 2022 you were able to announce new developments on the platform. Can you present them to us?
ClasseekLink is a platform that aims to be the industry reference for young artists to present themselves, meet each other and stay in touch with each other and with professionals. We create a real community. Since its birth in October 2020, it is in constant progression like the life path of a young musician. This season, we want to renovate it in a different way: by the user experience, the design to make it more meaningful for the younger generation, pleasant to use so that they feel like ‘at home’. We start with the improvement of our flagship product: the digital press kit which is a tool created in 2018 and will be integrated into the artists’ profile. With one touch, an artist anywhere in the world are able to create their profile with integrated press kit and present themselves for free. Easy to create, update and share with organizers who can upload the necessary materials directly in one click, it will save successive email exchanges. A new tool will also be integrated to the platform this season, a Newsroom that will give access in real time to all the aggregated industry news that has appeared on general media, specialized classical music media, and on social networks. This Newsroom also allows filtering by date, news on more specific categories, such as discography, reviews, awards in competitions, interviews, news on festivals, premieres and, in each search, we can find the most cited names in the sources found. Other features will be added to develop a real community spirit.
The platform is aimed at young musicians who need to make themselves known and broadcast content to professionals. It is often said that the new generation born with digital tools is virtuoso in their use. Do you notice this?
In general it is true. But it always depends of course. There are always artists who are more technological than others! Some have their website and some don’t. Some create their digital press kit very quickly and others are a little less inclined. Some are good at presenting themselves online and others have no idea how to do it. It’s a subject that fits in with what we’re doing: media coaching for the artists who are part of our Ambassador Program, but which we’d like to make available to a larger number of people.
Classeek can rely on ambassadors (Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, Sonia Simmenauer, András Schiff). What role do you expect from these ambassadors? How were they chosen?
We select ambassadors who are not only renowned but examples for our industry. All of them have a lifelong and genuine interest in the next generation of artists and are very open to supporting them in a slightly different way through Classeek. They are the ones who have direct access to young musicians, and are therefore in the best position to advise us and recommend the talents they spot, hence the term Ambassador which we did not choose at random. I am very happy with our choice, they are all very committed and we collaborate with each of them in a different way. They all recommend artists to us, and some like Sonia Simmenauer do career coaching.
This season features online concerts by 8 young talents. How did you select them? I read that for these young artists, you organize a whole accompaniment besides the recording and the diffusion. Can you tell us about this?
This ambassador program is one of the strategic pillars of Classeek. Artists are recommended to us by the Ambassadors mentioned above. These young people join our program for one year. This allows them to have a point of reference as they are released into the wild at the end of their studies. We start by meeting each artist beforehand, getting to know them, getting to know them by listening to them, that’s essential, and then we set up a personalized program around the concert stage, their presentation and, to complete, what we don’t learn in class. This can include a photo shoot, recorded interviews, a concert filmed, recorded and streamed live, in order to provide as many tools as possible to make themselves known, but also masterclasses given to people even younger than them to support the educational aspect of transmission. This year, for the first time, we have opened a place to applications and the selected artist will be presented soon!
Classeek has a collaboration with the Conservatoire de Lausanne. Why is it important for you to have a direct link with a renowned music school?
Staying in touch with reality in order to be able to measure yourself against the excellence of classical music is very important. The Conservatoire de Lausanne is a very beautiful, historic and internationally renowned institution to which I am attached. My children were there since childhood for their basic musical training, and I obtained my solfeggio and piano diplomas there. Within the framework of this collaboration, we organize masterclasses for the students of the conservatory who thus benefit from the transmission of the experience of musicians on the verge of starting a solo career. Pre-concerts in the style of ‘1st part of rock bands’ are organized with the students and reinforce this link and this energy of meetings between young people talking to even younger people!
Classeek is 5 years old. How do you see Classeek in 5 years?
In 5 years, Classeek should become THE meeting point for all the dimensions that make up the world of classical music. Today, this world is not very structured and therefore difficult to access outside of a public of initiates. There are indeed millions of enthusiastic people on the planet who would welcome the opportunity to learn more about the world of classical music and interact with it.
The Classeek website: https://classeek.com