Classic Brit awards to make comeback after five-year absence

Myleene Klass
The musician and television presenter Myleene Klass will co-host the Classic Brits. Photograph: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images for Classic Brit awards

After a five-year absence the Classic Brit awards, originally founded in 2000 in an attempt to create the same buzz for classical music as the Brits have for the pop industry, will return to the Royal Albert Hall this summer.

It will be hosted by the musician and television presenter Myleene Klass and the actor Alexander Armstrong.

Damned by one critic as “fundamentally tacky”, the ceremony with its glitzy set, amplified music and celebrity presenters, and past awards including a best album prize to Sir Paul McCartney for his Ecce Cor Meum, was regarded by many of the more highbrow classical fraternity as a celebration of crossover rather than true classical music.

In 2008 the violinist, Nigel Kennedy, who is a previous winner of the award for outstanding contribution to music, condemned the organisers as “old farts” after they fell out over the choice of music he had intended to perform.

This year’s ceremony on 13 June will certainly raise the same eyebrows. It will feature a performance by Andrea Bocelli, who recently topped the charts duetting with Ed Sheeran on the song Perfect Symphony.

Tokio Myers, who won last year’s Britian’s Got Talent for a routine that included segueing Debussy’s Clair de Lune into a Rihanna song, will be a guest performer. The former Classic Brit-winning opera singer, Sir Bryn Terfel, is also on the bill alongside Ball & Boe – Michael Ball and Alfie Boe – who have been touring the world playing sold-out stadiums.

The ceremony will also feature the winner of the newly announced Sound of Classical poll for artists under the age of 30: the first entrant confirmed is Jess Gillam, 19, who became the first saxophonist to win the woodwind final of the BBC Young Musician of the World in 2016.

A lifetime’s achievement award will be presented to Dame Vera Lynn, who celebrated her 101st birthday on Tuesday.