The last decade has been good to Matilda Lloyd. In 2014, she won the BBC Young Musician of the Year Brass Final, and, after years of hard work, high-profile appearances and critical acclaim, this month she garnered a five-star review from the BBC’s music magazine for her new album of operatic arias, Casta Diva.
Praised for making the trumpet the solo voice of the arrangements, Lloyd’s album features new arrangements for works by Donizetti, Viardot, Bellini and Rossini. Now, the Royal Academy of Music graduate is heading up North to perform at The Northern Aldborough Festival.
“The summer festivals are a lovely occasion and a great way of connecting with audiences, and I’m really looking forward to coming up,” says Lloyd.
Looking back, Lloyd’s love for music was evident from an early age, although the trumpet wasn’t the first instrument she played.
“My mum’s a piano teacher and she started teaching me the piano when I was about five,” she recalls. “Then, when I was eight, I was apparently rifling through the cupboards at home looking for a new toy to play with and I stumbled across my dad’s old trumpet. He’d played the trumpet at school and hadn’t played since, but he kept it in the cupboard. I found it and apparently wanted to have a go on it because it looked exciting. I made a decent sound so I was bought some lessons.”
Lloyd flourished and, by the time she was 13, she had joined National Children’s Orchestra where the trumpet quickly became her favourite instrument. In 2016, she made her BBC Proms solo debut, and since then she has gone on to perform throughout Europe, South Africa and the US, and has appeared with the likes of Rotterdam Sinfonia, the BBC Concert Orchestra, and Manchester Camerata.
Lloyd is an advocate of classical music and passionate about bringing it to live audiences.
“One of the best things about festivals like Northern Aldborough is the opportunity of connecting a local audience with this wonderful music. Having classical music in your town or village, rather than having to plan a whole trip away, is really important.”
At the festival, Lloyd will be performing tracks with a six-piece ensemble, transporting audiences at Aldborough to the virtuoso world of Italian opera.
“It will be new and exciting. We’ve got a chamber ensemble with a string quintet plus a harp, and featuring the trumpet as a solo instrument. The programme is based around 19th century Italian opera arias that have been transcribed for the trumpet, so the trumpet takes the role of the voice.”
In her album review for the BBC’s music magazine, Professor Alexandra Wilson, a musicologist and cultural historian who specialises in Italian opera, praised Lloyd’s “considerable talents”, adding that “Lloyd plays with intense expression and immense warmth…The flawless tone, purity of line and dynamic subtlety she coaxes from her instrument are shown off to particularly impressive effect.”
So, what can Northern Aldborough audiences expect? “They can expect to hear the trumpet in a way they maybe haven’t heard before,” says Lloyd. “There will also be lots of melodic arias and lots of variations on these opera themes, so some real musical fireworks.”
Lloyd hopes to inspire any budding young musicians at the concert. “If there’s even just one young person in the audience who’s learning to play the trumpet, then it makes everything worth it for me. It’s not just about playing beautiful music, it’s also about inspiring the next generation.”
Main image: Matilda Lloyd photographed by Benjamin Ealovega
Matilda Lloyd & Ensemble are at The Northern Aldborough Festival, St Andrew’s Church, Aldborough, June 16, 2023. For more details, visit Matilda Lloyd (Trumpet) & Ensemble | The Northern Aldborough Festival