Cara Bleiman

Cara Bleiman is a final year student in music at Oxford University. She is a clarinettist, a critic for Oxford Cherwell and a Bayreuth and Leask Scholarship holder. Her research interests lie in the cultural and institutional study of music festivals.

As a clarinettist and member of the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, Cara has performed in the Proms and at the Schleswig-Holstein festival; toured Russia and the Baltic States with Edinburgh Youth Orchestra; and performed many concerts as principal clarinet at the Junior RSAMD and as a concerto soloist with Christ Church Orchestra. Cara has won the City of Edinburgh’s Colin O’Riordhan Trust Award; a Leask Scholarship from Oxford University; and the Scottish Wagner Society’s Bayreuth Scholarship.

At Oxford, Cara has played with many of the university’s orchestras and chamber ensembles and directed Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale at her college’s annual arts event. Cara is a winner of the Herald Young Critics competition and contributes regular music reviews to the Oxford Cherwell.

Cara has worked as a concerts assistant at the Edinburgh International Festival, furthering her interest in the cultural and institutional study of music festivals. She will be looking at how folk revival, the labour movement and Scottish nationalism met at the founding of the Edinburgh People’s Festival in the early 1950s, in her final year dissertation.

Cara served a term as president of the Oxford Hive debating society.

September 2009

Common people

The pared-down simple scoring of Jacko’s Hour is not simply a matter of pastiche – a disjuncture of distinct styles – but a reminder that opera has always been a hybrid tradition brought alive in local contexts.

August 2009

‘Adequate listening’ in Starbucks

While blender zuzzes unhappily punctuate a cerebral commission by Charlie Usher and some of the lighter textures are lost underneath the coffee chatter, Sarah Spence’s resonant cello solo opening the Borodin evolves seamlessly upwards into the first violin, and the quartet display a unique togetherness that captivates an unexpectant audience.

December 2007

Striking Chords

To ask whether music has the potential to be political is completely old hat, well old hat pins actually. The story of Stravinsky’s 1913 ‘Rite of Spring’ premiere and the ensuing street-riot (where the pins made a violent cameo) is well-known, as are Shostakovich’s muffled and now considered rather ambiguous musical protests against the Soviet regime.

June 2007

Faster Than Sound

Today violas sit with computers, carefully-clad arts tsars amongst trendy art-school students and eerie Cold War watchtowers amid woods in Aldeburgh’s one-day sonic arts festival, designed to ‘join the dots between musical genres and digital art forms’.

April 2007

Radius - selection of new music

In many of these works, the intelligence of the composer is not in representing ideas which might as well remain as programme notes, but in manipulating actions and sounds into captured sensations. Radius’ unabashed approach to the ‘new’ deserves a wider audience.


Culture Wars was included in creativetourists’ Top 25 UK Arts & Culture Blogs 2009.