BBC Proms Inspire Young Composers’ Competition
23 January 2015
BBC Proms have announced the opening of the BBC Proms Inspire Young Composers’ Competition. Now in its seventeenth year, this annual competition is a cornerstone of the BBC Proms’ ongoing Inspire Scheme, which offers a platform to young composers to develop their skills, share their ideas with like-minded composers and get their music heard. In 2014 Inspire worked with over 550 young musicians, commissioned nine new works and performed and broadcast the music of 17 young composers.
The competition is open to students aged 12 to 18 years. Entries will be judged by a panel of music professionals, including composers Fraser Trainer, Judith Weir, and Anna Meredith. The winning pieces will be performed by professional musicians for the Proms Plus Inspire concert and will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3; the winners will then be commissioned by the BBC for a further work.
The deadline for entries is 21 May 2015.
For full terms and conditions please visit bbc.co.uk/proms
Since November 2014, a series of Inspire Labs
have run in Birmingham, London, and Salford. Remaining Labs are set for Belfast, Glasgow and Bangor, concluding in March 2015. The Labs are free and offer young composers the opportunity to work alongside leading composers and professional orchestral musicians including those from the BBC’s six performing groups in a day of musical discovery. For details of remaining Labs and for information about how to book, visit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/whats-on/2014/categories/for-young-composers-and-musicians
All Inspire participants are invited to attend Inspire Days
during the BBC Proms season - a series of events focusing on different aspects of making music, offering the opportunity to work with top composers and other young musicians from all over the UK.
New Chairmen for EU Youth Orchestra
22 January 2015
The European Union Youth Orchestra is in a period of considerable change and development, in fulfilling the objectives of ‘Towards 2020’, its international cooperation project co-funded by the European Union’s Creative Europe programme. It is in this context that the well known arts advocates ,Sir John Tusa and Ian Stoutzker, CBE, have joined the Trustees as Co-Chairmen with immediate effect.
President and Co-founder, Joy Bryer: ‘Sir John brings unique talents to the future of the Orchestra and will, I am convinced, give it broader understanding and worldwide attention. Ian’s dedication to Live Music Now epitomises the great need for culture in today’s world. He will be a significant and inspirational addition to the team’.
Obituary: Michael Kennedy, 19 February 1926 ‒ 31 December 2014
21 January 2015
The death of Michael Kennedy at the age of 88 removes perhaps the key remaining source of reminiscence of Ralph Vaughan Williams. Their close friendship meant the former’s biography of the composer carried a special authority, although (as Kennedy reminded me just before Christmas), ‘VW’ was frustratingly tight-lipped about his own music.
Kennedy’s passion for British music is also reflected in studies of Britten, Elgar and Walton. Other biographies include those of fellow (if adopted) Mancunian John Barbirolli (another close friend and like-minded cricket-lover) and Adrian Boult. To these must also be added significant works on Mahler and Richard Strauss, and editions of the Oxford Dictionary of Music which eventually also involved his devoted second wife Joyce. The couple’s shared love of opera prompted travels far and wide in recent times.
Above all, Kennedy was a journalist, rising to become northern editor of the Daily Telegraph, a post he held for 26 years having started his career at the paper as a 15-year-old copyboy. Always, however, there was the pull of music reviewing, both for the daily and Sunday editions. He was chief music critic of the latter until 2005. In an interview for CM we discussed whether or not he suffered from writer’s block. Occasionally, he admitted, ‘but once I find my first sentence, I’m off’.
Kennedy was an accomplished broadcaster on tv and radio, shown not least in contributions to Radio 3′s Building a Library, although he was never a sharply critical critic: he admitted it wasn’t his style.
The renaissance of the Hallé Orchestra under Mark Elder gave Kennedy huge satisfaction. Fitting, then, that this time last year he was putting his weight behind the orchestra’s involvement in a major project featuring his beloved Richard Strauss.
Trinity Laban - ‘Side by Side’ orchestral programme
20 January 2015
Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance have announced an expansion of their popular ‘Side by Side’ orchestral programme.
This concert series, launched as a pilot programme in 2013, involves Trinity Laban students in performing works from the orchestral repertoire alongside experienced professionals, giving the students invaluable experience and mentorship. Appearing with Trinity Laban students will be current or former principal players from the Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, ENO Orchestra, London Mozart Players, London Sinfonietta, Britten Sinfonia and BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
Each ‘Side by Side’ project culminates in a free public performance in front of a large audience at Blackheath Halls. According to Havilland Wilshire, Assistant Director of Music and Head of Performance, the projects ‘really encapsulate the conservatoire experience. Students can learn from experienced professionals, make contacts within the profession, and gain performance skills in front of an appreciative audience’.
Three concerts have been announced for the spring of 2015, focusing on works by Beethoven, Tchaikowsky and Stravinsky:
Tue 3 Feb, 18.00h: Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5
Fri 27 Feb, 18.00h: Tchaikowsky’s Symphony No. 6, the ‘Pathétique’
Venue: Great Hall, Blackheath Halls.
British Actress Rachel Shenton searches for next generation of Deaf Dance & Music Stars
19 January 2015
Former Hollyoaks star, Rachel Shenton, is helping the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) encourage young deaf dancers and musicians to showcase their performance skills and enter Raising the Bar, a new music and dance competition which launches this month.
Raising the Bar was developed by NDCS to make dance and music more accessible for the 45,000 deaf children and young people in the UK. It aims to increase the levels of deaf awareness through the arts, whilst also raising the expectations and standards of what deaf children and young people believe they can achieve.
Entrants to the competition (eight to 16-year-olds) will have until 22 February 2015, to create and submit a video of themselves performing a dance or music routine. Ten lucky winners will be selected by NDCS staff and leading deaf professionals from the arts industry, and invited to attend a two-day masterclass on 24 -25 May 2015.
Masterclass training sessions will be led by ‘Def Motion’, the UK's only touring deaf dance crew, the acclaimed deaf flutist Ruth Montgomery, and Danny Lane from ‘Music and the Deaf’, a charity working to ensure everyone has the opportunity to enjoy music.
The weekend will culminate in a live showcase of the newly found Raising the Bar stars, at The Rep Theatre in Birmingham, demonstrating exactly what deaf children and young people can achieve.
Hayley Jarvis, Head of Inclusive Activities for NDCS said: “Deaf children can do anything other children can do, given the right support. Participation in the arts gives deaf children and young people the chance to learn new skills, and feel more confident and empowered – and participation is what Raising the Bar is all about!
“We will also be developing a ‘toolkit’ for teachers to raise the awareness and expectations of deaf dance and music professionals. We hope this will inspire professionals across the arts to deliver accessible activities for deaf children and young people.”
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