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Latest News

Learn to Play Day 2016

12 February 2016

The fifth Learn to Play Day will take place on 12 and 13 March.

The flagship event of Music for All allows people of all ages and backgrounds to find out more about playing a musical instrument, whether they are a complete beginner or looking to return to playing. 

More than 120 music venues, schools and shops across the UK will offer more than 12,000 free taster music lessons. Many of the events will have offers available on the day and some will have special guest appearances.

Learn to Play Day

Children work with RNCM on new school song

12 February 2016

Pupils from Barlow Hall Primary School in Chorlton, south Manchester, recorded a new song at the Royal Northern College of Music on 11 February.

Composer Kate Pearson and RNCM graduate Lucy Armstrong helped children from Reception to Year 6 to write the lyrics and melody for Look Inside through a series of workshops. The children then recorded the song in the RNCM concert hall accompanied by an ensemble of college students.

The song was part of a communication project to help pupils with autism. Connect@BarlowHall was established by the School and the RNCM to create a better visual and sonic environment for children within Barlow Hall's communication centre who have autism and language impairments.

The project also comprises a new sensory garden, a tessellation artwork and a soundscape to replace the school bell.

Connect@BarlowHall concludes on 25 May with a public performance of the new song and the official opening of the sensory garden.

Ben Parry to conduct the Scratch® Youth Messiah

12 February 2016

Ben Parry
Ben ParrySusan Porter Thomas

Ben Parry will conduct this year's performance of the Scratch® Youth Messiah, which will take place at the Royal Albert Hall on 27 November.

The Scratch® Youth Messiah includes a number of choruses and arias from Handel's oratorio. Choirs can choose to sing everything, or just the opening chorus ('And the glory of the Lord'), the 'Hallelujah Chorus' and the final 'Amen'. The project won the award for Classic FM best classical music initiative 2015.

All young choirs are invited to take part, choosing their own level of involvement, with up to 1,500 free places for singers up to the age of 25. 

Parry, who is director of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and co-director of London Voices, said: 'Handel’s Messiah is one of the greatest choral works ever written. To perform it with a huge choir and orchestra, and in a building as iconic as the Royal Albert Hall, is truly awe-inspiring. I am thrilled to be conducting this year’s Scratch® Youth Messiah in November and can’t wait to get started! I am so excited that so many young people will get to experience this amazing piece.’

Registration must be completed by 31 July.

Youth Messiah

NYCGB and NYJO announce Shakespeare 400 national tour

12 February 2016

The National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and the National Youth Jazz Orchestra have announced a joint nationwide tour of a Shakespeare-inspired programme entitled The Play’s The Thing

TBC 23 April – broadcast appearance as part of Radio 2 Friday Night Is Music Night
17 July – Cheltenham Music Festival
24 July – Birmingham Town Hall
29 July – Petworth Festival
TBC Aug – Rye Jazz & Blues Festival
22 Oct – Stratford on Avon Music Festival

David Nice described the programme, which was originally developed for the 2015 City of London Festival, as 'one of the best and most original programmes I can remember in the City' and 'a clear front-runner among the tributes [to Shakespeare]'.

Featured repertoire includes Duke Ellington’s Such Sweet Thunder Suite and choral settings ranging from Vaughan Williams to Owain Park, David Hamilton and Janet Wheeler. 

The programme also includes collaborative items, including Pete Churchill’s Journey’s End (commissioned by the City of London Festival in 2015) and a new work by NYCGB and NYJO directors Ben Parry and Mark Armstrong.

Ben Goldscheider to open the Music Education Expo

10 February 2016

Ben Goldscheider will give a short performance to open this year's Music Education Expo.

The 18-year-old French horn player is currently a category finalist for BBC Young Musician.

Goldscheider has been a pupil of Susan Dent at the Royal College of Music Junior Department since the age of 11, where he receives a full scholarship. He was appointed principal horn of the National Youth Chamber Orchestra of Great Britain aged 13, and became the youngest participant in the London Symphony Orchestra Brass Academy the following year. In 2014 he became principal horn of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, where he was unanimously awarded the John Fletcher Brass Award for his playing and contribution to the orchestra.

He was awarded the Philip Jones Memorial Prize at the 2016 Royal Overseas League Annual Music competition for most outstanding brass player, and was the youngest finalist in the 2015 BBC Radio 2 Young Brass Soloist of the year competition. He has also won the Cox Memorial Award and audience prize at the Eastbourne Symphony Orchestra International Soloist competition, the Guildford Symphony Orchestra Young Soloist Award, Marlowe Young Musician of the Year 2013, Toddington Young Musician of the Year 2013 and the Gregynog Young Brass Player of the Year. 

The Music Education Expo takes place on 25 and 26 February at Olympia. The event, which takes place in conjunction with the Musical Theatre & Drama Education Show encompasses 50 sessions which include warm-up ideas, practical workshops, informative seminars, panel debates, Q&As and networking opportunities. Registration is free.

Music Education Expo

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