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Nicky Morgan announces music funding for 2015-16

26 January 2015

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has announced £109 million funding to support children’s cultural education programmes. A range of projects that support children’s music and other arts activities are to receive funding worth more than £109 million in the 2015 to 2016 financial year. 


The government believes every child should have access to good music lessons and the opportunity to learn to play an instrument.  

On 22 July 2014, the Department for Education announced that an additional £18 million would be made available to support music education in 2015 to 2016, Of the £18 million, £17 million would be made available to music hubs, bringing the total to £75 million in 2015 to 2016. The additional £1 million will be provided to support the Music and Dance Scheme, which allows exceptionally talented pupils to receive specialist education and training, whatever their background, bringing the total to £29 million for 2015 to 2016.  

The network of 123 music education hubs that supports schools with this task will benefit from £75 million of funding in the 2015 to 2016 financial year. An additional £1.1 million will be allocated this year to support education through six In Harmony programmes and National Youth Music organisations including the National Youth Orchestra, Music for Youth’s School Proms, National Youth Jazz Collective and  National Youth Choirs of Great Britain. In addition, funding for the Music and Dance Scheme that supports exceptionally talented young musicians and dancers will increase to £29 million. 

Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of the ISM said:   ‘This is wonderful news for our excellent music education system. We are delighted that the increase of £17m will be going directly to music education hubs to enable them to continue with their vital work, delivering the National Plan for Music Education. Stable funding is desperately needed for music education and we hope that this announcement is the starting point for continued funding at least this level over the next five years.’

The Boise Scholarship Foundation Awards

26 January 2015

 The Boise Scholarship Foundation have just released details of their scholarship awards for 2015. 


The age limit is under 30 years and, whilst a lower age limit is not specified, the award is usually made for post-graduate studies.  As is often the case with this type of award, application is by nomination only, and all nominated candidates are automatically auditioned.  Nominators include all the conservatoires in the UK together with all universities with a music department, as well as two individual nominators.  

The 2015 Boise Scholarship is worth £9,000 in total.  The monies are usually shared between two or three candidates.  Candidates are auditioned by a panel of adjudicators and have to present a twenty minute programme.  An official accompanist is provided, but they may bring their own accompanist.  There is no interview.  Auditions will be held in London in early April and the winners will be announced in May 2015. 

Established in 1950. The Boise Scholarship Foundation is awarded every other year for outstanding performance by singers or any instrumentalist to assist with furthering their musical education in the UK or abroad.  Previous winners include Alan Hacker (clarinet), Samantha Rutherford (flute), and the conductor Paul Hoskins. 

Further details are available from  info@boisescholarship.com 

BBC Proms Inspire Young Composers’ Competition

23 January 2015

BBC Proms have announced the opening of the  BBC Proms Inspire Young Composers’ CompetitionNow 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.


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