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Sir David Willcocks (30 December 1919 – 17 September 2015)

17 September 2015

Sir David Willcocks
Sir David Willcocks

Choral conductor, organist and composer Sir David Willcocks died peacefully at home this morning (17 September), aged 95.

Born in Newquay, Cornwall, Willcocks was a chorister at Westminster Abbey and music scholar at Clifton College, Bristol before being appointed organ scholar at King’s College, Cambridge in 1939.

He served in the British Army during World War II, receiving the Military Cross for his actions on the night of 10/11 July 1944, before returning to the university in 1945 to complete his studies. In 1947, he was elected a Fellow of King’s College; in the same year, he became organist at Salisbury Cathedral, moving to Worcester in 1950.

He will be best remembered by many for his time as director of music at King’s College, Cambridge (1957-1974). He  leaves behind a considerable legacy in the shape of his arrangements and descants of Christmas carols (published in the five Carols for Choirs anthologies) and his recordings with the college choir.

During his time at King’s College, Willcocks also served as the organist of Cambridge University, conductor of the Cambridge University Musical Society, and as university lecturer. He was appointed music director of the Bach Choir in 1960.

After leaving Cambridge, he was appointed music director emeritus, and became director of the Royal College of Music, a post he held until 1984.

In the 1971 Queen’s Birthday Honours, he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and was made a Knight Bachelor in 1977 in the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Honours.

Music education figures welcome Jeremy Corbyn's new shadow cabinet

17 September 2015

Music education experts have reacted positively to the new shadow cabinet appointed by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Corbyn, who was elected as the new leader of the Labour Party last week, named the members of his shadow cabinet on 14 September.

They include Lucy Powell, Ed Miliband’s general election campaign coordinator and MP for Manchester Central, who has been appointed as the new shadow education secretary; and Michael Dugher, the former shadow transport secretary, who is the new Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

Jonathan Savage, reader in education at the Institute of Education at Manchester Metropolitan University (pictured), welcomed the appointment of Powell as shadow education secretary.

‘Powell, who was newly elected to the House of Commons in 2012, is a strong advocate for state education, having been educated herself at Parrs Wood High School and Xaverian Sixth Form College in Manchester,’ he said.

‘Her own children attend state secondary, primary and nursery schools in Manchester. She has campaigned on many educational issues in the past including the reduction of university tuition fees and the provision of specialist facilities for children with learning difficulties.’

Henry Vann, head of external affairs at the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), said the appointment of Michael Dugher as shadow culture secretary was also good news.

He said: ‘Michael Dugher has previously supported our concerns around tax breaks for orchestras and did some good work as chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Brass Bands.’

Vann also praised Corbyn’s positive vision for the arts in the run-up to his election as leader of the Labour Party.

He cited five pledges made during the Corbyn campaign: the maintenance of arts funding; a strong BBC, including investment in musicians; the protection of local education authority (LEA) funding; fair pay for creators; and the idea that every child should have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument.

Vann said: ‘The good news is that the argument about the importance of music education has won in the shape of Corbyn and his new team.

‘During the campaign, he set out his own views on education and the arts, and made a point of saying that the economy depends on the success of the creative sector. There was a real recognition of the importance of the arts to society as a whole.

‘We normally feel that it falls to us to make that statement, but with Corbyn it seems the door is already open. That was very promising and reassuring to everyone who saw it.

‘We would look forward to working with his team to develop those ideas into fully fledged policies.’

Tileyard Studios and Youth Music announce charity partnership

15 September 2015

Tileyard Studios will support Youth Music’s work through a new partnership. The creative hub will raise funds and create awareness of the charity.  

The studios will raise money from regular events and will keep its clients informed about Youth Music’s work, helping to promote industry engagement with the charity.

Youth Music aims to provide every child with access to music–making opportunities regardless of circumstances. Through almost 400 music projects around the country, it involves over 75,000 children every year, many of whom face challenges such as disability, special educational needs, poverty, rural isolation or living in care.  

Situated in Kings Cross, Tileyard Studios comprises a variety of studio and office space for clients including Mark Ronson, Basement Jaxx, JHO Management, Sound Advice, Featured Artists Coalition and the MMF. 

Youth Music’s chief executive Matt Griffiths said: 'Many artists and professionals within the music industry have shown an admirable dedication to charitable giving in the past, but few are aware that they could channel their philanthropic effort into creating music-making opportunities. These could help to transform the lives of many more young people in challenging circumstances. We really appreciate that Tileyard are offering to raise funds and helping us to bring our work to the attention of a new audience within the industry.'  

Tileyard Studios manager Nick Keynes said: 'We’re very pleased to support Youth Music which does such great work giving thousands of young people the chance to make music and achieve their creative potential. We look forward to working together towards achieving our shared vision that no child should be prevented from having the opportunity to develop their musical creativity by reason of their personal or family circumstances.'  

Youth Music

Guildhall School unveils latest selection of Creative Entrepreneurs

9 September 2015

© BasPhoto / Shutterstock.com

The Guildhall School of Music and Drama has revealed the latest members of its Creative Entrepreneurs scheme.

Seven Guildhall School alumni will be supported through the scheme to set up their own businesses or social enterprises.

They will take part in an intensive 12-month programme of training and support led by social enterprise Cause4 and delivered in partnership with the Guildhall School.
This is the third year of the scheme, which has incubated a total of 18 new businesses so far.

Successes from the past two years have included Song in the City, a charity that programmes classical concerts around inventive and challenging themes; Drum Works, a music education programme that confronts disengagement within schools; and Bach to Baby, a concert series for babies, toddlers and their parents.

This year’s successful alumni are Anna Pool (Workshopera), Fernando Machado (Lambrego), Jekaterina Sarigina (The Now Girls), Vincent Bruggeman (Lyribox), Ruth Mariner (Gestalt Arts), Theresa Goble (Vox Integra) and Andrea Berbegal (Unison Music Management).

They will receive training in vision development, business planning, marketing, sales and funding, and individual support will include the provision of mentoring, coaching and business plan development.

The growing ventures will inhabit a dedicated space in the Cause4 offices in London’s Liverpool Street. The aim of the scheme is to enable the entrepreneurs to develop sustainable businesses and secure seed funding by the end of the year.
Applications were assessed on the basis of the strength of the business concept, its readiness for development, the artistic quality of the venture and the anticipated contribution to the Guildhall School and its community.
The Creative Entrepreneurs programme has been devised by Professor Helena Gaunt, vice principal (research and academic development) at the Guildhall School, in partnership with Cause4.

Michelle Wright, chief executive of Cause4, is an alumna and fellow of the Guildhall School.  
Gaunt said: ‘This year’s cohort promises to be the strongest yet. We are demonstrating some excellent results from the businesses we have incubated in the last two years, and Guildhall Creative Entrepreneurs is fully embedded at the Guildhall, and set to expand.

‘There is no question that there is more for us to do to support performing artists in making their own careers in the contemporary cultural landscape, and this includes building yet stronger links between creative ideas, audience/customer needs, and sustainable business.’

Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation awards £630K in grants

8 September 2015

The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation has awarded 21 new grants worth over £630,000 to encourage young talent.

The grants aim to enhance arts education and to widen participation and engagement for those with challenging backgrounds or limited access to the arts through mentoring, training and hands-on experience.

The grants awarded include:
  • £50,000 to Little Kids Rock to further its music tuition programme across state schools in the US. Established as a charity in 2001, Little Kids Rock provides musical instruments, free tuition and performance opportunities to disadvantaged school children aged 5-18 across the US. It currently reaches approximately 200,000 students in state schools in 30 cities. 
  • £45,000 over three years to St George’s Bristol to fund its young composer’s academy. 90 music students aged 15-18 from across the south west will participate in a three year immersive, practical programme of workshops and masterclasses. The academy will focus on music composition of all genres, with opportunities to work with professional composers and musicians. There will be an opportunity for compositions to be performed at St George’s and ultimately to gain a professional, paid commission in year three as ‘St George’s Composer in Residence’.
  • £30,000 over three years to Future Talent’s career advice, performance and mentoring programme for 36 talented musicians from low income backgrounds from Yorkshire, north west, north east, east and west Midlands. 
  • £25,000 to English Schools Orchestra’s composing, improvising and performance project led by ESO musicians and music students from Goldsmiths, University of London. 30 A-Level, GCSE and vocational course music students from the Lewisham borough will receive professional music guidance and experience to those who would not otherwise have the opportunity for specialist teaching.
  • £16,800 to fund ten bursaries over two years at the National Youth Jazz Collective intensive summer school for talented young jazz musicians from low income families. 45 musicians aged 8-18 will participate in the week-long intensive residential course, working with renowned professional musicians and composers.
  • £16,485 to support the Hackney Empire Young Artists Company in learning all aspects of producing their own piece of musical theatre and gaining the skills and confidence to develop as professional artists. The project will take place over a period of one year in weekly evening sessions and intense weeks in the spring/summer holidays, culminating in a production at Hackney Empire and a tour to Edinburgh Festival in summer 2016.
  • £15,441 to DJ School UK for a collaborative project with West Yorkshire Playhouse and Yorkshire Dance. Taking place over four terms of weekly workshops, the project provides professional tuition and combines art forms of dance, DJing, music production, rapping, beatboxing and singing to produce original performance pieces and compositions at the end of each term. Each term up to 40 participants, aged 11-19, will be selected from diverse communities across Yorkshire, based on demonstrable talent, ability to adapt their skills in response to others and enthusiasm.
  • £10,000 to Stalham Brass Band towards brass band music tuition and instrument loan for young people in Norfolk.
Andrew Lloyd Webber said: ‘The creative industry in the UK is thriving, but to retain this vibrancy we need to support the talented young people of all backgrounds who are looking to take their first steps towards a career in the arts. I have been lucky enough to enjoy a successful career doing something that I love and am delighted that my foundation can support young creatives of the future.’ 

Lloyd Webber established the Foundation in 1992 to promote arts, culture and heritage. Since the active grant giving programme launched in 2010, it has awarded almost £11m to more than 250 recipients. 

Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation

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