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Latest News

More developments regarding alleged abuse at music schools

10 May 2013

The double bassist Duncan McTier has today (9 May) been arrested by police investigating sexual abuse at Manchester music schools, on suspicion of indecent assault. He is the second man to be arrested as part of Operation Kiso, an investigation by Greater Manchester Police into allegations of abuse at both Chetham's School of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM). Violinist Wen Zhou Li, who teaches at bth institutions, has been suspended pending the result of police investigations into an allegation of rape. Duncan McTier now teaches at the Royal Academy of Music, London, but was formerly on the staff of the RNCM.

Operation Kiso was triggered by the trial and conviction of Michael Brewer for indecent assault on Frances Andrade, who killed herself before knowing the outcome of the trial, when she was a violin student at Chetham's and Brewer was its music director. This week the Guardian revealed that the police are investigating 39 teachers from Chetham's and the RNCM, following allegations from more than 30 former pupils. Five of those accused are now dead, but police say that otherwise they would have been facing trial. Ten individuals are 'proactively being investigated', according to newspaper reports this week, and there are 'many others who are also part of the inquiry' Some are from third-party reports, and police stress that the victims themselves need to get in touch if any action is to be taken against offenders.   
Chetham's has submitted an action plan to the department of education following last months' criticisms by a joint inspectorate of its policies and practice.
Meanwhile, the Yehudi Menuhin School is cooperating with Surrey Police over allegations in a Channel 4 news report broadcast this week that its founding music director, the late Marcel Gazelle, abused at least three girls in the school in the 1970s. The violinist Nigel Kennedy said that when he was a pupil at the school  some of his female colleagues told him they were being abused by Gazelle, and an anonymous victim described how she was 'scared of him and wanted to please him and stop him being cross'. The report claimed that all five of the UK's specialist music schools are implicated in accusations of abuse, with some teachers moving on to other institutions when questions were raised about their treatment of their pupils.
More on this story can be found on the website of our sister magazine Classical Music

Music Mark calls for contributions to its first symposium

30 April 2013

The new UK Association for Music Education - Music Mark, formed through the amalgamation of the National Association of Music Educators and the Federation of Music Services, has announced its first symposium, to be held on15 June at the CBSO Centre, Birmingham. The theme is 'The Potential of Music - Progression and Pedagogy'. Chief executive Virginia Hawarth-Galt has requested written reports, documents, research materials and case studies relating to those areas which can be disseminated as part of the symposium and then held on the Music Mark website for others to access. The programme for the symposium and booking forms are available now at

Sound and Music plans new deal for composers in higher education

30 April 2013

A development programme for exceptionally talented composers in higher education has been launched by Sound and Music (SAM), the national organisation for new music, as part of a raft of initiatives announced on 30 April by chief executive Susanna Eastburn.

The move follows last year's criticism of SAM under its previous leadership for failing to support young and unestablished composers since it was set up in 2008 to incorporate the Society for the Promotion of New Music, British Music Information Centre, Sonic Arts Network, and Contemporary Music Network. Ms Eastburn took up her post in September 2012 and instigated a consultation process which has resulted in a new programme framework.
Making the announcement, Ms Eastburn said 'SAM has reformed itself, and now, with this framework, we can work with others to transform the future of new music. It features the best of what the organisation has developed in the past, together with new programmes that address gaps and open up new areas of opportunity.'
The higher education programme will run in partnership with NMC Recordings. Every institution in the country will be able to nominate one of their student composers for a chance to join in the programme. Those selected will compose a piece for the 2014 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and some of those will be recorded for release on NMC. 
Existing programmes that will be developed in 2013 include 'Minute of Listening', the software application for schools that encourages listening and reflection by primary schoolchildren; 'Listen Imagine Compose', the nationwide action research programme looking at how composition can be better taught in schools, and how it can be beneficial to pupils in terms of their creative and social development; and the SAM summer school for composers aged 14-18.

Young tenor scoops Catherine Judge Award

29 April 2013

Tenor Michael bell, a pupil of Belfast Royal Academy, has won the 2013 Catherine Judge memorial Award of a £5,000 bursary towards his third-level studies.

The award is open to school pupils on both sides of the irish border, and was created as a way of supporting a new generation of musical talent, in memory of Catherine Judge, an employee of the Bank of Ireland who died in August 2005. It is part of the bank's secondary schools programme and is presented annually to an exceptional solo classical musician who is going on to study music at university or conservatoire.
This year's competition was held at Queen's University, Belfast, on 20 April and attracted ten entrants representing a range of musical disciplines. The judging panel was chaired by pianist Una Hunt, assisted by Tamas Kocsis, leader of the Ulster Orchestra, and Dr Joe McKee, former head of the City of Belfast School of Music.
Michael Bell will be taking up a choral scholarship at St John's College, Cambridge, in September. His winning recital programme consisted of works by J S Bach, Britten and Mozart.

Celtic fringes claim the Songs of Praise choral crowns

29 April 2013

The High School of Glasgow and St Patrick's Primary from Pennyburn, County Derry, in Northern Ireland, have won the senior and junior sections respectively of the BBC Songs of Praise School Choir of the Year Competition 2013. Three schools in each category took part in the competition final, which was held at the BT Convention Centre, Liverpool, and was broadcast in BBC One on 22 April.

Each choir sang a hymn in the semi-final round and an inspirational song in the final. St Patrick's, conducted by Ursula Cullen and accompanied by Trevor Burnside, gave a moving performance of 'On eagle's wings' by Mark Joncas in their semifinal and then left jury member Suzi Digby with 'nothing to criticise' in a performance of the spiritual 'Joshua fit the battle of Jericho' which she described as 'loaded with drama'. The other two schools in the junior final were from Putney High School south London, and Hymers College, Hull. Glasgow High School, conducted by Frikki Walker and accompanied by Neil Macfarlane, sang 'O God you search me' by Bernadette Farrell in their semifinal round and 'Praise his holy name' by Keith Hampton in the final. They competed against Grosvenor Grammar School from Belfast and Tonbridge Grammar School from Kent. David Grant and Myleene Klass were on the judging panel alongside Suzi Digby for both categories. 

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