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John Woolrich appointed to run Dartington International Summer School

16 February 2010

Composer John Woolrich has been announced as the new artistic director of Dartington International Summer School, in succession to Gavin Henderson who steps down in August at the end of this year's summer school and festival.

Founded in 1953 at Dartington Hall near Totnes, Devon, the event is held over five weeks in July and August and attracts more than 1,600 music-makers annually from across the globe for its programme of masterclasses, workshops and concerts, catering for all ranges of ability, from beginners and amateurs to conservatoires students and professional musicians. 'It was at Dartington that my group, the Composers Ensemble, was given time, space and encouragement to experiement and develop, so I really do appreciate how important the opportunities are that the summer school provides to participants, both in terms of structured playing and learning, as well as the non-structured opportunities, presented by chance meetings and informal networking amongst some of the world’s most promising musicians,' said Woolrich, who has been associated with Dartington for 25 years. He founded the Composers Ensemble in 1991, is artistic associate of the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, and has been associate artistic director of the Aldeburgh Festival since 2004.

Woolrich has been appointed to Dartington on a three-year contract for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 seasons, and will start work alongside Gavin Henderson in March this year. The 2010 will celebrate Henderson's 26-year term as artistic director, and the enormous impact he has had on countless artists, composers and participants.

New management structure for Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance

11 February 2010

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance has announced a restructuring of its executive management. The reorganisation is a natural outcome of the 2005 merging of Trinity College of Music with dance school Laban, which saw Derek Aviss from Trinity and Anthony Bowne from Laban appointed as heads of their respective disciplines, becoming Joint Principals in 2006. Now, the board has agreed with the Joint Principals that their roles should be further refined and re-defined. At a meeting on 28 January, Bowne was unanimously confirmed as sole Principal and Accounting Officer, to take effect from September. Aviss will become Executive Director and will take the lead in certain strategic development areas, with a mission to keep the institution at the forefront of developments both artistic and in the world of higher education.

Mirella Bartrip, currently Deputy Director of Laban, will become the new Director of Dance. There will also be an international search to appoint a new Director of Music in advance of Trinity Deputy Principal John Heighway’s retirement in July. Chairman of the board of governors Sir Robert Scott said, ‘This is an exciting time for Trinity Laban. Over the last five years Anthony Bowne and Derek Aviss have worked together extremely successfully to bring Trinity Laban to a place of artistic excellence and financial stability. As we move forward into an increasingly challenging financial climate we feel certain that this new structure will help provide clarity for the organisation in terms of both vision and leadership.’

Julian Lloyd Webber in conversation on the life and legacy of Elgar in Worcestershire on 13 March

10 February 2010

An insight into Sir Edward Elgar’s life, work and legacy will be presented on Saturday 13 March when Julian Lloyd Webber, president of the Elgar Society, wil join society chairman Steven Halls for an afternoon of conversation at the Elgar Birthplace Museum in Lower Broadheath, Worcestershire. Starting at 2.30pm, the afternoon is entitled ‘In Conversation with Julian Lloyd Webber’. Entry is by ticket only, priced at £10. All net proceeds will go to the museum. Contact Ernie Kay, branch events secretary: or 01684 567917.

£200,000 windfall for UK choirs from BBC Performing Arts Fund and Making Music

10 February 2010

The BBC Performing Arts Fund, in association with Making Music, has awarded over £200,000 to choirs and singing groups from around the UK through its Choral Ambition scheme.
From the 350 applications that were received, 98 choirs – with a total of almost 6,000 choir members between them – will receive funding, which will go towards 14 commissions of new music and 84 projects including training for choirs and choir leaders; workshops open to the public to help choirs attract new members and engage with their communities; support to tackle ambitious new repertoires and support to put on large scale events.
For example, Vox Rocks, a choir based in St Neots, Cambridgeshire, will use the grant to support its campaign to engage boys in singing in harmony, using specially-arranged rock numbers which are on their wavelength rather than traditional choral music. Once hooked, they move on to other styles. ‘We are thrilled to have the grant from the BBC,’ said spokesperson Francesca Lasman. ‘We have already booked the ACM gospel choir for a workshop in February half term!’
According to Robin Osterley, Chief Executive of Making Music, the winners of the Choral Ambition awards, many of them Making Music members, came up with a diverse and interesting range of projects. ‘As a result of this programme we expect to see the world of choral singing expanding even further, with hundreds of new singers, better trained choirs, and a range of new musical opportunities.’

New chamber ensemble Reedplay to launch on 8 February with a concert at London's Purcell Room

2 February 2010

New works by Tim Watts, Paul Foster and Jeffery Wilson will be given world premieres on 8 February at the launch concert of new clarinet, saxophone and piano trio Reedplay. Watts, the group's pianist, has named his work after the new group. Paul Foster's work, a Scherzo for alto saxophone, bass clarinet and piano, won Reedplay's inaugural composition competition, organised in partnership with the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Jeffery Wilson, the group's saxophonist, will perform his Iconic Sonata for tenor saxophone and piano.

Reedplay was formed with a mission to 'bridge the worlds of Baroque and Jazz, breathe fresh life into the classics and air both neglected masterpieces and new works'. The concert wil be at the Purcell Room at 7.45pm. Tickets are £12, £6 concessions. Box Office: 0844 875 0073

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