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Brazillian youth orchestra, based in South America's second-biggest favela, comes to London

7 October 2010

The Sinfônica Heliópolis, the youth orchestra of Brazil's Instituto Baccarelli, will give a concert of Dvorák and Villa-Lobos at London's St John's, Smith Square on Friday October 15.

The Instituto was formed in 1996 by conductor Silvio Baccarelli, from the ashes of a devastating fire in Sao Paolo's Heliópolis favela - the second-biggest slum in the South American continent.

From an original intake of 36 string players, the school is now home to nearly 2,500 students. Its patron is the Indian conductor Zubin Mehta.

Full programme:

Dvorák - Slave Dance Op.46

Villa-Lobos - Bachianas Brasilieras

Dvorák - Symphony No.8

Contact the Box Office of St John's Smith Square for tickets on +44 20 7222 1061



London Music Masters' Agata Szymczewska to debut with LPO, 13 Oct, Festival Hall

29 September 2010

Violinist Agata Szymczewska will make her debut with the London Philharmonic Orchestra on 13 October at the Royal Festival Hall, London. Szymczewska will perform Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in a concert which also includes William Walton's Symphony no.1 and the UK premiere of Magnus Lindberg's 'Al Largo'.

From 2009 to 2012, Szymczewska is one of three holders of the London Music Masters Award, which is given to three young concert violinists by music and education charity London Music Masters (LMM). With each of her fellow holders, Jennifer Pike and Elena Urioste, Szymczewska received a grant of £10,000 to put towards 'the enhancement of her musical career', just part of a prize which also includes recital dates and mentoring.

However, what is unique in the LMM Awards is that the winners are expected to participate in the Bridge Project, LMM's music education work in two Lambeth primary schools, Ashmole Primary and Jessop Primary. The three soloists regularly visit the schools to give recitals and workshops, supplementing the comprehensive programme of instrumental learning.

Currently, 250 children aged from 4 - 8 are involved in the Bridge Project, with those in the first year taking part in whole-class musicianship teaching, those in the next two years receiving violin tuition in pairs and small groups, and, finally, those in the fourth year either receiving individual violin tuition or being given support to find another instrument through the local music service.

For more information about LMM, visit the website here.

To book tickets for Agata Szymczewska's concert on 13 October, click here.

London Schools Symphony Orchestra concert: 'Russian Greats', Barbican, 28th September

27 September 2010

The London Schools Symphony Orchestra (LSSO) will present a concert of 'Russian Greats' at London's Barbican Hall on Tuesday 28th September. Guest pianist Aleksandar Madžar will Rachmaninov's third piano concerto, while the programme also includes Glinka's Overture to Ruslan and Ludmilla and Stravinsky's classic ballet score Petrouchka.

The LSSO is the top performing group at the Centre for Young Musicians, a Centre for Advanced Training administered by the City of London on behalf of all subscribing London boroughs.

Full programme

Rachmaninov Concerto No 3 in D minor for Piano & Orchestra, Op 30
Glinka Overture to Ruslan and Ludmilla
Stravinsky Petrouchka (1947 version)



Musical Futures launches Young Champions programme

27 September 2010

Musical Futures is searching for a team of 'young champions' which will offer peer support to users of NUMU.org, the website where children from participating Musical Futures schools can upload and share tracks with fellow pupils.

Young champions will be expected to offer support on the website throughout the school year, making suggestions to site users, offering posiive feedback on their tracks, and answerig any questions they might have about Musical Futures or NUMU.org.uk. They will also write regular blogs for the site based on their own musical experiences, and comment on music making which is happening in their region.

Participants will work towards a silver arts award while working on the programme, and are expected to be 'good coomunicators, responsible and committed, and comfortable with multimedia and with online networking'.

All applications must be supported by a teacher and the closing date for applications is 22nd October 2010.

For further information contact Abigail D’Amore, Musical Futures Project Leader: tel 07837 631492, email Abigail.damore@googlemail.com



Education Secretary Gove announces independent review of UK music education

24 September 2010

The Department for Education today announced a widely-expected review of music education, and confirmed that it would be led by Darren Henley, Managing Director of Classic FM and chair of the Music Manifesto Partnership and Advocacy Group (MMPAG) until it was disbanded earlier this month.

In an open letter to Henley, Gove outlined a number of broadly positive assumptions which presumably reflect current thinking at the highest levels of the coalition government. These include: 

  • 'Government priorities recognise music as an enriching and valuable academic subject with important areas of knowledge that need to be learnt, including how to play an instrument and to sing.'
  • 'Secondary benefits of a quality music education are those of increased self esteem and aspirations; improved behaviour and social skills; and improved academic attainment in areas such as numeracy, literacy and language. There is evidence that music and cultural activity can further not only the education and cultural agendas but also the aspirations for the Big Society.'
  • 'Public funding should be used primarily to meet the government priorities of every child having the opportunity to learn a musical instrument and to sing.'
Henley has been given a broad remit to make recommendations for changes to be implemented no earlier than 2012/2013 (and asked for recomendations for a 'transitional stage' in 2011/12).

Gove was quoted as saying: 'It’s a sad fact that too many children in state schools are denied the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument. Evidence suggests that learning an instrument can improve numeracy, literacy and behaviour. But more than that, it is simply unfair that the joy of musical discovery should be the preserve of those whose parents can afford it.'

Henley announced an initial call for evidence, adding: 'Having worked closely with leading music educators and thinkers over the past few years, I know how much of a positive difference high quality music education makes to children's lives. I am looking forward to delivering to ministers a report which outlines how we can ensure that every child in England benefits from a world-beating music education system.'

The full press release, letter and a full remit of the review are available here.

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