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Latest News

New dates added for ABRSM pre-exam seminars

24 August 2009

Four additional London dates have been added to the ABRSM's seminars offering exam candidates, their teachers and parents an insight into what is in store for them. Held in music shops, the ABRSM's London headquarters and other centres around the UK, the workshops are presented by Anthony Williams. They offer hints on how to maximise results in all parts of an exam: set pieces, scales, aural tests and sight-reading. All those attending receive a copy of the official ABRSM marking criteria, and they will see video examples of performances that achieved a variety of marks over a range of grades.

The first seminar takes place in Britsol on 12 September. More information from the ABRSM website

RCO study day focuses on the early C19th English organ

21 August 2009

John Kitchen, senior lecturer in music at Edinburgh University, will give a lecture-demonstration, masterclass and recital at St James's Church, Bermondsey, London SE16 on 26 September as part of a Royal College of Organists study day on the Early 19th-century English organ, with particular reference to the music of William Russell (1777-1813). Russell was organist of St Anne's LImehouse and of the Foundling Hospital Chapel, and pianist to Sadler's Wells Theatre. His two sets of organ voluntaries have recently been edited by Gillian Ward Russell and recorded by John Kitchen on the organ at St James's, which was built in 1829 and was innovative in its design, one of the first in the Uk to have a full pedal department. Restored in 2002 by Geotze & Gwynn, it is ideally suited to the music of Russell. Organ-builder Dominic Gwynn will provide an introduction to the study day. More information from the Royal College of Organists,

Young pianists gather for Manchester Concerto Competition

19 August 2009

The second Manchester International Concerto Competition for Young Pianists is taking place this week, in association with Rhinegold Publishing. The biennial event attracted 67 applications from 23 countries and the jury - pianist Leslie Howard, Piano magazine editor Jeremy Siepmann, and Stephen Threlfall, director of music at Chetham's School - invited 24 people to attend the semifinals. The final for those under 16 takes place on Thursday 20 August, and the final for those under 22 on Friday 21 August, both at 7.30pm at the Royal Northern College of Music. Masterclasses for competitors whodid not make it through to the final rounds take place from 10am both days and are open to the publich

Open day at the Farncombe Estate

19 August 2009

The Farncombe Estate in the Cotswolds will be holding a free open day on 13 September to celebrate the launch of its new course programme. Farncombe will be hosting over 300 courses from January to December 2010.

 Highlights of next year’s programme include Recorder Day on 30 January, Improve Your Viol Playing! From 5-7 March, Advanced Folk Fiddle from 30 April-2 May, Early Music Workshop on 13 June and a varied selection of music appreciation courses, including one on Wagner’s Ring Cycle from 4-6 June.   The courses, all aimed at adults, offer a flexible approach to learning with an emphasis on enjoyment and personal development.

Pro Corda launches opera course

18 August 2009

Pro Corda has launched a new opera course as part of a series of courses exploring the performing arts through ensemble training. The ‘Pro Corda Plus: Opera’ course was piloted last year under the direction of Susan Singh, who for many years trained the child performers at English National Opera.

This year’s course will run during half term from 26 October – 1 November and will be open to young musicians aged 10  - 18 who wish to explore the world of opera production. The curriculum will focus on all aspects of opera production, and in addition to the full company and smaller group rehearsals, all participants will take part in choreography classes and creative musicianship sessions. New incidental music will be developed and incorporated into the final production. Participants will also work with a leading set designer and in the technical theatre classes to design and build the set, design the lighting and make the costumes.

The cost of attending is £580, which includes all tuition and full board accommodation. Some means-tested bursaries are available. To apply, complete the online form. For any other queries call 01728 831354 or email

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