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Clara Taylor, chief examiner of ABRSM, dies aged 61

6 July 2010

© Gary Rowsel

Clara Taylor, Chief Examiner of exam board ABRSM, has died at the age of 61. She had been due to retire from the post at the end of July.

During her time at ABRSM Taylor visited many countries to give seminars and workshops to music teachers, and was responsible for the administration of all ABRSM examiners both in the UK and in ABRSM's many outposts across the world.

In response to the news, Guy Perricone, Chief Executive of ABRSM, said: 'Everyone at ABRSM is greatly saddened to hear the news of Clara’s untimely death, and our thoughts are with her family at this time.

'Clara was a fine teacher who struck the perfect balance between true professionalism in terms of maintaining standards and being incredibly approachable and human.

'All examiners and staff were totally devoted to her, and there will not be one amongst us who will not miss her musical authority, company and warm humour.'

Taylor was appointed Chief Examiner to ABRSM in 1997, having been an examiner, moderator and trainer. She examined in every session each year. She was responsible for the selection, training and moderation of all ABRSM examiners, as well as their ongoing professional development, and led a series of seminars for the examining panels each year.

Taylor studied at the Royal Academy of Music and, on graduating, was immediately appointed to the professorial staff as a vocal coach. At that time she combined teaching with a performing career, accompanying many well-known recitalists in many parts of the world and appearing regularly at Wigmore Hall and the South Bank. She also performed and made a number of recordings with the Vanbrugh and Alberni quartets.

Her past students include Dame Felicity Lott and winners of the Kathleen Ferrier Prize, the Royal Over-Seas League and the Young Welsh Singer of the Year. Many of her former students are now well known in the profession.

The Wreck of the Titanic: Premiere, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, 1 July

2 July 2010

Hundreds of young people from various music groups across the North West of England, from Wider Opportunities to county youth orchestras, joined the professional Lancashire Sinfonietta for a well-received performance of David Bedford's new education work The Wreck of the Titanic on 1 July. A further performance will take place Friday 2 July at Preston Guild Hall.

An ongoing project, and a collaboration between the music services of Cumbria, Lancashire and Liverpool, there are plans for more performances of the work to coincide with the eponymous ship's centenary in 2012. The project will be profiled in more depth in future editions of MT; Glyn Môn Hughes, a regular contributor to MT, has written this review for the Liverpool Daily Post.


Youth Music Voices to launch at The Garage, Norwich, 18 July

2 July 2010

The launch event for the Youth Music Voices Ensemble – the 150-strong choir set to perform under the auspices of Youth Music at the 2012 London Cultural Olympiad – will take place at The Garage, Norwich on 18 July.

The best young singers will be recruited from regional events, choirs and vocal groups to take part in a second phase of workshops and, from these, may be selected to join the Youth Music Voices Ensemble of 150 exceptional young singers aged 16 – 21 to perform on the eve of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The initial selection process continues with nine workshops in regions across the country over the next year, including: 31 October, Birmingham CBSO Centre; 16 January, SAGE Gateshead; 30 January, London Royal Opera House; 6 February, SAGE Gateshead; 27 February, London, Royal Opera House. Remaining workshop dates and venues are yet to be confirmed.

Youth Music Voices is a partnership between London 2012 and Youth Music to give young people the opportunity to take part in group singing, and showcase their talent around the UK.


The British Kodály Association Summer School, 8-15 August

1 July 2010

The British Kodály Association will run its 28th International Summer School and Singers’ Course from 8-15 August at the University of Leicester. Courses and activities will include: Solfege and musicianship; choral conducting; Kodály methodology for beginners or experienced teachers; vocal tuition (optional extra); evening activities to include folk dancing, instrumental recital and a vocal workshop; three choirs (SATB, SSA and Foundation); and a portion of the 'Springboard' Kodály Certificate Courses.

The summer school is open to anyone interested in developing either their own musical capability or their teaching skills. Classes, are taken by Kodály experts from Britain and Hungary, and are available at a range of levels, from the complete beginner to professional musicians and teachers who are looking to further their expertise in using the Kodály Approach.


Arts Council Wales cuts funding to 32 Revenue Funded Organisations

30 June 2010

Arts Council Wales (ACW) will withdraw its regular funding from 32 arts groups and institutions at the end of the current financial year as the result of an investment review of its Revenue Funded Organisations (RFOs). Among the groups affected are the North Wales International Music Festival, Swansea Festival of Music and the Arts, Llangollen’s International Musical Eisteddfod, the Hay Festival, and the Film Agency for Wales.

Organisations will be able to apply for per-project funding for specific programmes and ACW has announced a transitional package of support plans for those organisations which will lose funding, entitled ‘Making the change’.

ACW’s chair, Dai Smith, said: ‘We've looked carefully at what we can support. We started this process a long time ago. It's never been about cuts, it's been about using taxpayer's money well. We're not using the worsening economic climate as a convenient excuse, nor are we deflecting responsibility onto potential government funding cuts that might come at some point in the future. These are our decisions, and we take responsibility for them.’


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