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ABRSM to sponsor NYO Inspire Days

9 January 2012

ABRSM is to sponsor the National Youth Orchestra (NYO)’s Inspire Days, a series of workshops which give young musicians the opportunity to work with NYO members and experience the thrill of performing in an orchestra.

'The NYO brings together 165 teenagers every year who share our passion for music,’ said Guy Perricone, chief executive of ABRSM. 'We want to encourage them to pass on everything they’ve learned to other musicians, ensuring that their incredible passion for music radiates much further. The NYO inspires musicians and audiences up and down the country with events and performances that are not only musically excellent, but innovative and relevant to young people. We are delighted to be able to support the orchestra’s flagship outreach project.'

Inspire Days traditionally take place at the start of the NYO's spring and summer courses but will also run at other times during 2012. Under the terms of the sponsorship agreement, candidates taking ABRSM exams will also be offered discounted tickets for £5 to the NYO’s regional concerts, including those at The Sage Gateshead (12 April) and at Birmingham's Symphony Hall (1 August). NYO members will also feature in a series of short films and articles made available on ABRSM’s website over the course of the year.

'Making music at the highest possible level gives our members, and everyone they engage with, a profound sense of who they are and what they can be,' Sarah Alexander, NYO's chief executive and artistic director, explained. 'We are delighted to establish this partnership with ABRSM who care equally about giving young people the opportunity to take great steps forward and fulfil their potential.'

New competition for adult amateur pianists launched

6 January 2012

A new piano competition for adult amateurs has been launched, with prizes to include recordings and performances.

Yamaha, Chetham’s International Summer School and Festival for Pianists and Pianist magazine are behind the venture. ‘We wanted to produce a professional, well-organised and resourced showcase opportunity for the thousands of talented and passionate amateur pianists who love the piano and labour at home for hours on end, who yearn for an opportunity to play in a professional public setting with professional musicians,' said Leanne Barrell from Yamaha.

Prizes include a performance with the Manchester Camerata, a recording to be featured on Pianist magazine’s front cover CD plus an in-depth article inside, a free place on the 2013 Chetham’s International Summer School and a recital in Yamaha’s recital hall in central London.

Murray McLachlan, head of keyboard at Chetham’s School of Music, said, 'While practising and having lessons are relatively easy to arrange, it is much harder to find opportunities to perform and aim for goals away from grade exams and diplomas.

'This is where this new competition comes into its own. The prizes include valuable tuition from international performers and teachers, as well as golden opportunities for performance in front of large audiences at the Royal Northern College of Music concert hall and during the Chetham’s Summer School itself.’

The Competition is open to pianists over 30 years of age and features both classical and modern categories. Applicants need to submit an unedited CD of at least two contrasting works. Entries close on 1 May 2012, from which a number of short-listed semifinalists will be invited to perform before a jury in August 2012 at Chetham’s International Summer School in Manchester. Every entry will receive written comments from jury members on their performance.

A maximum of eight pianists will perform in the finals, which will be held at the Royal Northern College of Music on 22 August, in front of an audience and a jury which includes Noriko Ogawa, Michael Roll, Jason Rebello, Nikki Iles and Murray McLachlan.


Norwich music teacher wins Natwest Everywoman award

6 January 2012

A music teacher and performer from East Anglia has won the Artemis Award in the Under-25 category of the NatWest Everywoman Awards for female achievement in business.

Samantha Coe, who set up The Wharf Music Academy in Norwich, has, say the award's organisers, 'led the company to commercial success despite having to overcome extraordinary hurdles, not least starting from scratch when vandals destroyed her building'.
Coe, a vocalist and guitar player, performed with the girl band Wildflowers. She was mentored by Gary Barlow's right-hand man, Elliot Kennedy, and toured with Take That as part of their 2007 tour, as well as working with the musicians behind the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack. She used her teaching diploma and classically trained background to launch The Wharf Academy in 2009. Employing 'classical techniques with a contemporary approach to appeal to an X-Factor generation', she created a music school for all ages and abilities including those with learning difficulties.

'The award has been the most fantastic pat on the back for me, after what was a terribly difficult 2011,' said Coe. 'Our school was vandalised, flooded and robbed, we lost all equipment and our library, but the most devastating thing was losing the space we created at The Wharf Academy.' With the help of her sister, who has recently joined the business, Coe is now moving the school into a disused church in Norwich.

'The future looks bright,' she added. 'We have won the contract to supply the musical education to The Free School, Norwich, and intend to expand further into primary education as well as building our pupil base at the academy itself. I see the business trading from numerous branches around East Anglia and there's potential for further expansion, but for time being I'm extremely happy incorporating music and education and being an entrepreneur in Norfolk.'

Commenting on this year’s winners, everywoman co-founder Karen Gill MBE said, 'Every year the most incredible stories come to the fore through these inspiring awards. With media headlines predicting global financial strife, the NatWest everywoman Awards offer hope and inspiration to thousands of women who have a seed of an idea that they believe could translate to business success.'

'I can honestly say I never expected to win the award but it really has empowered me both as a musician, an educator and a business woman,' Coe told MT. 'I believe everybody should be able to sing and be involved in a musical education, regardless of age and ability, and this award has given me a platform to promote this. I hope to run more community activities and start a charitable arm of the business.'


Music teachers rewarded in New Year's Honours

6 January 2012

Many musicians, teachers and educators have been rewarded for their services in the Queen's New Year's Honours list.

Philanthropist and Musicians Benevolent Fund Council member Ian Stoutzker, who co-founded Live Music Now, receives an OBE for services to music, as does the Reverend Ronald Corp, Founder and Artistic Director of the New London Orchestra.

Ralph Allwood, who was precentor and director of music at Eton College for 26 years, until his retirement last Summer, receives an MBE for services to choral music.

Trevor Cowlett, a 79-year-old grandfather from Oxford, has spent 50 years singing Christmas carols to fellow villagers, raising £400,000 for charity. He has also arranged hundreds of choir concerts for more than 38 years and taught music to thousands of students from his home. He receives an MBE for services to music in Oxford.

Ealing Youth Orchestra founder John Railton receives an MBE for services to music, as does Charles Rawlinson for charitable services to young people and music.

Trumpeter Clarence Sarkodee-Adoo receives an MBE. He was paralysed after a car accident and has since pioneered the use of the Headspace synthesiser control instrument. An MBE also goes to Philip Moore Bolton, director of music at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution for services to Music in Northern Ireland.

In Scotland, an MBE is awarded to Marilyn Joy Smith, the conductor and musical director of the Glasgow Phoenix Choir, for services to music, and for services to Education and Music, to Valerie Moyes, a teacher at St. Ambrose High School, North Lanarkshire.

Leo Solomon, chairman of Grimsby, Cleethorpes and District Youth Orchestra, gets an MBE. The former teacher has been invited to Buckingham Palace on three occasions already but he has not yet met the Queen and will do so for the first time when he collects his honour. Admitting that his 'knees are knocking' at the prospect, he said: 'I have spent my life involved in music and teaching, but never expected anything like this would happen. I just hope I can get the bow right on the day.'

In South Wales, trumpeter Derek Holvey, conductor of the Four Counties Youth Orchestra, gets an MBE for services to Music in South East Wales, as does Walford John Hutchings, musical director of the Pontnewydd Male Voice Choir for services to Music and to the Community in Torfaen.

Roger John Pope, former head of Student Services at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and a music examiner for Trinity College London receives an MBE for services to higher education.

MBEs were also awarded to Dr Timothy James Thirst, for services to the Stalham Brass Band and to the community in Stalham, Norfolk, and to Mary Webster, for services to Music and Education in Kirkby Overblow and Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

Youth Music cuts staff from 45 to 17

6 January 2012

Youth Music is to cut its workforce from 45 to 17 as part of a restructuring. The cuts are being made to bring the organisation in line with the required reduction of central costs as a distributor of Lottery funds. Some staff have already left their jobs and the new structure is expected to be in place by 31 March 2012. The restructuring is expected to bring the organisation’s overheads down to 8% of its budget, thus allowing more money for grants, and follows criticism in the Henley review that the organisation was spending public money on communications and lobbying.

Current director of fundraising Leah Selinger moves to the role of fundraising and new business director and two other senior leadership posts - executive director and operations director - are currently being advertised. The current CEO, Christina Coker OBE, and director of programmes, Nick Howdle, will stay in their posts until the new appointments are made.

During this financial year Youth Music has distributed £6,506,660 in grants, with 117 organisations receiving money.  It will be awarding further grants at the end of March under the new Youth Music Programme. A spokesman told MT: 'Youth Music looks forward to progressing its mission positively in the context of the continually evolving music education landscape and in particular, the National Plan for Music Education.

'Despite what is obviously a difficult time for all at Youth Music, we are encouraged by Arts Council England’s decision to continue delegating Lottery funding to Youth Music from April 2013 through to March 2015, and the recognition of our role in ensuring that all children, however challenging their circumstances, will be able to experience a high quality music education within the framework outlined by the National Plan for Music Education.'


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