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2012 BBC Young Musician semi finals to be held at Royal Welsh College

4 January 2012

More than 400 young performers have taken part in the regional auditions for this year’s BBC Young Musician competition, 25 of whom will go through to the category finals on 5-9 March, with the semi-final on 11 March. Both events will be held at the new Dora Stoutzker Hall at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff.

Paul Bullock, series editor of BBC Young Musician said he is 'thoroughly looking forward to welcoming a new wave of outstanding young musical talent to Cardiff', adding, 'We’re also delighted to be returning to the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, where we will enjoy the outstanding new facilities and the excellent acoustics of the Dora Stoutzker Hall which opened earlier this year.'

Five performers per category (strings, wind, brass, percussion and piano) will perform in front of a panel and audience at the category finals, with the five winners going on to the semi-final. From these just three will go through to the BBC Young Musician 2012 Final in May. The performances will be recorded for broadcast on BBC Four and BBC Two.

To launch the week, BBC Young Musician includes an evening of short recitals at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama on 4 March as part of Music Nation Cymru, with performances from past winners violinist Jennifer Pike (2002), trombonist Peter Moore (2008) and percussionist Lucy Landymore (BBC Young Musician 2010 Percussion Category Winner).

For the latest news, history of the competition and to see previous performances, visit www.bbc.co.uk/youngmusician

MIA music awards honour top music suppliers of 2011

4 January 2012

Many of the country’s best known music and music education suppliers have taken top awards in the 2011 Music Industries Association (MIA) Music Awards. The awards aim to celebrate the whole industry, 'honouring the best-selling and most reliable and innovative products and retail initiatives in the UK and celebrating the top individuals and organisations within the musical instrument industry'. Organisers say it has been 'a challenging year' and that the awards 'provided a much needed opportunity to acknowledge the professionals and organisations who continue to drive forward creativity and innovation'.

There were 25 categories, 'celebrating and rewarding success in every sector of the industry', and in a departure from previous years retailers were able to nominate themselves. The winners of more than half the categories were decided by online voting, while the remaining categories were judged by panels.

Classical category, sponsored by Classic FM:

  • Best Wind – Windcraft WCL-100 Bb Clarinet – Windcraft Ltd
  • Best Stringed – Yamaha C40 Classical Guitar – Yamaha Music Europe GmbH (UK)
  • Best Keyboard – Yamaha Clavinova CLP-470 Digital Piano – Yamaha Music Europe GmbH (UK)
  • Best Classical Publication – Oxford Service Music for Organ: Manuals and Pedals, Book 1 Compiled and edited by Anne Marsden Thomas – Oxford University Press
  • Best Classical Music Instrument Shop – Dawkes Music

Music Publishing:

  • Best Education Publication – Violin Globetrotters – Ros Stephen – Oxford University Press
  • Best Pop Publication – Adele 21 PVG – Music Sales Ltd


  • Sponsored by Musikmesse Frankfurt: Best Export Initiative – Denis Wick Products Ltd
  • Sponsored by NAMM: Living Legend – Cliff Cooper; Music Maker Award – Playsomething


  • Sponsored by Future Music and Music Radar: The Future Music Music Hardware of the Year – nord stage 2 – Sound Technology Ltd
  • Sponsored by Total Guitar and Music Radar: The Total Guitar Amplifier of the Year – Blackstar HT-1R – Blackstar Amplification Ltd
  • Sponsored by Computer Music and Music Radar: The Computer Music Music Software of the Year – Propellerhead Reason 5 – Sound Technology Ltd
  • Sponsored by Guitar Techniques and Music Radar: The Guitar Techniques Acoustic Guitar of the Year – Vintage VE2000GG Gordon Giltrap Signature Guitar – John Hornby Skewes & Co Ltd
  • Sponsored by Rhythm and Music Radar: The Rhythm Percussion Product of the Year – Natal Bubinga Drums – Marshall Amplification plc
  • Sponsored by Guitarist and Music Radar: The Guitarist Electric Guitar of the Year – James Tyler Variax JTV-69 – Line 6 UK Ltd
  • Sponsored by Music Radar: Music Radar Music Making App of the Year – SampleWiz – Wizdom Music


  • Sponsored by MPA Catalogue of Printed Music: Printed Music Retailer of the Year – Peter McMullin – Blackwell Music, Oxford
  • Sponsored by Musicguard: Best Independent Retailer – Anderton’s Music Co Ltd; Best Multiple Retailer – musicroom
  • Sponsored by sgm-FX: Best Specialist Retailer – Jonathan Myall Music


  • Printed Music Publisher of the Year – Oxford University Press
  • Best Supplier (small) – Guitar XS Ltd
  • Best Supplier (medium) – Barnes and Mullins Ltd
  • Sponsored by Moneyway: Best Supplier (large) – Roland (UK) Ltd


Curriculum review delayed but with good news for music

23 December 2011

The government is to delay the launch of its new national curriculum until 2014 to allow for further debate as part of its current curriculum review. The review, of the primary and secondary national curriculum in English schools, was launched by the Department for Education (DfE) in January 2011 and was scheduled to be published in January 2012 for implementation in 2013, but is now expected to be published at the end of 2012.

Despite the delay, music is generally deemed to have done well in the recommendations so far. The Expert Panel responsible for the curriculum review has recommended that music should be a statutory part of the curriculum, not just in Key Stages 1 to 3, but at Key Stage 4 too. The subject is to stay as a foundation subject in Key Stages 1, 2 and 3, while at KS4, music and art have been designated as ‘the Arts’ and will be a compulsory part of the basic curriculum of the school, with the school free to choose how it is delivered. The increased provision at Key Stage 4 has arisen from the view of the Expert Panel that students in England focus too soon on too narrow a range of subjects.

However, there have been criticisms that the number of teacher training places will be insufficient to support the increased provision. ‘While the curriculum review is announcing that there will in future be more music in the curriculum at Key Stage 4, the publication of teacher training allocations provided for fewer teachers to teach it,’ said James Garnett, chair of the National Association of Music Educators (NAME). ‘Music, along with eight other subjects, is having the number of teacher training places cut by 13% in 2012, following the 32% cut in 2011.’

But in spite of these concerns, the new developments have been broadly welcomed. Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), said, ‘This is promising news for music education and the whole music profession. The review panel’s comprehensive report should be taken on board by the government and headteachers in schools across England. Whilst there is more to do, this is an important step forward.’

Secretary of state for education, Michael Gove, has already hinted to the BBC that music will be included in the new national curriculum. ‘Anyone looking at the care and dedication that’s gone into the National Music Plan would assume that it would be eccentric of the Department for Education not to have music enjoying a prominent place in the national curriculum,’ said Gove, speaking on BBC Radio 3’s Music Matters.

The DfE says it hopes the report will help generate ‘public discussion and constructive contributions’ to the curriculum review. An update on the Review of the National Curriculum in England can be found on the DfE website: www.education.gov.uk/schools/teachingandlearning/curriculum/nationalcurriculum/a0075667/national-curriculum-review-update

RSNO praises Scottish community music project

22 December 2011

A community music project involving participants from the north east of Scotland is to be used as 'a benchmark for success' by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO). The resulting composition, Northlight, was put together by composer Cecilia McDowall, writer Alan Spence and musicians from the RSNO after more than eight months of work by participants of all ages and abilities living in the north east of Scotland. The work, for chorus and orchestra, took its inspiration from the geography and communities of the area.

Groups involved in the project included St Fergus School,  Aberdeen Youth Choir, the Burns Quoir, including members of the Junior Burns Project, Tullos Primary School, Aberdeen, and staff from the project’s sponsor, TOTAL E&P UK Ltd, in conjunction with Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council.

The work was performed by a community chorus, along with members of the RSNO Chorus and the RSNO at the Music Hall, Aberdeen. Organisers say the project will be used by the orchestra as 'a successful example of how arts organisations and local communities can come together in a meaningful way to produce long-lasting legacies'.

Director of Education and Community Partnerships, Ellen Thomson, said, 'it was a huge privilege for the RSNO to run the Northlight project. We set out to take the inspirational experiences of live music-making to the North East and to celebrate this with a full-scale orchestral concert with opportunities for people to take part regardless of their musical experiences.

'The commitment given to the project by individuals combined with the enthusiasm of all the choirs was a joy to see. We are looking forward to sharing the success of our work and the challenges we overcame throughout this eight-month project.'

Joss Atkin, head teacher of Tullos Primary School said her children 'really engaged with the project. It gave them the opportunity to be creative and original. I think they really enjoyed working as a team but also taking guidance from the professionals. The opportunity to work with other groups helped raise the profile of classical music within these communities.'

'The public performance offered pupils a unique opportunity to perform live with professional musicians, where they were supported by a large turnout of family members.' said Ruth MacKenzie, headteacher at St Fergus Primary School. 'Participating in this project was quite inspirational and we'd love to do something similar again. It really was a community project.'

Live Music Bill makes progress

22 December 2011

The Live Music Bill, which is currently going through Parliament, could improve the fortunes of live music in small venues, including schools and student productions.

'This Bill, which will deregulate small live music events, could not come at a more critical time said Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM). It is vital that it makes it into law before Easter. This is about protecting musicians' rights.'

Since the introduction of the 2003 Licensing Act, live music in small venues has seen a decline, with, according to the ISM, over-regulation and the cost of getting a licence putting musicians and their venues off putting on small scale events. The ISM has helped lead campaigning against the Act and in support of the Live Music Bill to help remove these restrictions. The Bill now needs to pass through its final two stages before it becomes law.

Annetts added, 'This will free up musicians, audiences and venues across the UK. It will boost the small live music event economy which feeds our wider music economy and it will stop unfair and unnecessary regulations and costs from restricting music making. It is good news for the economy and we are delighted that the government parties and opposition are backing the Bill.'

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