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Dame Fanny Waterman awarded honorary membership of RPS

19 July 2011

The co-founder and director of the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition, pianist and teacher Dame Fanny Waterman, has been made an honorary member of the Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) in recognition of her outstanding services to music, and services to the piano in particular.

The award, made by the society in 2010, was presented by RPS Chairman John Gilhooly at a piano recital by Andràs Schiff at the Royal Hall, Harrogate on 17 July. Now in her 90s, Dame Fanny continues to travel the world as a juror of international piano competitions. In presenting the certificate of honorary membership, Gilhooly commented: 'It is with great joy that we have finally managed to make her pause long enough, in her beloved Yorkshire, to receive this very special award.'

In its citation, the Council of the Royal Philharmonic Society said: 'Both as a concert pianist, and later as a teacher, Fanny is led by her passion for music and rigorously high standards. Her status as a teacher is now legendary: she has inspired and instructed generations of musicians, both in person and through the millions of copies of her teaching books sold around the world.'

National Children's Orchestra opens applications for 2012 members

15 July 2011

The National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain (NCO) has opened applications for children aged 7-13 to audition for a place in one of its five 2012 orchestras. Over 900 young musicians auditioned in 2010 with almost 500 successfully gaining a place.

All NCO members must reaudition annually, meaning that every child stands an equal chance of being accepted. Applicants do not need to have taken formal grade exams, and full bursaries are available to assist those who may have financial concerns. Auditions begin in October, in venues around the country.

To audition on an orchestral instrument, young musicians must submit an application form which can be downloaded from www.nco.org.uk. For further information about the NCO auditions or about the NCO in general, visit www.nco.org.uk or telephone 01934 418855.

Sistema Scotland announces new musical director

15 July 2011

Sistema Scotland has announced the appointment of violinist Francis Cummings as its new director of music.

Cummings is currently director of music at St Mary’s School in Edinburgh, Scotland’s only full-time specialist music school. He will take up the new appointment in August.

Cummings has held teaching posts at the University of Huddersfield, University of Lancaster and Chetham’s School of Music. He is a former leader of the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and took up the post of director of music at St Mary’s Music School in April 2007.

Sistema Scotland Chairman Richard Holloway said: 'A recently published evaluation commissioned by the Scottish Government shows Big Noise is having a huge social impact in Raploch. Good behaviour, confidence, self-esteem and pride are on the rise.

'We are proud of the music that has been made too, and the work of our existing team of 16 musicians – but we are upping the musical stakes now. The children have given us no option. Many of them have revealled a talent and a hunger to excel which we feel obliged to match.

'We are matching it with Francis Cummings. I am utterly thrilled that we have secured the services of such an eminent artist and educator. St Mary’s is very highly regarded and we want the same excellence for Raploch.'

Sistema Scotland Director Nicola Killean said: 'Francis is a dream addition to the team. This community, which three years ago had no tradition of orchestral music-making, now has access to the very best musical influences imaginable.'

Modeled on Venezuela’s world-famous El Sistema, Big Noise was launched in 2008 and aims to transform the lives of children on Stirling's Raploch estate through music.


ABRSM launches new violin syllabus

7 July 2011

On the 7 July, ABRSM released several new publications for strings including new set pieces for violin, revised scale and sight-reading requirements for all strings and a new series of beginner violin music by Edward Huws Jones. The new syllabus sees the introduction of the natural minor at Grade 1 and shorter sight-reading tests across all the grades. Recordings of the entire syllabus are available as audio downloads with Grade 8 also available on CD. These new requirements and pieces will be for use in exams from January 2012.


Chetham's School of Music reaches a milestone

6 July 2011

The development project for a New School building at Chetham’s School of Music has reached a milestone with a bridge connecting the new facilities to the medieval site, at the centre of medieval Manchester. The £36m project will feature state of the art facilities and is due for completion in early 2012.

Alongside these site developments, Chetham’s website has also launched a behind the scenes area offering an insight into the activities at Chethams. Currently on display are sound clips, photos and news from rehearsals in the run up to major concerts. Violinist Fiona Robertson prepares for her performance of Berg's Violin Concerto with Chetham's Symphony Orchestra on 7 and 8 July.


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