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Latest News

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.


Trinity Guildhall announces new piano syllabus

4 July 2011

Trinity Guildhall has released a new piano syllabus for use in graded exams from January 2012. The syllabus features new repertoire and a range of new exercises for the Technical Work part of the exam. New books, featuring the pieces and Technical Work, and CDs are available to accompany each grade. The syllabus also covers the Piano Accompanying exams and Trinity Guildhall will now accredit the Initial Grade, providing added recognition for pupils in the early stages.

Nicholas Keyworth, chief examiner for Trinity Guildhall said: ‘The 2012-14 piano syllabus has been updated to include a range of new and exciting pieces composed or arranged by leading educational consultants and composers. The new repertoire lists include a wide variety of styles and genres and we are confident the pieces will be enjoyable for students and will invigorate teachers. Trinity Guildhall is proud to launch the new piano syllabus and continue to support the development of future musicians.’


Funding for National Youth Orchestras of Scotland halved

1 July 2011

The National Youth Orchestra of Scotland (NYOS) is no longer a foundation programme organisation (FPO) of Creative Scotland, the Scottish arts funding body, and has seen its year-on-year central grant slashed by 50%. In the year beginning April 2012 it will receive £103,000 from the body.

The results of a review of Creative Scotland's FPOs were published in a press release on 30 June, with 41 organisations retaining central support.

A spokesman for Creative Scotland siad: 'We value the work and achievements of NYOS but both they and Creative Scotland recognise that there is an opportunity now to re-focus the organisation on its core activities, and Creative Scotland will continue to support them through that transition.'

Julian Clayton, chief executive of NYOS, was quoted in The Herald: 'This is a frightening time for the arts in Scotland. We are doing fantastic work. Just the other day I was a school in Partick and met a young boy who was a mute before he took part in our programme. Now that boy is talking. This will affect our ability to do that kind of work.'

Meanwhile, the National Youth Choir of Scotland (NYCoS) received an increase to its annual award, which rises by 20%, to £91,760. This is 'to celebrate their ongoing high-quality contribution to the youth arts sector and innovation within their business model'.

Venu Dhupa, Creative Scotland's director of creative development, announced the outcomes of the review: ‘These organisations are the foundation of Scotland’s cultural sector and have delivered significant benefits to Scotland’s creative development, its economy and in growing audiences.'

She continued: ‘It’s been great to see so many good ideas put forward in the effort to deliver for a creative Scotland. The review has been an opportunity for celebration and congratulation, as much as a "health check".'

The announcement can be viewed here.




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