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ESTA chair honoured for work with young bass players

24 July 2009

Cathy Elliott with young pupils
Cathy Elliott with young pupils

The chair of the European String Teachers' Association (ESTA)'s UK branch, Cathy Elliott, has received the International Society of Bassists'(ISB) Special Recognition Award s Young Bassists Ambassador 2009.

Every two years the ISB presents Special Recognisiton Awards in a number of categories. The recipients are chosen by a select panel that first narrows an extensive list of nominees in each category down to five finalists and then  makes its final selections. The society recognises people who have contributed 'their extraordinary skills and knowlege' to projects and other positive works that further its ideals.

Both Rodney Slatford and Caroline Emery from the UK have previously received the award.

The Musicians' Company announces new Concordia Foundation Awards trust

23 July 2009

The Worshipful Company of Musicians has set up a major new trust fund for young performers, thanks to a generous donation from the Concordia Foundation.

The Concordia Foundation Artists Fund will enable the Musicians’ Company to add a third Wigmore Hall concert to the Monday Platform series in the 2009/10 and subsequent seasons. It will also provide monetary awards for the selected performers.

‘We have long wanted to set up a prestigious annual concert series of this kind and are so pleased that our concert will take its place in the respected Monday Platform series at the Wigmore Hall,’ said: Gillian Humphreys, founder and artistic director of the Concordia Foundation.

Thanking the Concordia Foundation for its donation, Petronella Burnett-Brown, Master of the Musicians’ Company, said: The new fund will add significantly to our support for young musicians, giving these talented artists a wonderful opportunity to gain experience of performing on one of the world’s great platforms. We also see this as an excellent model for the way that the experience and skills of the Musicians' Company can greatly enhance the value of a monetary donation.’

The first Concordia concert in the Monday Platform series will be on 11 January 2010 and will feature soprano Julia Sporsén and cellist Ashok Klouda, with Joseph Middleton, piano. The other two Musicians’ Company concerts, supported by the Maisie Lewis Fund, take place on 12 October 2009 and 28 March 2010. Meanwhile Concordia will continue its efforts to raise the profile of and support for its essential other activities, most notably providing access to music for children in its popular Concordia Young Audiences productions in London and overseas.’

Worshipful Company of Musicians:

Youth Music Box starts its tour

17 July 2009

Youth Music's celebratory 'Youth Music Box', created to mark the charity's tenth anniversary, was unveiled at the Southbank Centre, London, on 16 July. Developed by music and graphics designers Silent Studio with interactive artist Chris O'Shea, it is a cubed structure that visitors can enter, providing an easily accessible music experience though a mix of real instruments and a 'walk up and play' technology interface.

Four players at a time can use the box and they will have the choice of four instruments: two Edirol MII keyboards (one for vocals, the other for melody); a Roland TD-9K drumkit; and a Denon 3700S digi-media turntable, which will create and record the track. Users will have a choice of six musical styles: reggae, drum'n'bass, urban, afro beat, classical and disco/electro.

After selecting a sample track to keep the beat and play along to, they will have a chance to rehearse before making a recording of their track. The box also has remotely-operated cameras to film the process and behind the scenes, two technicians in the control room will combin the camera feeds with graphics to create a finished package that will be uploaded to where people can view and share their videos.

The Youth Music Box is open 11am-7pm daily in the cloakroom lobby on Level 1 of the Royal Festival Hall, next to the Clore Ballroom, until 31 August, It will then tour the country.

Schools minister announces five new music partnerships

17 July 2009

Tim Steiner
Tim SteinerClare Stevens

Five new Music Partnership Projects for 2009/10 have been announced by the new Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools, Diana Johnson. £1m from the government's £330m funding for music education announced in November 2007 will be divided between the projects. The winning bids came from Northamptonshire, Wiltshire (both led by Orchestras Live), Hertfordshire, Birmingham and east London (led by the Barbican). Details are as follows:

Northamptonshire/Orchestras Live - Connected to Music
Partners: Orchestras Live; Northampton Music and Performing Arts Service (NMPAS); Learning Achievement & School Improvement Services (LASI); the Royal & Derngate, Northampton; Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO); Sinfonia Viva
Project: The aim is to create a model of music education delivery in Northamptonshire that connects young people's music learning in the classroom, particularly those in Wider Opportunities and transition years, to a wide range of music-making opportunities outside the classroom, supported by a team of professional musicians.
At the heart of the project is the empowerment of music teachers to inspire young people to achieve the highest possible standard and fulfil their potential. With the creative leadership of Tim Steiner (pictured, leading the Music for Youth Big Gig at the London International Music Show in June), an ensemble will be formed to deliver a variety of different musical experiences, ranging from creative workshops to full-scale performances at Royal & Derngate.

Birmingham - Banded About

Partners: Birmingham Contemporary Music Group; Birminghm Jazz; Birmingham Music Service; City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra; Sound It Out Community Music; Town Hall Symphony Hall, including associate partners Ex Cathedra chamber choir. They will be working with five clusters of Birmingham schools.

Project: The basis of the project is creative ensemble practice across the transition years between Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3. Children and young people wll be given opportunities to develop and perform music stimulated by the diverse musical genres and cultural backgrounds of the partner organisations. Musicians from these partner companies will work alongside the school teachers and the peripatetic teachers of the Birmingham Music Service to deliver this programme both in the curriculum and at specially convened workshops across each cluster. The professional development of all these teachers and musicians is another key aim of the project.

Hertfordshire - Count Us In

Partners: Hertfordshire Music Service and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, supported by Orchestras Live, working with 12 secondary schools and Year 6 pupils from feeder primary schools.

Project: Count Us In will deliver a range of music-making and performance opportunities in the county, both in and out of school. More than 350 music workshops will be delivered by musicians from the RPO, working closely with the staff and secondary heads of music, responding to the needs of the local area and the views of the young people involved, providing them with regular showcase opportunities throughout the year. By the end of this year 12 specific music projects will be established across nine districts: Dacorum, St Albans, Stevenage, Broxbourne, Hertsmere, Potters Bar, Welwyn Hatfield and Watford. Creative youth boards, drawn from participants in each project, will inform the development of the programme and help shape the projects.

East London/Barbican - Connecting Musics of the World

Partners: Barbican Centre,Guildhall School of Music and Drama and London Symphony Orchestra in collaboration with the ten east-facing London education authority music services: Hackney, Greenwich, Newham, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Barking and Dagenham, Bexley, Havering, Lewisham and Redbridge.

Project: The aim is to develop collaboratve models of music-making with a focus on contemporary music genres and traditions from across the globe, including jazz, folk, African, American, South Asian and beyond. There are six strands of activity: Schools concerts for up to 7,000 young Londoners; introductory music workshops for 1,500 young people; 'Side by side' performance opportunities for 150 young people working alongside professional musicians; Guildhall Connect's 'World in Motion' strand, taking in musical influences from across the globe, for 400 young people; interactive schools concerts from the LSO for up to 2,500 young people; and an LSO Fusion strand that will engage 75 young people at risk of social exclusion with LSO players.

Wiltshire - Wiltshire Music Connect

Partners: Wiltshire Music Centre in Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire Council Music Service and Wiltshire Youth Arts Partnership (part of the county's youth service), working with young people of all ages, from pre-school to adulthood.

Project: Approximately 400 workshops and 12 performances involving 4.000 children and young people will take place, aiming to inspire a lifelong passion among participants for all types of music, from classical to world music and urban. There are seven key strands of work, and opportunities will range from tots performing a 'Farmyard Suite' and teenagers working with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra to young people with severe learning difficulties creating their own music and young adults using the latest music technologies, or taking part in an intensive jazz improvisation workshop.

Liverpool In Harmony makes its debut

17 July 2009

The West Everton Children's Orchestra gave its debut performance on 13 July, playing alongside members of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (RLPO) at Philharmonic Hall, in the presence of Julian Lloyd Webber, schools minister Diana Johnson, and the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, writes Glyn Mon Hughes. The concert by the 81-piece orchestra was the culmination of the first phase of the RLPO's In Harmony programme. The programme, being piloted in London and Norwich as well as in Liverpool, is based on the inspirational Venezuelan music project El Sistema.
It is a mere 12 weeks since 92 free instruments were delivered to Faith Primary School in West Everton, a deprived area on the outer fringes of Liverpool city centre, adjacent to the RLPO's rehearsal facility. Every day the children, as well as 11 members of staff including teachers, teaching assistants, the school's headteacher, school secretary and dinner ladies participate in musical activities.
'Today was a highly moving experience,' said Lloyd Webber, chairman of the In Harmony programme. 'We often refer to performances as moving but to see what has been achieved here in 12 weeks is astonishing. just imagine what these children can achieve in the future.'

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