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Youth Music Theatre UK reveals nine new productions for summer season

22 June 2015

Youth Music Theatre UK (YMT) has announced details of its upcoming summer productions.

The company, whose members are aged 11-21, will present nine new shows during its Summer Season of New Music Theatre, which includes performances at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Sadler’s Wells and the Lyric Theatre Belfast.

The new productions include Fagin, a musical that aims to shed new light on the famous character from the Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist.

The production, which will run at the at the South Hill Park Arts Centre in Bracknell on 13-15 August, will be directed by Steven Dexter and choreographed by Phyllida Crowley-Smith.

The summer programme also includes Sweat Factory, a new contemporary dance opera from choreographer Rachel Birch-Lawson, poet Aoife Mannix and composer Errollyn Wallen.

Sweat Factory will be performed by an all-female cast at the Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells, from 31 July to 1 August.

The YMT Company of 2015 is made up of 350 young performers and musicians.

YMT’s courses are externally accredited by and each member of the YMT Company of 2015 will receive a Grade 8 certificate from Trinity College London.

Primary school pupils to perform in Ten Pieces Proms

19 June 2015, Katy Wright

Pupils from four primary schools will perform in two Prom concerts celebrating the first year of the Ten Pieces initiative at the Royal Albert Hall. The concerts will take place on 18 and 19 July 2015, and will feature the ten pieces of music featured in the initiative. 


Children from Chase Bridge Primary (Twickenham, London), St Joseph's College (Ipswich, Suffolk), St Mary's Primary School (Maguiresbridge, Co. Fermanagh) and Withycombe Raleigh Church of England Primary School (Exmouth, Devon) will present their responses to the pieces on stage. 

Chase Bridge and St Mary's pupils created their own musical compositions, which will be orchestrated by Gareth Glyn for the pupils to perform alongside the BBC National Orchestra of Wales (under Thomas Søndergård). Children from Withycombe Raleigh and St Joseph's created movement-based responses, which they are rehearsing with Denni Sayers.

More than 1,400 creative responses - including compositions, movement, digital art and animations - have been uploaded to the website, and a selection of these will be shown on big screens alongside the live performances.

Anna Meredith's Connect It will be performed by students from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, and Handel's Zadok the Priest will be sung by the Ten Pieces choir (comprised of children from the Harrow Music Education Hub, the Wandsworth Music Education Hub, and Hampshire Music Service).

The concert on 18 July will be live on Radio 3 and filmed for future broadcast on CBBC, while the event on 19 July will be recorded for future broadcast on Radio 2. Barney Harwood, Dick and Dom, Molly Rainford and Dan Starkey will present.

BBC Ten Pieces Proms

RNCM announces 2015 Gold Medal winners

18 June 2015

The Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) has named the winners of its 2015 Gold Medal.

Undergraduate pianists Dominic Degavino (19) and Tom Hicks (21), undergraduate flautist Amy Yule (21) and postgraduate composer Tom Harrold (24) were awarded the accolade after a concert on 13 June.

The prize was judged by Meurig Bowen, artistic director of Cheltenham Music Festival; Michelle Castelletti, artistic director of the RNCM; Sally Groves, former creative director of Schott Music; Linda Merrick, principal of the RNCM; and composer Edwin Roxburgh.

Postgraduate composer Lucy Armstrong, 23, and postgraduate pianist Silvia Lucas, also 23, were highly commended by the panel.

Merrick said: ‘The RNCM’s much-coveted Gold Medal celebrates exceptional performance and composition by students at the college.

‘Each year, the competition between students is extremely high and 2015 was no exception.

The overall standard was absolutely outstanding and everyone who competed, especially the four winners, should be extremely proud of their achievement.’

The RNCM Gold Medal is the highest award offered by the college.

ViolinSchool instruments stolen

17 June 2015, Katy Wright

Several of ViolinSchool's teaching instruments have been stolen from a vehicle in Vauxhall, London. 

The missing instruments, which cost a total of around £500, include a Stentor Conservatoire violin in a green case (with a picture of a panda) and three Primavera violins in blue cases with ViolinSchool markings inside, each with an assortment of bows and coloured shoulder rest pads.

Simon Hewitt Jones, founder and director of ViolinSchool, said: 'Obviously we’re extremely upset at the loss of these violins, which hundreds of people have played at their first violin class over the past 3 years. We’re searching Gumtree and eBay to see if they resurface, but the police think it is likely they will have been quickly disposed of by the thief, and perhaps already been sold. If anyone comes across these insturments in London, it is likely to be in the next day or two.'

Any information regarding the stolen instruments should be reported to ViolinSchool on 020 3051 0080.

ViolinSchool

Malcolm Layfield acquitted of rape after admitting 'shameful' relationships with students

9 June 2015

Former Chetham’s and Royal Northern College of Music violin teacher Malcolm Layfield, 63, has been found not guilty of raping a former pupil.

A jury at Manchester Crown Court took less than 90 minutes to acquit Layfield, who had been accused of raping an 18-year-old female student in the early 1980s.

During the trial, Layfield admitted that he had pursued a number of consensual sexual relationships with students, the youngest of whom was 17, throughout the 1980s. He described these relationships as ‘shameful’, but denied that he had ‘crossed the line’ during a summer school in Cornwall.

Layfield had been accused of driving the woman to an isolated spot in the middle of the night and raping her while she was drunk. The complainant said she subsequently ‘gave in’ and went on to have consensual sex with him over the following six weeks.

The former violin teacher denied the allegation that he used his ‘power and influence’ – including threats to prevent her from gaining work opportunities if she changed tutor – to commit the offence against the teenager in the back of his car.

The trial heard that Layfield was well known for having relationships with students, and his appointment as head of strings at the RNCM in 2002 was controversial.

Speaking to the BBC, pianist Martin Roscoe – who was RNCM's head of keyboards at the time and who appeared at the trial – said he had been ‘absolutely shocked’ at the college's decision.

Roscoe continued: ‘On ethical grounds, on moral grounds, that is the behaviour of someone who should not be put in a position of pastoral care, dealing with students of any age, in my view.’ 

Layfield’s solicitor, Matthew Claughton, said the verdict had come as a ‘huge relief’ to his client.



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