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Chetham's student Yuanfan Yang wins Cleveland piano competition

26 May 2015

A student at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester has won first prize in the senior division of the Cleveland International Piano Competition’s Young Artists Competition.

Yuanfan Yang, 18, is a student in the upper sixth form at Chetham’s, where he studies with Murray McLachlan.

He wins $25,000 and a debut recital at the Frick Collection in New York on 13 August.

The Cleveland International Piano Competition’s Young Artists Competition was launched in 2005 as a one-day competition for Ohio piano students.

It was expanded this year to include international pianists and follow the same format as the main competition, one of the most prestigious music contests in the world.

McLachlan said: ‘I have been so pleased and delighted to see Yuanfan’s amazing progress and development as an artist, musician, pianist and young person over seven years of teaching him at Chetham’s.

‘He is a phenomenal worker and is blessed with exceptional musical instincts, co-ordination and natural facility.

‘Already his diary is incredibly full and I expect him to continue developing the international career that has already started in the decades ahead.

‘As a person, Yuanfan has proved to have sensitivity, modesty and integrity and is a great ambassador for Chetham’s.’

Yang was also awarded first prize at the 2014 International Franz Liszt Competition for Young Pianists in Weimar and won the keyboard category of the BBC Young Musician of the Year in 2012.

Manchester’s RNCM introduces principal study recorder options

22 May 2015

The Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) in Manchester will introduce principal study options in recorder from September at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.
 
Recorder students will be part of the college’s historical performance department, led by fellows in historical performance Roger Hamilton and Harvey Davies.
 
Lessons will be given by recorder player Chris Orton and a newly appointed international tutor in recorder, to be announced next year.

Students will also benefit from the RNCM’s partnership with the Academy of Ancient Music.
 
Paul Goodey, vice-principal (performance) at the RNCM, said: ‘Two years ago, the RNCM appointed two fellows in historical performance who engage with all students, in all schools of study.

‘Their work is closely linked to the instrument-specific training given by the tutors of early instruments.
 
‘This work is now firmly embedded in the curriculum and has resulted in some outstanding performances ranging from chamber music through to projects with orchestras and choirs, and full-length operas by composers including Handel and Monteverdi.
 
‘The college now wishes to enhance this work with the introduction of principal study recorder.’
 
Recorder students will also receive instruction in contemporary music and opportunities to collaborate with students in the school of composition to create new repertoire.
 

Jonathan Dove children's opera to mark LSO Discovery 25th anniversary

21 May 2015

© Andrew Palmer

The London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) will mark the 25th anniversary of its LSO Discovery education programme with the performance of a new children’s opera by Jonathan Dove this summer.

On 5 July, the LSO and music director designate Simon Rattle will be joined by students from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and 220 amateur singers from the LSO Community Choir and LSO Discovery Choirs.

The Monster in the Maze, which retells the story of Theseus, Ariadne and the Minotaur, has been composed specifically to allow students to perform alongside professional musicians.

It is the first in a series of new children’s operas commissioned jointly by the LSO, the Berlin Philharmonic and the Aix-en-Provence Festival, with performances lined up in London, Berlin and Aix.

The work will be premiered in Berlin in June with Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic, and will receive two further performances by the LSO and the Mediterranean Youth Orchestra at the Aix-en-Provence Festival on 8 and 9 July.

The 5 July concert will also include a performance of Walton’s First Symphony, in which students from the Guildhall School will play alongside members of the LSO.

Music teacher Lila Hallett receives local outstanding contribution award

20 May 2015

© Will Hay

A Cheshire music teacher has been honoured with the outstanding contribution award at a new awards ceremony.

Lila Hallet, 83, was presented with the prize at the inaugural Cheshire West Community and Voluntary Arts Awards at Chester Town Hall on Tuesday.

Hallett is a piano teacher and accompanist who has worked as a music teacher in four Chester schools.

She was programme secretary for the Chester Music Society Club Concerts series for over 30 years and was instrumental in proposing the recent Chester Young Musicians of the Year competition.

She was also involved with setting up the Chester Music Society Youth Choir in the 1980s and is a longtime supporter of the city’s People to People Association, which chooses a talented musician each year from Chester to exchange with one from Colorado, US.

The Cheshire West Community and Voluntary Arts Awards were created by the Cheshire West Voluntary Arts Network to recognise the work of arts groups in the community.

There were award categories for music, children and young people, community performing arts and community visual arts. The music award was won by the Movers and Shakers Choir, a project for people with Parkinson’s disease.

The Chester Youth Symphony Orchestra performed at the awards ceremony.

David Woods, chairman of Cheshire West Voluntary Arts Network, said: ‘We want to celebrate the contribution that community and voluntary arts groups make to the cultural life of our community.

‘We know that participation in the arts either as a participant or as a member of the audience enriches the quality of life, improves a sense of wellbeing and promotes community cohesion.’

BBC Ten Pieces project extended to secondary schools

20 May 2015, Katy Wright



Ambassadors Peter Moore and Clean Bandit
Ambassadors Peter Moore and Clean BanditPhotos: Kaupo Kikkas / Joshua Schulz

The BBC’s Ten Pieces initiative will be extended to secondary schools from Autumn 2015.

A new set of pieces has been chosen to tie into the 11-plus curriculum. Teachers will once again have access to a range of online resources to explore the works in their own lessons, encouraging pupils to respond to the music through composition, dance or art.

The Ten Pieces for secondary schools are:

  • Bach orch. Stokowski - Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565
  • Bernstein – ‘Mambo’ from West Side Story
  • Bizet – ‘Habanera’ and ‘Toreador Song’ from Carmen
  • Anna Clyne - Night Ferry
  • Haydn – Trumpet Concerto (third movement)
  • Gabriel Prokofiev – Concerto for Turntables and Orchestra (fifth movement)
  • Shostakovich – Symphony No. 10 (second movement)
  • Vaughan Williams - The Lark Ascending
  • Verdi – ‘Dies Irae’ and ‘Tuba Mirum’ from Requiem
  • Wagner – ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ from Die Walküre
The BBC Philharmonic orchestra will perform in a new film featuring the new selection of pieces, which will be shown free of charge in special screenings across the UK in October 2015. Live performances featuring the Ten Pieces will also take place throughout the year.

New ambassadors joining the project include cellist Julian Lloyd Webber, electronic band Clean Bandit, trombonist Peter Moore (former BBC Young Musician of the Year and co-principal trombone of the London Symphony Orchestra) and musician, producer and composer Nitin Sawhney.

Sawhney said: ‘I am delighted and honoured to have been asked to act as an Ambassador for the BBC’s Ten Pieces project. Children need to challenge their imaginations and a formal education in the arts instils children with confidence and an ability to learn through intuition as well as intellect. It empowers children to understand their own identity and emotions. I hope that through my participation in this wonderful project I could somehow contribute to that journey and process.’

Bob Shennan, director of BBC Music, said: ‘The glowing success of Ten Pieces is a testament to the dedication and passion of its executive producer, Katy Jones, who sadly passed away earlier this year.  It’s a fitting tribute to her that we now launch Ten Pieces Secondary featuring a diverse and entertaining range of pieces which Katy herself loved.’

The Ten Pieces initiative launched in autumn 2014, and has worked with nearly half of all UK primary schools. The resources for Ten Pieces Primary will be available throughout 2015/16, with schools encouraged to continue their involvement.

BBC Ten Pieces


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