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Scottish teenagers take part in RSNO work experience scheme

15 June 2015

© Tom Finnie

Forty-eight teenagers from across Scotland are taking part in a two-day work experience initiative at the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) this week.

The young people, who are aged 16-18 and come from 20 local authorities, will plan, promote and present an orchestral concert.

They will join staff and musicians at the orchestra’s base in Glasgow on Monday 15 and Tuesday 16 June and will be assigned to various departments, from marketing and development to artistic planning, conducting and playing in the orchestra.



Some of the young people will learn practical workshop delivery skills, which they will then use to lead music workshops with primary aged pupils.

The programme will culminate in a performance with the RSNO at the end of the second day.

This is the second time the orchestra has run the scheme, after a successful pilot last year.

Many of the participants are also members of the RSNO’s Young Ambassador programme, which has been designed to develop interest in live orchestral music through school-aged advocates.

Jenn Minchin, director of learning and engagement at the RSNO, said: ‘We’re delighted to once again open our doors to an influx of youth in this way, giving them the chance to run one of Scotland’s busiest performing arts organisations.

‘It will provide valuable experience to those seeking to pursue employment in the arts, and is intended to be challenging, stimulating and fun.

‘You never know – we may very well have a future RSNO conductor or chief executive among our group.’

Music education recognised in Queen’s Birthday Honours

15 June 2015, Katy Wright

A former music teacher and the head of Liverpool’s Resonate music hub have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for 2015.

Louise Hough, assistant head of service at Resonate (formerly Liverpool Music Support Service) was awarded an MBE for services to music education. Hough, who runs the Resonate Music Studios at Gateacre School on Wednesday evenings and at Notre Dame Catholic College on Thursdays, said she was ‘overwhelmed’. She also directs Formby Brass Band.

David Pickthall, a former music teacher at Brentwood School, Essex, was also granted an MBE for services to education and charity. Pickthall, whose music appears in the Wallace and Gromit film A Grand Day Out, tweeted that he was: ‘deeply humbled’.

The other musicians to be honoured include composers James MacMillan and Karl Jenkins, who both received knighthoods for services to composing and crossing musical genres, Sir Neville Marriner, who was made a Companion of Honour, and choral conductor Simon Halsey, who received a CBE.

Music education praised at London Music Awards 2015

12 June 2015, Katy Wright

Mayor Boris Johnson with young winners
Mayor Boris Johnson with young winners

Eight London schools, four young performers and the Philharmonia’s Firebird outreach project were among those to receive recognition at the second London Music Awards (LMAs).

Four young musicians from the Mayor’s Music Fund scholarship programme were recognised for their achievements. Flautist Krum Didov (Hounslow), French horn player Louis Lodder (Hackney), Violinist Ibrahim Vatansever (Southwark) and cellist Aissha Jalloh (Tower Hamlets) were named this year’s outstanding music scholars (award sponsored by ABRSM. The Mayor’s Music Fund, which established the LMAs, spends £4,000 on each four-year scholarship, with between 70 and 100 awarded every year.

The LMAs also praised eight London schools for musical excellence (award sponsored by Universal Music and supported by the Mayor of London). Akiva School (Barnet), Camden School for Girls (Camden), Kingsmead Primary School (Hackney), Nelson Primary School (Newham), Preston Manor School (Brent), Townley Grammar School (Bexley), Trinity Special School (Barking & Dagenham) and Twyford C of E High School (Ealing) were applauded for providing exceptional musical experiences for their pupils.

The Philharmonia’s Firebird project, a collaboration with Hounslow Music Service, Richmond Music Trust and the Royal Ballet School, was awarded the outstanding musical partnership prize. The scheme brought together young musicians and dancers together with professionals in order to explore different approaches to Stravinsky’s Firebird.

Mayor Boris Johnson said: ‘An unbeatable mix of ingredients has helped make London the music capital of the world. Our city has produced amazingly talented musicians, who have gone on to conquer the globe. We have fantastic live music venues both large and small, where they hone their craft. As the London Music Awards show, schools across London are providing a fine musical education.’

The Mayor’s Music Fund was established in 2011 to address the imbalance in music provision and access across London, and has since awarded over £1.5m in grants. There are currently 305 scholars from 230 schools across all 32 London boroughs, with 8000 young musicians taking part in large scale music projects and partnerships. The charity has also enabled an additional 12,000 children have attended live performances. 

The Mayor's Music Fund

Youth Music Theatre Orchestra prepares for first performance

12 June 2015

A new training orchestra for young musicians who want to work in the world of music, theatre and film will make its debut in London next month.

Funded by the Mayor’s Music Fund for young Londoners, the Youth Music Theatre Orchestra (YMTO) is an ensemble of 24 talented musicians aged 11-21 from across London.

The orchestra is an initiative of Youth Music Theatre UK and the Tri-borough Music Hub, in partnership with the Lyric Hammersmith.

On Sunday 12 July, the orchestra will perform a medley of well-known and original pieces from musical theatre, television and film in a concert at the Lyric Hammersmith.

The concert marks the culmination of a six-month course led by musical director David White, who has worked on musicals such as Les Misérables, Sunset Boulevard and The Lion King and is a fellow of the Royal Academy of Music.

The course is accredited by Trinity College London.

Borletti-Buitoni Trust's Wednesdays at Wilton's series comes to a close

11 June 2015

The final concert in the Borletti-Buitoni Trust’s Wednesdays at Wilton’s series will take place in East London at the end of this month.

The series, which was launched in February, has featured concerts on the last Wednesday of every month in the cocktail bar and performance space at Wilton’s Music Hall in Shoreditch.

The concerts have been intended to give Borletti-Buitoni Trust artists the chance to perform an hour-long programme of their own choosing in an informal atmosphere.

Pianist and composer Kate Whitley launched the series in February, with guitarist Sean Shibe performing in March.

Recorder player Erik Bosgraaf and bassoonist Bram van Sambeek performed in April and May respectively, and the series will be rounded off on 24 June by horn player Alec Frank-Gemmill.

Founded in 2003, the Borletti-Buitoni Trust helps outstanding young musicians to develop and sustain international careers with awards that fund tailor-made projects.

Wilton’s Music Hall is a former Victorian music hall that has benefited from a huge fundraising campaign to save it from demolition and restore it to its former glory.

Susan Rivers, chief executive of the Borletti-Buitoni Trust, said: ‘The Wednesdays at Wilton’s series has gone incredibly well, better than we could ever have imagined.

‘Everyone has done something slightly different and really embraced the concept, and the audiences have really engaged with it – the hall has been full every time.

‘The atmosphere is very unique. The audiences like the interaction, and the fact that the concerts are not too long. It’s a very convivial atmosphere.’

Rivers said the trust was in talks with the hall about running a similar series next year, but nothing had been confirmed.


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