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Latest News

Centre for Young Musicians to open new division in Saffron Walden

9 July 2015

The Centre for Young Musicians (CYM), a division of London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama, is opening a new Saturday school in Saffron Walden, Essex.

The Saffron Centre for Young Musicians, which will open in October, has been created in partnership with Saffron Walden County High School, Saffron Hall and the Essex Music Education Hub.

It will be open to young people throughout the area and will have a bursary scheme to promote access. Kate Goatman, a teacher and graduate of the Guildhall School, has been appointed head of centre.

The curriculum will be based on the principles of the CYM, founded in 1970. More than 420 young musicians aged eight to 18 attend the CYM’s main Saturday Centre at Morley College in London.

The Saffron Centre will be the CYM’s third outside of London. The Norfolk Centre for Young Musicians opened in September 2013 and the Hestercombe Centre for Young Musicians, near Taunton in Somerset, opened in March 2014.

Stephen Dagg, director of the CYM, said: ‘It gives me great pleasure to announce the opening of the Saffron Centre for Young Musicians.

This partnership between the Guildhall School, Essex Music Education Hub, Saffron Walden County High School and the prestigious Saffron Hall precisely reflects the National Plan for Music Education’s commitment to collaborative working across the under-18s sector.’

Ray Gooding, Essex County Council’s cabinet member for education and lifelong learning, said: ‘I’m thrilled that the hub is involved in this exciting venture.

‘Music education is evolving rapidly in this country, evidenced by this dynamic collaboration.

‘It’s great to have a partnership between a local school with a strong reputation for music, the county hub and a well-renowned organisation like the CYM.’

For more information about Saffron Centre for Young Musicians, please email info@saffronhall.com.

Birmingham Conservatoire calls for donations to its 'Arco' project

8 July 2015, Katy Wright

Samson Diamond, Arco ambassador and leader of the Odeion String Quartet
Samson Diamond, Arco ambassador and leader of the Odeion String Quartet

Birmingham Conservatoire has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for its 'Arco' project, in which conservatoire students will teach under-privileged children in South Africa via video conferencing. 

The project will initially run for a year, with Birmingham Conservatoire musicians acting as role models for young people living in deprived areas.

In order for Arco to take place, 150 people are needed to pledge £30 each in the next 30 days. The money will be used to purchase instruments and live streaming equipment, as well as supporting a music festival at Cape Gate MIAGI Centre for Music in Soweto, South Africa.

Over the coming year, 24 students from MIAGI will participate in weekly instrument lessons with students and recent graduates of Birmingham Conservatoire via video conference. Masterclasses, workshops and performances which take place at Birmingham Conservatoire will be streamed live for the students at MIAGI and the wider Soweto community. The project will conclude with a music festival held at the Cape Gate Centre for Music in 2016.

Louise Lansdown, head of strings at the Birmingham Conservatoire, said: 'Arco is a project of sharing, learning, building and inspiring and one that will be a privilege to be a part of. The impossible is now possible due to the incredible development of technology and we are able forge worlds together around the common denominator of music.'

Arco Crowdfunder page

First cohort of Mayor's Music Fund scholarship programme graduates

8 July 2015

Graduating scholars perform Danyal Dhondy's <em>Get Up On Your Feet!</em>
Graduating scholars perform Danyal Dhondy's Get Up On Your Feet!Paul Cochrane

The first cohort of young players to complete the four-year London Mayor’s Music Fund (MMF) scholarship programme performed a specially commissioned piece at a celebratory event at City Hall last week. 

The 40 musicians were the first intake of the MMF’s scholarship scheme, which opened in 2011 and provides music lessons and opportunities to talented players at non-fee-paying schools whose families would otherwise find it hard to pay for their lessons. The scheme covers each of the 32 London boroughs and its patron is the mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

The graduating scholars performed Danyal Dhondy’s Get Up On Your Feet!, conducted by Tom Seligman with clarinet soloist Julian Bliss, to an audience of family and friends, hub representatives and MMF supporters and guests. The event and commission were sponsored by the Boltini Trust with support from ABRSM. 

To be eligible to apply for the MMF’s scholarship scheme, players must be between eight and ten years old, have had at least one year’s post-Wider Opportunities tuition, and be able to demonstrate enthusiasm and commitment for their musical studies. 

Scholars receive more than two hours of music making and development opportunities each week, and are given a mentor who facilitates the player and their family’s relationships with their school, hub and the MMF. The scheme currently supports 260 children across the capital. 

Graduating scholar Louis Lodder, who plays the French horn and will this September start KS3 with a full music scholarship at a local independent school, said: ‘In four years I’ve been taught by amazing musicians, gone from studying Grade 1 to Grade 5 and learned so much. My experience as a Mayor’s Music Scholar has made me very sure I want to be a professional musician.’

The MMF’s chief executive, Ginny Greenwood, said of the event: ‘We were delighted to celebrate the achievements of our graduating scholars. They have embraced all of the playing and performance opportunities made available to them through our scheme, and the graduation event was the perfect opportunity to share their achievements with everyone that has supported them on their four-year journey.’

Julian Bliss, who is also an ambassador for the scheme, said: ‘Being a part of such an amazing organisation is a real pleasure. It’s incredibly important to nurture the next generation of musicians and provide them with as many opportunities as possible. The MMF does exactly that. I extend huge congratulations to our graduating scholars and wish them every success for the future.’

The Mayor's Music Fund

Children learn from RNCM percussionists in Cathay Pacific project

7 July 2015

Percussionists from the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) will spend time working with Year 6 pupils at a primary school in Manchester this week in a project sponsored by airline Cathay Pacific.

Over three days, pupils at Medlock Primary School will learn about composition, rhythm and performance with RNCM tutor Andrea Vogler and students Theo Fowler and Alex Smith.

They will then write their own piece, entitled Around the World, which they will perform at the RNCM on Thursday 9 July.

The finished project will also include a short specially commissioned piece for solo marimba called Take Flight, written by RNCM student Tom Kelly and performed by college graduate Le Yu (pictured).

Suzie Thompson, director of development at the RNCM, said: ‘The RNCM is fortunate to have a partner like Cathay Pacific for this project and we are tremendously grateful to them.

They have a genuine commitment to support the arts and education and for the children involved, this project will be something that will stay with them for a long time.’

The RNCM’s work at Medlock Primary School is part of RNCM Engage, the college’s learning and participation programme.

2015 BBC Proms Inspire Young Composers’ Competition winners revealed

6 July 2015

Five young composers have been announced as the winners of the BBC Proms Inspire Young Composers’ Competition 2015.

The winners in the junior category (12-16 years) are Daniel Penney, Matthew Kelley and Tammas Slater. The senior category (17-18 years) winners are Finlay Stafford and Toby Hession.

The entries were judged blind by a panel chaired by composer Fraser Trainer. The other panel members were Stuart MacRae, Anna Meredith, Martin Suckling, Judith Weir and BBC Radio 3 editor Jeremy Evans.

The winners will have their music performed by the Aurora Orchestra in a BBC Proms Inspire concert conducted by Nicholas Collon at the Royal College of Music on Friday 28 August.

The concert will be recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Each composer will also receive a BBC commission.

The commissioned works from the winners of the 2014 Inspire Young Composers’ Competition will also be part of the BBC Proms, performed by members of the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Royal College of Music on Saturday 8 August.

Fraser Trainer, chair of the judging panel, said: ‘We had a really good portion of strong and highly competent pieces in this year’s submissions overall.

‘From the 200 or so entries in each category there were a number of composers who impressed the judges with their imagination, creativity, personality and craft.

‘We were particularly impressed with the quality of work from the junior category and the way that several composers in both age groups were able to create and imagine a sound-world outside the normal frame of convention.’


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