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Birmingham Conservatoire launches crowdfunding campaign for Arco project

16 July 2015

Birmingham Conservatoire has launched a crowdfunding campaign for a project to teach under-privileged children in South Africa via video-conferencing.

Arco is a proposed collaborative music project between Birmingham Conservatoire’s string department and the Cape Gate MIAGI Centre for Music in Soweto, South Africa.

The conservatoire is asking 150 people to pledge £30 each by 4 August.

The money will fund the purchase of instruments, live streaming equipment and the delivery of a music festival at Cape Gate MIAGI Centre for Music.

If the goal is reached, 24 students from the MIAGI centre will receive weekly instrumental lessons for a year from students and recent graduates of Birmingham Conservatoire.

Louise Lansdown, head of strings at 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.’

Chris Bishop, director of the Cape Gate MIAGI Centre for Music, said: ‘We hope the Arco project with Birmingham Conservatoire will be the beginning of a long-term, progressive and exciting partnership that will not just bring the world’s experts to Soweto, but also Soweto’s learners to the world.’

Masterclasses, workshops and performances at Birmingham Conservatoire will also be streamed live for the students at the MIAGI centre.

The project will conclude with a music festival at the Cape Gate Centre for Music in 2016.

Holy Trinity CE Primary Academy receives private donation to fund recorder lessons

17 June 2015

A primary school in Wiltshire has received a donation from a local property company to fund music lessons for pupils.

Edington Station Yard, a property investment company founded in 1993 to buy the Station Yard building and now running an industrial development on the site, has pledged to donate £750 a year to Holy Trinity CE Primary Academy for the next three years.

A statement on the school’s website says: ‘We are enormously grateful to the board of Edington Station Yard, who are donating £750 each year for the next three years to support music making in our school.

‘This will ensure that we are able to continue to offer recorder lessons to every Year 3 child and also will help us fund visiting musicians to enrich our children’s experience of composition and performance.’

Mercedes Henning, headteacher at Holy Trinity CE Primary Academy, said recorder lessons at the school had previously been funded through the Wider Opportunities scheme, but funding had been withdrawn in 2013.

The school funded the lessons last year through its own budget, but had been considering asking parents to make a contribution. ‘Things would have been tighter, so we are enormously grateful for this donation,’ Henning said.

‘We very much prioritise a broad curriculum and music is really significant here.’

John Pepler, chairman of Edington Station Yard, said the company had decided to make the donation on the recommendation of two of its board members.

‘We are well aware that local schools are struggling and funding is being reduced,’ he said.

‘We are always looking to put something back into the community and this was an ideal opportunity to give the school some security and enable it to continue giving music lessons in the medium term.’

NCEM and OAE launch Baroque Strings resource

16 June 2015, Katy Wright

Cellist Ruth Alford explores the music of Bach
Cellist Ruth Alford explores the music of Bach

The National Centre of Early Music (NCEM) and players from the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE) have developed a free online teaching resource dedicated to baroque string playing.


Designed for students of grade 6 level and above and their teachers, Baroque Strings explores interpretation and technique in early 18th-century music for violin, viola and cello.

Written by Cathryn Dew (NCEM) and Cecelia Bruggemeyer (OAE), and featuring Helen Kruger (violin), Nicholas Logie (viola), Ruth Alford (cello) and Joe McHardy (harpsichord), Baroque Strings includes video clips of players performing music by Bach and Telemann, and talking about some of the challenges of its interpretation.

Movements from Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for Violin, his Cello Suites and Telemann’s G major Concerto for Viola are used to explore techniques for creating a baroque sound on both historical and modern instruments. The resource covers issues including: choosing a tempo; understanding harmonic rhythm; Baroque gesture, phrasing and articulation; bowing; left-hand fingering; vibrato; and ornamentation.

Cherry Forbes, education director of the OAE, said: ‘Whether or not you have access to period instruments and bows, we hope the resource will provide an insight into some of the techniques used by today’s players of baroque music, and help inform your own decisions about performing this exciting and challenging repertoire.’

Baroque Strings began in 2013 as a project funded by Youth Music in which string players from York Arts Academy’s Symphony Orchestra played alongside members of the OAE and participated in a masterclass with Rachel Podger (who also led a workshop on baroque interpretation for string teachers).

Baroque Strings

Applications open for Allianz Junior Music Camp 2015

16 June 2015, Katy Wright

Applications are now open for the third Allianz Junior Music Camp.


10 pianists between eight and 14 years of age will be selected to participate in the camp, which will take place 18-24 November in Vienna. Selection will be based on ambition and desire to share the love for music with others as well as their technical and artistic skill.

Each student will participate in two rehearsal sessions per day with a professional piano teacher, concerts at local public schools, and a masterclass with Lang Lang. Sightseeing tours and activities are also arranged.

Transport, accommodation and catering for participants and one parent/guardian are provided by the Camp.

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.’


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