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Sellout for first ever London Music Awards

19 May 2014

Mayor of London Boris Johnson will be hosting the inaugural London Music Awards at the Roundhouse on Wed 11 June.

The event, which is close to being a sell-out, is being staged in celebration of London’s aspiring young musicians and their achievements. Soul II Soul are set to perform on the night, alongside emerging artists such as Brit school musician Natalie Shay, singer-songwriter Kimberley Anne and Croydon based hip-hop trio Hawk House, who will be presenting their new video. Classic FM DJ Margherita Taylor will be overseeing events.

The London Music Awards will also be an opportunity to fundraise for the Mayor’s Music Fund, a charity that supports the musical development of talented children across London’s 32 boroughs. In two years the fund has already provided grants worth £1.3m which have reached over 14,000 young musicians.

Tables at the event are being hosted by major players in the music industry, including Sony, Universal, Warner, Live Nation, UK Music and AEG. An auction on the night, led by Channel 4’s Jon Snow, will raise further funds.

Mayor’s Music Fund Chief Executive Ginny Greenwood says: ‘The fund is already helping thousands of talented youngsters develop their musical abilities and this is our way of celebrating a major asset for London – its musical heritage and its musical future. Six months ago the London Music Awards was just a dream.  Now it’s a reality. This couldn’t have happened without our sponsor Raymond Weil, our other supporters and the music industry embracing the idea and running with it. A big thank you to everyone involved in the evening.’

A total of nine awards are being handed out at what will become an annual event. There will be six music awards: 

1.      Outstanding Mayor’s Music Scholars 
2.      Outstanding Musical Collaboration 
3.      Undiscovered Talent
4.      Rising Star 
5.      Young Composer/songwriter 
6.      London Legend presented by Time Out 

There will also be three non-performance awards:

1.      London’s favourite music venue (Time Out reader vote)
2.      Music Philanthropist 
3.      Special award for an individual who has made a significant contribution to music in the capital 

 

Guildhall Gold for Michael Petrov

16 May 2014

The Guildhall School of Music & Drama has awarded this year’s Gold Medal to Bulgarian cellist Michael Petrov. The award is the school’s most prestigious prize for outstanding soloists. 

Michael commented: ‘I am ecstatic to have won the Gold Medal. It certainly wasn’t easy; the others gave me a run for my money! I’d like to thank the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra, Dominic Wheeler and especially my teacher Louise Hopkins.’ 

Three Gold Medal finalists competed for the prize.  Violinist Rosie Hsien, from Taiwan, and clarinettist Max Mausen, from Luzembourg, joined Michael Petrov in the Barbican for a night of concerto performances. The panel of judges included renowned violinists and previous Gold Medal winner Tasmin Little; Ivan Hewitt, chief music critic at the Daily Telegraph; Dominic Wheeler, conductor of the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra and Jonathan Vaughan, director of music at Guildhall School. 

‘Our three soloists all played with the certainty of seasoned veterans but the exuberance of youth, producing three exquisite performances,’ commented chair of the jury Jonathan Vaughan. ‘Many congratulations to Michael, Max and Rose!’

'Friday Afternoons' returns!

15 May 2014

Yesterday saw the launch of this year’s ‘Friday Afternoons’ project, following the enormous success of last year’s initiative to mark the centenary of Benjamin Britten.

Aldeburgh Music has announced that Friday 28 November 2014 will see the culmination of this year’s scheme. Last year over 67,000 young people joined together in song across 12 time zones and four different continents. This year nine composers have been commissioned to produce a new Friday Afternoons songbook, and resources are now available on the Friday Afternoons website.

To find out more about the project and to sign up, click here.

Sign up for 'Ten Pieces' initiative

14 May 2014

An exciting new initiative is to be launched over the next academic year in primary schools across the country. BBC Learning and the BBC Performing Groups are leading the project, which aims to introduce a generation of children to a range of classical music through ten pieces.

Following the project’s launch on 6 October there will be a week of free nationwide cinema screenings for schools of a new cinematic film introducing the ten pieces of classical music. The pieces have been specially selected for their potential to inspire creativity. Following the launch, children will spend several weeks creating their own responses to the music through composition, dance, art or animation.

The BBC will be working with music services and hubs across the UK. These organisations will run workshops and activities with schools to help children to develop their creative responses. Ten Pieces will culminate with a celebration of the children's work in July 2015.

Schools can sign up to take part in this project via the Ten Pieces website. The ten pieces of classical music will be announced this summer.

Higher education keeps UK in top ranks

8 May 2014

A global education league table has placed the UK sixth in the world, and second amongst European countries.

The rankings are based on a combination of international tests and education data. These include the OECD’s Pisa tests, and two major US-based studies – ‘Timss’ (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) and ‘Pirls’ (Progression in International Reading Literacy Study).

South Korea, Japan and Singapore hold the top three places in the new league table, followed by Hong Kong, Finland (top European country) and then the UK.

Based on the results of the Pisa tests alone, the UK would have failed to make the top 20. Higher education graduation rates gave a significant boost to the UK’s position on the table.

Those questioning the strength of the report have argued that the success of top-performing Asian countries is down to the culture of rote learning, whereby students have to memorise pages of facts. Skills such as problem-solving and creativity are far harder to measure.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: ‘Given the criticism of schools by many of our politicians you could be forgiven for thinking that our education system compares unfavourably with others. Yet when alternative research becomes available, it shows a different picture.’

General secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers’ union, Mary Bousted, said she is ‘confident’ that Michael Gove will respond appropriately by commending the hard work of teachers and lecturers in the UK’s achievement in the league tables. 

For more information and to see the top 20 countries, click here.

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