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RWCMD names four new international chairs in music

6 June 2013

The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD) in Cardiff has announced four new international chairs in music. The Jane Hodge Foundation International Chairs in Music and Drama will, says the college, have a 'profound impact on both the experience of the students and the national and international profile of the College'. 

The new appointments are Paul Watkins, cello; Daniel Phillips, violin; Simon Keenlyside, voice and Sergei Nakariakov, trumpet. Simon Halsey continues as the holder of the Jane Hodge Foundation International Chair in Choral Conducting. 

'Combined with our new world-class facilities, this second appointment of International Chairs reflects some of the key specialist areas of the College's development, including strings and voice,' said the College's director of music, John Cranmer.

'These are inspirational artists who have made a distinctive mark in their field of performance, and are committed to supporting the rising generation of performers. We are once again enormously grateful to the Jane Hodge Foundation for the generosity and encouragement which has enabled us to continue these appointments, and look forward to developing close relationships with each of these exceptional musicians over the coming two years.'

Derrek Jones, a trustee of the Foundation, said it was 'delighted to continue its support of an exciting initiative. It will ensure the wealth of experience and knowledge, held by leading international musicians, will benefit the next generation of performers who are training at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.' 

Sistema Scotland starts work in Glasgow

6 June 2013

Sistema Scotland has started its second Big Noise centre, this time working at four primary schools in the Govanhill area of Glasgow. The six-year-olds have started with violins, violas, cellos and double bass, and teachers aim to have them working as an orchestra for a launch concert on 21 June. 

'We want them to really wow their community and set our orchestra off and running with a bang,' said communications manager George Anderson. 'After the launch concert we will be running a summer school for 100 children four days a week and when school goes back in the autumn we will begin our after-school club three afternoons a week.

'We will also be offering woodwind, brass and percussion in a couple of years and younger children will feed in from the bottom each year.'

Sistema Scotland is a charity set up with the aim of transforming lives with music. Inspired by the Venezuelan El Sistema, it started its first children's orchestra in the community of Raploch, Stirling in 2008. 

The new team of seven string players, led by Alison Gornall, will split its time between visiting schools and promoting Big Noise Govanhill more widely around the community. The Big Noise Allstars, made up of Govanhill teachers, Raploch teachers and some of the most musical Raploch children, has already played in all four schools involved in the project, to show the children what might lie ahead for them. 

Children from Sistema Scotland's Raploch project now regularly gain places in the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland ensembles.  

Book now for Scratch Youth Messiah

5 June 2013

The first ever scratch Messiah for under-25s only takes place at the Royal Albert Hall on 1 December. Suzie Digby, champion of singing for young people, and the inspiration behind The Voices Foundation, will conduct the day, which involves a rehearsal from 11.30 am for a performance at 2.15 pm.

The event is the brainchild of scratch veterans The Really Big Chorus. There are just over 1,000 singing places available free of charge. Book online at The Really Big Chorus's website

NYJO appoints Jazz Ensemble MD

4 June 2013

The National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO) has appointed trumpeter Gemma Buckenham as the inaugural music director (MD) of its jazz ensemble, part of the NYJO Academy which encompasses all the organisation's educational workshops for younger musicians. Ms Buckenham, who comes from Lincoln and is an experienced music educator, performer and arranger, was inspired to start learning the trumpet as a child after seeing the NYJO perform. She takes up her new appointment in July, working as part of a team that includes Paul Eshelby (MD, NYJO Academy Big Band); Phil Meadows (MD, NYJO London) and Jessica Radcliffe (Coach, NYJO Academy Vocal Class). www.nyjo.org.uk

Northern Ireland Organ Competition relaxes programming rules for Intermediate and Junior entrants

3 June 2013

Entries are invited for the 2013 Northern ireland International Organ Competition, taking place in the cathedral city of Armagh 19-21 August. The event is unique in being restricted to players aged 21 and under and provides a valuable opportunity for young organists to have a first experience of playing to a top-level jury in an unfamiliar but supportive environment. 

The Senior category, appropriate for assistant organists and organ scholars at cathedrals, collegiate chapels and major parish churches, carries a first prize of £1,000 plus a professional CD recording, with recitals at venues such as Westminster Abbey, Trinity College Cambridge, St Michael's, Cornhill in the City of London and cathedrals in Dublin, Londonderry and London for the first, second and third prizewinners. Competition programmes of diploma level must last 20 minutes and include at least three pieces, one of which must be a major work by J S Bach or part thereof.
Programming restrictions have been changed this year for the Intermediate (Grades 6-8) and Junior (Grades 4-5) categories, in order to allow more flexibility for candidates to play pieces they have already prepared for exams or performances earlier in the year. Candidates in the Intermediate and Junior categories must play balanced programmes of two or three pieces, lasting 12 and eight minutes respectively. 
All candidates will be adjudicated by a panel consisting of David Hill, chief conductor of the BBC Singers (chair); Mattias Wager, organist of Stockholm Cathedral; and Gerard Gillen, professor emeritus in music of the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. 
Three travel bursaries of up to £100 each are available for candidates from outside the UK and Ireland. More information from http://www.niioc.com


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