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NCEM young composers award winners announced

15 May 2015, Katy Wright

Joshua Urben and John Goldie-Scot
Joshua Urben and John Goldie-Scot

The 2015 National Centre for Early Music (NCEM) young composers awards have gone to Joshua Urben (for the 18 and under category) and John Goldie-Scot (for the 19-25 category).

Urben's Fractos Corde and Goldie-Scot's Why are you in such a hurry? will both receive their premieres from the Dunedin Consort in Glasgow on 2 October.

The competition brief was to create a new setting for a short dramatic scene from one of two works by Monteverdi: Orfeo or Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda. The works were to be written for two or three singers, accompanied by a small ensemble of instruments.

Seven finalists were invited to have their works presented in a workshop with the Dunedin Consort. The winners were chosen by a panel comprised of Delma Tomlin (director of the NCEM), Les Pratt (senior music producer at BBC Radio 3) and John Butt (director of the Dunedin Consort).

John Butt said: 'The welcoming environment which the NCEM creates for this event and their enlightened approach to encouraging young composers to write for early instruments through this award is to be applauded. We look forward to polishing the winning pieces in preparation for their premiere later this year.'

The National Centre for Early Music

Manchester Camerata welcomes young performers for season finale

15 May 2015

Ingrid Fliter

Twenty young people will perform on stage alongside Manchester Camerata and pianist Ingrid Fliter this weekend to mark the culmination of an outreach project.

The 14 to 18-year-olds, who come from across Greater Manchester, will perform a live remix of music from the Overture to Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro.

RE:Figared has been created by members of the orchestra’s Youth Forum, a group of young people who act as ambassadors for the orchestra and have a voice in the organisation.

Forum members come from culturally diverse backgrounds, with musical interests ranging from rap to singer songwriter, instrumentalists, actors, writers and artists.

Fliter will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 2 in B flat major, with the second half of the concert featuring Mozart’s Symphony No 41, ‘Jupiter’.

The programme also includes a performance of Etudes by Jack Sheen, winner of the orchestra’s 2015 Composers’ Project, which saw ten young composers try their ideas out at Manchester’s new UKFast Auditorium.

Sheen, from Manchester, was BBC Young Composer of the Year in 2011 and is now studying on the joint music course run by the Royal Northern College of Music and Manchester University.

The programme will be performed at the Stafford Gatehouse Theatre on Friday 15 May and the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester on Saturday 16 May.

Simon Phillippo to join RWCMD as head of keyboard

14 May 2015, Katy Wright

Simon Phillippo
Simon Phillippo

Simon Phillippo is to join the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD) as head of keyboard at the end of this academic year. He succeeds Richard McMahon, who will retire. 

Phillippo said: 'I am delighted to be joining the illustrious team of musicians at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and extremely proud to be following in the footsteps of Richard McMahon as Head of Keyboard. I am looking forward to collaborating extensively with my new colleagues in all departments, and to working with the fine team of staff and young pianists in the Keyboard Department.'

Phillippo comes to the RWCMD after 14 years as pianist, coach and conductor at Welsh National Opera (WNO). He was chorus master for many of WNO's productions, including the first UK staging of Handel's Jephtha and the world premiere of James MacMillan's The Sacrifice.

Simon Phillippo

AQA announces reformed GCSE content with Beatles and DJ splash

14 May 2015, Alex Stevens

A DJ set will become an acceptable form for the performance element of AQA's music GCSE, to be taught from September 2016
A DJ set will become an acceptable form for the performance element of AQA's music GCSE, to be taught from September 2016

AQA has released subject content for its reformed music GCSE qualification, to be taught from September 2016. AQA has submitted its plans to Ofqual for accreditation, and other exam boards are set to release details later today.

The release comes in the context of a programme of complete GCSE reform, which will see a new 1-9 grading scale, assessment taking place only at the end of the two-year period of study, and, according to Ofqual: ‘new, more demanding content, which has been developed by government and the exam boards’.

AQA’s GCSE will cover the second movement of Haydn’s Clock symphony (for the compulsory area of study ‘Western classical tradition 1650-1910’), Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, With a Little Help from My Friends and Within You, Without You from The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper album (Popular music), Santana’s Supernatural (Traditional music), and the ‘Saturday Night Waltz’ and ‘Hoedown’ from Copland’s ballet Rodeo (Western classical tradition since 1910).

DJing - using vinyl, CDs or a laptop - has been added to the acceptable forms for the performance element of the qualification.

Under the reformed music GCSEs, 60% of assessment will be through performance and composition, and 40% will be assessed by exam.

AQA's new music GCSE

ABRSM sponsors Sing Up music scheme

14 May 2015, Katy Wright

Sing Up is expanding its music scheme thanks to ABRSM funding.

The scheme uses singing to support the primary school music curriculum. Progressing from early years through to Year 6, the programme uses 84 songs from a digital resource. A similar scheme aimed at children from KS3 onwards will be available to secondary schools from later in 2015, also supported by ABRSM.

'We’re delighted to be working with ABRSM on this exciting project,' said Michelle James, chief executive of Sing Up. 'Sing Up has a strong history of encouraging participation in singing activities at primary school and now we want to do more to ensure that singing activity supports teaching and learning in music and that pupils continue singing once they move into secondary school.'

Sing Up launched in 2007 and became a not-for-profit organisation in April 2012. It offers a number of resources, including a song bank of over 600 songs, audio tracks and sheet music. The first annual Sing Up day (18 March) took place in 2010.

Sing Up

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