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RCS appoints first artistic director of conducting

14 January 2016

Garry Walker
Garry WalkerRCS/KKDundas

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) has appointed Garry Walker as its first artistic director of conducting.

Walker has been visiting professor of conducting at the RCS for two years; he has also been visiting lecturer for the conducting programme and guest conductor with the orchestral programme for a number of years. He takes up the position of chief conductor of the Staatorchester Rheinische Philharmonie Koblenz in September 2017. 

He studied conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music and won the 1999 Leeds Conductor's Competition. Previous positions include principal guest conductor of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Paragon Ensemble, and permanent guest conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

RCS principal professor Jeffrey Sharkey said: 'We've long admired the quality of Garry's teaching and his conducting and are tremendously excited about how this closer association with the RCS will elevate our programme into being among the finest internationally.'

The RCS has recently secured further funding from the Leverhulme Trust to continue its conducting fellowship, to fund a MMus conducting studentship, and to support the ongoing partnership with its associate contemporary Ensemble Red Note.

Conducting - Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Harry Palmer wins Trinity Laban Gold Medal Showcase

14 January 2016

Harry Palmer with the gold medal
Harry Palmer with the gold medalJames Keates

Third year composition student Harry Palmer was the winner of the Trinity Laban Gold Medal Showcase 2016.

Palmer was one of six students who competed for the prize at Kings Place on 11 January, each nominated by their head of department.

He has studied with Gwyn Pritchard, Errollyn Wallen and Ed Jessen, and collaborated with ensembles including the Old Royal Naval College Choir and the Jubilee Quartet.

The competition was judged by Claire Mera-Nelson (director of music at Trinity Laban), Gillian Moore and Tasmin Little.

Little praised Palmer's 'gripping and mesmeric' compositions, while Moore said that she loved the 'fantastic contrast' between his three works which were performed on the night. 

Previous gold medal winners include Elliot Galvin (jazz pianist, 2014), who was named European Young Jazz Musician of the Year later that year, and Nardus Williams (voice, 2015), who is a Samling Scholar and Park Lane Group Young Artist.

Trinity Laban

Trinity Boys Choir record Bohemian Rhapsody

14 January 2016

Rock band Queen invited Trinity Boys Choir to record and film a new arrangement of Bohemian Rhapsody.

The choir's performance celebrates the 40th anniversary of the song becoming the band's first ever number one single and Christmas number one.

The video, which was released around Christmas 2015, currently has more than 85,000 views on YouTube.

The 40 members of the choir were conducted by music director David Swinson, who said: 'It’s been an absolute privilege to take part in the anniversary celebrations of this wonderful song. The boys really loved working on Bohemian Rhapsody which worked its magic on them 40 years on.'

Dancers from English National Ballet and musicians from the Royal Academy of Music also recorded versions of the song.

Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody reinterpreted - Trinity Boys Choir

Chetham's appoints new head

13 January 2016

Chetham's School of Music has appointed Alun Jones as its new head.

He will take up the post in September 2016, following the retirement of Claire Moreland, who has held the position for 17 years.

Jones became head of St Gabriel's School, Newbury in 2001 following posts as music master and choirmaster, director of studies and deputy headmaster in institutions including the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, the United College of the Atlantic, and St Donat's Castle.

A former choral scholar, freelance singer and ad-hoc member of the BBC Singers, Jones described himself as 'thrilled' to be appointed.

He added: 'It will be a privilege to join a school with such a fine reputation nationally and internationally and I relish the challenges that the job will bring.'

Chetham's is the UK's largest specialist music school, with 300 students aged 8-18.

Construction is currently underway on a 500 seat concert hall in Chetham's new School Building. The Stoller Hall, which is due to open in April 2017, will host performances by students and visiting artists.

Chetham's School of Music

London Youth Choir announces new appointments

11 January 2016

London Youth Choir has announced four new appointments.

Co-founders Suzi Digby and Rachel Staunton have been appointed founding president and director respectively. Staunton will be responsible for all five LYC ensembles.

Eamonn Dougan was appointed associate conductor, and Robbie Jacobs as assistant conductor (with special responsibilities for the main choir and chamber choir).

'With music education increasingly under threat in our schools, LYC provides essential opportunities for young singers in London,' said Dougan, who will work with the chamber choir. 'Rachel Staunton and her team are creating a hugely exciting and varied programme for their choirs and I'm very much looking forward to working with them.'

LYC was founded in 2012 with the aim of providing talented young singers living in London with high-level choral training and performance opportunities. It encompasses five different choirs: Girls' Choir, Boys' Choir, Training Choir, London Youth Choir and London Youth Chamber Choir, all of which rehearse weekly on Monday evenings. 

More than 200 singers participate in the ensembles, with representatives from all 33 London boroughs.

London Youth Choir

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