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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

Portable criminal records check certificates to be available from 17 June

3 June 2013

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), formerly the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB), has announced that its new update service will be introduced on 17 June. The service will allow teachers and all those working with children and vulnerable people, including volunteers, to obtain a re-usable, portable DBS certificate which they can take from role to role. As a result of this improvement, they will no longer have to apply for a new criminal record check each time they apply for a job.

Registration with the service will cost £13 per year and individuals will only have to apply for one certificate. The update service will make getting a DBS certificate much more affordable and much less time-consuming.

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), which helped to bring about this change through its portable criminal records check campaign, says this is welcome news for music professionals who undertake teach and/or supervisory work with children at multiple schools or organisations or in multiple job roles.

More information is available on the DBS website.


RNCM appoints new head of school of strings

22 May 2013

The Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) has appointed Chris Hoyle as head of school of strings, with effect from 1 June.
An alumnus of the RNCM, Mr Hoyle is a cellist who has worked extensively as a chamber musician, orchestral player, soloist and teacher. During 23 years with the BBC Philharmonic he made more than 100 CD recordings and played in over 100 Proms concerts; he has performed as guest principal with many UK orchestras, given solo concerts nationwide and as a chamber musician is active with the McFarlane string quartet, Psappha and several small ensembles within the BBC.
Mr Hoyle joined the Junior RNCM as a cello tutor in 2002 before taking the position of deputy head of school of strings in 2010. His new appointment has been made in the wake of Malcolm Layfield being forced to resign as a result of the investigations into abuse at specialist music schools in Manchester. Martin Roscoe, whose principled stand against the appointment of Layfield some years ago cost him his own job as head of keyboard, welcomed the news of Chris Hoyle's promotion to a role which he had effectively been fulfilling for the past year, describing him as 'a thoroughly nice guy with no baggage and no guru-type image ... exactly what the college needs at this time'.
Mr Hoyle said of his appointment: 'It's a great honour to be leading the school of strings at the RNCM and to be working with such a team of fine string players. I've spent 25 years working as a performer in the heart of the music profession: I know its demands and the challenges which music students face. My approach is to maintain the very highest artistic ideals, yet to speak of their attainment n plain English, to demystify the arts and to educate the students with total focus. I'm as passionate about music-making as ever and my hope is that the RNCM's string students will themselves enjoy a fulfilling career within this profession.' www.rncm.ac.uk

Sing for Pleasure announces members of its Young Conductors programme 2013

22 May 2013

The choral charity Sing for Pleasure (SfP) has announced the recipients of awards for its Young Conductors programme, funded by a number of grants from Charitable Trusts and Foundations, the Young Conductors are Neil Balfour, Nick Graham, Joshua Cirtina and Helen Briggs.
The four scholars were selected by the SfP management committee after an open call to applicants. Each prospective scholar undertook a written application and telephone interview. The scholars receive access to an annual programme with attendance on SfP conducting courses, a choir placement and mentoring support from course tutors.
Yorkshire based Neil Balfour is a recent graduate from Leeds College of Music who currently leads a number of choirs in the Yorkshire area. Nick Graham, from Guildford, is a student at the University of Oxford who has previously set up a youth choir in his local area and is passionate about the development of choral singing for young people. 
Future RNCM student Joshua Cirtina from Lancashire currently sings in a number of choirs and quartets and also conducts a wind orchestra, whilst Somerset based Helen Briggs holds a music degree from the Birmingham Conservatoire and is involved in a number of youth choirs including the Wells Cathedral School Choir.
Manvinder Rattan, Head of Conductor Training commented: "The standard of applicants has been extremely high and we are delighted to be able to provide a springboard for these young musicians. I'm thrilled that we can play a real part in finding and fostering such promising choral talent".
Neil Balfour said: 'It feels like a great privilege to be offered both a scholarship and the support and encouragement of Sing for Pleasure. Their vast knowledge and expertise and the access to events and mentoring means that I will be able to experience opportunities I would otherwise be very unlikely to. I am immensely grateful to be given the chance to develop my expertise in choral conducting and directing.'
Sing for Pleasure was launched in Bristol in 1964 as a musical society that celebrated all stages of choral and conductor development. Nearly 50 years later, the charity has a national reach, says its members are more passionate than ever about music and has built an excellent professional reputation. The charity has been delivering high quality accredited training courses for over 45 years. www.singforpleasure.org.uk


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