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Call for entries to Britten Sinfonia's 2016 Opus competition

5 June 2015

© Harry Rankin

Entries have opened for the next edition Britten Sinfonia’s Opus competition for unpublished composers.

The winner will get the chance to write a new work for the chamber orchestra’s award-winning At Lunch series in Norwich, Cambridge and London’s Wigmore Hall.

Applicants for Opus 2016 must submit two scores, which will be judged blind by a panel led by composer Julian Philips and including Edward Nesbit, winner of the 2015 competition.

A shortlist of ten composers will then be selected to take part in two public workshops with Britten Sinfonia musicians. One composer among them will be chosen to receive a commission.

The winner will receive guidance from Britten Sinfonia musicians, at least three performances of the new work in 2016/17 and a commission fee.

The Opus competition is now in its fourth year and has received a total of more than 550 entries from amateur and professional composers of all ages.

The closing date for submissions is 19 October 2015. More information and a short film about the competition can be viewed here.

UCAS Conservatoires received record number of applications in 2014

4 June 2015, Katy Wright

The UCAS Conservatoires scheme received a record 7,985 applications in 2014. Around two thirds of these applicants applied to undergraduate courses.

According to a report from UCAS Conservatoires, the number of students who received places within the conservatoire sector increased by 10% between 2013 and 2014. 

The report showed that three quarters of applicants to undergraduate courses and over half of applicants to postgraduate courses from the 2014 application cycle were from the UK.

Music courses had the highest number of applicants and acceptances, but undergraduate drama and dance courses were particularly competitive. Only one in twenty applicants to drama courses were accepted, while one in 12 applicants to dance courses through UCAS Conservatoires received a place.

Young people from the least advantaged areas of the UK are more likely to apply and to enter conservatoires compared to four years ago; however, the most advantaged 20% of young people in the UK remain around six times more likely to enter courses at conservatoires than the least advantaged group.

Hilary Boulding, chair of Conservatoires UK, said: 'The Cultural and Creative Industries are the fastest growing industry in the UK, a trend mirrored by the 10% increase in acceptances to conservatoires announced today. These professions look to the UK’s conservatoires to provide them with a regular flow of talent.  This is a field in which the UK excels and our graduates continue to succeed at the forefront of a global industry.'

UCAS Conservatoires manages applications to performance-based music, dance and drama courses at eight conservatoires in the UK. All offer music, with two also offering dance and two offering drama.

UCAS Conservatoires

Violinist Dan-Iulian Drutac receives Junior Guildhall's Lutine Prize

4 June 2015

© Clive Totman

Dan-Iulian Drutac, an 18-year-old violinist from Moldova, has been awarded the Junior Guildhall’s Lutine Prize for outstanding young musicians.

The prize, which is given annually by the junior division of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, was awarded following a series of performances on 30 May in the school’s Milton Court Concert Hall.

Another violinist, Tatjana Roos, also 18, was awarded second place.

Drutac performed Ysaÿe’s Sonata No 3 for Solo Violin and Brahms’s Sonata No 1 in G, Op 78.

The Lutine Prize is the Junior Guildhall’s equivalent of the senior school’s Gold Medal. The winner receives a cash prize and the opportunity to perform a concerto with a Junior Guildhall ensemble.

Drutac studies with David Takeno, having being taught by Galina Buinovschi at the Ciprian Porumbescu Music School in Moldova.

He makes regular appearances as a soloist with professional orchestras in Europe, the UK and Moldova.

The Junior Guildhall offers specialist pre-conservatoire training on Saturdays in music and drama. The department currently has 400 students aged between four and 19.

BBC Music Day's unsung heroes revealed

3 June 2015, Katy Wright

Unsung hero: Mary Bell
Unsung hero: Mary Bell

Three of BBC Music Day’s five unsung heroes have been revealed. Mary Bell, Hannah Brine and Denise White will be joined by two further individuals, to be revealed on 4 and 5 June.

The winners were selected by a BBC panel after being nominated by members of the public. All will receive a BBC Music VIP Pass, giving them and their friends tickets to a major BBC Music event of their choice.

Mary Bell is a music teacher at Garvel School for the Deaf in Greenock, Inverclyde. Bell became deaf after contracting meningitis, and also uses a wheelchair. As part of her rehabilitation, she started teaching herself to play again by sensing sound through vibrations, and later helped to develop one of her pupil’s fine motor skills through learning to play rhythms.

Hannah Brine established Victoria Park Singers in London's East End two years ago. The group now has 100 members from a range of different nationalities, ages and backgrounds. Their performances have raised £8000 for charities.

Denise White set up 'Something Special', a project which uses music as a way to develop concentration, enhance creativity and interaction, and consolidate learning for young people and adults with learning disabilities in Derry Londonderry. 'Something Special' is now an award-winning regional educational charity that provides accredited courses in music and performing arts to over 80 students.

The inaugural BBC Music Day takes place on 5 June.

BBC Music Day: unsung heroes

Royal Academy of Music partners with Juilliard School for all-Bach project

2 June 2015

The Royal Academy of Music (RAM) has teamed up with the Juilliard School in New York to present a series of all-Bach performances in the US and Europe this month.

Historical performance instrumentalists and singers from the two conservatories will perform together in Boston, New York, Leipzig and London, conducted by Bach specialist Masaaki Suzuki.

The orchestra and chorus will be divided equally between students from each conservatory, with each institution also providing one soloist for JS Bach’s Double Violin Concerto.

The leader of the orchestra will be Rachel Podger (pictured), the RAM’s Micaela Comberti Chair of Baroque Violin.
After rehearsals in New York, the group will perform at the Boston Early Music Festival on 13 June, the Lincoln Center in New York on 15 June and in Leipzig on 19 June as part of the Leipzig Bach Festival.

The final performance will be in London at the Royal Academy of Music on 21 June, part of the seventh year of the Royal Academy of Music/Kohn Foundation Bach Cantata Series.
Suzuki and Podger are both recent winners of the Royal Academy of Music Bach Prize, awarded annually to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the performance and/or scholarly study of the music of JS Bach.

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