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Teaching Materials 2015

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Latest News

BBC Ten Pieces project extended to secondary schools

20 May 2015, Katy Wright

Ambassadors Peter Moore and Clean Bandit
Ambassadors Peter Moore and Clean BanditPhotos: Kaupo Kikkas / Joshua Schulz

The BBC’s Ten Pieces initiative will be extended to secondary schools from Autumn 2015.

A new set of pieces has been chosen to tie into the 11-plus curriculum. Teachers will once again have access to a range of online resources to explore the works in their own lessons, encouraging pupils to respond to the music through composition, dance or art.

The Ten Pieces for secondary schools are:

  • Bach orch. Stokowski - Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565
  • Bernstein – ‘Mambo’ from West Side Story
  • Bizet – ‘Habanera’ and ‘Toreador Song’ from Carmen
  • Anna Clyne - Night Ferry
  • Haydn – Trumpet Concerto (third movement)
  • Gabriel Prokofiev – Concerto for Turntables and Orchestra (fifth movement)
  • Shostakovich – Symphony No. 10 (second movement)
  • Vaughan Williams - The Lark Ascending
  • Verdi – ‘Dies Irae’ and ‘Tuba Mirum’ from Requiem
  • Wagner – ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ from Die Walküre
The BBC Philharmonic orchestra will perform in a new film featuring the new selection of pieces, which will be shown free of charge in special screenings across the UK in October 2015. Live performances featuring the Ten Pieces will also take place throughout the year.

New ambassadors joining the project include cellist Julian Lloyd Webber, electronic band Clean Bandit, trombonist Peter Moore (former BBC Young Musician of the Year and co-principal trombone of the London Symphony Orchestra) and musician, producer and composer Nitin Sawhney.

Sawhney said: ‘I am delighted and honoured to have been asked to act as an Ambassador for the BBC’s Ten Pieces project. Children need to challenge their imaginations and a formal education in the arts instils children with confidence and an ability to learn through intuition as well as intellect. It empowers children to understand their own identity and emotions. I hope that through my participation in this wonderful project I could somehow contribute to that journey and process.’

Bob Shennan, director of BBC Music, said: ‘The glowing success of Ten Pieces is a testament to the dedication and passion of its executive producer, Katy Jones, who sadly passed away earlier this year.  It’s a fitting tribute to her that we now launch Ten Pieces Secondary featuring a diverse and entertaining range of pieces which Katy herself loved.’

The Ten Pieces initiative launched in autumn 2014, and has worked with nearly half of all UK primary schools. The resources for Ten Pieces Primary will be available throughout 2015/16, with schools encouraged to continue their involvement.

BBC Ten Pieces

Guildhall School awards joint Gold Medal in centenary year

19 May 2015

© C Totman

The Guildhall School of Music and Drama has chosen joint winners for its 2015 Gold Medal.

Soprano Jennifer Witton and mezzo-soprano Marta Fontanals-Simmons have both been awarded the annual prize for outstanding soloists, which celebrates its centenary this year.

The final took place before a panel of judges including soprano Sally Matthews, baritone Alan Opie and David Syrus, head of music at the Royal Opera House.

Witton studied at Bishop Luffa School and Chichester College before completing undergraduate and postgraduate courses at the Guildhall School.

Fontanals-Simmons is from Castle Cary, Somerset and attended St Antony’s Leweston School in Sherborne, Dorset.

She said: ‘I am over the moon to have won such a prestigious award amongst family, friends and colleagues, especially in this the centenary year.’

The Gold Medal award was founded and endowed by H Dixon Kimber in 1915, when it was also awarded to two winners. Since 1950 it has been open to singers and instrumentalists in alternate years.

Previous winners include William Primrose (1922), Jacqueline du Pré (1960), Patricia Rozario (1979), Tasmin Little (1986) and Bryn Terfel (1989).

Big Noise orchestras praised by researchers

19 May 2015, Katy Wright

Big Noise Raploch celebrates 6 years
Big Noise Raploch celebrates 6 yearsMarc Marnie

The initial findings of an 18-month study show that Sistema Scotland’s Big Noise orchestras are having a positive effect on the local community.

Researchers from the Glasgow Centre for Population Health (GCPH) concluded that the projects had the potential to ‘significantly enhance participants’ lives, prospects, health and wellbeing’ and strongly endorsed the Big Noise projects.

The researchers have been examining the economic, education and community impacts of the Big Noise schemes since September 2013. They found that children taking part in the scheme had higher school attendance, improved handwriting and greater confidence.

The orchestras, based in Stirling’s Raploch and Glasgow’s Govanhill, were established in 2008 and 2013 respectively. Both schemes have attracted widespread acclaim, with Stirling’s programme praised for ‘exceptional achievement’ by government inspectors earlier this year.

Sistema Scotland chairman Richard Holloway said yesterday: ‘Today's findings by independent experts show very conclusively that these orchestras can make a better Scotland - a fairer and happier country with the potential of its children fully realised. The heroes in all of this, though, are the children in Raploch and Govanhill who are showing us all the way.’

GCPH director Carol Tannahill said: ‘This evaluation strongly endorses Sistema Scotland’s approaches to delivery: the short and medium-term impacts of the programme evidenced at this stage of the evaluation are very encouraging. What is also certain is that Sistema Scotland’s Big Noise programme has the potential to significantly enhance participants’ lives, prospects, health and wellbeing through a variety of identified pathways in the long-term.’

Based on Venezuela’s El Sistema, Sistema Scotland draws children from disadvantaged backgrounds and immerses them in music. Approximately 1,300 Scottish children currently participate in the intensive orchestral programmes, which involve regular coaching, performances and trips to concerts. 

The study will continue in order to observe the long-term effects of the Big Noise projects.

Sistema Scotland

St John's Smith Square names latest crop of Young Artists

18 May 2015

Tabea Debus © Maximilian Motel

St John’s Smith Square has welcomed four new members to its Young Artists’ Scheme.

Recorder player Tabea Debus, violinist Joo Yeon Sir, the Ligeti Quartet and vocal ensemble The Gesualdo Six will all receive performance opportunities, marketing and development assistance and career support during the 2015/16 concert season.

St John’s Smith Square launched its Young Artists’ Scheme last year to provide assistance for exceptional young artists on the brink of their professional careers.

The first group of artists selected were the Aurea Quartet, Anna Hashimoto (clarinet), Laura Snowden (guitar) and the Zelkova Quartet.

The Young Artists are each awarded three performance dates ranging from lunchtime concerts to full evening recitals and Sunday afternoon chamber music concerts.

Alongside this, they will also undertake activities in marketing, commissioning and outreach.

Richard Heason, director of St Johns Smith Square, said: ‘As a concert hall it is crucial that we don’t just give voice to established artists but that we also invest in future talent.

‘Through our Young Artists’ Scheme we are able to select musicians who have shown themselves to have enormous talent and energy and help them as they shape their careers.

‘The support we give off the concert platform, for marketing, development and outreach work, is just as important as the concert opportunities.’

Tabea Debus is a student at the Royal Academy of Music, while Joo Yeon Sir studies at the Royal College of Music.

The Ligeti Quartet is a group of recent graduates dedicated to performing modern and contemporary music, and The Gesualdo Six is a vocal sextet specialising in the performance of renaissance music, directed by Owain Park.

Songs of Praise school choir of the year winners named

18 May 2015, Katy Wright

Junior category winners Ysgol Iau Llangennech
Junior category winners Ysgol Iau Llangennech

Llanelli's Ysgol Iau Llangennech and Hereford Cathedral School's Cantabile Girls’ Choir have been announced as the winners of the 2015 BBC Songs of Praise school choir of the year competition.

Ysgol Iau Llangennech won the junior school category, while Cantabile Girls’ Choir took the senior school title. The final, which took place at Nottingham’s Albert Hall, was broadcast on BBC One on 17 May.

Lewis Richards, conductor of Ysgol Iau Llangennech said: ‘The children give so much time and energy during rehearsals. I’m over the moon that they have something to show for their efforts and perseverance. The children were determined to perform their socks off in the final, and that’s exactly what they did!’

Cantabile had appeared in the finals of the competition before, and have also won the international Eisteddfod on two occasions. Music director Jo Williamson said: ‘Words cannot express how happy I am for the girls – I’m so proud of them and I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart.  They have worked so hard for this moment and gave everything they had – heart and soul!’

Dave Stanford, executive producer of Songs of Praise, said: ‘The judges faced a difficult decision for both categories because the standard of entries was so high. Cantabile Girls’ Choir achieved success after an outstanding performance and Ysgol Iau Llangennech were faultless. Many congratulations to both the schools. The Songs of Praise School Choir of the Year competition has been running since 2003 and we are always knocked out by the quality and enthusiasm of the school choirs which enter.’

A new judging panel for the 2015 competition included: JB Gill, from boy band JLS; vocal coach and opera singer Yvie Burnett from The Voice; and Tim Rhys-Evans, the founder of Welsh male voice choirs Only Men Aloud and Only Boys Aloud.

The other finalists were Queen’s Young Voices (Chester) and Lindley Junior School Choir (Huddersfield) for the junior category, and Twyford Church of England High School Choir (London) and Strathearn School Chamber Choir (Belfast) for the senior category.

The competition launched in 2003 and attracts hundreds of entries annually. Over 45,000 young singers have entered to date.

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