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Stoneleigh Youth Orchestra celebrates 70thanniversary

21 November 2014

Possibly the UK’s oldest youth orchestra, Wimbledon-based Stoneleigh Youth Orchestra turns 70 this year. The orchestra’s 70th Anniversary Concert will be held at the Royal College of Music on Sunday December 14th, with cellist Richard Harwood joining the orchestra to perform the Dvorak Cello Concerto.   Founded by Edward Gough in 1944, Stoneleigh Youth Orchestra is the longest established youth orchestra in Surrey and London, if not in the UK. It aims to provide an orchestral environment which is challenging, fun, friendly and supportive, in which young musicians of all backgrounds can develop their skills and nurture a lifelong love of music.  

Stoneleigh has over 100 members aged 9 to 18, drawn from more than 60 schools in London and Surrey. The orchestra rehearses weekly in Wimbledon in term time, each term culminating in a concert at a major London venue such as Cadogan Hall, St John’s Smith Square, the Royal Academy of Music or the Royal College of Music. There is also an annual European summer tour.  

Robert Hodge, Stoneleigh's Musical Director. Says "Stoneleigh is a very special orchestra. The sense of belonging, friendship and dedication to the music from the players is astonishing. Working with these young musicians is truly inspirational. We look forward in our celebratory 70th year to fantastic repertoire, venues, soloists and the exciting prospect of a summer tour to Malta.”

Chetham’s showcase launches ‘classical musicians of the future’

20 November 2014

  Student soloists from across Chetham’s School of Music perform special concerts that profile the next generation of classical musicians. Each student performs a 20 – minute recital within this full-length concert.

Performers include flautist Jack Reddick, who has played with the Whitgift Chamber Orchestra alongside the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and was accepted into the National Youth Orchestra, performing at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall each year since 2012. At Chetham’s, he has had many performance opportunities, both solo and in groups. He has also been principal flute and piccolo in the renowned Chetham's Symphony Orchestra.

French Horn player Emma Bain was Principal Horn in the National Children’s Orchestra and is now a member of the National Youth Orchestra. She has also performed as a soloist as part of Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra. Recent engagements include a performance with the Commonwealth Festival Orchestra and numerous solo and ensemble performances and workshops in Sri Lanka as part of “The Commonwealth Resounds” project.

Eudald Buch began to play the piano at the age of ten. He has taken part in important festivals such as the International Holland Music Sessions in Bergen. He has obtained several prizes both in chamber music and piano in competitions in Girona and Barcelona. He has also played in a live ‘In Tune‘ special programme for Richard Strauss’s 150th anniversary on BBC Radio 3.

Violinist David Shaw has given recitals throughout the UK, Italy, Germany and Hungary. In 2009 David was the youngest musician ever to have reached the final of Texaco Young Musician of Wales, playing alongside the Cardiff Symphony Orchestra. As a result of this, David was invited to perform in ‘One Thousand Christmas Voices’ in Llangollen, which was televised on S4C.
The Concert takes place in The Carole Nash Hall, Chetham’s School of Music, Manchester on Thursday 27 Nov, 7.30pm


Education study favours traditional teaching styles

19 November 2014

Schools need to put more effort into evaluating what makes effective teaching, and ensure that discredited practices are rooted out from classrooms, according to a new study published by the Sutton Trust and Durham University.

Professor Robert Coe of Durham University, one of the authors, said assessing effective teaching was difficult, because exactly how pupils learn remains a mysterious subject. ‘It is surprisingly difficult for anyone watching a teacher to judge how effectively students are learning. We all think we can do it, but the research evidence shows that we can’t. Anyone who wants to judge the quality of teaching needs to be very cautious’.

The study suggests that some schools and teachers continue to use methods that cause little or no improvement in student progress, relying on anecdotal evidence to support the promotion of ‘discovery learning’, which encourages children to uncover ideas for themselves, or ‘learning styles,’, a technique which claims children can be divided into those who learn best through sight, sound or movement.

According to the researchers, more traditional styles that reward effort, use class time efficiently and insist on clear rules to manage pupil behaviour, are more likely to succeed. The report rejects the use of streaming or setting, where pupils are grouped by ability within classes or year-groups. Grouping by ability can result in teachers ‘going too fast with the high-ability groups and too slow with the low,’ cancelling the advantage of tailoring lessons to the different sets of pupils.

The researchers suggest that teachers with a command of their subject, allied with high-quality instruction techniques, such as effective questioning and assessment, are the most likely to impart the best learning to their pupils.

NCEM joins large scale European cooperation project

17 November 2014

The National Centre for Early Music in York (NCEM) is one of eight major partner organisations from the European Community involved in a successful bid for the 2014 Creative Europe Culture Programme.  Led by Ambronay Festival (France), the project, ‘EEEmerging European Ensembles’, has been awarded a grant of 1,971,375 euros as a ‘large scale co-operation project’. The funding, which will be shared among the partners over four years, will enable the NCEM to enhance its support of young emerging early music ensembles by hosting six residencies at the NCEM in York between 2015-2018. This will support the biennial York Early Music International Young Artists Competition, which draws in competitors from across the European Community and beyond, and provides performance opportunities across the UK.

By selecting and training the best emerging ensembles in Europe, the EEEmerging European Ensembles project aims to increase equality in the options open to young ensembles, to provide them with excellent working conditions and a network of places for training, along with specific support and guidance for their projects, and to help them negotiate the realities of the early music market in Europe. Ensembles will receive support over a 1-3 year period.

For further information visit: www.ncem.co.uk/eee 

BBC Radio 3 chief: I won’t be ‘dumbing down’ station

14 November 2014

Alan Davey says Radio 3 will not become more like Classic FM in order to address a shrinking audience and that it will still offer a ‘complex culture’.

In the latest figures from industry body Rajar in July, the classical music station saw its audience shrink by 120,000 year on year to 1.88 million, falling behind digital-only Radio 6 Music for the first time.

Alan Davey, currently chief executive of Arts Council England, takes over as controller in January. He rejected suggestions that the solution was to follow the more popular Classic FM by concentrating on more accessible music. Mr Davey told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘It’s one quarter’s listening figures we are talking about. We don’t yet have a trend’. He said he will continue to offer ‘complex culture’, such as operas by avant-garde composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, but will seek to provide audiences with the context that will help them to understand it.

‘I will be addressing it by doing what Radio 3 does best, offering complex culture, arts and ideas within the reach of lots of people. That’s what the original Third Programme did beautifully, but what the original Third Programme didn’t do was offer people context ... a way of approaching the complex culture that’s offered ... If you do complex culture properly, it makes sense to people.’

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