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Malcolm Arnold Festival makes music social with ‘gesture of friendship’

23 July 2015

Music educator Paul Harris is spearheading a project to encourage people to perform and share their favourite music as part of this year’s Malcolm Arnold Festival.

On 18 October, the festival will invite musicians – amateur and professional – to play a favourite piece of music to their friends and share the footage on social media, including a dedicated Facebook page.

The project has been inspired by Arnold’s description of music as ‘a gesture of friendship’.

Harris is artistic director of the Malcolm Arnold Festival, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. He is also a composer, workshop leader and adjudicator.

The project has been backed by musicians including Nicola Benedetti, who commented: ‘This will offer a wonderful opportunity for a show of musical unity. I wish everyone a wonderful day enjoying the pleasures of classical music.’

Musicians who would like to be involved should visit www.agestureoffriendship.com.

The Malcolm Arnold Festival is an annual celebration of Arnold’s music in his hometown of Northampton. This year’s festival takes place on 17 and 18 October.

BIMM prepares for first summer school at Manchester branch

22 July 2015

The British and Irish Modern Music Institute (BIMM) will hold its first summer school in Manchester next week.

The Manchester Performance Summer School, which takes place on 27-31 July, will focus on indie music and will follow the established BIMM summer school format, running daily from 10am to 4pm for five days.

Mornings will be given over to technique and rehearsals, while in the afternoons the different instrumental groups will come together and form practice bands to flesh out the songs they have learned.

Special guests will include Republica vocalist Saffron; Charlie Laffer, guitarist for Maverick Sabre; multi-instrumentalist Tim Muddiman, bassist for Gary Numan; and Jason Bowld, drummer with Killing Joke.

Kieron Pepper, head of performance at BIMM in Brighton, said: ‘I’m so excited to be bringing the BIMM Summer School to Manchester this year, with some world-class guests and five days spent working on styles, technique and performance with budding musicians from the local area and beyond.’

BIMM began life in 2001 as the Brighton Institute for Modern Music. It has since expanded to open branches in Berlin, Bristol, Dublin, London and most recently Manchester, in 2013.

As well as summer schools, the institute offers full-time further and higher education courses in guitar, drums, bass, songwriting, vocals, music production, music business, event management, live sound and tour management, and music teacher training.

ISM relaunches EBacc campaign following speech from schools minister

21 July 2015

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) has renewed its campaign to reform the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) following fresh proposals by schools minister Nick Gibb to make the system compulsory in all secondary schools.

The Bacc for the Future campaign was originally launched in 2013, when then Education Secretary Michael Gove announced plans to plans to scrap GCSEs in favour of an English Baccalaureate.

The proposed EBacc was to focus on the five core academic areas of English, maths, the sciences, languages and a humanities subject (history or geography).

Campaigners said the system would discourage schools from offering tuition in non-core subjects, such as music and the arts.

The EBacc for the Future campaign was supported by organisations including Shakespeare’s Globe, National Society for Education in Art and Design, National Union of Teachers and English Touring Theatre.

In February 2013, it was announced that the government had decided to scrap its plans for the EBacc and instead focus on reforming GCSEs.

However, on 11 June this year, schools minister Nick Gibb announced new proposals to make the EBacc compulsory for all secondary school pupils during a speech at the Policy Exchange think tank.

The ISM is calling for people to sign a petition calling for creative subjects to be included in school accountability measures.

A statement from the ISM said: ‘Despite our previous campaign success together, we need to work together once more to tackle new and concerning proposals to make the EBacc compulsory for all secondary school pupils.

‘The new EBacc proposals would require every pupil to study English, maths, a science, a humanities subject (defined as only history or geography) and a language (ancient and modern) and would rank schools on performance in only these subjects, excluding the arts altogether.

‘Numerous studies have demonstrated both the lack of evidence for the choice of subjects in the EBacc and the harmful impact it has had on cultural and creative subjects in schools.’

Earlier this week, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan defended the government’s attitude to the arts in schools in a speech to the Creative Industries Federation.

Morgan said: ‘I firmly reject any suggestion that I or this government think that arts subjects are in any way less important or less worthy than other subjects for study in school.

‘On the contrary, a young person’s education cannot be complete unless it includes the arts.’

Holly Mathieson appointed conductor of NYOS Junior Orchestra

20 July 2015

Holly Mathieson has been appointed as conductor of the National Youth Orchestras of Scotland (NYOS) Junior Orchestra for 2015-2018.

Mathieson, who was born in New Zealand, has been working with NYOS Junior Orchestra since March this year.

She is artistic director of the Horizont Musik-Kollektiv, based in Berlin, and also co-directs London’s Reuleaux Ensemble.

She is a Leverhulme Fellow at BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow, working alongside Donald Runnicles.

Mathieson said: ‘I’m delighted to be cementing my relationship with NYOS in this way: the players are such great spirits, and give their all in rehearsal – we work like professionals and anything is possible with them.

‘Our two concerts this season have left me with a clear view of what is possible, and what will be of most benefit to the players' development as young artists.’

The NYOS Junior Orchestra is for musicians aged eight and over, and is the first step for aspiring members of the NYOS Senior Orchestra and NYOS Symphony Orchestra.

New Note Orchestra prepares for launch in Brighton

15 July 2015

A music project for people recovering from addiction is holding an open day this weekend to explore ways of expanding its work.

The New Note Orchestra began life in 2014 as a TV show for Channel 4, Addicts Symphony, in which ten recovering addicts worked for two months with musician and recovering alcoholic James McConnel towards a concert with the London Symphony Orchestra.

The aim was to increase participants’ self-esteem and confidence, while teaching them new skills.

Producer Molly Mathieson has since received funding from the Lloyds Bank School for Social Entrepreneurs Programme to continue the project.

Mathieson will host a workshop in Brighton on 18 July to gauge local need for the service and explore ways of collaborating with other music educators.

Depending on the outcome of the workshop, she is hoping to start a regular New Note Orchestra project in Brighton from September, with a view to potentially expanding to other areas of the UK at a later stage.

Musicians already involved with the project include conductor Patrick Harrex and violinist Marco Martinez.

‘The workshop is a way for us to understand whether there is a local need and how to design the orchestra going forward,’ Mathieson said.

‘The overall plan is to roll out the orchestra across the country. At this point we are looking for people to support us.’

Mathieson said she was keen to discuss options such as workshops for people who are unable to read music.

‘We might also look at providing music lessons in the future,’ she said. ‘We are going to start as an orchestra and see how it grows.’


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