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Two former Royal Academy of Music employees charged with fraud

23 April 2012

Two former senior members of staff at the Royal Academy of Music (RAM) are to appear before magistrates in London next month, after being charged in relation to frauds, involving more than £600,000.

Janet Whitehouse, the former director of finance, faces three charges under the Fraud Act, all arising from alleged abuse of her position for personal financial gain. Between 1 March 2007 and 24 March 2011, she is alleged to have defrauded the RAM of sums in excess of £200,000.

Steven Newell, the former head of information, also faces three charges under the Fraud Act 2006. Two counts concern allegations that he provided two false documents in order to obtain his position at the RAM. A third count concerns payment of fraudulent invoices together valued at £437,408.11. The allegations date between 1 October 2008 and 31 August 2010.

The defendants will both appear before Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 2 May 2012 in separate hearings. A spokesperson from the RAM said: 'The Academy is aware of an ongoing police investigation and that two individuals have been charged. We have no further comments.'

Youth Music appoints new executive director

23 April 2012

Matt Griffiths, the executive director of Plymouth Music Zone, a community music organisation, has been appointed executive director of Youth Music. He starts the job at the beginning of June.

'I'm delighted and honoured to lead Youth Music in the next stage of its development,' he said. 'The charity has a successful track record in creating music-making opportunities, particularly for children and young people in the most challenging circumstances, as well as supporting a national community of music education practice and expertise. I'm looking forward to working with the team to build on this firm foundation and ensure that participation in music continues to be for the many and not just the few.'

Speaking on behalf of Youth Music’s Board, chairman Richard Stilgoe said, 'Music can move from sad to happy by a simple change from minor to major. So while we are sad that Christina Coker has decided to move on, we are very happy that Matt has agreed to come on board to make sure that Youth Music continues to build on firm foundations and drive forward the next stage of its charitable work.'

Youth Music has also appointed Angela Linton as Operations Director. She moves from The Sorrell Foundation.

www.youthmusic.org.uk

Live Music Act becomes law

23 April 2012

The Live Music Act - which will remove much of the paperwork attached to performances in smaller venues, including schools - has now become law.

Venues which hold fewer than 200 people will no longer need local-authority permission for music performances between the hours of 8am and 11pm, with no capacity limit where the music is not amplified. The act comes into force on 1 October.

Welcoming the news, Jo Dipple of UK Music, the umbrella organisation for the UK music industry, said: 'For a Private Member’s Bill to receive Royal Assent is a monumental achievement, even more so for one that is introduced in the House Of Lords. This has happened only five times in the past decade. The assent of today’s act is the result of a dogged commitment to musicians combined with outstanding parliamentary skills. UK Music thanks Lord Clement-Jones and Don Foster MP for their work.'

UK Music was one of the organisations which campaigned for the change. Dipple added: 'The global success of our industry is dependent on a flourishing network of small venues, where tomorrow’s headliners can learn their craft and develop their career. Allowing these venues the freedom to host live music is a huge boost for British artists and means more opportunities for developing talent, as well as enriching our local communities and the economy overall.'

John Smith, general secretary of the Musician’s Union, said he would like to thank all of the MPs and Lords who have been involved in the process.

'The MU has been lobbying for changes to the Licensing Act for many years now, and this exemption is fantastic news for musicians and will be a real boost for live music,' said Smith. 'We look forward to the implementation of the act later this year and we will be working with the government to ensure that the act has maximum impact.'

School choirs invited to participate in worldwide recording

23 April 2012

Schools and youth choirs around the world are being encouraged to create their own recordings of a new song for inclusion in a mass worldwide recording to be released as a single in December.

The song, entitled Voices around the World, has been written by UK singer-songwriter Howard Jones. Vocals, choir parts and backing music are all available free of charge at www.wave7music.co.uk.

Grazebrook Primary School in Hackney, London has already begun rehearsals. 'Being part of a global recording is incredibly exciting for us all,' said headteacher Michelle Thomas. 'It's a thrilling collaboration and we can't wait to hear the mass recording, knowing that we’re a part of it.'

The song, explains Jones, 'is about the potential within all of us to create our own unique future, and taking on the responsibility for the happiness of ourselves and our fellow human beings.'

The International Primary Curriculum and the British Council are also involved, and are encouraging their associate schools around the world to participate. Organiser Laurie Lewin says: 'It's a collaborative project on a global scale aimed at linking the voices of young people everywhere.'

Recordings need to be submitted by 18 July and the song can be heard at www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWnnHj8OgPY

BBC Inspire runs first composer lab for teachers

5 April 2012

The BBC Proms Inspire team has run its first ever Teacher Composer Lab. The day was based on the BBC’s Composer Labs which offer 12 to 18 year olds the opportunity to work alongside established composers and professional musicians from the BBC’s six performing groups in a day of music-making, exploration and discovery.

Held at Dr Challoner’s High School in Little Chalfont, Buckinghamshire, the Lab was led by composers Fraser Trainer and Stuart MacRae, and was designed to help teachers broaden and explore their compositional teaching skills. Both men are judges at this year’s Young Composers’ Competition.

Depending on feedback from the pilot session, Teacher Labs could be run around the country next year.

The closing date for the 2012 Inspire Young Composers’ Competition is May 28. More details are available at the website.

www.bbc.co.uk/proms/features/inspire-competition


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