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Latest News

Jobs at risk in Isle of Wight and Cornwall

23 May 2014

Local government cost-cutting measures are leading to threatened redundancies in music services in both the Isle of Wight and Cornwall.

Recent comments by Isle of Wight councillor Steve Priest to the effect that he would be ‘looking for musicians in the area to teach our children as volunteers’, at a time when nearly 100 teaching jobs were under threat, led to widespread outrage, culminating in a rally and open air concert on 26 April. The MU, which has been an active voice in opposition to cuts in the area, has since reported that there is better news, claiming that ‘Councillors who had previously considered forcing music teachers into self-employment recognised the pitfalls this approach would have created.’ However, there is still no concrete proposal from the council on how it will proceed on reduced funding.

In Cornwall, the 70 teachers employed by the Music Tuition Service are to lose their jobs. The Music Tuition Service – one of three strands of the wider music service, alongside the music hub and the music therapy service – has overspent by £450,000 over the past two years. A ‘brokerage’ model has been put forward by Cornwall council, in which music teachers would no longer be directly employed, but would operate from a pool administered by the council. Various unions have questioned the council’s conduct in the matter, and we will be reporting fully on the status of these disputes in our July issue.



What's next for Music Mark?

23 May 2014

Following its first full year of operation, the board of trustees of the UK Association for Music Education (Music Mark) has completed an organisational review.

Amongst its new targets are plans to increase the number of music service members; to develop more pro-active advocacy with government and opposition members, and their departments; and to prioritise its support for music service members (including their roles within hubs) and with members who work with schools.

The board of trustees also remodelled the role of Jem Shuttleworth, currently acting CEO, as the new general manager of Music Mark, effective from the beginning of last month.

Andrew Litton plays Oscar Peterson at Rhinegold LIVE

22 May 2014

Rhinegold LIVE’s second concert of the season will feature world-renowned conductor Andrew Litton performing at the piano at Conway Hall, London on 2 June 2014.

The concert’s programme features transcriptions of Canadian jazz pianist Oscar Peterson, spanning four decades of Peterson’s legacy. The evening will also be a launch for Andrew Litton’s new CD, ‘A Tribute to Oscar Peterson’.

The concert will be preceded by a complimentary drinks reception and followed by an informal Q&A, conducted by International Piano contributor and classical music writer Jeremy Nicholas.

Drinks reception: 6.15pm

Concert begins: 7.00pm

To register for your free ticket to this concert, click here. Each ticket includes a complimentary drink at the reception.

NCEM Young Composers 2014

21 May 2014

The National Centre for Early Music has announced the winners of its 2014 Young Composers award. 16-year-old Freya Ireland won the under 18s category, with Kerensa Briggs (23) and Hugo Bell (22) awarded joint first prize in the 19-25 category.

The award, presented in partnership with BBC Radio 3 and The Tallis Scholars, was judged in York over a day of workshops, culminating in an evening concert. The concert performance was streamed live and can be viewed here until the beginning of August 2014.

Entrants to the competition were invited to compose a three to four minute work, setting Lamentations from the book of Jeremiah for an a cappella SSATB choir. Freya Ireland’s  Lamentations, Kerensa Briggs’ Lamentations of Jeremiah: Jerusalem, return to the Lord thy God and Hugo Bell’s The Lamentations of Jeremiah will be premièred by The Tallis Scholars on Friday 24 October at the Church of St. John the Evangelist, Oxford in a public concert promoted by Music at Oxford , and recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s Early Music Show at 2.00pm on Sunday 2 November 2014.

Delma Tomlin, Director of the NCEM said: ‘We were absolutely overwhelmed this year in terms of both the very high standard and quantity of responses to the Award. Live-streaming the finalists’ concert enabled us to share this wealth of new talent with an even wider audience throughout the UK and gave the young composers an immediately broader platform for the premier of their compositions. As the National Centre for Early Music, we are delighted that our partnership with BBC Radio 3, The Tallis Scholars and Music at Oxford extends the geographical reach of this Award across the UK. We look forward to all three performances in Oxford this October.'

Peter Phillips, Director of The Tallis Scholars added: ‘We were thrilled that nearly 80 young composers wanted to take up the challenge of setting the Lamentations text. I was looking for music which I could interpret with The Tallis Scholars on a big occasion and so high was the standard that in the older age category we decided to give a joint prize. I can’t wait for the concert and broadcast we shall give in October.’

Essex pianist wins BBC Young Musician

19 May 2014, Melanie Spanswick

17-year-old Martin James Bartlett, from Essex, has been named BBC Young Musician 2014. The final took place on Sunday 18 May at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh. 

It was broadcast on BBC Four, presented by Clemency Burton-Hill with Alison Balsom, Miloš Karadaglić, and special guest Nicola Benedetti.
Bartlett and his fellow finalists – percussionist Elliott Gaston-Ross (15) and recorder-player Sophie Westbrooke (15) – performed with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under Kirill Karabits and were judged by a panel including composer James MacMillan, conductor Alice Farnham, pianist Alice Sara Ott, percussionist Colin Currie and recorder-player Michala Petri. 
Being in the room, the final of the competition felt more akin to a concert. Elliott Gaston-Ross started proceedings with an explosion of tonal colour and drama. He chose to play African Sunrise/Manhattan Rave by David Heath. A heady mixture of styles, timbres and textures, this work employs a huge range of instruments, demonstrating Elliott's natural rhythmic flair and flamboyance. The next young performer was recorder player Sophie Westbrooke (also 15) who shone with a breath taking account of Gordon Jacob's Suite for Recorder and Strings, arranged for Chamber Orchestra by David Knotts. Her performance was full of colour, a rich tone and nimble fingerwork. 
The last performer of the final was Bartlett. He presented Rachmaninov's virtuoso Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, which he played effortlessly with a musicianship and maturity well beyond his 17 years. The atmosphere in the hall was electric as the winner was announced; all three performers were clearly worthy of the prize. 
Bartlett studies at the Royal College of Music Junior Department with Emily Jeffrey. He will be continuing his studies at the RCM senior department in September on a coveted Foundation Scholarship. 

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