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Orchestra of the Swan wins grant from The People's Millions

29 November 2013, Toby Deller

The Orchestra of the Swan has been awarded £49,822 by the national grants programme The People’s Millions for its schools project Antony and Cleopatra – The Musical!

The programme, which is run by the Big Lottery Fund in partnership with ITV, distributes grants of up to £50,000 to community projects throughout the United Kingdom. The recipients are chosen by the general public by telephone vote from a regional shortlist drawn up by the organisers.

Antony and Cleopatra – The Musical! will involve children from Welcombe Hills school in Stratford-upon-Avon and Bray’s school in Birmingham, both special schools. Jane Edgerton, head teacher of Bray’s, said, ‘We are simply thrilled that Orchestra of the Swan has been successful in their bid to the People’s Millions. Our children are very special and Anthony and Cleopatra - The Musical! is a tremendous opportunity for our children to work with this wonderful orchestra.’

Beginning in early 2014, children will take part in workshops and rehearsals with the orchestra and professional singers, culminating in public performances towards the end of the year. The Stratford-based orchestra is collaborating with Coventry theatre company Talking Birds to create the project which will be written by Nick Walker with music by Derek Nisbet, and directed by Peter Cann. It will be the companies’ third schools collaboration together, following their earlier Homer-inspired productions Space Odyssey and Troy Story. 

David Curtis, artistic director of Orchestra of the Swan, said, ‘This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for us to work with wonderful children, their teachers and support staff. Through Central TV, Twitter, Facebook and other media, over 500,000 people now know about Antony and Cleopatra - The Musical! and we very much hope that our new friends will follow us and these children on our journey next year.’

While other music projects have been supported by The People’s Millions since it began in 2005, this is the first award made to an orchestra-run project. In all, it has made 523 awards worth over £27.8 million. Many of these have funded projects benefiting young and disadvantaged people, as well as performance, community building and regeneration work, sports facilities and leisure activities. The 2013 round of awards has a total budget of £3.8 million and will benefit 76 projects, four per ITV region. 

Details of the 2014 scheme will be announced in the new year, with the application period expected to open in the spring.




New Youth Opera Company Needs Your Help!

28 November 2013

A recent study by the Co-opera Co. has found that the majority of singers and audience members developed their love of opera from experiencing live productions at a young age.

As a result, to help encourage young singers and also boost the trend of dwindling audience numbers, a new Youth Opera company has been formed aimed at children and young people between the ages of 8 and 18. 'Co-oper8' are running a series of 30 skills-based workshops between September 2013 and Jun 2014, and will also hold a two-week summer course in August 2014 which will culminate in a professional opera production at The Apex (Bury St Edmund's).

Co-oper8 has now been accepted onto The Big Give Christmas Challenge, which kicks off next Thursday 5 December at 10am. Every donation will be matched by their Charity Champion, and they are hoping to raise a total of £20,000 (£10,000 in donations). 

To give to Co-oper8, click on this link at 10am next Thursday, Friday or Saturday, where you will be able to make a secure donation online. For more information, visit The Big Give website.

Christmas Revision for GCSE Students

26 November 2013

Private tutor agency Tutor House is offering a selection of revision workshops for GCSE and IGCSE students that will run in London over the Christmas holidays. All subjects will be covered.

Alex Dyer, director of Tutor House, has designed revision courses that are appropriate for SEN students as well, with one-to-one sessions being offered alongside group classes. The workshops will run over a five-day period, and students can decide whether to sign up for entire subjects or just focus on the modules they find the most challenging.

Workshops cost £150 per day. For more information, visit the Tutor House website or call 020 7381 6253.

RCS Scoops £225K Leverhulme Arts Scholarship Award

25 November 2013

A new conducting programme at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) has received a significant funding award from the Leverhulme Trust. 

Over the next three years the Trust is providing £90,000 to support two conducting Fellows, who will work with Timothy Dean (head of opera at the RCS) and conductor Garry Walker. The chosen Fellows will also have the opportunity to assist Donald Runnicles at the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

Jean Cater, assistant director at the Leverhulme Trust, said: 'The Leverhulme Trust has a long tradition of supporting the development of exceptionally talented individuals in the arts and we are delighted to be continuing that tradition in funding the Conducting Fellowships programme at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.'

The £90K conducting award is part of a £225,000 Leverhulme Arts Scholarship Award that will also support Innovative Teaching projects and provide scholarships for three individuals on the BA Modern Ballet course. 

As part of the Innovative Teaching Award the RCS's contemporary ensemble in residence, Red Note, will be contracted to lead weekly mentoring sessions that will guide students towards performances. This will benefit a large number of Masters in Performance students who will join Red Note in side-by-side sessions, as well as enabling 40 student composers to have their works performed. The Leverhulme conducting fellows will lead these performances.

Classic FM Music Teacher of the Year Awards 2013

21 November 2013

From left to right: Jamie Crick (Classic FM presenter), Sam Mendes, Damian Lewis, Claire Hennie (winner of Private Music Teacher of the Year Award), Matthew Tiffany (winner of the Peripatetic Music Teacher of the Year Award), Lord David Puttnam.
From left to right: Jamie Crick (Classic FM presenter), Sam Mendes, Damian Lewis, Claire Hennie (winner of Private Music Teacher of the Year Award), Matthew Tiffany (winner of the Peripatetic Music Teacher of the Year Award), Lord David Puttnam.

Seven UK music teachers across the UK have received honours at the fifteenth annual Classic FM Music Teacher of the Year Awards. The presentations were made across three nights at the Music for Youth’s Schools Prom concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, in front of a live audience of thousands. 

Amongst the panel of judges was Music Teacher editor Thomas Lydon. The judges were looking for primary, secondary, peripatetic and private music teachers, as well as those who work with SEN children, who have made a real difference to the musical lives of young people. The awards were presented by a number of high-profile guests, including film producer Lord David Puttnam, Homeland star Damian Lewis and Skyfall director Sam Mendes. The winning teachers will each receive musical equipment and instruments from Yamaha and software from Avid. Prizes from the Musicians’ Union will also be awarded to the winners of the Private and Peripatetic music teacher categories.

Classic FM’s Managing Director Darren Henley said: ‘Every single day, inspirational music teachers change the lives of thousands of young people across the country, helping to develop Britain's next generation of brilliant musical talent. We're proud that our awards celebrate the outstanding work of the UK's very best music teachers inside and outside the classroom.’

After a particularly strong round of entries, the judges decided to award this year’s Primary School Music Teacher of the Year jointly to Kate Smart (Corpus Christi School, Lambeth) and Siobhan Martin (Holy Cross Boys’ Primary, Belfast). Secondary School Teacher of the Year went to Rebecca Lewis (Parkside Federation Academies, Cambridgeshire), and Matthew Tiffany (North Leeds Music Centre) was awarded the Peripatetic Music Teacher of the Year. Shropshire flute teacher Claire Hennie was named Private Music Teacher of the Year, and the Special Education Needs Music Teacher of the Year was awarded to Jocelyn Watkins (Treloar School, Hampshire).

The prestigious Lifetime Achievements award went to Peter Bridle (King Edward’s School, Birmingham), in recognition of the outstanding contribution he has made to music education over the last 46 years. 

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