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Schools Music Association announces merger with ISM

30 March 2014

The Schools Music Association (SMA) is to become part of the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) as of 1 July.    

The two organisations have increasingly worked together in recent years in areas of advocacy and support for music educators.  Following the merger, the ISM organisation, name and normal functions will continue unaltered. SMA members will become part of the ISM and will be known as ‘ISM-SMA’ members. Those that choose to upgrade to full ISM membership can also enjoy the legal, insurance and other services that the ISM offers.   

The SMA has been consulting its members on the future of the organisation since 2012. SMA members indicated an overwhelming preference to explore merger with the ISM in November 2012, and at their AGM on 26 October 2013 voted unanimously for the association to merge with the larger ISM.   

Jay Deeble, Chairman of the SMA, said: ‘After 76 years of working to help children and their teachers make music together, we are looking forward to the next 76, working as a vibrant part of the ISM. Joint projects, and shared values and attitudes mean that the transition should be seamless, and we shall continue to provide an essential network for music teachers, serving as a vital link between those working with young people and the policy makers at local, regional and national level. Our aims will remain unchanged and we shall continue to organise events involving children in mass music-making, as well as provide termly resources to members.’

Joanna MacGregor to lead Dartington from summer 2015

30 March 2014

Joanna MacGregor has been announced as the artistic director of the Dartington International Summer School from 2015, initially on a three-year contract. MacGregor will take over from Nicholas Daniel after this year’s summer school, Daniel having been taken on with a one-year contract, as announced last year.  

'Joanna has been recruited to help build on the successes of the summer school, develop new approaches with other arts activities at Dartington and restore the four week format,’ read a statement. The 2014 summer school will be only three weeks long, as opposed to the long-established five-week model, a change made ‘due to reduced demand for the 2013 summer school’ according to a Dartington spokesperson. With strong sales this year, however, the plan is to step up to four weeks in 2015. 

MacGregor was artistic director of the Bath International Music Festival from 2006 to 2012 and is head of piano at the Royal Academy of Music. She was made a professor of the University of London in autumn 2013 ‘in recognition of her outstanding contribution both to the Academy and to international musical life’. 

Dartington has a reputation for bringing amateurs and professional musicians together and is well-known for attracting artists of international calibre to work as tutors. Before Daniel, directors were the composer John Woolrich, Gavin Henderson, Peter Maxwell Davies and William Glock. Tutors in 2014 include pianists Anna Tilbrook, Christian Blackshaw, Katya Apekisheva and Tom Poster, soprano Emma Kirkby, conductor Sian Edwards, viol consort Fretwork, violist Philip Dukes, and composers Colin Matthews and John Woolrich.

 MacGregor said of her appointment: ‘Having been involved with the summer school for many years I am delighted to take on this exciting role and to have the opportunity to shape the future of this wonderful celebration of music and creativity.’


Rhinegold Charity Fund rewards Pro Corda

25 March 2014

The Rhinegold Charity Fund, which each year offers £10,000 of advertising spend across Rhinegold Publishing’s wide range of classical music and education publications, websites and services, will benefit Pro Corda Trust for the 2014/15 financial year.

The fund – which will be released on 1 April 2014 – also provides Pro Corda with marketing, design and account management support from the Rhinegold Publishing team.

Pro Corda, which was shortlisted earlier this year for the 2014 Best Classical Music Education Initiative Award at the Music Teacher Awards for Excellence, is a music and educational charity established in 1969 to provide education in the ‘art, philosophy and theory of music’ to young people across the UK.

Following applications from a large number of worthy charities, Pro Corda was selected as the recipient of the fund by Rhinegold’s Board of Directors and newly-appointed Chairman of the Rhinegold Charity Fund, Stephen Turvey.

Stephen Turvey, said ‘I am delighted to have been involved in selecting the recipient of the 2014/15 Rhinegold Charity Fund. Pro Corda’s far-reaching work in the classroom and school halls – it helps over 1500 children per annum – and particularly its work with special educational needs (SEN) children are to be commended. I am confident that this award will help them to build on their impressive achievements to date and make a difference to many more young lives through nurturing live music performance.’

Pro Corda’s CEO and Artistic Director, Andrew Quartermain says, ‘Pro Corda is delighted to receive this award. This will allow us to treble our advertising output for the next year and in particular bring to the fore our national music programme for special educational needs. We are most grateful to Rhinegold for this opportunity.’

Entries for the 2015/16 Charity Fund will open in Autumn 2014. All charities within the music industry are encouraged to apply; full details will be available from


Birmingham Conservatoire to relocate in 2017

25 March 2014

Birmingham City University has announced a new £40 million home for the Birmingham Conservatoire.

The move has been prompted following the Compulsory Purchase of its current home, Paradise Circus as part of a civic redevelopment project. The new purpose-built premises will stand alongside Millennium Point, a short distance from New Street and Moor Street train stations and close to Birmingham City University’s city centre campus, the ThinkTank Museum and the Birmingham Ormiston Academy.

The new facility, due to open by summer 2017, will incorporate two major performance spaces,  including a concert hall, in addition to the private rehearsal and practice rooms, recording studios and the like.

The university’s vice-chancellor, professor Cliff Allan, said: ‘Birmingham City Council’s redevelopment of Paradise Circus meant that a new home was needed for our world-famous Birmingham Conservatoire. Over the past few months the University has been in close negotiation with Birmingham City Council to reach an appropriate agreement.  Subject to confirmation of the Compulsory Purchase Order of Paradise Circus by the Secretary of State, construction is expected to commence in summer 2014. I am delighted that an agreement has been reached which will enable Birmingham Conservatoire to relocate to this new, state-of-the-art building by summer 2017.

UCAS Condemned for Selling Students' Data

18 March 2014

Data campaigners have condemned the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) for its ‘underhand’ use of students’ data for commercial advertisers.   

UCAS received more than £12m last year in return for sending targeted advertising to subscribers. The service sells the access via its commercial arm, Ucas Media. Vodafone, O2, Microsoft and the private university accommodation provider Pure Student Living are among those who have marketed through UCAS, which offers access to over a million student email addresses and a market worth a claimed £15bn a year.   

Meanwhile, the UCAS offshoot Ucas Progress, set up two years ago to serve pupils from aged 13 looking for post-16 courses, is also collecting data. Children who sign up for Ucas Progress via their schools are encouraged by the company to agree to receive marketing by email from ‘carefully selected third parties’. 

 Emma Carr, deputy director of the privacy lobby group Big Brother Watch, said: ‘UCAS is perfectly within the law to sell on this information, but the way they are doing so, as is the situation with most data gathering organisations, is underhand. It goes far beyond what students would expect them to do with their data. Students should be explicitly asked for their permission before UCAS can sell their information on and UCAS should be open and transparent about who it is selling the data on to.’ 

University applicants are given the option of refusing mailings when they register with UCAS. However, the application form does not distinguish between commercial mailings and information from universities and potential employers. 

A UCAS spokesperson said: ‘UCAS and Ucas Media comply strictly with all applicable laws and regulations, in the way in which we handle personal data. Ucas Media has strict guidelines for the different groups that we may cover, based on the age sensitivities of our audiences. For example, Ucas Media does not accept political, alcohol or tobacco related products for marketing.’ 

UCAS's accounts say ‘the majority’ of Ucas Media's profits are gift aided to the parent company, which is a charity as well as a company. It argues that the contribution keeps down applicant fees, currently £23 per candidate.

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