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Sing for Pleasure announces members of its Young Conductors programme 2013

22 May 2013

The choral charity Sing for Pleasure (SfP) has announced the recipients of awards for its Young Conductors programme, funded by a number of grants from Charitable Trusts and Foundations, the Young Conductors are Neil Balfour, Nick Graham, Joshua Cirtina and Helen Briggs.
The four scholars were selected by the SfP management committee after an open call to applicants. Each prospective scholar undertook a written application and telephone interview. The scholars receive access to an annual programme with attendance on SfP conducting courses, a choir placement and mentoring support from course tutors.
Yorkshire based Neil Balfour is a recent graduate from Leeds College of Music who currently leads a number of choirs in the Yorkshire area. Nick Graham, from Guildford, is a student at the University of Oxford who has previously set up a youth choir in his local area and is passionate about the development of choral singing for young people. 
Future RNCM student Joshua Cirtina from Lancashire currently sings in a number of choirs and quartets and also conducts a wind orchestra, whilst Somerset based Helen Briggs holds a music degree from the Birmingham Conservatoire and is involved in a number of youth choirs including the Wells Cathedral School Choir.
Manvinder Rattan, Head of Conductor Training commented: "The standard of applicants has been extremely high and we are delighted to be able to provide a springboard for these young musicians. I'm thrilled that we can play a real part in finding and fostering such promising choral talent".
Neil Balfour said: 'It feels like a great privilege to be offered both a scholarship and the support and encouragement of Sing for Pleasure. Their vast knowledge and expertise and the access to events and mentoring means that I will be able to experience opportunities I would otherwise be very unlikely to. I am immensely grateful to be given the chance to develop my expertise in choral conducting and directing.'
Sing for Pleasure was launched in Bristol in 1964 as a musical society that celebrated all stages of choral and conductor development. Nearly 50 years later, the charity has a national reach, says its members are more passionate than ever about music and has built an excellent professional reputation. The charity has been delivering high quality accredited training courses for over 45 years. www.singforpleasure.org.uk

BBC adds new jazz award to Young Musician competition

22 May 2013

A new jazz award has been added for 2014 to the BBC's biennial Young Musician competition, which was launched on 20 May. The jazz award will comprise two audition stages followed by a final on 8 March 2014 at
Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD). Entry forms for the award will be available from 1 August 2013 with a closing date of 18 October 2013. 'BBC Young Musician has provided a platform for outstanding young musicians for the past 35 years,' said  Jan Younghusband, commissioning editor, BBC Music and Events. 'It's become a valuable partner in the development of young talent and has helped to launch the careers of some of the UK's finest performers. The jazz award will further extend the reach of the competition and we look forward to showcasing another group of exceptional young people when BBC Young Musician reaches its broadcast stage early next year. '
Entries are now invited for the five mainstream categories of keyboard, strings, brass, wind and percussion. Two regional audition stages starting in September this year will be followed by five category finals at the RWCMD next March, leading to a competition semi-final also at the RWCMD where three category winners will be chosen to play concertos with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Kirill Karabits, at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh on 18 May 2014. Entrants must be Grade 8 standard or above, 18 years of age or under on 1 January 2014 and resident in the United Kingdom (including the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands).
Violinist Nicola Benedetti has accepted an ambassadorial for the competition, which she won in 2004 and which she says holds 'extraordinary memories' for her and is 'one of the greatest examples of the UK's commitment to developing young musicians'. The 2014 final will not only mark the tenth anniversary of her win in the Usher Hall in her native Scotland, but will take place in the hall's centenary year.
The winner receives a prize of £3,000 and a specially commissioned trophy in addition to the title, and the three finalists also receive the support of a two-year aftercare scheme paid for by the BBC and run by the Young Classical Artist Trust. 'BBC Young Musician has changed my life, me as a musician and me as a person,' says cellist Laura van der Heijden, who won the 2012 competition. 'It has given me the most unbelievable start to my career! You get to meet new people, experience new situations and focus wholly on music, which is fantastic. Immediately after the final I started to have new expectations of myself; I am no longer content with playing that may be good for my age.'
More information about BBC Young Musician 2014 including how to enter: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00bb3wt

ISM and MMA to launch new combined membership deals

17 May 2013

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) and the Music Masters and Mistresses Association (MMA) have announced that they will be launching a combined membership offer from September.
Full details about the cost of combined membership are yet to be confirmed, but the aim is to offer good value to music teachers who want to be part of both networks of teaching professionals and who also require the market-leading legal, insurance, advice and training services offered by the ISM. All current ISM and MMA individual membership packages will continue as normal.
'We see enormous value for music teachers in working in partnership with the ISM offering them even greater support and an unrivalled professional status,' said Scott Price, current president of the MMA. 'Those with long memories will remember tthat the MMA was once a significant part of the ISM, and we are delighted to be building stringer links once again.'
Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the ISM, said the organisation was delighted to be introducing this partnership that would benefit a great many music teachers. 'As part of our commitment to bringing the music eucaiton sector closer together we are working ever more closely with our colleagues at MMA, which was a key partner in our hugely successful Bacc for the Future campaign which secured a government U-turn on the English Baccalaureate proposals.'

www.ism.org www.mma-online.org.uk

More developments regarding alleged abuse at music schools

10 May 2013

The double bassist Duncan McTier has today (9 May) been arrested by police investigating sexual abuse at Manchester music schools, on suspicion of indecent assault. He is the second man to be arrested as part of Operation Kiso, an investigation by Greater Manchester Police into allegations of abuse at both Chetham's School of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM). Violinist Wen Zhou Li, who teaches at bth institutions, has been suspended pending the result of police investigations into an allegation of rape. Duncan McTier now teaches at the Royal Academy of Music, London, but was formerly on the staff of the RNCM.

Operation Kiso was triggered by the trial and conviction of Michael Brewer for indecent assault on Frances Andrade, who killed herself before knowing the outcome of the trial, when she was a violin student at Chetham's and Brewer was its music director. This week the Guardian revealed that the police are investigating 39 teachers from Chetham's and the RNCM, following allegations from more than 30 former pupils. Five of those accused are now dead, but police say that otherwise they would have been facing trial. Ten individuals are 'proactively being investigated', according to newspaper reports this week, and there are 'many others who are also part of the inquiry' Some are from third-party reports, and police stress that the victims themselves need to get in touch if any action is to be taken against offenders.   
Chetham's has submitted an action plan to the department of education following last months' criticisms by a joint inspectorate of its policies and practice.
Meanwhile, the Yehudi Menuhin School is cooperating with Surrey Police over allegations in a Channel 4 news report broadcast this week that its founding music director, the late Marcel Gazelle, abused at least three girls in the school in the 1970s. The violinist Nigel Kennedy said that when he was a pupil at the school  some of his female colleagues told him they were being abused by Gazelle, and an anonymous victim described how she was 'scared of him and wanted to please him and stop him being cross'. The report claimed that all five of the UK's specialist music schools are implicated in accusations of abuse, with some teachers moving on to other institutions when questions were raised about their treatment of their pupils.
More on this story can be found on the website of our sister magazine Classical Musichttp://www.classicalmusicmagazine.org/2013/05/abuse-in-music-schools-petition-reopens-after-new-press-coverage-and-mps-support/

Music Mark calls for contributions to its first symposium

30 April 2013

The new UK Association for Music Education - Music Mark, formed through the amalgamation of the National Association of Music Educators and the Federation of Music Services, has announced its first symposium, to be held on15 June at the CBSO Centre, Birmingham. The theme is 'The Potential of Music - Progression and Pedagogy'. Chief executive Virginia Hawarth-Galt has requested written reports, documents, research materials and case studies relating to those areas which can be disseminated as part of the symposium and then held on the Music Mark website for others to access. The programme for the symposium and booking forms are available now at www.musicmark.org.uk/training-and-events/conferences/potential.music

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