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Conservatoire and Opera House Collaboration

23 August 2013

The Guildhall School of Music & Drama, together with the Royal Opera House, have just announced plans for their first Doctoral Composer-in-Residence. Starting this September 2013, composer Philip Venables will spend three years researching and writing a major operatic work, for performance in the Linbury Studio Theatre the end of the residency. 

This collaboration is the first example of an opera company joining forces with a conservatoire to offer a Composer-in-Residence studentship which leads to a doctoral degree. This new initiative will be part of Guildhall’s existing doctoral programme, fully funded by the conservatoire and supported by the ROH. While the idea of a resident composer has long been established in the world of orchestral music development, it is a fairly new notion in opera. 

Philip Venables said of his appointment: ‘I'm really excited about starting work on this opera with the Royal Opera House and the Guildhall School – it’s a potential game changer for me, and a chance, in a structured and supported way, to really explore what opera means to me, to be completely inventive, bold and daring and to present the results of that on a high-profile stage… I know there's going to be a lot of collaboration with writers and hopefully some exciting and diverse cameo performers. It'll be great to be able to try everything out over the next three years at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. Bring it on!’ 

Sign up for the ABRSM Teaching Conference

21 August 2013

Teachers of all instruments and levels are invited to attend the ABRSM’s annual conference, which will take place this year on 5 October at London’s Mermaid Conference & Events Centre.

The conference will focus on the ABRSM’s new marking criteria, with the first session of the day entitled ‘Using the criteria before, during and after the exam’. Other sessions include creative teaching ideas for the new ABRSM flute and clarinet repertoire lists, insights into the importance of rhythm and articulation, developing your students’ perfect pitch skills, and motivation.

Workshops and presentations will be led by ABRSM chief examiner John Holmes alongside a team of fellow examiners: pianist Anthony Williams, violinist Jessica O’Leary, flautist Louise Matthew, clarinettist Paul Harris, and singer Heidi Pegler. ABRSM’s syllabus director Nigel Scaife and director of strategic development Lincoln Abbotts will also present sessions.

‘It’s always exciting to come to these events and work alongside such innovative and passionate teachers,’ conference presenter Anthony Williams told Music Teacher. ‘And the programme is so wide-ranging. As well as demystifying the examining process, we’ll look at what makes a convincing, communicative performance, and explore ways of engaging and guiding the musicians of the future. It promises to be a great day!’

Attendance at the conference costs £75 per delegate, which includes refreshments and lunch. Visit the ABRSM website for the full programme of events, or to see participants’ feedback on last year’s conference.

Pianists: Competition Opportunity!

21 August 2013

The Orpheus Foundation has now opened applications for its second Orpheus Musician of the Year competition. A wonderful opportunity for exceptional young soloists, this year the competition is open to pianists of all nationalities between the ages of 18 and 30.

First prize is £1000 and a concerto performance this October with the Orpheus Sinfonia; second prize is £500. All applicants will be required to play the Grieg Piano Concerto in A minor.

The closing date for applications is 1 October 2013, with semi-finals taking place on 16 October and the finals as a public concert on 22 October. The winner's concerto performance will be on 24 October, at St George's Hanover Square.

For more information, visit the Orpheus Foundation website.

Belcea Launches New Charitable Trust

19 August 2013

The Belcea Quartet has now launched the Belcea Charitable Trust, created with the dual aims of commissioning new works and coaching young string quartets.

Young string quartets will benefit from regular coaching sessions with Belcea Quartet members for between one and two years, in the style of a residency. The first three ensembles selected for coaching are the Bernadel and Jubilee Quartets, both from the UK, and the Dahlkvist Quartet from Sweden.

The Trust’s first commission has been awarded to Austrian composer Thomas Larcher, whose new work will be performed by the Belcea Quartet in 2015 as part of their 20th birthday celebrations.

Pianist Imogen Cooper CBE is president of the newly-launched Trust. ‘I am proud and excited at the creation of the Belcea Charitable Trust. Adhering as it does to the best aims, namely new composition and the intensive coaching of gifted ensembles, it can only be an enriching success for all those involved. The Belcea Quartet members are generous in their musicianship and in their humanity, and will undoubtedly be a huge inspiration to the young players who they will coach, and to the composers whose works will be commissioned. I wish the Trust all the success that it deserves.’

A-Level Results Day: help is at hand!

12 August 2013

Students picking up their A-level results this Thursday will be able to contact a national helpline for career advice. Open from 8am on the 15 August, the helpline will stay open for 10 days across the exam results period, with all advice and guidance offered for free.

'Every year, there are students who don't get the grades they need for university, there are those who achieve better grades than expected and those whose career plans have changed since they made their original university choices,' says Nick Hynes, exam results helpline advisor. 'At such a critical and life-changing time, it's imperative that these students are clear what ALL of their options are, enabling them to make fully informed decisions about their futures.'

Delivered by UCAS on behalf of the Department for Education, the helpline can be reached on 0808 100 8000. All advisors are fully qualified with at least five years' experience working with careers.

Students who do get the grades they need for university may still have to organise their accommodation for next month. 'Unihomeswap' is a resource which allows students to register their rooms at home, and swap with a student in the town they are going to. Home-swapping can save thousands of pounds in living costs. For more information about this scheme you can watch this video, or visit the unihomeswap website.

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