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Everyone listens to music. We can surely all agree that music is a big part of our lives, whether that be listening to the radio or a Spotify playlist on the way to work, letting our hair down in a nightclub on a Friday night, or watching a visiting orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall, music is something that everyone can relate to. So why are researchers warning of the extinction of music in secondary schools in England?

The government introduced the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) in 2010, with a goal to increase the take-up of ‘core’ academic subjects like mathematics and science. This move, however, has left the arts lagging behind. The Ebacc does leave space for students to take arts subjects and there is no solid evidence that the new syllabus has affected GCSE arts subject entries. However, in the New Schools Network report on the EBacc and the arts, it has been found that ‘schools have misunderstood the intention behind the EBacc, using its introduction to reduce funding for the teaching of the arts.’ This has therefore led to a decline in the number of qualified arts teachers, correlating with declining figures on music teacher PGCE courses.

The music industry contributes £3.5 billion to the economy, and it is well known that arts education improves job prospects by making young people more creative, tolerant and broad-minded. It is therefore strange that it is not taken as seriously as one of the ‘core subjects’ that the government view as most important to a child’s education. Catherine McKinnell stated in debates on arts subject inclusion and petition in February 2016: ‘I feel that the Government’s policy and approach at the moment fundamentally risks undermining the benefits that can come from that experience… at the most fundamental level, we need these skills for our economy. If we put off children and young people who can flourish in those areas even though they may struggle in some other ones, the evidence shows that that would be a worrying trend.’

Photograph: Newsteam

Not only does music enrich the economy, but it is also good for you. A study from the University of London’s Institute of Education ‘found that exposing children to classical music can aid in developing better concentration levels, self-discipline and social skills.’ Music is both valuable for the economy and for the individual and in Finland, teaching music and learning to play an instrument is the norm. It is, as stated by Stephen Moss in his article, Why not put music at the heart of education?, ‘the foundation of  children’s schooling (in Finland); it should be the model for us to follow.’

So what are we waiting for?

(Written on August 17, 2017 )

Classical News

In today’s news, the BBC Proms swapped the Royal Albert Hall for a car park in Peckham to perform three of Steve Reich’s pieces, GCSE results show more flexibility is needed with arts subjects in schools & violinist Maxim Vengerov appointed visiting professor at London’s Royal College of Music. Also, Universal Music Group spent $38m on restructuring in the first six months of 2016.

RadioTimes

The day the Proms swapped the Royal Albert Hall for a Peckham car park

The Multi-Story Orchestra performed three pieces by American modernist Steve Reich – with added percussion from passing trains and planes

Classical Music Magazine

GCSE results show more flexibility is needed with arts subjects

A recent TES report has shown that the much-disputed English Baccalaureate (EBacc) is already having an impact on students’ academic careers, with this year’s GCSE results being used as an example of the declining focus on the arts in curricula.

The Strad

Violinist Maxim Vengerov appointed visiting professor at London’s Royal College of Music

London’s Royal College of Music has appointed Maxim Vengerov as Polonsky Visiting Professor of Violin. The virtuoso performer and conductor will visit the RCM at least three times a year in the newly created role.

Music Business Worldwide

Universal spent $38M on restructuring in the first half of 2016

Universal Music Group spent close to $40m on restructuring in the first six months of 2016, as it morphed into a US-led global hierarchy. During this period, the major completed the shuttering of Universal Music Group International (UMGi) – a symbol of a now-discarded bifurcated US/ex-US setup in which all territories outside the States reported into an ‘international’ department in London.

New York Times

Sorry about that: Wells Fargo to end ads suggesting science over arts

Wells Fargo, the financial services giant immortalized in lyrics to “The Music Man,” has apologized for advertisements that seemed to suggest that teenagers should set aside their artistic dreams and choose careers in science.

International Arts Manager

Back to Bach – Kyung Wha Chung

Kyung Wha Chung is a tough nut to crack: she’s intriguing, fascinating and just a little bit frightening as she alternates from being as wily as a puma or as playful as kitten. Chung’s as sharp, honest and brutal with herself as she is with everyone else.

The Sydney Morning Herald

Bollywood comes to the Sydney Opera House for Confluence Festival of India

Bollywood loves a grand location. So what better place than the Sydney Opera House forecourt to hold a flashmob of more than 1000 people dancing to the distinctive rhythms of Indian cinema?

Le Figaro

Alexandre Hammadi, le français de l’American Ballet Theatre

Soliste à l’American Ballet Theatre, il sera à partir du 6 septembre le prince de La Belle au Bois Dormant. Son parcours voyageur est à l’image de cette compagnie ouverte et diverse.

nmz

Rheinland-Pfalz: Ministerpräsidentin Malu Dreyer will Musikstiftung Villa Musica weiter unterstützen

Ministerpräsidentin Malu Dreyer (SPD) hat der Landesstiftung Villa Musica zum 30-jährigen Bestehen die weitere Unterstützung von Rheinland-Pfalz zugesagt.

klassik.com

Usedomer Musikpreis für Geiger Daniel Lozakovich

Der schwedische Geiger Daniel Lozakovich ist mit dem Usedomer Musikpreis der Oscar und Vera Ritter-Stiftung ausgezeichnet worden. Thomas Hummel, Intendant des Usedomer Musikfestivals überreichte dem erst 15-jährigen Instrumentalisten die Auszeichnung, die mit 5.000 Euro dotiert ist.

Klassik heute

GMD Michael Hofstetter verlänger seinen Vertrag am Stadttheater Gießen

Der Dirigent Michael Hofstetter hat seinen Vertrag als Generalmusikdirektor am Stadttheater Gießen um fünf Jahre bis 2022 verlängert. Hofstetter ist einer der meistgefragten Dirigenten seiner Generation und wurde vom Fachmagazin Opernwelt mehrfach als Dirigent des Jahres nominiert.

Twitter

Classic FM @ClassicFM The is underway – we’re celebrating with classical music for the event in the !

Royal Opera House @RoyalOperaHouse Booking is now open for Premium 2 Friends for Winter 2016/17 – let us know if you need any help! ^C

Barenreiter @BarenreiterUK Today in 1791 first performance of Mozart’s opera La Clemenza di Tito in Estates Theatre Prague

wildkat-pr-radiotimes

Photograph: RadioTimes

(Written on September 6, 2016 )

On Wednesday evening, the WildKat London team were pleased to attend The Culture Debate in the Linbury Studio Theatre at the Royal Opera House. The debate, organised by the Creative Industries Federation and live streamed by BBC Arts, allowed members from arts industries to question representatives from the UK’s major political parties on their policies. Culture Minister Ed Vaizey and Deputy Labour Leader Harriet Harman were joined by the Martin Dobson, Baroness Bonham-Carter and Peter Whittle, and the debate was chaired by Martha Kearney.

Investment

After hearing from the speakers, social media feeds were overwhelmed with comments about the amount of consensus occurring. All spokespeople professed their support for the arts, but without any real attention towards how key issues can be addressed. In an audience full with teachers, CEOs of PR and advertising agencies and young people new to the sector, many participants gladly shared their own experiences with the panel: mainly highlighting the lack of support they felt they had received from the government.

Untitled

Although we heard about the £7.7 billion that the arts contribute to the economy each year, and the fact that funding in Germany and Sweden has increased every year for the last 7 years in comparison, questions at the beginning of the debate “why say – we love you; here’s less?” were continually avoided. Many of the stories from individuals, including teachers, who had struggled and left their jobs because they felt there was no room for creativity, were dismissed as “anecdotal” by Ed Vaizey. Helpfully, Harriet Harman was able to provide some more evidence of the decline in arts subjects within schools, and followers took to social media to provide some more interesting statistics. The ISM, for instance, cited that in 2007 61,000 pupils studied music for GCSE, whilst in 2014 this had dropped to 47,000 pupils. Baroness Bonham-Carter’s reference to an “inspirational drama teacher” at Eton also irritated the audience, seeming, as Caroline Crampton from the New Statesmen wrote: “to skate over the other benefits private education brings.”

SATS and ArtsEducation remained a great focus of the debate. Ed Vaizey claimed that he does see art as being at the forefront of much primary education, whilst Harriet Harman continued to address the issue that equal opportunities are not provided to children in schools. This was mentioned as an issue within and outside of London, and one that was not addressed with any clear strategy. UKIP’s answer to this was to increase the amount of grammar schools, however as Caroline Crampton tweeted “It is not clear what this does for the arts”. When the conversation moved on to unpaid internships and the cost of living in London, everyone was yet again stuck for any form of solution, most notably Baroness Bonham-Carter, who could only agree with the statement.

Arts

Internships

 

The question of how far we should rely on schools to promote culture was also raised. As Londoners benefit from £69 of arts funding per head, compared with £4.50 in the rest of the country, how can we expect every school to perform equally in the arts? Points about creativity were also raised by the audience more generally. Creativity needs to be applied to our working lives, not merely encouraged vaguely in infant years, and then forgotten about.

Videogames

This Culture Debate left many questions unanswered. Whilst it is difficult to quantify the monetary value of culture on a city or town and its inhabitants, the most pressing question for us was highlighted by Louise Jury, the Evening Standard’s Chief Arts Correspondent, after the debate: “if the arts generate so much revenue, why is it so impossible to invest in them?”

Let’s hope we will not be having an identical conversation in 4 years’ time.

photo-8

(Written on April 10, 2015 )

Classical News

The Guardian

The playlist: experimental music – James Hoff, Richard Skelton, Pauline Oliveros and more

These unconventional artists and composers use everything from computer viruses to mud-crusted violins to create new sounds and reimagine masterpieces

Danish National Chamber Orchestra fights cuts by crowdfunding

Private donations and public support mean that this innovative orchestra will not be disbanded despite the loss of its state funding

Classical Music Magazine

Government publishes new GCSE, AS and A Level subject content

The Department for Education has published details of the subject content for the GCSEs, AS Levels and A Levels in music to be taught from autumn 2016.

Decca Classics signs soprano Aida Garifullina

Decca Classics has signed soprano Aida Garifullina on an ‘exclusive, multi-album contract’.

Classic FM

ABO conference: Vaizey ‘sick and tired’ of councils abandoning music

The Conservative minister was speaking at the opening session of the 30th conference of the Association of British Orchestras at the Sage Gateshead.

Zeit Online

Dirigent Eschenbach erhält Ernst-von-Siemens-Musikpreis

Christoph Eschenbach wird als Pianist und Dirigent ausgezeichnet.

Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin

»Sprache und Taten sind gefährlich, nicht Musik«

Darf man beim Singen weinen? Wie fühlt sich Überwältigung an? Kann Musik wirklich trösten? Ein Gespräch mit dem Bariton Christian Gerhaher, der ein weltweit gefeierter Star ist – und ein tiefgründiger Zweifler.

Deutschlandradio Kultur

Wiener Meister einer Zwischenepoche

Mit der “Wiener Klassik” werden Haydn, Mozart und Beethoven verbunden. Von den ungezählten Meistern zweiten Ranges ist seltener die Rede.

Codex Flores

Nott übenimmt Leitung des Orchestre de la Suisse Romande

Jonathan Nott ist seit dem Jahr 2000 Chefdirigent der Bayerischen Staatsphilharmonie.

pizzicato

Hurrah: Danish Chamber Orchestra Is Kept Alive

Private donations and crowd funding were successful.

Twitter

Sinfini Music ‏@SinfiniMusic : BBC announce Ten Pieces Prom as climax to the project: http://www.sinfinimusic.com/uk/features/news/bbc-ten-pieces-interactive-weekend-at-2015-proms …

ABO @aborchestras:Second day of #abo15 kicks off with a musical moment before we look at what we can learn from sport.

The Stage ‏@TheStage : One in five showbiz professionals affected by mental health issues, survey finds http://bit.ly/1wDtale 

Garifullina-1022x1024

Aida Garifullina. Photo: Decca Classics

 

(Written on January 29, 2015 )

Today, 28th January 2015, the Department for Education published their new plans for the content of GCSE and A Level Music exams to be brought into effect from autumn 2016.

The state of music education has been a hot topic in recent weeks and months and was particularly publicised by pianist James Rhodes’ Channel 4 documentary and subsequent ‘Don’t Stop the Music’ campaign to give every child the opportunity to learn a musical instrument. Fueling the fire, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, warned in November 2014 against studying arts subjects in favour of science and maths, arguing that the arts would ‘hold them [students] back for the rest of their lives’. Many prominent musicians such as Nicola Benedetti spoke out against this statement.

The main changes to note from today’s announcement is that, at both levels, the dates open to study are being widened from 1700 to 1900 (this narrowness has been widely criticised) to 1650 to 1910.  This means a much large portion of the Baroque period is included and will now account for the beginning of Bach and Handel’s lives who were both born in 1685. Although the Baroque period is usually said to begin in 1600, 1650 is still a much more standardized year to begin musical education than the original guidelines. The same can be said of the additional 10 years at the end of the timeline. Indeed, bringing music education in line with widely recognised facts in the classical music industry is surely only a positive thing. For this development we have ISM’s Protect Music Education campaign to thank.

Interestingly, commentators have also noted that the usual overwhelming focus on the Western Classical Tradition at GCSE and A Level has been changed to include a compulsory study outside of this. As the world, business, finance and politics become more interconnected, understanding other countries’ history and culture is increasing in importance. Part of this is understanding others’ music and I think this change in the curriculum is a good starting point.

Another positive change, although small, is a change of phrasing: ‘performance and composition’ has become ‘performing and composing’. This subtle difference somewhat removes the pressure on the final outcome of recitals and compositions but emphasises the enjoyment of all parts music making: practising, refining, crafting harmony, correcting errors, discovering that pupil’s personal style. Again, ISM’s campaign was successful.

Hopefully these changes will contribute to the widening belief that music education is beneficial and relevant but that it will also encourage more young people to experience the enjoyment of music.

Bass_and_Treble_clef

Photo: Wikipedia

 

(Written on January 28, 2015 )

The Telegraph

Classical music, funny? Surely you’re joking…

Ivan Hewett explains how classical music often contains more wit and humour than we give it credit for.

The Guardian

The story behind the posthumous premiere of Górecki’s Fourth Symphony

Henryk Górecki’s third symphony is one of the best-selling classical music pieces of all time – although critics initially hated it. His fourth, completed by his son after the composer’s death in 2010, will premiere this weekend.

Classic FM Online

‘Higher standards’ for arts A-levels and GCSEs announced

Music, drama, art & design and dance qualifications in the UK are to be reformed alongside P.E., religious studies, and technology, Education Secretary Michael Gove announced today.

Classical Music Magazine

ENO appoints new executive director

English National Opera has appointed Henriette Götz as its new executive director, replacing Loretta Tomasi who left the company as CEO at the end of 2013.

ATV today

Huw Humphreys appointed Head Of Music at The Barbican

Humphreys leaves eight years as the Director of Artistic Planning at the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra to become head of music at the Barbican.

Star Tribune

Minnesota Orchestra’s Symphony Ball will skip a year after co-chairs resign

The Minnesota Orchestra’s main fundraising gala, September’s Symphony Ball, has been cancelled. The co-chairs of the event resigned last week, saying in a letter to board chair Gordon Sprenger that the current climate at the orchestra did not lend itself to celebration.

Die Welt 

Wenn die Elefanten der Oper losgelassen werden

An keinem Wochenende ballt sich die Musiktheaterproduktion wie an dem vor Ostern. Ein gnadenloses Festspielen ist zwischen Berlin und Salzburg im Gang. In der Provinz gehen derweil die Lichter aus.
Classical Music on Twitter

Britten Official: @BrittenOfficial @ETOpera wins the 2014 Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera, for King Priam and Paul Bunyan. Clip at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTx5xAt_zjU

Making Music UK: @MakingMusic_UK Learn about marketing events, PRS, governance, stage fright, touring at our May conference. http://ow.ly/vKP5v #getonwithmakingmusic

Sam Jackson: @classicjacko Thrilled to announce a new @classicfm series: The 50 Moments That Rocked the Classical Music World with @TheAlexJames http://www.classicfm.com/radio/shows/50-moments-rocked-classical-music/

José Luis Núñez: @jota_ele_ene Tomorrow ends THE LANG LANG CHALLENGE to find the best classical music app Apply at http://langlang.wayra.org  and win the $30K price cc/ @Wayra

The Strad: @TheStradMag ‘A student came to her first class in a tight, red, glittering dress and high heels’: teaching #violin in South Korea http://bit.ly/1er4OsR 

 

The Telegraph

The Telegraph

 

(Written on April 14, 2014 )

The Telegraph

Vienna Philharmonic: worthy winner of the Birgit Nilsson Prize

It’s time to set the record straight on the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the deserving winner of opera’s richest prize, says Rupert Christiansen

Sivan Magen – New Music

Sivan Magen is trying to change the perception of the harp with his virtuoso playing, says Ivan Hewett

Classic FM

‘Higher standards’ for arts A-levels and GCSEs announced

Music, drama, art & design and dance qualifications in the UK are to be reformed alongside P.E., religious studies, and technology, Education Secretary Michael Gove announced today

BBC Music Magazine

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group performs in Washington

The ensemble makes history performing two concerts at the US Library of Congress

Gramophone

Baritone John Shirley-Quirk has died

The English baritone John Shirley-Quirk, one of the singers most associated with the music of Benjamin Britten, has died aged 82

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Drohende Fusion der SWR-Orchester Die Wende? Oder doch nur eine Volte?

Heute Vormittag diskutiert der Landtag von Baden-Württemberg wieder über die geplante Fusion der Rundfunkorchester des Südwestrundfunks. Diese Orchesterabschaffungsdebatte im Süden geht uns alle an

Tagesspiegel

Gedenkkonzert für Claudio Abbado: Die menschliche Dimension des Zuhörens

Im Lucerne Festival Orchester versammelte Claudio Abbado seine musikalischen Freunde. Bei einem Gedenkkonzert zu seinen Ehren spielte es nun ohne Dirigenten sowie unter der Leitung von Andris Nelsons

Concerti

Porträt Marina Rebeka:„Der Komponist kommt zuerst“

Marina Rebeka gehört mit 33 schon zum internationalen Establishment der lyrischen Sopranistinnen – und stellt Musik über Eitelkeiten

 

Classical Music on twitter

Gramophone: @GramophoneMag Our top 10 violin concerto recordings – what would you add to the list? http://www.gramophone.co.uk/feature/top-10-violin-concertos …

Opera Magazine: @operamagazine Henriette Götz appointed as Executive Director of English National Opera http://www.eno.org/news/executive-director … #OperaNews

BBC Radio 4: @BBCRadio4 Five remarkable women are taking over @BBCWomansHour for one week. Find out more: http://bbc.in/1hBzOkh  pic.twitter.com/j41EO1t4D1

a-n News: @an_artnews Sajid Javid, a financial secretary to the Treasury, replaces Maria Miller as the new culture secretary http://ow.ly/vD9GH

Deutsche Grammophon: @DGclassics Legendary pianist Maurizio #Pollini is our #ArtistOfTheWeek! Listen to his recordings: http://smarturl.it/ArtistOfTheWeek_Spo … pic.twitter.com/udlZ7NkYZT

Sivan_2869501b

Sivan Magen – The Telegraph

(Written on April 10, 2014 )