Sistema In Norwich Performance Project featured on Sistema Europe website

Sistema In Norwich Performance Project featured on Sistema Europe website

A recent article on the Sistema Europe website has put the spotlight on Sistema In Norwich’s ‘Performance Project’ – a brand new Sistema initiative for 2018-19.

Over the course of 12 concerts and just under a year and a half, Sistema in Norwich will engage with circus groups, the Norwich-based Vagaband, fellow Sistema-influenced groups and established musicians and composers from across Europe.

The project also provides the young musicians involved with the chance to compose for a variety of scenarios and formations, with pieces for soloists, ensembles, brass and wind sections all finding their way into the schedule.

The Sistema Performance Project thus increases Sistema in Norwich’s social impact, provides its students with additional performance time and accelerates their personal development, promoting self-confidence, resilience and leadership – all while building upon Sistema in Norwich’s existing connections both at home and abroad.

Sistema Europe website

The circus performance in collaboration with Lost In Translation – which took place in October of last year – was an exciting and innovative project, expanding our students’ horizons and bringing them into contact with other forms and settings of orchestral performance.

It is always gratifying to gain the recognition of the international Sistema community for our work, and it is an honour to be a part of a global musical movement with the history and pedigree of Sistema.

And with eight more Performance Project concerts scheduled throughout this year, there’ll be plenty more opportunities to check out the great work of Sistema In Norwich for yourself. Head to the NORCA & Sistema In Norwich website for full details of dates, venues, ticket prices, etc.

Sistema Europe Summer School in Milan

I am delighted to have been chosen to be one one of the tutors going to this year’s Sistema Europe Summer Camp, which is being held in Milan, Italy; a colleague from Sistema in Norwich and I will be going with a delegation from Sistema England, to work for eight days with students and other tutors from Sistema-inpired projects based across Europe.

This is a very exciting opportunity for me to work with some fantastic music professionals and to learn from them – and to be more involved with the Sistema movement as a whole, to just here in Norwich but throughout Europe.

Keep checking back here after 21st August for more updates on my time working with the Sistema Europe Youth Orchestra in Italy, and all the wonderful activities we get up to!

Sistema In Norwich at Sandringham

Sistema In Norwich at Sandringham

On Wednesday 30th July, the Sistema In Norwich Martineau Chamber Orchestra will be performing at the Royal Sandringham Estate in front of HRH The Prince Of Wales, Prince Charles, as part of the 133rd Sandringham Flower Show.  The Martineau Chamber Orchestra will perform a specially-written new piece of music for the Prince Of Wales as part of a brand new tropically-designed garden, as well as various other favourite pieces of repertoire.

Tasmin Little

Tasmin Little

We are very excited to have world-famous solo violinist Tasmin Little supporting Sistema In Norwich this week, giving a workshop/masterclass with our Martineau Chamber Group, performing alongside them in concert at the John Innes Centre on Friday 28th February.

This concert is promoted by the Norfolk & Norwich Chamber Music Society, and forms a part of Tasmin’s ‘Naked Violinist’ series of performances.  Details and tickets are available here.

Sistema In Norwich at EPIC Studios

Sistema In Norwich at EPIC Studios

This Friday, the Sistema In Norwich Martineau Orchestra will be performing live at EPIC Studios in Norwich, in the biggest, most exciting end-of-term concert to date.  This will include linking up with In Harmony Liverpool over the internet to perform simultaneously via a live video stream, as well as the involvement of In Harmony Lambeth and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Doors open at 7:00pm, and the performance begins at 7:30pm – tickets are free, but must be booked in advance (details below).  For those who can’t attend the concert in person, the whole event will also be streamed live online, on the EPIC Studios TV website.

Having worked hard all year with the children from Sistema In Norwich, I am very excited to be involved in what is believed to be a world first (two Sistema orchestras playing together through an online video link) with them , and am looking forward to everyone being able to see the results of all our efforts!  Please tune in and watch, if you can’t make it to EPIC Studios on the night.

Click here to book your tickets for the concert.
Click here to watch EPIC TV live online.

Bring on 2013!

It is, sadly, too late to post this with the title “Happy New Year” – but here goes…

I’ve seen plenty of people asking how 2013 can possibly live up to the wonders that 2012 had to offer.  On a National scale, that may well be the case; 2012 was a Jubilee year, and was the year of a triumphant London Olympics – not to mention the fact that Norwich City Football Club survived to stay up in the Premier League.

On a personal level, however, my first gig of 2013 last weekend, with Crystal Bats, was a belter, while tomorrow sees a return to teaching at Sistema In Norwich, to which I’m very much looking forward.

There are plenty of exciting things planned for 2013 – including more shows with Crystal Bats, a debut album with Witchers (our first studio release since the Throw Your Books Into The Fire EP in July 2010), potentially the biggest ever Keyboard Camp Residential Course, and even a film appearance!  So yes, 2013 is shaping up to be pretty good!

As always, you can keep up-to-date with everything that’s going on here the site, and by following me on Twitter.

Sistema in Norwich

Sistema in Norwich

Thanks to a restructuring, and a change in the funding system for In Harmony Sistema, the continued existence of the project in Norwich was in some doubt, towards the end of last year.  When its DfE Grant was cut, In Harmony Norwich was discontinued.

I found the decision to cut the funding to In Harmony Norwich unfathomable.  It was a short-sighted and stupid choice, and one which I suspect was motivated more by money and “image” than by a genuine concern for musical education.

On a personal note, I was disappointed not to get to be involved with In Harmony any more – I had spent a whole year working on this exciting and ground-breaking project, and had seen first-hand what a positive effect it was having on the children and the schools involved.  I had enjoyed my time on the project, and I felt that I also developed and grew a lot as a person during the course of that year.

But I feared that the much more damaging implications of axing In Harmony Norwich would be what happened to the children involved, when the rug was pulled from under them – in a music education sense.  I couldn’t stand the idea that talented and motivated children, who had spent several years learning an instrument, playing in orchestras, and benefitting from all the wonderful experiences that ensemble music can provide, would suddenly – almost overnight – be left with nothing to show for that.

That is why I am delighted that the project in Norwich is continuing.  Although not technically called “In Harmony Norwich” any more (as the project is no longer under the In Harmony England umbrella), the Sistema in Norwich project builds on four years of excellent work and development from In Harmony Norwich, and looks to grow and progress in the future, with more and more opportunities to get local schoolchildren playing and enjoying music together, and reaping all the rewards which those rich musical experiences have to offer.

I am currently working as the percussion tutor in Catton Grove Primary School with Sistema in Norwich.  It is great to be back, and to know that the excellent work started by In Harmony Norwich is being allowed to continue – I look forward to seeing what the future holds for Sistema in Norwich, and I am proud to be involved in the next step of this exciting journey.

Related links

Sistema in Norwich
Norwich and Norfolk Community Arts
El Sistema
Simón Bolivar Youth Orchestra
Catton Grove Primary School
Larkman Primary School