NEXT: Training the next generation of contemporary musicians

Next training

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (BCMG) and Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, part of Birmingham City University, are launching the UK’s first year-long study programme to train and prepare musicians to perform and promote contemporary classical music.

Open to post-graduate musicians currently enrolled in a course of study, or to professional musicians wanting to improve their knowledge and skills in this area, the intensive year-long NEXT training programme includes instrumental teaching with members of BCMG, artistic planning, lectures from guest artists and a variety of performance opportunities. 

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

Birmingham City University

Recitals will include solo and chamber concerts, programmed and promoted by participants, and side-by-side playing with BCMG at high profile venues. There will also be unique opportunities for emerging and student composers to participate in several aspects of the programme to support their development.

The programme, which begins in September 2018, will have space for up to 15 participants each year, including instrumentalists, a sound director and a conductor.  

Stephan Meier, Artistic Director of Birmingham Contemporary Music Group comments:

“Looking at the role contemporary music plays in our cultural life, and more specifically in the music industry, you tend to find young musicians either orientated towards what is perceived as ‘classical’ music, for example in orchestras or opera, or engaged in self-organised attempts to set up some contemporary activities.  

“NEXT seeks to support the latter approach, providing a semi-sheltered greenhouse, as it were, to transfer skills, techniques, knowledge and performance experience, and to allow musicians to fully concentrate on what is needed to professionally work in the sector, and space and time to brood on all kinds of contemporary music developments. There are, of course, opportunities to do this in an informal way but I think that NEXT will be the first year-long course in the UK to address contemporary music performance, practise and promotion in a structured, sustainable way.   

“BCMG is celebrated as one of the world’s finest contemporary music ensembles, and its musicians are second-to-none in expertise, knowledge and sheer passion for the music of today.  The combination of their experience, and the commitment and fantastic facilities at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire gives NEXT the potential to have a substantial and lasting input into our musical culture – a real game changer.”

The application process consists of two phases: submission of a written application and audio-visual recording will be followed by live auditions for selected finalists, conducted by a jury of Royal Birmingham Conservatoire faculty and BCMG musicians. It is the intention that a range of instrumentalists will be selected for participation to enable the performance of a wide range of contemporary music, including cutting edge performance techniques.

NEXT is free to students already enrolled at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, or at a subsidised rate of £1,500 for prospective external candidates, to access the Conservatoire facilities, individual instrumental teaching and lectures.

Whilst the course is non-diploma, there is a possibility to combine NEXT with a Royal Birmingham Conservatoire degree-awarding study course. All participants will receive a certificate of study from Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and BCMG.

Applications are now open.

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