Come and help support this amazing student-organised event, which has been organised to raise funds for a fantastic University-led initiative!
The performance, taking place at Birmingham’s Ikon Gallery on Monday 27 February, hopes to raise funds from the the collaborative project, Cape Gate MIAGI Centre for Music & Birmingham Conservatoire – or ARCO, which is also the name for the technique of playing a stringed instrument with a bow.
Louise Lansdown, Head of Strings at Birmingham Conservatoire, initated the ARCO project in 2015. Since then, ARCO has seen 24 strings students aged between eight and 16 in South Africa selected to participate in weekly instrumental Skype lessons, given by academics, current students and alumni of Birmingham Conservatoire, part of Birmingham City University.
One of ARCO’s virtual tutors is final year viola student Alistair Rutherford, who has organised the Ikon Gallery concert, which features music by Romero, Strauss and Tchaikovsky.
ARCO aims to provide the benefits and life changing inspiration of music to children in the most deprived of circumstances. As well as providing transformative music education activities, Conservatoire staff have been acting as role models for vulnerable youngsters living in Soweto, a Johannesburg township deeply affected by poverty and crime.
In addition to the student’s regular lessons at Cape Gate MIAGI Centre for Music in Soweto, the Skype sessions allowed students to receive additional individual tuition and string quartet coaching from Birmingham Conservatoire, which is not currently offered at the Centre.
Alongside individual lessons, the masterclasses, workshops and performances taking place at the Conservatoire were streamed live for the students at MIAGI and the wider community to enjoy.
Between Saturday 20 and Wednesday 24 August 2016, Cape Gate MIAGI Centre for Music hosted the first ARCO Festival, which was run by two academics and eight current Conservatoire students, including Alistair. The Festival featured public concerts by Birmingham Conservatoire, intensive individual tuition, instrument-specific classes, quartet lessons, and listening classes.
Alistair’s chamber concert is just one of several fundraising events he has organised in aid of ARCO. Last year, Alistair ran the equivalent distance of the length of South Africa’s coastline, clocking up 1,739 miles (2798 kilometres) by the time he flew out to Johannesburg.
Later this year, Alistair plans to mix his love of both music and athletics to attempt a Guinness World Record; running thefastest half marathon dressed as a musical instrument. Donning a custom-made viola costume, he hopes to raise more funds from running the Liverpool Half Marathon in April.
For more information and to book, please click here.