Tag Archives: Ian Pace

New articles in Music and Letters and Music Teacher by Ian Pace

Two new articles by Ian Pace, Lecturer in Music and Head of Performance, have recently been published. The first is a review-article entitled ‘Ferneyhough Hero: Scholarship as Promotion’, Music and Letters, Vol. 96, No. 1, pp. 99-112, a comprehensive critique of Lois Fitch, Brian Ferneyhough (Bristol: Intellect, 2013). Drawing upon intimate knowledge of Ferneyhough’s music (which Pace has performed over a 25 year period, including the world premiere of the piano piece Opus Contra Naturam (1999-2000), and written about previously) and also of the wide range of scholarly and other literature on Ferneyhough, he argues in detail that this is a fundamentally flawed and hagiographic work more akin to promotional literature than scholarship, drawing wider conclusions about the problems of writing on living composers where writers’ primary concern is to flatter their subject and win favour in such a manner. A longer 35 000 word article, ‘Brian Ferneyhough: A Critical Overview of the Literature’, a thorough critical survey of all types of writings in four languages on Ferneyhough’s work, has recently passed through peer review and will be published in Issue 12 of the online journal Search: Journal for New Music and Culture later this year.

Of a totally different nature is another article by Ian Pace published in the April 2015 issue of Music Teacher magazine, entitled ‘Safeguarding’ (pp. 13-15). Following earlier writings (see here and here) in the wake of the conviction of early music conductor Philip Pickett. The article also reprints his Guidelines for Teachers and Students.

Review of Ian Pace concert at York Late Music Series

Here is a review of Ian Pace’s recent recital in the York Late Music Series, including world premieres by Edd Caine and Steve Crowther.

http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/leisure/music/11843320.Review__Ian_Pace__piano___York_Late_Music__St_Saviourgate_Unitarian_Chapel__York/

Ian Pace – recitals in Canterbury, Graz, Austria and in York Late Music Festival

City University Music Lecturer and Head of Performance Ian Pace gave several recitals in Graz, Austria in February 2015, as part of the impuls festival there. These included performances of Richard Barrett’s lost (2004), commissioned by and written for Ian Pace, Chaya Czernowin’s fardanceCLOSE (2012), and also performances with German bass Andreas Fischer of Czernowin’s algae (2009), which Fischer and Pace commissioned and of which they gave the world premiere in the TRANSIT Festival in Leuven, Belgium, in 2009. During impuls, Ian Pace also gave a range of piano masterclasses and took part in a round table with Austrian composer Klaus Lang on the subject of whether nineteenth-century conceptions of artists and artistry had an adverse effect upon musical life today.

Prior to this, Ian gave a recital at Canterbury Christ Church University on February 9th, featuring works of Lauren Redhead (both written for and premiered by Pace), Czernowin, Barrett, Stockhausen, Finnissy and Gershwin/Earl Wild. He also gave extended composition workshops and piano masterclasses there.

On Saturday, March 7th, Ian returns to the York Late Music Festival, to which he has been a regular visitor since 2002, for a concert exploring miniatures for piano, including works of Schumann, Schoenberg, Ligeti, Kurtág, Judith Weir and James Dillon, as well as premieres of new works written for the occasion by Edd Caine and Steve Crowther.

Ian Pace Articles on Elite Music Teaching and Abuse in The Telegraph and The Conversation

Since the trial and conviction of former Director of Music at Chetham’s School of Music, Michael Brewer, in early 2013 on charges of sexual abuse of a student, City University Music Lecturer and Head of Performance Ian Pace, himself an alumnus of Chetham’s has been at the forefront of campaigning and researching on this subject, and has been regularly quoted throughout the national print and broadcast media, working closely with a range of journalists. Drawing upon his wider research into nineteenth-century performance, pedagogy and aesthetics, he has advised a range of politicians and also given detailed confidential briefings to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse on the nature and scale of the issue, and has published a number of articles relating to the subject. He also keeps an extensive blog with a range of research-based material on this area. and has come to be regarded as a leading authority on the subject. Amongst his most important independent research has been that into former Director of Music at the Yehudi Menuhin School, pianist Marcel Gazelle, the former Dean of Manchester Cathedral, Robert Waddington, the former Director of Music at Colet Court School and major conductor for Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, Alan Doggett, and former civil servant, scholar of the operas of Benjamin Britten and of Classical Greece, Clifford Hindley, whose articles Ian has analysed in depth to reveal their reiterated pederastic elements.

Recently, the conviction of leading early music conductor Philip Pickett (see here for the original list of charges against Pickett) has led to renewed press interest in abuse specifically in classical music, while the release of the film Whiplash has highlighted the issue of bullying in music education. In this context, Ian Pace was commissioned to write articles for The Telegraph and The Conversation on these subjects, which are as follows:

Ian Pace, ‘Does elite music teaching leave pupils open to abuse?’, The Telegraph, February 20th, 2015

Ian Pace, ‘Music Teacher sentenced to 11 years in prison as abuse film Whiplash prepares for Oscars’, The Conversation, February 20th, 2015

Two years ago, he published an important article in the Times Educational Supplement:

Ian Pace, ‘The culture of music education lends itself to abuse’, Times Educational Supplement, May 11th, 2013

which led to a heated debate, featuring a response by Claire Fox, to which Ian replied further (‘No music or art form is more important than the right of children to live safe from abuse’, October 3rd, 2013).

Ian also gave a QandA to Classical Music magazine in the aftermath of the Brewer trial. Amongst his numerous TV appearances was this on Channel 4 News, May 7th, 2013, for which he advised the production team over an extensive investigation.

Recently he was interviewed for a major article in the Spectator magazine (Damian Thompson, ‘Classical music’s dirty little secret’, The Spectator, December 6th, 2014) and personally expanded upon some of the perspectives contained therein in this blog post.

A wider range of media quotations from 2013 to 2015 are given below.

 

Jaya Narain, ”Many more’ sex abuse victims at music schools: Leading academic calls for inquiry after choirmaster and ex-wife are convicted’, Daily Mail, 10/2/13

  • He urges an investigation into music schools in the Seventies and Eighties
  • Ian Pace says the classical music world was then controlled by a select few
  • He was a pupil at Chetham’s, where Frances Andrade was abused
  • Andrade killed herself after giving evidence at the trial of Michael Brewer

A leading academic has called for a wider inquiry into sexual abuse at music schools in the UK after a choirmaster and his ex-wife were convicted of abusing a former pupil.

Michael Brewer and his former wife Kay, both 68, were convicted of six counts of indecent assault.

Their victim, Frances Andrade, 48, a former pupil at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, killed herself with an overdose shortly after testifying against the pair.

Last night, an academic who was also a pupil at Chetham’s around the same time as Mrs Andrade, called for a wider inquiry into sexual abuse at music schools in the Seventies and Eighties.

Ian Pace, a pianist and musicologist who lectures at City University in London, said the world of classical music was controlled by just a few influential people.

He said: ‘It is well known within the music world that there are many other such stories involving a variety of individuals in positions of power at various music schools.

‘Many of these people are extremely afraid to come forward with their stories, in a close-knit world of classical music in which careers are dependent upon the whims of a few powerful individuals.

‘A full independent inquiry into sexual and physical abuse in classical music education during this time is now absolutely paramount.’

Greater Manchester Police says it wants to hear from anyone who may have fallen victim to sexual abuse at the music school.

It has also defended its care of Frances Andrade during the trial at Manchester Crown Court.

The trial heard sexual abuse was ‘rife’ at elite music academy Chetham’s. Mrs Andrade told the court: ‘It was normal for us. Several friends of mine had been raped.’

Mr Brewer was director of music at Chetham’s when he began abusing his victim, then 14, in 1978.

Mrs Andrade was found dead at her Surrey home after giving evidence against the Brewers. Jurors were not told about her death until after they found the pair guilty of six counts of sexual assault.

Brewer and his ex-wife were remanded in custody and will be sentenced at a later date.

 

 

Helen Pidd, Philippa Ibbotson and Rory Carroll, ‘A musical hothouse where ‘Ling’s strings’ say they fell prey to abuse’, The Guardian, 11/2/13

[…..]

Many of those we spoke to said that they felt unable to speak out about their abuse for fear of upsetting their parents, who had often spent vast amounts of money on sending them to Chetham’s. Though some of its students were entitled to a grant, the full fees were said at one time to be higher even than those for Eton. A lot of the parents were not well off, but simply trying to do the best for a talented child in a world of which they knew little. For some of Ling’s alleged victims, awareness of their parents’ investment in their education added further guilt to what were already hugely complex feelings. Ian Pace, a pianist, musicologist and head of performance at City University, said the intimate nature of music teaching offered particular opportunities to would-be abusers. “Musical education involves deeply intimate and personal relationships between teacher and pupil, and the pupil’s musicianship becomes viewed as a reflection of their personality in general. Children studying music are required to engage with and project intense adult emotions, are seen and judged physically as well as aurally, and are catapulted into a cloistered and often solitary world, surrounded by powerful guru-like figures with whom they engage on a one-to-one basis, and who may have the potential to make or break their future career.”

[…]

 

 

Mark Duell, ‘THIRD former teacher at prestigious music school is investigated by police after TEN girls claim he sexually abused them’, Daily Mail, 11/2/13

[….]Meanwhile, last night an academic who was also a pupil at Chetham’s around the same time as Mrs Andrade, called for a wider inquiry into sexual abuse at music schools in the Seventies and Eighties.

Ian Pace, a pianist and musicologist who lectures at City University in Islington, central London, said the world of classical music was controlled by just a few influential people.

He said: ‘It is well known within the music world that there are many other such stories involving a variety of individuals in positions of power at various music schools.

‘Many of these people are extremely afraid to come forward with their stories, in a close-knit world of classical music in which careers are dependent upon the whims of a few powerful individuals.

‘A full independent inquiry into sexual and physical abuse in classical music education during this time is now absolutely paramount.’

Greater Manchester Police said it wants to hear from anyone who may have fallen victim to sexual abuse at the music school.

[….]

 

Rory Carroll, ‘Ex-Chetham’s School of Music teacher reinvented himself in Hollywood’, The Guardian, 12/2/13

[….]Ling has in the past defended the use of glamorous photographs to promote his clients. Ian Pace, a London-based musicologist and blogger, posted excerpts from a 1999 Omaha World Herald article which described Ling’s strategy of promoting classical musicians’ glamour and sex appeal as if they were pop stars. “We’ve simply put photos out there which are new, which are good,” the paper quoted him. “And I hope it will attract a younger audience.”

[…..]

 

 

Amy Glendinning, ‘Six more teachers in Chets’ abuse probe’, Manchester Evening News, 14/2/13

[…..]Former pupils who attended the Manchester city centre college in the 1970s and 80s have also spoken out about an alleged lack of pastoral care given to children, some from troubled family backgrounds or who were never visited by relatives. One former pupil claims heavy drinking was common, with children as young as 13 regularly found paralytic in their dorm rooms and older children allowed to go to city centre pubs. Ian Pace, 44, attended Chetham’s from 1978 to 1986 and says it was widely known at the time that teachers were having affairs with pupils. The successful professional pianist and musicology lecturer, now living in London, is calling for an independent inquiry into the way classical music is taught at specialist schools and colleges. He said: When I was at Chetham’s I was certainly aware of teachers having affairs with students, it was somehow not something seen as particularly wrong or unusual. I realise now it was much more extensive, often involved many who were underage and at the very least skirted the boundaries of consent. I don’t believe there were any clear guidelines for staff or if there were, they were not scrupulously enforced. Classical performers don’t just produce sounds, what they do is theatre, in which the performer seduces, entices, excites, moves their audience through their playing, look and demeanor. The demands of this can easily bring about a premature sexualisation of young performers. The whole way it works, the types of attitudes and personalities it nurtures and fosters, and the very ethos of teaching need serious consideration. It’s not just about a bad few but a wider culture and set of values which makes abuse a possibility.

[…..]

 

 

Neil Tweedie, Nick Britten and Joe Schute, ‘Frances Andrade: A culture of abuse, denial and cover-up; The suicide of former Chetham’s School of Music pupil Frances Andrade has led to allegations of sexual exploitation – and a lack of action – at other elite music schools’, The Telegraph, 15/2/13

He [Norman Lebrecht] wants an inquiry into abuse at the country’s music academies, as does Ian Pace, a pianist and musicologist who studied at Chetham’s from 1978 to 1986. Mr Pace is at pains to stress that there were many fine teachers at the school during the years in question, that the school was generally no different from other boarding institutions, and that it offered often superlative teaching. But he also points to something deep in the psyche of the place.

“A tradition of thought descending from the late 19th century holds that what is most important is beauty, over and above other moral considerations,” he maintains. “This remains something of a credo for various types of artist, but needs unpacking. Where does it leave human vulnerability and frailty? In fact, where does it leave the human element at all?

“It is very easy for an artistic sensibility to entail a fair degree of dehumanisation – an extremely hierarchical view of human beings. This should be resisted at every opportunity. Human beings are more important than art. With hindsight, though, I can see how such a sensibility informed some of the culture at Chet’s.”

Mr Pace and fellow former pupils of Chetham’s have launched a petition calling for an inquiry into the alleged abuse.

“There are many other such allegations from the Seventies and Eighties, too many to ignore, powerful individuals at various music schools and colleges. Many victims have been afraid to complain either to the institutions or the police for fear of recriminations in a close-knit musical world in which a relatively small number of individuals can make or break careers.

“To produce a high-quality performance requires a lot from the performer. In school, this creates pressure to become prematurely ‘grown-up’, without going through the normal processes. With hindsight, one can see how this may have been achieved in a most heinous manner. It is a tragedy for those who suffered.”

 

 

Letter: Call for inquiry into sex abuse allegations, The Guardian, 20/2/13

In recent weeks, the ongoing allegations of historical sexual abuse at Chetham’s School of Music have put many aspects of music education under intense public scrutiny (Music school abuse inquiry identifies nine ‘key suspects’, 19 February). Following the conviction of the former director of music, Michael Brewer, the tragic death of Frances Andrade, and extensive testimonies in the press of other abuse, it is clear that there should now be a full independent inquiry into the alleged sexual and psychological abuse by Chetham’s staff since the establishment of the institution as a music school in 1969. Such an inquiry would ideally extend to other institutions as well, some of which have also been the subject of allegations of abuse.

Recent press reports have suggested that during this time many students complained to senior members of staff about the sexually abusive behaviour of a number of Chetham’s teachers, but that no satisfactory action was taken. While it is of primary concern that those who stand accused should be investigated as soon as possible, if these allegations are shown to be correct, it will be important to understand the wider implications of a school culture which facilitated such abuses of trust, and afforded alleged offenders long-term protection. For this reason, we ask senior members of staff from that time to account for what appears to be the severe failure of the school system to protect its pupils from those who exploited their positions of power.

The prevalence of sexual abuse, which appears to have continued unhindered over many years, suggests an alarming lack of responsibility and competence in the management of a school which had, above all, a duty to protect the welfare of its students and to nurture the artistic potential of every pupil. That Chetham’s appears to have failed in this respect now requires some considerable explanation from those who held senior positions of authority.

Paul Lewis Pianist (Chetham’s alumnus 1986-90), Tim Horton Pianist (Chetham’s 1983-92), Ian Pace Lecturer in music, City University (Chetham’s 1978-86), Peter Donohoe Pianist (Chetham’s 1964-71), Daniel Harding Conductor (Chetham’s 1988-93), Imogen Cooper, Steven Isserlis, Mark Padmore and 20 others

 

 

Amy Glendinning, ‘Chetham’s: now ten ex-teachers under spotlight’, Manchester Evening News, 1/3/13

[…..]The news comes as more than 1,000 former Chetham’s pupils and professional musicians signed a petition calling for an independent inquiry into sexual abuse at the school and other private music conservatoires.

The petition’s organiser, former Chetham’s pupil and professional pianist Ian Pace, says he believes the Brewer trial is just the tip of the iceberg’. Mr Pace, now based in London, said: There has been a huge groundswell of support for the petition from ex-Chetham’s pupils from all areas, including people who have been there very recently.

A lot of parents have also supported it, along with musicians of all different types, plus people working in education and other musical organisations.

The number of people contacting me to talk about these issues is also significant.

These are problems which have gone unaddressed for too long, like the nature of teacher-pupil relationships and abuse, whether it’s physical, sexual or emotional, which causes long-term damage.

Unfortunately I think what came out at the Michael Brewer trial is just the tip of the iceberg.

A spokeswoman for the RNCM declined to comment.

 

 

Martin Robinson, ‘Up to 12 former teachers at prestigious music school are under investigation over allegations of historic sex abuse’, Daily Mail, 1/3/13

[….]The news comes as more than 1,000 former Chetham’s pupils and professional musicians signed a petition calling for an independent inquiry into sexual abuse at the school and other private music conservatoires.

The petition’s organiser, former Chetham’s pupil and professional pianist Ian Pace, says he believes the Brewer trial is just ‘the tip of the iceberg’.

Mr Pace, now based in London, said: ‘There has been a huge groundswell of support for the petition from ex-Chetham’s pupils from all areas, including people who have been there very recently.

‘A lot of parents have also supported it, along with musicians of all different types, plus people working in education and other musical organisations.

‘The number of people contacting me to talk about these issues is also significant.

‘These are problems which have gone unaddressed for too long, like the nature of teacher-pupil relationships and abuse, whether it’s physical, sexual or emotional, which causes long-term damage.

‘Unfortunately I think what came out at the Michael Brewer trial is just the tip of the iceberg.’

A spokeswoman for the RNCM declined to comment as did Greater Manchester Police. MailOnline approached Chetham’s for comment, but they are yet to respond.

 

 

‘Music school sex abuse inquiry extended to 10 ex-teachers’, The Telegraph, 2/3/13

[….]Leading musicians have backed a call for a government-led public inquiry into the allegations of widespread abuse.

Ian Pace, a former Chetham’s pupil, is sending a petition with the signatures of 1,000 other former students and professional musicians to the Home Secretary.

He said he believed the Brewer case was “the tip of the iceberg” and an inquiry was the best way to root out what he saw as an “endemic” problem, not just at Chetham’s, but at other musical institutions around Britain.

 

 

Victoria Ward and Nick Brittan, ‘Music school abuse scandal alleged to involve five top schools; Allegations have been made involving up to 100 victims of sexual abuse at the UK’s five elite music schools, it has emerged.’, The Telegraph, 8/5/13

Ian Pace, a well-known musician and former pupil at Chetham’s school of music in Manchester, said he had heard of accusations concerning his alma mater as well as the Purcell school in Hertfordshire, Wells Cathedral School in Somerset, St Mary’s Music School in Edinburgh and the Yehudi Menuhin School in Surrey. Many more concerned serious psychological and emotional abuse.

The pianist, who has been campaigning for a government-led inquiry into the alleged culture of sexual abuse at music schools and colleges across the country, said he and others had handed the names of all alleged perpetrators to police.

However, officers cannot launch an investigation unless a specific formal complaint is made.

The Yehudi Menuhin School was the subject of a Channel 4 investigation this week in which it was alleged that Marcel Gazelle, its late founding music director, sexually abused pupils in the 1960s.

Former pupil Nigel Kennedy, the violinist, alleged in 2003 that young girls were abused at the school but no investigation was ever launched. The school said it had no record of any complaints being made.

A “significant” police inquiry is under way in Manchester, where around 10 teachers at Chetham’s and the Royal Northern College of Music are being investigated over allegations of rape and serious sexual assault.

Both Surrey and Greater Manchester police forces have appealed for any victims of abuse to come forward.

Mr Pace said: “The investigation should definitely be broadened. Manchester has been the focus of attention because of the Michael Brewer case but this is part of a wider problem.

“What I have heard from lots of people who have made allegations is that when they went to complain they were either ignored or sometimes pressure was put upon them.”

He said a “fundamental emphasis” was placed on the one-to-one teacher-pupil relationship at specialist music schools which can in some cases foster a high level of dependency.

“Young people in particular can be under the spell of that teacher, who is their passport to success and pleasing him or her becomes paramount,” he said.

Several of the schools at the heart of the allegations have been beset by accusations of inappropriate behaviour.

[…..]

 

 

Victoria Ward, ‘Teacher describes “toxic” atmosphere at music schools; A woman who taught at two of the five elite music schools at the heart of an alleged sexual abuse scandal has described their atmosphere as “deeply toxic” and said teachers at both were known to have had affairs with teenage pupils.’, The Telegraph, 9/5/13

[….]Ian Pace, a pianist and former pupil at Chetham’s music school in Manchester, which is at the centre of a police investigation, said he had written to the UK’s top five music schools asking if they would support calls for a wide-ranging government-led investigation.

All five said they took the matter seriously but were non committal when it came to backing the call for an inquiry. Mr Pace has reopened a petition urging the government to look into the alleged abuse at Chetham’s as well as other institutions.

Lucy Powell, the Labour MP for Manchester, backed the call. She said: “I do think it’s time we had a broader inquiry because one of the issues that’s come up is the question of has jurisdiction over these institutions, who is ultimately responsible for safeguarding aside from the schools themselves?

“There are clearly still ongoing issues about procedure, policy and leadership when dealing with abuse.”

The Department for Education said it had “no current plans” to commission an inquiry.

 

 

Meabh Ritchie, ‘Abuse scandal: Britain’s elite music education in crisis’, Channel 4 News , 9/4/13 (at http://www.channel4.com/news/sex-abuse-scandals-britains-elite-music-education-in-crisi )

[…..]Renowned pianist and teacher Ian Pace has been one of the most vocal critics of what he believes is a system in need of review.

He started a petition, which was closed on receiving 1,000 signatures, calling for an independent public inquiry into music education – not just abuse allegations – at Chetham’s and other specialist music schools and colleges. It was re-opened after further allegations were made at the beginning of May.

Specialist music schools are independent from the state school system and command up to £30,000 in annual fees for boarding school places. However, pupils can receive up to 100 per cent funding for their place from the Department of Education.

Two urgent reports into Chetham’s school published last month found children’s welfare was not totally safe, and criticised school leadership. The school acknowledged the claims, but said that the majority of students were well cared for.

A former Chetham’s pupil himself, Mr Pace knows all too well about the culture of elite music schools. Even aside from allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour, he says they have the potential to lead to psychological abuse.

“You’re immersed in this incredibly competitive hothouse environment. Stakes are high. That gives teachers a power that I don’t think is comparable to other schools,” he said. “I can’t imagine a maths teacher at Eton, say, commanding the same sort of power, authority or charismatic dominance as a prestigious string teacher at a specialist music school.”

Even at conservatoires – specialist schools for the fine arts where most students are over 18 – pupils are hugely reliant on their teachers for their future careers.

This dependence on a teacher’s approval does not always lay the ground for a healthy relationship, Mr Pace added.

“The power that teachers have, not just in making careers, but also in terms of people’s confidence….It’s very easy to exploit. It’s a huge responsibility. Huge,” he added.

 

 

Paul Gallagher, ‘Fresh abuse claims hit top music school; Former Yehudi Menuhin School pupil describes ‘inappropriate behaviour by a number of teachers’ during the 1980s’, The Independent, 12/5/13

[…..]British pianist and former Chetham’s student Ian Pace said yesterday that he has re-opened an online petition (click: HERE) calling on ministers to launch an independent inquiry into systemic abuse at specialist music schools. It received more than 1,000 signatures in one week, around 300 of those from ex-Chetham’s students. He will re-submit it to ministers after the petition closes at the end of May.

Mr Pace added: “All the people who have signed the petition want an inquiry into what appears to have been widespread abuse of all types at all the UK’s specialist music schools – both historically and in the present.  If sexual and other types of abuse could happen, we need to know whether the institutions were either unaware of them or, if they did know, did nothing to stop them, or possibly even put pressure on students to keep quiet.

“In light of the most recent revelations, I hope ministers might think again about the importance of holding such an inquiry.”

Mr Pace wrote to the heads of all the UK’s five elite music schools – Chetham’s, YMS, The Purcell School, Wells Cathedral School and St Mary’s Music School – asking for their support. He received replies from the heads of all except Chetham’s, from which only the bursar wrote back, and described these as “relatively non-committal”.

Responding to a blog posting from Mr Pace on the abuse scandal, Didier Gazelle, launched a remarkable defence of his late father on Friday and fully supported calls for the “utterly unnecessary” investigation to be dropped and for police “to find something better to do”.

Didier, also a musician, said: “It looks to me that times have changed. What was acceptable 50 years ago is now considered as an offence…I’d like to testify that my father always showed great affection for his pupils also in presence of my mother, and that nobody, at that time was thinking this was evil. Where is the limit between affection and sexual abuse?”[….]

 

 

Paul Gallagher, ‘Church of England sex abuse investigation into Manchester Cathedral Dean Robert Waddington expected to overlap with police inquiry at Chetham’s School of Music’, The Independent, 15/5/13

[…..]A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said Operation Kiso, the inquiry into historical sexual abuse at Chetham’s and the Royal Northern College of Music, had received a complaint about Waddington. He added: “Robert Waddington is deceased so there is nothing further that can be done.”

British pianist Ian Pace, who is leading calls to open an independent inquiry into historical sexual abuse at elite music schools, said “the connections between Manchester Cathedral and Chetham’s music school are strong”.

He added: “Chetham’s School lies just on the opposite side of the road from Manchester Cathedral. During the time when I was at the school (1978-1986) weekly services took place in the cathedral and the school provided all of the statutory choristers, who would sing at the cathedral practically every day and often over holidays. The annual ceremony of Founder’s Day, for which boy pupils wore an extremely cumbersome Tudor uniform, celebrating the founder Humphrey Chetham, also took place in the cathedral, as did some other concerts.”

Mr Pace said Waddington would have been “in direct regular contact with a whole range of boys at Chetham’s”.

Manchester Cathedral has two choirs, one of which – the statutory choristers, known colloquially as the ‘stats’, consists of pupils who all come from Chetham’s. The second is the voluntary choir – the ‘vollies’ – made up of other pupils. Given Chetham’s proximity to the Cathedral, on the opposite side of the road, the ‘stats’ are considered the mainstay of music-making at the cathedral.

Waddington’s fellow governors at Chetham’s included Ewart Boddington, director of Boddington’s Brewery, and the 18th Earl of Derby, Edward John Stanley. There is no suggestion any other governor was aware of the abuse Waddington is said to have carried out.

[…….]A spokeswoman for Chetham’s told the Independent: “Our archives tell us that Robert Waddington was a Governor of the School from September 1984 until September 1993, and a Feoffee from October 1984 until October 1993.” A Feoffee is a trustee of Chetham’s Hospital School and Library.

When asked if any complaints had been made against Waddington by pupils or staff during his time as a governor, the spokeswoman said the school was not aware of any. She added: “However you should be aware that our records retention policy is likely to mean that we would not retain records from this period. Our records retention policy follows the Retention Guidelines for Schools and is compliant with the Data Protection Policy.”

Mr Pace added:  “At the time when some of the worst abuse is alleged to have gone on at the school, the school board contained someone who has been outed as an abuser himself.”

 

 

Russell Jenkins, ”Love to live to play’ – but Chetham’s is mournful’, The Times, 16/5/13

[…..]The Department for Education demanded a detailed action plan, issued a deadline and warned that even this revered specialist school could still face closure unless it shows it is doing better.

Against this dismal background Ian Pace, the pianist and a former pupil, reopened his e-petition for a full inquiry to expose the wider culture which “facilitated such abuses of trust”.

Mr Pace believes the school’s management still has not done enough. “At the moment it looks like the school is trying to spin its way out of trouble. We would look for … a genuine acknowledgement about what went wrong from the victims’ point of view,” he said.[……]

 

 

Paul Gallagher, ‘ Decades of abuse by Royal College of Music piano teacher Ian Lake boosts demands for inquiry; Victims demand to know why Ian Lake was employed by Royal College of Music for so long’, The Independent, 29/12/13

[…..]Labour MP Lucy Powell, whose constituency covers Chetham’s and RNCM, said: “Given the cross-over nature of the offences, an inquiry under Operation Yewtree, looking at historical allegations of child abuse by Jimmy Savile and others, that could be specific to music schools would be welcome. Failing that I support the setting up of a separate public inquiry.”

Hundreds of former music school pupils have added their names to a petition calling for exactly that.  Leading campaigner Ian Pace, a former Chetham’s pupil, said: “Only a full public inquiry into sexual and other abuse in musical education is likely to get to the bottom of this alleged widespread corrosive abuse and ensure both that those who have suffered are heard in safety, and proper recommendations are made to ensure this could never happen again.

“Whilst having known for a while about various allegations concerning Lake, I also have friends who studied with him and would point out what an important figure he was in terms of encouraging and providing opportunities for young composers in particular.

“‘It is hard for people to accept that musicians they know and admire – and sometimes have provided them with work and opportunities – might also have been responsible for very bad things; it is also hard for some unfamiliar with the music world to realise that some abusers can be charming, charismatic and artistic individuals.”

 

 

Paul Gallagher, ‘ Former Guildhall School tutor arrested on suspicion of rape in the 1970s; The case of prominent classical musician, Philip Pickett, 63, is just the latest in a series of alleged sexual assaults that has fuelled calls for a public inquiry into historic abuse in British music schools’, The Independent, 5/1/14

[…..]The pressure has been growing for a full general public inquiry into suspected historic sexual abuse across all of the UK’s elite music schools.

Concern about abuses carried out by a number of individuals has led to more than 1,000 former alumni of specialist music institutions signing a petition calling for an inquiry. It was organised by Ian Pace, Paul Lewis and Tim Horton, piano graduates of Chetham’s – the Manchester conservatoire that is itself subject to an ongoing inquiry into historic sexual abuse, along with the Royal Northern College of Music.

Four former or current teachers at the two schools remain on police bail as part of Operation Kiso. Mr Pickett has no link with these cases.

The Guildhall’s music alumni include Jacqueline du Pré and George Martin, while Orlando Bloom, Daniel Craig and Ewan McGregor are theatre graduates. More than 800 students from around 60 countries attend, with British pupils paying fees of more than £10,000 a year and foreign students paying up to £23,000.

Shadow Children’s minister Lucy Powell, whose constituency covers Chetham’s and the Royal Northern College, said: “Given the cross-over nature of the offences, an inquiry under Operation Yewtree, looking at historical allegations of child abuse by Jimmy Savile and others, that could be specific to music schools would be welcome. Failing that I support… a separate public inquiry. ”

Mr Pace said only a public inquiry would reveal the truth. “This will ensure both that those who have suffered are heard in safety and proper recommendations are made to ensure this could never happen again.”[…..]

 

 

Keir Mudie and Nick Dorman, ‘Home Office £70,000 to Vile Group; Paedophile Revelations’, The People, 2/3/14

[….]The whistleblower said [Clifford]Hindley, who is now dead, never mentioned the grant again after saying he would “deal” with it.

But the Sunday People understands PIE did get the cash. The Home Office said last night: “We are aware of the allegations and the Permanent Secretary has commissioned an independent investigation.”

But a Freedom of Information request shows all Home Office files about PIE since 1979 have been destroyed – quite legally.

Hindley left the Home Office in 1983 and wrote academic articles on gay relationships in Benjamin Britten’s operas.

City University music lecturer Ian Pace told Exaro investigative website: “Some of Hindley’s writings certainly show a strong interest in pederastic elements.”

PIE’s membership ranged from the jobless to diplomats.[….]

 

 

Martin Beckford, ‘ Now Chief Coroner is exposed as paedophile apologist who wanted age of consent to be 14’, Mail on Sunday, 16/3/14

[…..]He [Peter Thornton] added: ‘I am sorry the Paedophile Information Exchange had any connection with NCCL. I was chairman of NCCL when I believe PIE was ejected from NCCL, which was the right decision.

‘With hindsight it should have happened earlier. I never supported PIE or its aims in any way. Abuse of children, physical or sexual, is and always has been a terrible crime.’

Ian Pace, an academic and campaigner against abuse in musical education, said last night: ‘This is an extremely serious situation which demonstrates that the PIE network was able to infiltrate some of the upper echelons of British government and society in the 1970s and 1980s. This needs to be thoroughly investigated with proper resources and funding.’

 

 

Andrew Norfolk, ‘Friend to stars had easy access to boys’, The Times, 25/3/14

[….]Ian Pace, a professional pianist, City University lecturer and campaigner against abuse in musical education, last night demanded a “proper investigation” of Doggett’s continued access to boys after his offending was first exposed at the prep school. “It is rare for such abusers to have merely a few isolated victims,” he said. “The potential implications of this are alarming.”

 

 

‘We must have truth on abuse’, The Sun, 13/7/14

[….]Cameron offered her [Butler-Sloss] his support – as politicians feel they must do with judges. But he should realise that was a mistake.

Victim campaigners such as Ian Pace are dismayed.[…..]

 

 

Tom Bateman, ‘Paedophile Peter Righton advised Home Office on policy’, BBC News, 18/8/14 (with radio interview)

[….]By the mid-1970s, Righton had become a founding member of the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) which advocated sexual relationships between adults and children.

At the same time he became increasingly influential in the field of residential child care, according to Ian Pace, a lecturer at City University who has researched historical abuse at music schools and the influence of PIE.

He said Righton was “deeply involved with the cult of the classical world that was very important to… the paedophile movement”, focusing on stories of “Greek love” between men and young boys.

Mr Pace said “some of Righton’s interests” were reflected in the Home Office advisory report.

The section of the report which credited Righton called for residential child care workers to be trained in “the growth of civilisation” and “aesthetic values”.[….]

 

 

Guy Adams and Andrew Malone, ‘Revealed: The full horrifying truth about Sir Nicholas Fairbairn – the other paedophile at Margaret Thatcher’s side’, Daily Mail, 22/8/14

[…..]There were dozens of female lovers. One, a Commons secretary, attempted suicide outside his London home in 1981. Another, broadcaster Esther Rantzen, says he plied her with Krug and beluga caviar a few years later. ‘The rest was inevitable,’ she wrote in her memoirs.

Ian Pace, a lecturer at City University in London, and a campaigner and researcher on organised abuse, believes Fairbairn’s behaviour during this era was part of a concerted effort to ‘cover the tracks’ of his bisexual past.

If so, then it wasn’t entirely successful. In the early Nineties, a Scottish newspaper discovered Fairbairn’s name in an old piece of SMG literature. He responded by claiming that he’d had no idea of the nature of the ‘perverted’ minority the SMG lobbied for when he’d agreed to be their figurehead.[….]

 

 

Paul Gallagher, James Hanning and Jane Merrick, ‘ May under pressure to give abuse inquiry greater powers; The Home Secretary seeks to regain the initiative after the resignation of her appointee. Paul Gallagher, James Hanning and Jane Merrick report’, The Independent, 2/11/14

[…..]In Friday’s meeting, 18 of the campaigners present demanded that Ms Woolf, the Lord Mayor of London, resign. Private letters by Mrs Woolf to Mrs May tried to play down her ties with Lord Brittan, the former Home Secretary who may be called by the inquiry to give evidence into his handling of abuse allegations in the 1980s. Two NSPCC members who felt further delay would hinder the inquiry’s process rejected the resignation call.

Ian Pace, one campaigner present, said: “There was a unanimous vote by those present the panel has to have statutory powers, otherwise institutions under scrutiny will give no more information away than they absolutely have to. It was made clear by the panel members that they would take that view back to the Home Office.”[….]

 

 

Paul Gallagher, ‘ Dossier on ‘VIP paedophiles’ to be published – if it exists’, The Independent, 6/11/14

[….]Ian Pace, who in 2013 organised a petition of musicians calling for a public inquiry into abuse in specialist music schools, was one of 21 campaigners at a meeting on Friday chaired by a Home Office official, Usha Choli.

Mr Pace asked whether the inquiry would have access to closed archives, such as those belonging to Castle, a former Labour cabinet minister under Harold Wilson.

“The answer seemed to be yes,” said Mr Pace. “We were told the panel’s security clearance would enable [it] to access things like intelligence files and closed archives, such as a lot of material contained within the Barbara Castle archives where some people suspect she may have kept a copy of the dossier.”

At least three people have tried unsuccessfully to access the Castle files to see if they contain the Dickens Dossier, but found a lot of the material closed. Some papers with restricted access include diary entries and correspondence with family members. All of her correspondence with the former Labour Home Secretary Jack Straw between October 1981 and February 1999 is also marked “closed” on the library’s database, along with a letter she wrote to Neil Kinnock in December 1999.

Mr Pace said: “I do know of separate occasions where people went after a whole range of material where the Dickens Dossier was likely to be, but could not see any of it.”

The Independent on Sunday revealed at the weekend that the inquiry panel will have “developed vetting” – top-level clearance allowing it access to intelligence files and information.[….]

 

 

Damian Thompson, ‘ The dark side of El Sistema; An explosive new book uncovers abuse at the heart of one of classical music’s most revered institutions.’, Spectator, 4/12/14

[…..]Baker’s allegations feature prominently on the website of Ian Pace, head of performance at London’s City University and a virtuoso pianist specialising in the farthest reaches of the avant-garde. Pace is a campaigner against child sexual abuse – and conspiracies to hush it up. His Twitter account churns out allegations about paedophile sex rings in Westminster and the arts world. His enemies dismiss him as a left-wing crank, pointing to the ideological flavour of his campaigns against abuse-ridden hierarchies. Baker is also on the left: his exposé of El Sistema is a plea for progressive and experimental musical education. (The irony, he points out, is that Abreu’s liberal admirers think this is just what he has given Venezuela, whereas in fact he forces his pupils to worship the ‘elite’ classical canon.)

But Pace’s blog about sex abuse, Desiring Progress, is not the work of a crank. Its centrepiece is a petition for an inquiry into ‘sexual and other abuse at specialist music schools’. Signatories include Imogen Cooper, Peter Donohoe, Paul Lewis, Leon McCawley, Steven Osborne, Charles Owen, Martin Roscoe and Kathryn Stott – that is, most of Britain’s front-ranking pianists, plus the international virtuosos Andrei Gavrilov and Marc-André Hamelin. Other signatories include the oboist Nicholas Daniel, the cellist Steven Isserlis and the violinist Tasmin Little, all world-class soloists. The composer Michael Berkeley has signed: he’s now a peer and free to name names in the Lords without fear of libel action.

Pace, not coincidentally, was educated at Chet’s. ‘From very early in my time at Chetham’s I could tell something was wrong, creepy, unsettling about the place, the people and the culture,’ he says.

‘Many teachers were smarmy, arrogant, but charismatic and “artistic”. They’d fawn over certain pupils, not simply because of admiration for their musical achievements. Rather those pupils became objects of desire, groomed for purposes of delectation and titillation. With that came a type of premature sexualisation, in terms of the figures pupils were expected to cut on stage, and the need for them to communicate sexualised adult passions and desires through music. The ability to do this, to play this game, seemed to create a type of pecking order.’

According to Pace, this mindset permeates classical music. ‘When I have heard the ways in which various teachers, critics, those in charge of musical institutions, and others speak of many child or young performers, the thinking can itself be predatory.

‘People and their musicianship are summed up in terms of being a “bit of rough”, a “pussycat”, a “tease” and so on. One teacher openly berates one male student for not getting “fucked enough”, claiming that their artistry is limited for this reason.’ And some women teachers play this game, he adds: ‘One deeply insecure female teacher resented seeing her younger male students with girlfriends, and would surreptitiously intervene in their lives to try and wreck their relationships. And of course to criticise some teachers can be fatal in a world where careers are already deeply precarious.’

Sexual abuse in music schools is often an extension of other forms of abuse, says Pace – psychological, emotional and physical domination disguised by the mystique of the ‘artistic’. This rings true: substitute the word ‘spiritual’ for ‘artistic’ and you have at least a partial explanation for the epidemic of molestation in the Catholic Church. Tutors in music colleges are more than teachers: like clergy, they are called upon to exercise authority in an intimate setting. Pupils sometimes ascribe quasi-magical powers to them. It’s worth stressing that most teachers are not tempted to make sexual advances to their young charges; that most of those who experience temptation resist it; and that, as crimes are uncovered, blameless people face the terrifying prospect of made-up allegations.

All of which lends urgency to Pace’s demand for a thorough inquiry – and a restructuring of musical education to safeguard pupils. The signs are that classical music is about to suffer the convulsions experienced by the Church and BBC light entertainment. The past is being raked over. No one imagines that Benjamin Britten will emerge as the Jimmy Savile of high culture, but not everyone believes that his passion for prepubescent boys was weird but sublimated and therefore innocent, which is the contorted position of the Britten estate. What are we to make, for example, of the diaries of the notorious paedophile Peter Righton, which refer to Britten and Peter Pears as friends and ‘fellow boy-lovers’?

More significantly, the police have fat dossiers on current figures in the music world. Other suspected crimes have yet to be reported. ‘I am aware of allegations, some very serious and of a sexual nature, against prominent teachers working right now in various of the leading UK conservatoires,’ says Pace. In February this year, former Guildhall School teacher Philip Pickett – a hugely respected director of early music ensembles – was charged with eight counts of indecent assault, three counts of rape, two counts of false imprisonment, one count of assault and one count of attempted rape. Pickett’s trial has been postponed from October 2014 to January 2015 so that he could finish touring – a ruling that Pace describes as ‘quite incredible’.

We must, of course, presume Pickett’s innocence, but his trial will certainly focus attention on charges of abuse at British music schools and beyond. Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see how institutions such as the Southbank Centre that have championed El Sistema – and Sistema Scotland and Sistema England which are modelled on the SBYO – react to Baker’s meticulously researched book. There is a lot of money worldwide invested in this brand – enough to withstand most allegations. But, as the Catholic Church has discovered, the exposure of child abuse changes everything.

 

 

Paul Gallagher, ‘Ben Emmerson QC: The human rights lawyer who was expected to lead child abuse inquiry is accused of ‘bullying’ and ‘intimidation’; Mr Emmerson released a statement describing the allegations as ‘entirely baseless’, adding that the complaints had been ‘fully investigated and dismissed as unfounded”, The Independent, 21/1/15

[…..]Yet there are broader worries the continuing public disputes are having a damaging effect. Campaigner Ian Pace said: “There is still no chair, and much damage is being done by spats involving panel members, others working either for the Home Office or the inquiry, politicians, survivors and campaigners, being played out in public. And Lynne Featherstone’s appearance in front of the Committee on Tuesday, revealing herself very ill-informed about the whole matter, does not inspire confidence.”

 

 

Release of Ian Pace’s 5-CD Set of Michael Finnissy’s The History of Photography in Sound on October 10

On October 10th will be released the five-CD set of Michael Finnissy’s epic piano cycle The History of Photography in Sound in Divine Art Recordings. The CDs are available to be ordered immediately – see the page on Divine Art’s website here. The release is sponsored by City University.

Ian Pace has had a special association with Finnissy’s music for over 20 years. In 1996, to celebrate the composer’s birthday, he performed a landmark six-concert recital series of his complete piano works, and went on in 2001 to give the first complete performance of The History in Photography in Sound in the Royal Academy of Music, London, having already premiered several chapters of the work on earlier dates. He went on to perform the complete cycle in Leuven, Glasgow, Montréal and Southampton, and will perform it complete again on Sunday February 23rd, 2014 in the Jacqueline du Pré Music Building, St Hilda’s College, Oxford.

He has also written extensively on Finnissy’s work, as co-editor and a major contributor to the volume Uncommon Ground: The Music of Michael Finnissy, which was published by Ashgate in 1998. From 2003 to 2006 he was an AHRC Creative and Performing Arts Research Fellow at the University of Southampton (where Finnissy is Professor of Composition), and wrote an extensive monograph on the History, which informs the 100-page essay included with the CDs, and a broader 200-page study of the work which will appear on Divine Art and City University’s websites in October 2013. The complete monograph will be edited for publication in 2014-2015.

A launch event for the CD will take place at City University, Performance Space, College Building, on Tuesday November 5th, beginning at 6:30pm.

Major Performances from Ian Pace during Summer 2013

Following appearances earlier in the year in the UK, France, Germany, Austria, and Portugal, Ian Pace gave a series of important concerts during the Summer of 2013. First of these was a recital at the York Late Music Festival on August 3rd, dedicated to the 75th birthday of American composer Frederic Rzewski, with whom Ian has worked extensively in the past and from whom he has premiered several works. This concert included the world premiere of his new piano work Illusions perdues as part of the first complete performance of the cycle Dreams, as well as the world premiere of Rzewski’s Four Hands, given by Ian and the composer. The concert also featured new commissions from Jake Wilson, James Whittle, and Sadie Harrison. A review of the concert can be read here, and a video of the performance of the Whittle can be viewed here.

In September Ian was resident pianist and director of the piano classes at the Akademie für Neue Musik in Munich, where he gave a major recital on the 12th featuring music of Pascal Dusapin, Marco Stroppa, Michael Jarrell and Wolfgang Rihm. And on September 20th, he gave a recital in Florence, as part of the Firenze Suona Contemporanea, featuring music of Brian Ferneyhough, Fabricio Filidei, Patrícia Sucena Almeida (the premiere of the new version of her Reditus ad Vitam, which Ian premiered in Coimbra in January 2013, now together with film), Lauren Redhead, Jarrell and Beat Furrer. A review by Lauren Redhead of the concert can be read here.

On Friday October 11th Ian will be giving a concert of operatic transcriptions by Liszt, Thalberg, Tausig, Busoni, Grainger, Gershwin, Earl Wild and Michael Finnissy. Full details can be found here.

 Ian’s personal website (new and currently still in the process of being updated) is here and his personal blog, ‘Desiring Progress’, is here.

Excellent review for Letitia Keys, Siân Dicker and Genevieve Arkle following concert in Charroux, France, July 20th

A review of the concert in Charroux on July 20th, in which singers Letitia Keys, Siân Dicker and Genevieve Arkle performed together with Ian Pace, has been published in La Nouvelle République . This is review speaks of the ‘perfect diction, masterful breathing and impeccable vocal control’ of the singers – high praise for the diction considering the concert included several numbers in French! Many congratulations to the three singers. The review can be viewed here. Photos from the event will follow later.

Genevieve Arkle, Siân Dicker and Letitia Keys will give concert in Charroux, France with Ian Pace on July 20th

On July 20th, 2013 in Charroux, western France, at Château de Rochemeaux (through the kind generosity of veteran pianist Jorg Demus in providing the venue), three singers from City will give a concert of solo arias, duets, trios together with pianist and Lecturer in Music at City Ian Pace. The concert will feature music of Mozart, Rossini, Mendelssohn, Wagner-Liszt, Wagner-Busoni, Glinka-Balakirev, Chaikovsky, Léhar, Britten and Sullivan.

For further information, please see the following link:

http://poitoucharentes.angloinfo.com/whatson/featured/26189/arias-duets-and-songs-by-mozart-rossini-britten-and-other-composers-plus-transcriptions-from-wagner

Five minutes with: Luci Briginshaw

Luci BriginshawLuci Briginshaw (soprano) and Ian Pace (piano) will be performing tonight in The Performance Space, 7pm, City University London. We spent five minutes having a quick chat with Luci ahead of rehearsals:

Firstly, please tell me a little bit about yourself and what you do?

I graduated from King’s College London, where I did an academic music degree (so not much to do with singing), ten years ago. Since then I’ve been working in an office, and on the side repeatedly trying to get into music college to study singing further. This never really happened, so I’m striking out on my own! I’m very soon going to leave my office job, and be a full-time singer, and this is thanks to my position as an official operatic busker at Covent Garden Market, which, believe or not, does now bring in enough money to live on. I do also occasionally get paid to be in opera productions!

How did you get into music and what made you pursue a career as a musician?

I’ve always wanted to be a musician for as long as I can remember. I badgered my mum to teach me the piano as soon as I was old enough to stand up and bang on the keys. She very kindly financed private piano lessons for me from the age of 5 to 18, and somewhere along that line it became clear to me that singing, and not the piano, was my true love, (although being a pianist is an invaluable aid now I am a singer).

What is it in particular that draws you to opera?

Great music sounds best when sung by a really beautiful voice, in my opinion. Opera has the best tunes, and I want to be the one that sings them!

You’ve recently performed roles such as The Queen (The Magic Flute), Clorinda (La Cenerentola) and Olympia (Les contes d’Hoffmann) as well as Mrs Rogers/Nurse in the new children’s opera My Mother Told Me Not To Stare. What has been your favourite role and why?

I am also about to sing the role of Leila in the Pearl Fishers in April, which I think will be lovely, as well as The Queen of the Night yet again in November. The Queen sings two absolutely phenomenal songs which are great fun, but as a role I couldn’t really say it’s my favourite because in reality you’re very disconnected from the rest of the cast, and spend most of the opera backstage, which is a little dull. As an experience, rather than just as a ‘role’, I would say my favourite job has been the new opera last year, as it was so special to feel I was part of creating something truly new, not just trying to emulate what thousands of sopranos had done before me. And it was also just a really great show!

Yes, creating something new is certainly a different challenge. Is that something you would like to be involved in the future, creating and presenting new operatic works?

I would love to do more contemporary work, yes; it’s very exciting to me. The only downside is it’s incredibly difficult to convince the public to come and see something new; they are very apprehensive, and worried they won’t like it. It’s such a shame that so many wonderful new pieces are being ignored.

Was it a different challenge performing specifically for children?

The challenge of performing to children had largely been taken care of by the composer and librettist, who had created a wonderfully tailor-made children’s story, with accessible music; but a challenge that I, as an actor, had to face was that all of the singing I did was performed with some kind of mask on my face. This meant that all the expression I put into had to be via movement of my body, which did take some getting used to.

It can be difficult to bring together the many hundreds of versions of well-known works when it comes to performance. How do you normally go about approaching well-known works with regards to taking influence from others, yet maintaining your own interpretation and voice?

I tend to learn a piece from the music on the score, and not listen to anyone else performing it until I have already learnt it. Having said that, for extremely well-known works, there is no avoiding the fact that you’ve heard it many times before. I think you just have to colour your interpretation with feelings that accompany the “getting inside” of that particular character – this will always result in an individual performance, because no-one else can be inside your head and therefore sing it exactly as you do.

Finally, what tips do you have for others pursuing a career in music, and more specifically opera?

If it is truly what you want to do, then don’t give up. Don’t bother taking personal offence at any criticism given. And also, although this bit can be tricky, really make sure you have the right teacher. You can waste years going to the same teacher because you like them, or they make you feel comfortable, but you should know in your heart whether or not they are advancing your technique at a noticeable speed. If not, shop around. And don’t give up! Mainly, don’t give up.

 

Luci will be performing a programme of Rebecca Clarke, Vincenzo Bellini, Richard Strauss, Jules Massenet and Ambroise Thomas, in the Performance Space tonight, at 7pm.

Admission is free; further details can be found at:

http://www.city.ac.uk/events/2013/january/an-evening-of-song,-passion-and-madness