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Martin Read Foundation @RCM

I've been a patron of the Martin Read Foundation for quite a few years now, and find it an inspiration in the music education landscape. Martin was an outstanding composer-educator, Head of Music at Alton College for 23 years, and a great many people remember him warmly, not least his successful students. The Foundation created in his memory supports teenage composers from the area (on a shoestring, inevitably) in ingenious ways. Some MRF graduates have gone on to study composition at music college; others have simply enjoyed the creative buzz and interaction with professional performers.


This Saturday saw another MRF milestone; a joint project with the Royal College of Music Junior Department coordinated by RCMJD's head of composition Simon Speare. MRF students had developed percussion solo pieces with an excellent performer, Cameron Sinclair; and this project was combined with an end-of-term concert by RCMJD composers, who are obviously remarkably talented and able. It was impressive also to see a long succession of RCMJD chamber groups ascend the stage and play one premiere after another with (it looked like) complete confidence.


I was struck by the commitment too of the parents I met after the concert; raising a musical child to the level needed and even simply getting them to the RCM every Saturday (as well as, I fear, financing all this) is a big undertaking. But that's where MRF plays an important role, simply making another group of prospective students and their parents aware that the major music colleges run Saturday schools, all sorts of music happens there, and bursary support does exist. As ever, excellent musical education is available, but access to it is by no means obvious for many people. The Martin Read Foundation continues to be inventive in this respect, and its a model of what a small Trust can achieve.


Pictured - another lineup of suspects at the RCM. Far left, Simon Speare; at right, Cameron Sinclair, me, MRF trustee Freddie Hodkin; with MRF percussion composers centre.






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