Education & Community
Brecon Baroque Festival workshops
The Festival’s education and community programme is constantly evolving and currently incorporates three main strands:
Nurturing the next generation of musicians
Through workshops, rehearsals and performance opportunities for young musicians, students and professionals in the early years of their careers. The Festival’s closing concert is given each year by Brecon Baroque Festival Orchestra which brings talented young musicians together with students, young professionals and the world class musicians of Brecon Baroque, directed by Rachel Podger. South Powys Youth Orchestra also perform within this concert and their weekly rehearsals during the Autumn term are focussed around preparing their repertoire. Young musicians are among the performers at our pop-up Festival cafe in The Muse on Glamorgan Street, gaining valuable performance experience in a friendly and informal environment. Young professionals are invited to give a lunchtime recital within the Festival and we are delighted to welcome James Bramley, Kate Conway and Hannah Medlam for this year’s Saturday lunchtime recital.
The professional musicians who perform within the Festival also give workshops at local schools - this year VOCES8 will be leading a singing workshop at Priory Church in Wales Primary School, while music leader Caroline Welsh will join James Bramley, Kate Conway and Hannah Medlam for workshops at Penmaes School and Ysgol Y Bannau.
Enriching lives in the local community
The Festival has developed a close relationship with The Rhyd Day Service which supports adults with learning disabilities and we are delighted to be working with them for the third year running to create the interior designs for Caffé Paradiso, our pop-up cafe in The Muse. The group will meet weekly during September and October to create their designs and the project will culminate with a celebratory music workshop devised specially for them and led by Caroline Welsh with James Bramley, Kate Conway and Hannah Medlam, in Caffé Paradiso during the day on Friday 19 October.
Baroque Dance workshops
The Mozart Music Fund
Aside from involving South and North Powys Youth Music orchestras in the Festival, the Brecon Beacons Music Trust also acts as an umbrella for the Mozart Music Fund.
This was set up in 2006 (the 250th year of Mozart’s birth) by Rachel Podger and her partner Tim Cronin, to provide financial support for children from low-income families, enabling them to benefit from instrumental lessons which they could otherwise not afford. Some of the children are highly talented, some are not, but the Mozart Music Fund is there to help level the playing field so that every local youngster can have the same opportunity when it comes to being offered a chance to learn a musical instrument.
Rachel herself and other musicians including Alison McGillivray (cello), Jane Rogers (viola), the Cambrian String Quartet and Ystradivarius have all given concerts to raise money for the fund, which relies on donations and legacies to keep going. Those children who do continue to play their instruments and become part of either South Powys Youth Music, may progress to take part in the final concert of the festival, an opportunity which would never have come their way without help at the start.