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Music for Youth National Festival review

5 years ago


Music for YouthThe Music for Youth (MFY) National Festival 2014, supported by ABRSM, celebrated 10 years in Birmingham in style as it opened its doors to nearly 11,000 young people. 

Over a thousand group leaders and teachers and many supporters, friends and music fans also enjoyed a week of music and celebration in Birmingham city centre.

The 10 year anniversary celebrations included daily 'performances by the pros', a mass photocall on the first day of the festival and a specially commissioned poem, ‘Misterioso’, written by Dr.Gregory Leadbetter, Director of Institute of Creative and Critical Writing at Birmingham City University. A Fanfare, ‘From East and West and North and South’, written by Joe Cutler, Professor of Composition at Birmingham Conservatoire, was performed by students from the organisation. 

Music for Youth

Across the week, around 300 music groups and ensembles took part in the festival – ranging from county youth orchestras, folk trios and jazz groups to rock bands and urban acts. Musicians performed on the festival’s main stages at the Symphony Hall, Town Hall and Adrian Boult Hall at the Birmingham Conservatoire.

"It was great for the band to get the opportunity to perform in a professional venue with excellent equipment, to reach a new audience and to get feedback on their original songs from the music mentors," said one group leader.

New developments and special events

This year, the festival expanded to include the Festival Fringe, which included the Festival Tent and new satellite stages around the city. Through new festival partners, such as Colmore Business District, MFY took the festival out further into the city and young musicians treated crowds of festival revellers and passers-by to an eclectic selection of music in places such as Snow Hill Station, the Winter Garden and the grounds of Birmingham Cathedral. The Festival Fringe programme also included a host of workshops and masterclasses presented by arts organisations, artists and music traders from the West Midlands and across the UK.

Another new development this year was the special Interactive Zone, which featured a huge collection of instruments for anyone to try, impromptu performances and video recordings of musicians of all ages telling the Musicians’ Union why their music teacher was important to them (forming part of their Support My Music Teacher campaign).

Special events took place across the week, including the culmination of two projects – Infinity Begins with I and Britten and Beyond. MFY also launched the New Music Stage (in partnership with Sound and Music) through an afternoon seminar bringing together music educationalists, composers and leading academics.

Music for Youth

MFY would like to take the opportunity to thank all the group leaders and young musicians who made the event a great success and its sponsors, supporters and friends for making it possible.

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