Finchley Children's Music Group

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Finchley Children’s Music Group (FCMG) is a UK youth choir based in North London for children aged 4 to 18.

North London is an informally and inexactly defined part of London, England which covers some of the area of the capital lying north of the River Thames. North London extends from Clerkenwell and Finsbury on the edge of the City of London financial district, to Greater London's boundary with Hertfordshire. The constituent districts were traditionally part of Middlesex with the exception of a small area around Barnet which was part of Hertfordshire.

Finchley Children’s Music Group (FCMG) was founded in 1958 after a group of singers and instrumentalists came together to give the first amateur performance of Benjamin Britten’s Noye's Fludde . Some members participated in the London Boy Singers choir organized by Britten. Today, FCMG is a highly versatile group of mixed-voice choirs producing a natural, vibrant vocal quality together with a high level of musicianship and professionalism.[ citation needed ]

Benjamin Britten English composer, conductor, and pianist

Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten was an English composer, conductor and pianist. He was a central figure of 20th-century British classical music, with a range of works including opera, other vocal music, orchestral and chamber pieces. His best-known works include the opera Peter Grimes (1945), the War Requiem (1962) and the orchestral showpiece The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (1945).

<i>Noyes Fludde</i> opera

Noye's Fludde is a one-act opera by the British composer Benjamin Britten, intended primarily for amateur performers, particularly children. First performed on 18 June 1958 at that year's Aldeburgh Festival, it is based on the 15th-century Chester "mystery" or "miracle" play which recounts the Old Testament story of Noah's Ark. Britten specified that the opera should be staged in churches or large halls, not in a theatre.

The London Boy Singers was an English boys' choir which formed in 1961. It initially drew its members from the Finchley Children's Music Group. The choir was started at the suggestion of Benjamin Britten, who was its first president.

One of FCMG’s most important aims is to encourage young people to take up and to enjoy singing in a choir and to promote appreciation of choral music to as wide a public audience as possible. To this end, FCMG holds weekly rehearsals for all its choirs and creates opportunities for public performance of choral music. FCMG is regularly invited to perform in professional concerts with major orchestras such as LSO, LPO and the BBC Symphony Orchestra and with other children and adult choirs. The main performing choir of upper voices and the SATB Chamber Choir sing regularly in major London venues, a recent appearance being at the BBC Proms in September 2008 when the Senior Choir performed La damnation de Faust with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus under James Levine. FCMG makes regular appearances at the BBC Proms and has performed at the premier of two works commissioned by the BBC: Sir Peter Maxwell DaviesA Little Light Birthday Music for the Queen’s 80th Birthday in 2006 and Alex Roth’s Earth and Sky in 2000. The choir performed in Britten’s War Requiem in the 2004 series and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony in 2005.

London Symphony Orchestra oldest symphony orchestra in London

The London Symphony Orchestra (LSO), founded in 1904, is the oldest of London's symphony orchestras. It was set up by a group of players who left Henry Wood's Queen's Hall Orchestra because of a new rule requiring players to give the orchestra their exclusive services. The LSO itself later introduced a similar rule for its members. From the outset the LSO was organised on co-operative lines, with all players sharing the profits at the end of each season. This practice continued for the orchestra's first four decades.

London Philharmonic Orchestra London based symphony orchestra

The London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO) is one of five permanent symphony orchestras based in London. It was founded by the conductors Sir Thomas Beecham and Malcolm Sargent in 1932 as a rival to the existing London Symphony and BBC Symphony Orchestras.

BBC Symphony Orchestra British orchestra based in London

The BBC Symphony Orchestra(BBC SO) is a British orchestra based in London. Founded in 1930, it was the first permanent salaried orchestra in London, and is the only one of the city's five major symphony orchestras not to be self-governing. The BBC SO is the principal orchestra of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

FCMG offers training and performance opportunities for singers aged between 4 and 18. At present there are over 150 members. The Beginner and Intermediate Choirs are open to all, whilst admission to the Senior and Chamber Choirs is by audition. FCMG has no core funding: running costs are met entirely from members’ subscriptions. The children are drawn from a wide variety of social, cultural and economic backgrounds and financial support is available for those of necessitous financial circumstances so that as many children as possible may benefit from being part of the Group. This support derives from local authority grants or from our own bursary fund which is sourced mainly by voluntary donations from parents.

Since its formation, FCMG has pursued an ongoing commitment to the commissioning of new music for children’s voices which was one of the objectives of its founding. Composers who have written for the Group in the past include Brian Chapple, Judith Bingham, Elizabeth Maconchy, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Alex Roth, Malcolm Williamson, Piers Hellawell and Christopher Gunning. Many of these works are now prominent in the established canon of choral music that is available for upper voices. FCMG continues to perform these works regularly; for example, Aunt Vita by Christopher Gunning was premièred at St John's, Smith Square in 2002 and was showcased again at the East Finchley Festival in 2003. Brian Chapple’s two works Songs of Innocence and its companion Songs of Experience have become an integral part of the repertoire of the Choir; the former was performed in 1994, 1995 and 2003 and the latter in 2002.

Brian Chapple is a British composer, who has won accolades such as the BBC Monarchy 1000 prize and has been featured on the BBC Proms. He was educated at Highgate School and studied at the Royal Academy of Music with Lennox Berkeley.

Judith Bingham is an English composer and mezzo-soprano singer.

Elizabeth Maconchy English composer

Dame Elizabeth Violet Maconchy LeFanu DBE was an English composer of Irish heritage.

In 2008/2009 FCMG celebrated its 50th Anniversary and this celebration was marked by further commissions: Two song cycles for children’s choir from composers John Pickard (Songs of Rain and Sea with text by Sigrún Davíðsdóttir) and James Weeks (Hototogisu, a setting of 17 Haiku written by the great Japanese post Basho). These were premiered at St Pancras New Church, London, in July 2008 and were given their second performance the following January at Kings Place.

John Pickard is a British classical composer.

Sigrún Davíðsdóttir is an Icelandic journalist and writer. She became the London correspondent for the Icelandic national broadcaster RÚV in 2000 and has been nominated as RÚV's Reporter of the Year. She is particularly noted for her coverage, since the 2008 Icelandic financial crisis, of financial crime, tax avoidance, and corruption, documented through her blog Icelog. She has, however, published a wide variety of books alongside her journalism.

Matsuo Bashō Japanese poet

Matsuo Bashō, born 松尾 金作, then Matsuo Chūemon Munefusa, was the most famous poet of the Edo period in Japan. During his lifetime, Bashō was recognized for his works in the collaborative haikai no renga form; today, after centuries of commentary, he is recognized as the greatest master of haiku. Matsuo Bashō's poetry is internationally renowned; and, in Japan, many of his poems are reproduced on monuments and traditional sites. Although Bashō is justifiably famous in the West for his hokku, he himself believed his best work lay in leading and participating in renku. He is quoted as saying, "Many of my followers can write hokku as well as I can. Where I show who I really am is in linking haikai verses."

In 2008 FCMG also commissioned composer Malcolm Singer and poet Nick Toczek to create a new children’s opera for the same forces as Benjamin Britten’s children’s opera Noye’s Fludde – 3 adult roles, children’s choir and soloists, strings, piano and percussion. The result was The Jailer’s Tale, which was premiered by three professional adult soloists (Steven Jeffes - tenor, Jimmy Holliday - bass and Rebecca Lodge - mezzo-soprano) together with some 170 young people, aged 5 to 18 years, from FCMG with the orchestra from the Yehudi Menuhin School conducted by Grace Rossiter in February 2010. The Jailer’s Tale received its premiere staged performances at the Pentland Theatre - artsdepot, Finchley on Friday February 26th and Saturday February 27th 2010. Prior to this it received a concert performance at The Menuhin Hall, Stoke D’Abernon, Surrey on Sunday February 7th 2010.

Nick Toczek British writer

Nick Toczek is a British writer and performer working variously as poet, journalist, magician, vocalist, lyricist and radio broadcaster. He was raised in Bradford and then took a degree in Industrial Metallurgy at Birmingham University (1968–71) where he began reading and publishing his poetry. Staying on in Moseley, Birmingham, until 1977, he founded his poetry magazine The Little Word Machine, had several books and pamphlets published by small presses, co-founded Moseley Community Arts Festival, and toured with his music and poetry troupe, The Stereo Graffiti Show. Moving back to Bradford in 1977, he co-founded the seminal music fanzine The Wool City Rocker and formed the band Ulterior Motives, in which he was lyricist and lead vocalist. Continuing to tour as a poet and to publish his writings, he also recorded songs with a variety of bands. During the early 1980s, he ran a series of weekly punk and indie gigs. Throughout the late '80s and early '90s, he ran weekly alternative cabaret clubs, usually co-organising these with fellow performer Wild Willi Beckett. Since the mid-'90s, his collections of children's poetry have seen him become a best-selling children's writer. Also, since 1997, he has been regularly collaborating with the composer Malcolm Singer, starting with their Dragons Cantata. By 2011, Toczek had worked as a visiting writer in thousands of schools, visiting dozens of countries worldwide in the course of this work. He is also a professional close-up magician, a skilled puppeteer, an authority on far-right neo-Nazi and racist groups, a prolific print journalist and an experienced broadcaster.

Yehudi Menuhin School

The Yehudi Menuhin School is a specialist music school in Stoke d'Abernon, Surrey, England, founded in 1963 by violinist and conductor Yehudi Menuhin. The current Head is Kate Clanchy. The current Director of Music is the composer and conductor Òscar Colomina i Bosch. The school is one of the five established musical schools for school-age children in the United Kingdom, along with Chetham's School of Music, Wells Cathedral School, the Purcell School and St. Mary's Music School, Edinburgh. It is mainly funded by the Department for Education's Music and Dance Scheme, by philanthropic foundations, by donations and bequests from individuals, and by regular support from the Friends of the Yehudi Menuhin School.

artsdepot arts centre in North Finchley, London, England

The artsdepot is a multi-purpose cultural centre located in North Finchley, in the London borough of Barnet. It was officially opened on 23 October 2004 for the enjoyment and development of the arts in North London.

FCMG has recorded regularly for radio, television, film and on the Hyperion, Naxos, Somm, EMI and Decca labels. Over the last two years the choir has been used extensively to record tracks for Sing Up, the UK government initiative to encourage singing in primary schools.

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