In Harmony scheme expands

English music education programme given funding for four more centres

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The music education project In Harmony is to open four more centres across the UK. Leeds, Newcastle and Gateshead, Nottingham, and Telford & Wrekin will be home to the new 'nĂșcleos'. 

But the news of further In Harmony funding by both the Department of Education and Arts Council England coincides with reports that one of the orginal projects will close. While the four new and two up-and-running centres, in Lambeth and Liverpool, will receive money until 2015, Norfolk and Norwich's project is set to shut this month.

Set up in 2009, the UK scheme is modelled on Venezuela’s El Sistema, and aims to use music to transform the lives of children and communities in disadvantaged areas of England. Lambeth Council and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra currently lead the existing projects in Lambeth and Liverpool respectively. The new projects will be provided by Opera North in Leeds, The Sage Gateshead, Nottingham City Council and Telford & Wrekin Music.

The Arts Council has advised all of the projects to take an 'entrepreneurial' approach in order to secure a long-term future.  'I am confident that the organisations that have been selected will embrace the spirit of El Sistema and will work tirelessly to bring positive change to the children and their communities,' says In Harmony chairman, cellist Julian Lloyd Webber.

Katy Wright

Violinist Nicola Benedetti talks about her role as a 'Musical Big Sister' for children taking part in Sistema Scotland in the August issue of BBC Music Magazine