Orchestral training in the United Kingdom
This thesis investigates the provision of orchestral training in Great Britain through the opportunities offered in pre-graduate, undergraduate and postgraduate areas. The research follows on from the 1965 and 1978 Gulbenkian Reports, "Making Musicians" and "Training Musicians" and investigates those conclusions and recommendations of the reports which appertain to this thesis. The research was carried out by surveys, interviews and through literature available to the author. Surveys were carried out by questionnaire and interviews were undertaken in person. The research aimed to prove three particular points. Firstly that British youth orchestras perform a vital task in providing the initial training of orchestral musicians. Secondly, whether the view taken by some of the British professional orchestras that British conservatoires do not devote sufficient curriculum time to complete orchestral training to the standards required by the professional orchestras is accurate. Thirdly that better opportunities for postgraduate orchestral training are required. This thesis thus concentrates on the provision for those students who show ability in playing an orchestral instrument and have attained entry into the higher levels of orchestral performance. Thus the research looks at orchestral provision at county level, conservatoire junior departments, national youth orchestras, conservatoires, universities, postgraduate opportunities and the summer music schools. The conclusions drawn from the research are that, despite serious financial pressures, the provision of orchestral training before entry to higher education is continuing to produce very high quality playing opportunities. In nearly all cases this is a good depth of provision, with young players being offered subsidised orchestral training courses on a regular basis and for many, the opportunity of working alongside professional conductors and tutors. The responses indicate the positive value placed on the training opportunities provided at this level and that they are held in high esteem by the music profession. The research also shows that conservatoires have not yet come to terms with the dilemma of developing high profile master musicians whilst at the same time ensuring that the training of instrumentalists encompasses all aspects of the orchestral profession and other changes in employment opportunities for their students. Postgraduate training that is already available receives high praise, but there are significant findings indicating that a greater provision is necessary.