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Phil Castang appointed as Chair of UK Music Education Council

Phil Castang, the former sound engineer and Director of Creative Learning and Engagement at the Bristol Beacon music venue, will take on the next two-year term as Chair of the Music Education Council (MEC).

Castang has spent over 25 years as a music educator, including teaching at Berkshire Young Musicians Trust and Highgate School. He co-founded the International Guitar Foundation, was CEO of Newham Music Trust and Chair of the Bath Cultural Forum.

He succeeds Fiona Pendreigh, who has led the MEC through the perilous times of lockdown. ‘We are thrilled to welcome Phil Castang as our organisation’s new chair. He brings a wealth of experience, knowledge and creativity, and an absolute commitment to inclusivity and improving music education opportunities for young people.’ Pendreigh will chair the Symposium on the first day of the Music and Drama Education Expo in September and Castang will join her on the panel.

Phil Castang is also joined by four new trustees to the council: Ruth McPherson, Senior Partnerships and Marketing Manager at the Incorporated Society of Musicians, Chrissy Kinsella, CEO of the London Music Fund, Emma Lines, Senior Programme Manager at Drake Music Scotland and Barry Farrimond MBE, CEO of Open Up Music.

On accepting the role, Castang said, ‘I’m delighted to take up this important role. It’s a challenging time, but we need to be united as a sector to make sure everyone in the UK can benefit from the creative and social benefits of engaging in and learning about music. 

‘For children and young people, it is critical that the music education sector and music industry work together more effectively to provide opportunities for all young people, so they can traverse from education pathways to music industry pipelines. At the moment, this journey is broken and young people are losing out.’