Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Jennens Road, Birmingham, United Kingdom
- Tom Martin Basses
- Philip Aird and ESTA
- Andrew Quartermain and Pro Corda
- Chethams School of Music
- Renna Kellaway and Lake District Summer Music
- Justin Wagstaff and The Sound Post
- Quartet of Peace
- Eblana Trio
- Sean Bishop Violins
- Cardiff Violins
- Moseley Violins
- Thwaites Fine Stringed Instruments
- Tim Toft Violins
- Anglo Gold Ashanti
- Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Pretoria
- Goethe-Institut South Africa
- Rupert Foundation
- 'Birmingham Conservatoire project ARCO reaches conclusion' - Rhinegold
- 'Helping deprived youngsters is a string to Birmingham student's bow' - Birmingham Post
The ARCO teachers, including both staff and students from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, have not just run every musical, administrative, pragmatic and pedagogical detail from the inception of the ARCO Project, but they have fundraised incessantly. The ARCO teachers (mainly RBC Strings Department students) have raised around £50,000 since the project began in 2015. In order to travel to South Africa for both the 2016 and 2017 ARCO Festivals, all Birmingham based ARCO teachers raised their own funds to enable their participation - this included funds for flights, transport, accommodation and subsistence.
In 2016 ARCO teachers used creative ideas and great initiative to attract sponsorship, and in 2017, this creativity took on another dimension. The ARCO Team have paid for weekly String Quartet Lessons for almost eighteen months, food and some South African staff costs during ARCO Festivals, travel and all associated costs and have most recently been fundraising for ARCO Exchange.
Most important of all, the ARCO teachers give up many hours of their precious time every week teaching over Skype, completely for free.
- To provide regular distance-learning opportunities for talented children in South Africa, who for multiple reasons, do not have access to the same level of musical education as people in Europe.
ARCO is an innovative alliance between Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Cape Gate MIAGI Centre for Music (CMCM) in Soweto, Johannesburg.
Established in 2015, the project provides regular distance-learning opportunities for children in South Africa. Weekly individual instrumental lessons, mentoring and string quartet coaching are delivered by a group of sixteen current students and recent graduates from Royal Birmingham Conservatoire via video conferencing systems. Regular events occurring within Birmingham Conservatoire’s String Department, such as masterclasses, workshops and performances are streamed live to South Africa for the benefit of the CMCM students.
Each summer, teachers from the UK travel to South Africa for the annual ARCO Festival – an immersive musical experience, building on and solidifying skills learnt throughout the year. The festivals of 2016 and 2017 have been enormously successful and truly life-changing experiences for all involved. Plans for the 2018 festival are already underway.
2017 sees the launch of ARCO Exchange, with selected ARCO students being hosted in the UK for speciﬁc projects and festivals. So far, partnerships have been established with the Cecil Aronowitz International Viola Competition and Festival, Chetham’s School of Music and Pro Corda – the National School for Young Chamber Musicians. Three students from Soweto will be traveling to England in November 2017 and we are currently in the process of funding further trips for 2018.
In 2017, ARCO piloted a teacher training scheme, welcoming Jan Repko to Soweto to work with ARCO teachers. Enormously successful, we will be continuing the scheme with both Jan and celebrated pedagogue Wiesje Miedama in 2018.