The Week in Lighting & Sound

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Keeping Music Live - London mayor Sadiq Khan has welcomed government proposals to safeguard live music venues by strengthening the ‘agent of change’ principle. It comes weeks after the mayor’s office announced the rate of small music venue closures has slowed, with numbers in the capital staying the same for the first time in a decade.
In its Housing White Paper, released this week, the government outlined plans to amend the National Planning Policy Framework and strengthen the agent of change principle. This means that developers must take into account existing venues when building nearby and be responsible for ensuring their properties are adequately soundproofed.
Implementing the principle was one of a number of recommendations made in a report published last year on how to tackle the decline of grassroots music venues. Welcoming the step, Khan described it as an integral part of protecting venues. “It’s completely unfair that a venue, which may have existed in an area for decades, should have to incur the cost of a new neighbour moving in, which can often result in its closure,” he added.
Winner Takes All - Adele proved the big winner at the Grammy Awards 2017, taking a clean sweep of the major categories and receiving five trophies. The British singer won Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album for her third album 25, while its lead single Hello was awarded Record of the Year. She also won Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance, taking her total Grammy wins to 15.
Adele is the second woman to win Album of the Year twice, following Taylor Swift’s second win last year for 1989. At the event in Los Angeles, the tearful star dedicated her Album of the Year award to Beyonce, who missed out with her celebrated work Lemonade.
David Bowie’s final album Blackstar saw the rock icon take five posthumous awards, including Best Alternative Music Album, Best Rock Song, Best Recording Package, Best Engineered Album, and Best Rock Performance for the LP’s title track.
Reverse Orders - The government has stepped in to reverse a decision made last year that said GCSE and A level drama students would no longer be required to see a live theatre performance as part of their course.
New syllabuses published in 2016 from exam boards AQA and OCR decreed that pupils no longer had to be taken on a theatre trip as part of drama courses, and schools could show a recording of a play – from National Theatre Live or Digital Theatre – instead. However, the Department for Education has now issued new subject content for drama that includes explicit requirements regarding theatre trips.
Students must "experience live performance where they are a member of the audience in the same performance space as the performers. This may be a professional or amateur, but not a peer, performance". The initial decision to remove the requirement of live performance from the syllabus was met with intense criticism from the theatre industry, with actors including David Harewood, Meera Syal and Zoe Wanamaker claiming the guidelines could mean that schools might avoid theatre trips altogether.
Farewell - Seven-time Grammy Award-winning jazz and pop singer Al Jarreau has died in Los Angeles at the age of 76, his publicist says. The cause of his death was not immediately clear. He was in a hospital being treated for exhaustion. A rare artist to have won a Grammy in jazz, pop and R&B categories, Jarreau was famed for writing the theme to hit television show Moonlighting. Earlier this month, he retired from touring after more than 50 years.
Underground Music - A composer who plans to create a work of music scored beneath the limits of human hearing has won the Dare Arts Prize. Samuel Hertz will spend a year working to create the piece of electro-acoustic chamber music. The new annual competition, which has a £15,000 prize, is aimed at getting artists and scientists to work together creatively. It is organised by Opera North and the University of Leeds. Mr Hertz was chosen from a shortlist of five artists who proposed works which included whale choir, the exploration of cosmic bubbles and a slime study.
(Jim Evans)
14 February 2017