Music in Schools - Violinist Nicola Benedetti has attacked the spending squeeze on music tuition in schools. She said young people needed a cultural identity to replace their obsession with celebrities and in becoming a celebrity. Benedetti began violin lessons at the age of five and went on to attend the Yehudi Menuhin School in Surrey. The 25-year-old told the Radio Times, "I'm fiercely furious about the provision of music in schools."

Benedetti secured a £2m, six-album record contract after winning BBC Young Musician of the Year at 16 and has risen to international fame. She has also been involved in supporting the Big Noise orchestra in Raploch, Stirling - inspired by the Venezuelan El Sistema scheme to help poorer children. The violinist said: "So many people up and down the country are trying to create a better foundation for musical education.

South Africa - Dan Riley has confirmed his retirement from DWR Distribution. A friend to all, Dan Riley has been in the industry for over 30 years and was one of the first people in South Africa to offer sales and support for 'Rank Strand' as it was known. He has been involved with a list of prominent theatre installations and the owners of many rental companies purchased their very first lighting equipment from him.

A DWR statement says, "Dan, as most know, is the father of Duncan and Bruce Riley, who have followed in his footsteps, working in the same industry as he did, and more importantly, learning from him how to have great people skills. Dan has walked his road with ethics, has always been supportive to others and no one can deny his great sense of humour.

"Three years ago Dan joined DWR Distribution in sales. He was instrumental with dealing with theatres and

Australia - "The Prime Minister's Olympic Dinner has become the signature lead-up event in preparation for the Games - to recognise and support those who have been selected to represent Australia in London by raising vital additional funds to support our Olympic team" says Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia.

The Prime Minister's 8th Olympic Dinner, produced by Multiple Award Winning producers -Peter Jones Special Events, held at the Plenary, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, raised over $2m dollars for our Australian Olympic Team, competing at next month's Games.

VIP's included former Prime Ministers, Over 60 past and present Olympians, along with corporate guests.

Entertainment for the evening included a star studded line up featuring Orchestra Victoria, Melbourne Philharmonic Choir, Delta Goodrem, Todd McKenny, David Hobson, Silvie Paladino, Mar

UK - As booking opened at 9am this morning, strong exhibitor numbers, record breaking pre-registration figures and a new focus on content provision were creating a buzz about PLASA 2012. With four brand new theatres and 80 free-to-attend sessions split into nine new themes, these exciting developments underpin PLASA's commitment to providing an unparalleled experience for visitors and remaining a leader in the provision of education, professional development and knowledge sharing across our industry.

PLASA CEO Matthew Griffiths comments, "PLASA runs events to provide quality business opportunities, education and thought leadership. The PLASA Show in London is the only entertainment technology event to reinvest its revenue back into the industry it serves - anything that is not invested back into the show is used to help develop technical standards, certification and qualifi

UK - Architainment Lighting has announced it is now a Value Added Reseller (VAR) for Philips Dynalite, adding the controls solutions range to its portfolio of high quality LED lighting and controls.

As a specialist lighting solutions provider of LED systems, controls and lighting accessories, Architainment Lighting is already a value added reseller for other Philips brands including Selecon and Color Kinetics, and has a longstanding relationship with the global leader in lighting. By introducing the Dynalite family of energy-efficient intelligent lighting control solutions Architainment Lighting is looking to further its ability to provide designers and specifiers with a complete solution.

Philips Dynalite has already installed the systems in some of the world's best-known venues and public spaces, including the tallest building in the world, Dubai's Burj Khalifa. John Preston

South Africa - For almost two decades, Johan Stemmet has presented the much-loved South African music game show, Noot vir Noot. When he contacted technical company Blond Productions, it was to tell them of a new thought - the creation of a fresh game show called Musiek Trivia which would be aired on Kyknet, DSTV.

The quiz show would have two contestants competing against each other not unlike the popular Weakest Link, but strictly focussing on music trivia. It was important to have a polished production with a 'wow' factor.

Blond Productions' Pieter Rieck and Christian Ballot worked on ESP Vision to present three potential designs. In fact, Blond were requested to come up with the technical and set design. They worked on their faithful grandMA.

The television studio at ZSE from which Musiek Trivia is broadcast, is a small, compact area. Blond Productions

UK - Northern Light has recently completed design and installation work at Mareel - Shetland's new music, cinema and creative industries centre.

Located in Lerwick and due to open in late summer, Mareel boasts a live performance auditorium, two cinema screens, rehearsal rooms, a recording studio, education and training spaces, a digital media production suite, broadcast facilities and a café bar area.

Northern Light was called upon to provide specialist design and installation of wiring and containment across the whole building to enable the lighting, sound, communications, paging and production cabling to operate as planned.

The scope of work completed by Northern Light included the supply, installation and connection of all the production lighting distribution and control cabling, as well as the supply and installation of all the sound, communications, paging and pr

UK - HHB Communications has supplied a host of equipment for new production rooms at the recently opened NGY myplace facility in Nottingham.

This project involved the conversion of the basement of the city centre Grade II listed building into a set of professional specified production rooms comprised of an impressive suite of music, radio and video studios for young people in the community. The design and contraction of the facility was carried out by The Studio People while HHB supplied equipment and commissioning services.

NGY myplace Nottingham opened this April as part of a collaborative project run by Nottingham City Council. The basement facility includes a music production studio, two radio studios, TV production, performance space and a digital-media classroom. The equipment chosen for the facility includes an Audient ASP8024 mixing console, Sonifex S2 radio mixers, So

USA - The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport's new international terminal, the Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal, features an art installation entitled Light Waves: Atlanta, a large-scale art installation by Christopher Janney, artistic director for PhenomenArts, Inc. The piece, part of the Airport Art Programme, is one of five works for the new terminal.

The piece, described by Janney as "an abstraction of Georgia in colour and sound", features 32 Chauvet Intimidator Scan LED 300 scanners, 68 horizontal panes of coloured glass - stacked in 17 sections with four panes in each section - along a 160ft hallway. As the light from the recessed fixtures in the ceiling passes over the glass, it reflects and refracts creating a continuously changing pattern of colour on the wall.

Janney, who is a trained architect and jazz musician, composed

Latvia - With any dance, it's important to not only hear the music, but to feel it too. Thanks to a new Tannoy system, the students at Jurmala Dance Centre, the first professional and fully equipped dance studio in Latvia, are doing exactly that.

The owners of the studio, which opened in January 2012 to a great reception, wanted to make sure that Jurmala was equipped to the highest standard throughout. This philosophy of high quality started with the flooring and surroundings, and included the best possible sound and lighting system to recreate that exact feeling of being on a real stage for the students.

Jurmala offers dance lessons for everybody and every taste, from classic and ballet to club dance, hip hop and others, so any installed system had to be able to cope with every eventuality and every style of music with perfect precision.

Audio visual company Unique was invi

South Africa - South Africa's largest performance venue has invested in 77 new Philips Selecon SPX luminaires. The 1,300-seat State Theatre, in the heart of Pretoria, chose the fixtures for its front of house positions to ensure its high profile national and international visiting theatre, opera and ballet companies get the sharp, clean front of house washes and projections they expect.

The theatre complex comprises six venues including a main opera venue, a drama venue and two theatre spaces and receives numerous number one tours from around the world.

Philips Entertainment brand partner DWR Distribution supplied the SPX luminaires to local installer Muthiyane Trading. Duncan Riley of DWR says: "The Philips Selecon's SPX range delivers more light to the stage for its energy consumption (up to 63% more than current industry benchmarks). This allows venues to consider ener

UK - From the very first moments of 2012, high-output LED lighting fixtures from Leader Light were in action - and they have continued to be in demand through the rest of the year.

Leader's LL Stage6-06DW 'Beam' fixtures saw in the New Year at one of the planet's biggest New Year Parties - Edinburgh's Hogmanay Street Party, which welcomed over 80,000 revellers. Black Light of Edinburgh lit both the East End and West End stages at the event, with the Leader fixtures used on the West End Princes Street stage and used to light acts including Wild Beasts and Friendly Fires.

Black Light's Phil Haldane explains, "We used the Leader Beams in place of Par38 ACLs. They are a very nice, compact unit effectively producing a nice tight white beam with minimal power consumption. They are also highly flexible, allowing individual control of each cell. This allowed us to pixel map the u

USA - The Kauffman Centre for the Performing Arts is the centrepiece of Kansas City's downtown revival. The futuristic 285,000sq.ft, $413m project links the city's downtown centre with its landmark Crossroads Arts and Power & Light Districts, and is home to the Kansas City Symphony, Kansas City Ballet, and the Lyric Opera of Kansas City.

The two performance spaces - Muriel Kauffman Theatre and Helzberg Hall - were designed by renowned architect Moshe Safdie. Both were created using ultra-modern, sound-isolating building-within-a-building construction; a foundation, walls, and roof surrounded by fully independent foundation, walls, and roof.

The 1600-seat Helzberg Hall, home to the Kansas City Symphony, offers seating in a semi-circular 'vineyard-style' configuration that surrounds more than 270 degrees of the massive 2700sq.ft stage, placing no seat more than 100ft away.


USA - Fox TV's American Idol 2012 season finale on 22 May declared contestant Phillip Phillips the winner. Then it was time for the after show bash at the Event Deck at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles. Kinetic Lighting was in charge of the party ambience, providing a rig that included 200 lights and a half-dozen effects fixtures, controlled with a High End Systems Road Hog console.

The Event Deck at L.A. Live is a 106,000 sq. ft. space that includes a 42,000sq.ft tent. Kinetic's Project Manager/LD Rachel Miller and Programmer Eric Barth worked together as the lighting team for the night.

Their choice of console began with the design brief, Miller says. "The Idol finale party called for dark, moody effects. The ability to physically see every color on the screen in front of us on the Road Hog was helpful in creating my palette."

Miller chose the Road Hog co

South Africa - The new Soweto Theatre in Johannesburg has been fitted out with over 200 ETC Source Four luminaires, including 72 Source Four Fresnels.

Supplied by Johannesburg-based ETC dealer Prosound, the Source Four luminaires provide the workhorses in the main auditorium and almost entirely account for the overhead rigs in the two studio spaces.

"ETC Source Four Fresnels were a late entry into the competition," says Denis Hutchinson, theatre consultant on the project. "ETC flew a unit out to South Africa for me to test and I was very pleasantly surprised. To the eye at least the output is comparable to a 1200W Fresnel and of course you are only running 750W, so from the green perspective it's a better unit. They are very nicely and solidly built and the way in which the lamp is housed is very solid.

"I think they will work very well for this venue; an

South Africa - Robe moving lights have been specified and installed at the new Soweto Theatre. The Robes - 30 Robin 300 LEDWashes and 12 Robin 600E Spots - were specified by lighting designer Denis Hutchinson, who acted as lighting consultant for the whole project which has been three years in the making.

The fixtures will be used in the Theatre's three performance spaces - a 420 seat main pros arch auditorium and two studio venues of 180 and 90 capacities respectively. Says Hutchinson: "Robe is a very solid and reliable brand in my experience, and units certainly need to be robust in this environment, where they will be in almost daily use for many different scenarios."

Day-to-day, the new lighting system is being looked after by house Lighting Technician Nkululeko Mazibuko, who trained at Johannesburg's landmark Market Theatre, and has had considerable experience a

France - The Erasme hall at the Congress Centre in Strasbourg, home of the Strasbourg Philharmonique Orchestra, has upgraded its stage lighting to an ADB Lighting LED system, designed to lower power consumption and heat on stage, and provide more uniform and flexible lighting.

By the summer of 2009 it had become clear to the Congress Centre operators that a new solution was urgently needed. The original lighting system, dating from the 1970s, consisted of 14 5kW Fresnel luminaires, suspended from telescopic poles left and right of the orchestra podium. 30 1kW tungsten halogen floodlights were rigged 10 meters above the stage to fill in shadows.

In total, over 100kW of power was used to light an orchestral performance or rehearsal, plus the power drawn by the air-conditioning (HVAC) system. The tungsten halogen light sources raised the stage temperature to around 20°, which

Ghana - The Santoku Restaurant is a modern Japanese restaurant bringing sophisticated quality dining to a growing international client base living in and visiting Accra, Ghana. Developed by Nabil Moukarzel in conjunction with the Gorgeous Group, it offers public, private and al fresco dining at the heart of the Villagio Vista development in Ghana's capital, Accra.

CGA Integration Consultancy in Bracknell, Berkshire, a specialist consultancy in sound, light and video systems, were engaged to design, supply and install a complete audio system for the restaurant. Consideration had to be given to the noise pollution element of the installed solution as the restaurant forms part of a residential development. In addition, difficult environmental conditions - including the extreme heat and fluctuating power supply in the region - meant that equipment choice was critical. CGA Integratio

USA - New York- based lighting designer James Bedell recently specified 100 Chroma-Q Color Force Compact fixtures for an installation illuminating the interior of a 10,000sq.ft temporary pop-up store in Times Square, NYC, for Wired magazine.

Bedell is extremely passionate about sustainability and strives to incorporate eco-friendly technologies in all areas of the commercial and entertainment lighting in which he is involved.

He was commissioned by MKG to be the consultant and lighting designer for the Wired Holiday Pop Up Store with a brief to make the space look and feel 'icy blue'.

Bedell decided that RGBA colour changing LED sources would be the best form of primary lightsource to interpret the client's wishes - a non-conventional choice for illuminating products such as clothing, games and gadgets.

"There was some creative risk involved" explains Bede

UK - Hammersmith Academy is a new school designed for the 21st century. Opened in September 2011 the Academy is all-ability, non-denominational, co-educational secondary school for 11-18 year olds. With specialisms in Creative-and-Digital Media and IT and an emphasis on technology, the school's mission is to develop the talents of all students to the full and to raise educational standards.

Integrator Saville Audio Visual was appointed alongside POLARaudio to provide a flexible PA system for Hammersmith Academy's multi-purpose performance space. The space is utilised as a lecture theatre, assembly hall, drama studio and general performance area.

The brief was to provide a high quality PA system that could be employed for each function of the multi-purpose auditorium. Three Bi-amp Audia Flex mainframe DSP's with Cobranet are at the heart of the system and are fed via a variety

UK - A.C. Special Projects (ACSP) have supplied and installed an audio, lighting and media infrastructure for the new £5m IT & Media Block at the Park Road Campus of Uxbridge College, Middlesex.

The three storey high IT & Media Block (AKA North Block) facilitates a range of courses run by the College, including Film, Audio Recording, Broadcast, Design, Development, CGI and Computer Programming.

Their modern facilities include soundproofed studios for audio and film recording, independent control & media rooms, a green screen area for filming 3D footage, and computer rooms.

ACSP were approached by Robert Drury, the College's project director - who is responsible for all of their building and development programmes - to provide a future-proof technical infrastructure for the main two production and technical areas of the North Block.

The project was co-ordinated for AC

South Africa - Prosound has sold their first Eurotruss 10 x 8 ARC Roof to SoundWave, Zambia. SoundWave Zambia is a new age music company that provides a rental and hiring division along with a music festival management service.

SoundWave Zambia was established 13 years ago by three music enthusiasts who met on the South African music scene. Founding members Arnold 'Ringman' Sibalwa and Dave Ter Steege were at Prosound to see the setup of the Eurotruss ARC Roof. Arnold runs the Sound Wave Zambia branch and is regarded as one of the top sound engineers in Zambia. Dave Ter Steege is a legend on the music scene in South Africa because of his skills and ability to get the best possible sound in live arenas.

This is the first Eurotruss aluminium structure to be imported into Zambia which will make its debut appearance at the Saliet Keita show followed by a gig for Sean Paul from Jam

UK - Marquee Installations has recently completed the design and installation of the audio system for the Wahaca Southbank Mexican restaurant at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London. Designed by renowned architects Softroom, the innovative Wahaca Southbank Experiment is a new two-storey temporary installation, constructed from eight recycled shipping containers on the outdoor terrace of the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre.

The audio system for Wahaca Southbank is divided into four zones covering ground and first floors, walkways and outside areas. To provide simple but flexible control and power, Marquee chose the Cloud Electronics 46/50 4-zone integrated mixer/amp with the optional 100V line module. APart MASK4T and MASK6T loudspeakers were used throughout.

"We chose the MASK loudspeakers for their discreet styling, audio quality and price, which fitted a real

UK - Previewing from 31 August at the Bristol Hippodrome, The Lion King UK tour will be one of the heaviest touring productions in the UK at the moment, requiring Unusual Rigging to undertake a serious upgrade to the roof truss at the Bristol theatre.

Although the show's total weight does not exceed the limits of the Hippodrome, most of the weight is concentrated in the downstage area, necessitating the strengthening of the four roof truss bays to enable each one to take the full weight at any one time. This meant each bay had to be capable of carrying 30 tonnes, the theatre's existing evenly distributed show load.

Using eight tonnes of steel, Unusual Rigging worked with Sheetfabs to fabricate 15m x 1.5m of strengthening truss for each of the four roof truss bays, and completed the install in just 10 days. The team also strengthened the upright truss stage left and righ

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