Coachella Returns - Billie Eilish, Harry Styles and Kanye West - known as Ye - will headline this year's Coachella festival. It's being held for the first time since 2019 after the 2020 festival was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The festival runs across two weekends in April in Indio, California, with the same line-up appearing on them both. Swedish House Mafia, Flume, Megan Thee Stallion, Disclosure, Doja Cat and Run the Jewels will also perform. Billie Eilish will become the festival's youngest ever headliner.
Celtic Connections - The organisers of Celtic Connections have launched a ‘hybrid’ online version of the musical festival after shows had to be cancelled due to Covid restrictions on crowds. Performances will now be shown online with some screened to smaller audiences at Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall. A small number of larger-scale shows will be rescheduled for later in the year.
Last year's festival was also forced to go ahead online due to the pandemic. Covid restrictions in Scotland currently mean that no more than 200 people are allowed at indoor seated events. That rule is expected to be lifted in the weeks ahead, but would not come in time for the start of the 18-day programme on Thursday 20 January. More than 1,000 musicians were due to take part in the event, which spans traditional folk, roots, Americana, jazz, soul and world music.
Music in Schools - Andrew Lloyd Webber’s foundation has pledged a further £1m to support a programme that gives disadvantaged children access to classical musical tuition, as the composer warned music teaching in schools is "at serious risk". Lloyd Webber is a supporter of the Music in Secondary Schools Trust (MiSST), which works with schools in disadvantaged communities to provide regular classical musical tuition as part of the curriculum.
New figures from MiSST suggest that more than 30,000 pupils in disadvantaged communities are waiting for access to the educational programme. The Lloyd Webber Foundation has recently pledged a further £1m to continue the work until 2023, however, the trust is calling for additional funding to enable it to expand its work outside London.
“Engagement in the arts changes lives. The positive impact on health, social mobility and wellbeing is now irrefutable," Lloyd Webber said. "Everyone, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, should have music as part of their regular curriculum. At a time when schools are so under pressure that music teaching is at serious risk, programmes like MiSST are needed more than ever before.”
A Life In Music - Former child prodigy Ruth Slenczynska is to release a new album at the age of 97, after signing a deal with the Decca record label. The pianist, who gave her first recital aged four, recorded My Life In Music last year, featuring music by Sergei Rachmaninoff and Frederic Chopin. She called the project "unbelievable", adding: "Whoever heard of a pianist my age making another album?"
Slenczynska turned 97 on Saturday, and her album is due on 18 March. She has been performing since the 1920s, when she was heralded one of the greatest child prodigies since Mozart. Her concerts were "an electrifying experience," wrote the New York Times.
Farewell - Ronnie Spector, the trail-blazing lead singer of the 1960s all-girl group the Ronettes, has died. The star found fame with hits such as Be My Baby, Baby I Love You and Walking in the Rain. "Ronnie lived her life with a twinkle in her eye, a spunky attitude, a wicked sense of humour and a smile on her face," said a family statement.
(Jim Evans)
18 January 2022

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