Monthly Archives: March 2015

Edinburgh Festival 2015 programme announced

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The programme for this year's Edinburgh Festival has been announced. The festival, which runs from August 7th to August 31st will see performances by more than 2,300 artists across a number of different styles.

This year will see thousands of performances from dancers, opera, theatre and classical music; offering something for everyone. Some of the highlights include a performance by Anne-Sophie Mutter of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons and a performance by the Budapest Festival Orchestra of Mozart's The Magic Flute.

Other group performances include Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, which will be conducted by Valery Gergiev, as well as performances by the Scottish Opera, the Scottish Chamber of Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.Valery Gergiev, as well as performances by the Scottish Opera, the Scottish Chamber of Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.

A number of well-known soloists will also be featuring at the festival, with people like pianists Lang Lang and Yuja Wang due to appear, as well as percussionist Colin Currie and pianist Rudolf Buchbinder.

This is the first programme for the festival under the new director of the event, Fergus Linehan. It will begin with a free open-air event outside Usher Hall, which will feature digitally animated artwork being projected onto the front of Usher Hall while music plays.

Other performances will also be making use of digital animations, with the performance of The Magic Flute utilising the projectors alongside a live action performance.

Mr Linehan said: I believe that being in Edinburgh in August opens your mind and makes you more ambitious, more thoughtful, more generous and more connected. Edinburgh in festival season has the power to leave you changed and changed for the better."

With such an array of events and performances taking place at the festival, it really shouldn't be missed by classical music lovers. To find out more about what is happening at this year's festival, head over to the Edinburgh International Festival website for the complete programme of events.

The programme for this year's Edinburgh Festival has been announced. The festival, which runs from August 7th to August 31st will see performances by more than 2,300 artists across a number of different styles. This year will see thousands of

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5 things to avoid talking about on your first date

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Your first date is all about getting to know each other. This means you want to ensure you spend it doing something that allows you to talk and get an insight into the other person. Not only will this make your date more enjoyable, it also helps you to figure out whether you want to try for a second date.

While talking is good, there are some areas or topics you want to avoid. You'll probably cover them down the line, but it is a good idea to hold off discussing them on your first date. This will help to keep the occasion light and fun.

Here are the five top subjects you should try to avoid on your first date:

Your ex

Whether you split up ages ago or the separation is relatively new, a potential partner doesn't want to hear about it off the bat. Avoid talking about an ex or the stresses and strains of your last relationship. Instead, make the date all about the new relationship.

If your date asks you about your ex, stick to the tried and tested 'it just didn't work out'. If they press you, try explaining that you want the date to be about the two of you. 

You, you, you

Yes you may find yourself and your life fascinating, but the chances are your date won't if it's all you're talking about. Your first date needs to be about both of you getting to know each other, not you telling your life story and not letting them get a word in.

Ask questions, be selective with what information you give and be brief unless they ask for more details. Conversation should be back and forth, as this will increase your chances of another date.

Work

What you do is bound to come up in conversation and you probably have some office anecdotes that your date may find amusing; however, this doesn't mean they need to know all the ins and outs of your job.

Don't assume that they are interested in all the little aspects of what you do for a living – after all, not all jobs are interesting to everyone. Tell them what you do and explain a little bit of they prompt you to. You're more interesting than your job so make sure they are given the opportunity to see that. 

Marriage

Not only is it way too early to start talking about marriage or weddings, it is also quite personal. The chances are that if you start talking about what type of wedding you want, how many kids you'd like to have and what you want your wife/husband to be like, your date is going to get a bit freaked out.

All of this can be spoken about down the line – way down the line! – so don't bring it up at this early stage.

Similarly, if you've been married before, your date doesn't need to know all the details until later on. Hearing about a messy divorce will only serve to put them off and make the date awkward.

Politics

Have you ever heard of a romantic political debate? Didn't think so. Steer clear of this and any other topics that could result in discord and are likely to ruin the ambience you have worked to create on your date.  

At the end of the day, if you really like a person, it probably won't matter whether they support a different political party. You'll also be able to debate politics once you get to know each other without either one of you getting angry, so leave this area alone for a while.

Your first date is all about getting to know each other. This means you want to ensure you spend it doing something that allows you to talk and get an insight into the other person. Not only will this make

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Stand out from the crowd: Unusual first date ideas

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You've found your perfect match online and they've agreed to a first date, so you can breathe a sigh of relief – but not for long because the hard part isn't over just yet. You still need to decide where to go on your date.

Choosing what to do on a first date can be tricky, as you don't want to put your date off by doing something too cheesy, but at the same time you still want to show that you've made an effort to impress them.

Rather than sticking to traditional first date ideas, like going for dinner or to the cinema, why not think outside the box?

Doing something that's unusual, but still fun, will show your date how creative you are, making you stand out and be more memorable than other dates that they may have been on.

So if you want to make a unique first impression, try some of these interesting first date ideas:

Tandem bike ride

If you live close to a picturesque park and the weather on the day of your date is looking good, one idea is to go on a tandem bike ride.

Cycling in tandem with your potential partner will bring you closer together without being too full-on. It's also the perfect way to show your date your favourite beauty spot, which could lead you to share stories about why it means so much to you.

Just make sure you don't talk about yourself too much and remember to ask your date questions about the places that are special to them.

Riding in tandem is likely to make you both work up an appetite, so finish your date by laying out a picnic of freshly prepared food and drink.

Art gallery

Going to an art gallery on your first date will make for both a romantic and cultural experience.

Don't worry if you or your partner can't tell their Van Gogh's from their Picasso's because you don't have to be art buff to appreciate a good painting.

Sharing your opinions on different pieces of art will be really insightful and may show you a special side to your date that they don't usually reveal on a first meeting.

Many art galleries host special exhibitions that will make your day out all the more exciting, so it's worth looking out for specific dates and times to visit.

Life drawing

If you or your prospective partner would rather be behind a painting than stood in front of it, attending a life drawing class will make for an interesting and fun first date experience.

Although you might not get the chance to properly talk, being in close proximity and drawing your own take on the still-life model before you will certainly give you something to chat about once the class is over, and it's probably safe to say that the ice will have well and truly been broken.

Theme park

For those who love thrill and adventure, heading to a theme park on your first date is bound to be an attractive option.

The UK is home to many great theme parks, each boasting a plethora of thrill-seeking rides and activities.

Although you'll be surrounded by many others, your date is sure to bring many laughs as you ride the roller coasters together. Who knows, you might end up finding it to be romantic too, as you and your date hold hands while approaching the big swoops and drops.

You've found your perfect match online and they've agreed to a first date, so you can breathe a sigh of relief – but not for long because the hard part isn't over just yet. You still need to decide where

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Julian Lloyd Webber announced as new principal of Birmingham Conservatoire

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It has been announced that Julian Lloyd Webber has been appointed as principal of Birmingham Conservatoire. Mr Lloyd Webber is set to take over from the current principal, David Saint, who is due to retire in April.

Once Mr Lloyd Webber has taken up his position, he will be leading the organisation through a number of changes, including the construction of a building at the new Birmingham City University campus. This will see a £46 million new building constructed on Birmingham's Eastside.

Plans are also in place that will see the conservatoire merging with Birmingham School of Acting at some point in 2017. Mr Lloyd Webber certainly seems to have his work cut out for him with the latest round of changes.

As part of his duties, the new principal is responsible for everyday management of the conservatoire, which includes aspects like student experience, overseeing the academic programme and external relations.

This is a great step for Mr Lloyd Webber, who announced in April 2014 that he was having to retire from performing thanks to a neck injury. While he will no longer be playing the cello professionally, this new role will allow him to pursue his interest in musical education, for which he is a strong advocate.

Mr Lloyd Webber said of the appointment: "I am honoured and thrilled to be chosen as the new principal of Birmingham Conservatoire. The state-of-the-art facilities being built within Birmingham City University’s superb campus will be second to none and superior to many, both throughout the UK and beyond. I am especially excited about the fantastic opportunities that will be on offer to our students."

His new position will serve to boost the classical music credentials of Birmingham, which is already home to the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and three concert halls that are held in high regard.

The university's vice chancellor, Cliff Allen, said: "Julian’s appointment is great news for the Conservatoire as it looks forward to moving to a superb new home, as well as for Birmingham City University and for the whole city – confirming its status in classical music education and performance.

“Julian has had an extraordinary career as a performer and recording artist, working with some of the great names in music. Just as importantly, he has shown a lifetime passion for musical education, making him the perfect appointment for Birmingham City University.”

It has been announced that Julian Lloyd Webber has been appointed as principal of Birmingham Conservatoire. Mr Lloyd Webber is set to take over from the current principal, David Saint, who is due to retire in April. Once Mr Lloyd

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Picture perfect: Choosing the right image for your profile

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When it comes to your online dating profile, people's first opinion of you usually comes from your picture. While you can put your personality across in what you write on your profile, it is your profile picture that initially catches the eye.

This means you can make the right or wrong impression in an instant, either helping you find a partner or meaning you miss out on someone who could be perfect simply because of your picture. 

So how can you ensure you're making the right impression with your pic? There are a few rules to follow that will help you stand out for all the right reasons. Keep to these simple tricks and you're sure to be getting a lot more of the right attention:

Don't focus on your face

While you want the main focus of your image to be your face, your profile picture shouldn't just be your face. This can look a bit jarring and may leave people wondering why you haven't shown any of your body.

You want to frame the shot so it shows more of you, as well as your face, in a flattering way. Ensure that there is a gap between the top of your head and the edge of the image to create a well-proportioned picture.

Avoid selfies

While it may be tempting to put up your best selfie, many people view these types of images in a negative light. They tend to be over-staged so you don't look like your natural self.

You'd be much better putting up a picture that has been taken by someone else, in which you look natural and happy. This gives a better impression and will avoid any prospective partners thinking you're vain.

Smile

Even if you don't smile a lot, you should be smiling in your picture. Looking deadpan at a camera can be a bit intimidating, whereas looking happy will mean people feel invited to look at your profile.  

You're more likely to freak a prospective date out if you don't smile in your picture, so you really want to choose a happy image.

Background

There's nothing more boring than a plain background. While you may look great in your picture, if you're simply stood in front of a white wall, it isn't very inspiring and could make people pass you by.

Think about what the image background says about you. Do you like being outside, do you like art or is there a favourite place nearby? Showing something interesting in the background that doesn't detract from your image will make your profile look more vibrant.

Be bright

You can make your profile picture stand out from the crowd by ensuring you stand out. Choosing an image where you're wearing something vibrant and eye-catching will help draw people's attention to you and make it more likely that they'll click on your profile.

Of course, you don't want to wear anything too garish, but even a bright accessory can make a huge difference.

Don't edit it

Most importantly, your profile picture needs to be an accurate representation of you. This means you should use an up-to-date photo that hasn't been edited. 

Stay away from filters, photoshop and photos taken more than six months ago. This will show any dates that you have been honest on your profile and increase the likelihood that they will want to see you again.

When it comes to your online dating profile, people's first opinion of you usually comes from your picture. While you can put your personality across in what you write on your profile, it is your profile picture that initially catches

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Classical music can help musicians discover personal style

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In an age where magazines, television and social media heavily influence the way in which people choose to dress, there's another influencer that is encouraging people to discover their sense of style – classical music.

That's right, classical musicians across the globe are expressing their love for playing by wearing more daring outfits than traditionally worn on stage, the Buffalo News reports.

Recently, female musicians have been spotted moving away from classic floor-length gowns and sleeves towards more revealing attire.

Take classical pianist Yuja Wang, for example. She shocked the audience when she played Rachmaninoff at the Hollywood Bowl wearing nothing more than a figure-hugging, bright orange mini-dress.

Similarly, violinist Rachel Lee Priday was seen sporting spaghetti straps to expose her decolletage while she played.

But it's not just female classical musicians who are turning towards a new-found sense of personal style.

JoAnn Falletta, music director at the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO), said: "Musicians are moving away from traditional, formal, elegant garb into all kinds of experimental things. Especially men.

"Men are experimenting with very casual outfits. I think women are into glamour. You also have young women wearing short skirts. I don’t know where it’s going to end up. It certainly startles people."

The colour red was once popular in the classical music world, with the late composer Mozart renowned for his signature jacket complete in this bold hue. However, a white shirt and tails soon became the norm.

Now though, red clothing is being embraced more so than usual. For example, violinist Augustin Hadelich chose to make a fashion statement when he played at the BPO wearing a jacket with a bold, red lining.

Philip Rehard, concert manager for University at Buffalo's Slee Hall, added that it's a good idea for musicians to wear daring and sexy outfits on stage, so long as it's in good taste and doesn't distract from their performance.

In an age where magazines, television and social media heavily influence the way in which people choose to dress, there's another influencer that is encouraging people to discover their sense of style – classical music. That's right, classical musicians across the

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Classical music could ‘slow dementia onset’

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Classical music could help to slow the onset of dementia, according to new research. A study has found that listening to extracts of Mozart caused enhanced gene activity in the brain, especially within areas related to learning and memory. The music was also found to affect the activity of a gene that has been linked to Parkinson's disease.

Researchers from Helsinki University discovered that the changes in activity were only experienced by those who listened to music regularly. This suggests that being familiar with music – musically-experienced – is an important factor when it comes to slowing the onset of dementia.

The study saw participants listening to Mozart's violin concerto No 3, G-major, k.216. This piece lasts for 20 minutes. Both musically-experienced participants and those who were not familiar with classical music were involved in the research.

Within those with music experience, the genes were enhanced in areas of the brain such as dopamine secretion. This is how neurons receive information and is important when it comes to memory and learning. 

When it came to genes that are associated with neuro-degeneration, the music seemed to down-regulate them, meaning it slowed their activity. This meant the genes were less likely to cause the loss of function or structure of neurons, which can lead to dementia. 

According to the researchers, a number of the up-regulated genes are responsible for singing and song-learning within songbirds. This could link to a common evolutionary background when it comes to the ways different species experience music.

Doctor Irma Jarvela, leader of the research, said: "The up-regulation of several genes that are known to be responsible for song learning and singing in songbirds suggest a shared evolutionary background of sound perception between vocalising birds and humans."

The findings could help to provide more insight into the benefits of music therapy, such as the molecular mechanisms that underlie it. Currently there is little known about these effects.

Classical music could help to slow the onset of dementia, according to new research. A study has found that listening to extracts of Mozart caused enhanced gene activity in the brain, especially within areas related to learning and memory. The

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Become The One rather than just looking for it

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When it comes to finding the right person for you, a factor that many people forget is that you also need to be the right person for them. It's all well and good looking for specific attributes in a partner, but if you don't embody them yourself, it could mean you aren't your ideal person's ideal person. 

As well as knowing what you want from a relationship, you need to know how to put yourself across in the right way so you are what they want. Failing to do this could have you missing out on that person you thought was perfect for you.

So how exactly can you be The One?

Be honest

The most important thing in any relationship is honesty. Failing to tell the truth from the start and at all times after it can see you lose out on a relationship.

Not only does this mean you should tell them the truth, you also need to show who you are in an honest way. There's no point in trying to be the person you think they want, as it is likely to mean everything ends when they realise you aren't who you said you were.

Being authentic and letting them see the real you will ensure that you end up with someone who appreciates everything about your personality. If you have to change for someone, the chances are they aren't right for you anyway.

Understand you're not always going to be 'The One'

Anyone who is starting on the dating journey needs to understand that not everyone you meet is going to fall head over heels. You aren't going to be The One for every person you date, just as they won't be for you.

Understanding this ensures you aren't trying to change yourself or stressing over why things didn't work out. It is much better to find out early than to start a relationship and get hurt later down the line.

Fill them in on everything up front

There is no point in hiding opinions or plans from a prospective partner as this can cause friction down the line, possibly ending the relationship. Being clear on your intentions and how you want your life to go from the start will ensure you're on the same page and that your plans work with theirs.

After all, there's no point in getting involved if one of you wants children and the other doesn't, or if want to emigrate and they want to stay in the same place. This will cause tension and heartache later on so it is best to hold out for someone whose plans fit with yours.

Your relationship isn't everything

Just because you've met someone you can see yourself building a life with, it doesn't mean you can let everything else in your life fall by the wayside. You need to maintain interests and friendships outside of your relationship, especially as living in each other's pockets isn't good for a healthy relationship.

You need to be able to have time apart and to trust that nothing bad is going to happen. This is a sign of a healthy relationship. It also means you can pursue your interests and push for things to happen that are part of your bigger plans.

When it comes to finding the right person for you, a factor that many people forget is that you also need to be the right person for them. It's all well and good looking for specific attributes in a partner,

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Taking control: How to tell you’re in a controlling relationship

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Some people are born leaders, which is fine when it comes to work or certain pursuits but isn't ideal in a partner. If you're in a relationship with someone, it is all about give and take. This means a partnership can't function if one person is constantly trying to take control.

Not only can this cause issues down the line, the person who is being bossed around can start to lose a part of themselves. If you're in a relationship with someone who takes control, it may be worth considering whether you can get some of that control back or whether it might be worth calling it a day.

But how do you identify whether someone is controlling? There are a few signs to look out for, which can be seen in both men and women.

Micromanaging

A controlling person is likely to want to know exactly where you'll be, at what time and who with. They are likely to constantly ask you a lot of questions about what your plans are, with an emphasis on the specifics.

While simply wanting to know who you're going with on a night out may not be a sign of a controlling person, if they want to know seemingly every insignificant detail it could be a different story. There is a difference between knowing whether you had a good lunch and what time you ate it, how much you ate, how much it cost, who you ate with etc. 

A level of concern and interest is expected from a partner, but this micromanaging style suggests there is a motive behind each of their questions. They are also likely to jump on any small slip up or inconsistency.

They don't like sharing

Controlling partners tend to want to be the be all and end all in your life, meaning there is no room for anyone else. They're likely to start working out who you spend most of your time with early in the relationship so they can start isolating you from them. 

They will try and make themselves seem like the only person you need, placing your relationship at the centre of your life and leaving little room for anyone else. To do this, they'll start criticising your friends and sometimes your family. They may even start twisting the truth in an attempt to make you fall out. 

This can leave you without anyone to turn to apart from them. Not only is this incredibly damaging, it isn't ideal for a healthy relationship. If your partner doesn't seem to like anyone and is more likely to put down your friends and family, it could be a bad sign.

Attractive people are a threat

While no partner likes to think that you might be attracted to someone else, they are generally able to cope with the fact that you might appreciate a good looking person every now and then. This isn't usually a big deal, but with a controlling partner it can be a nightmare.

This can include exes, friends or strangers, although they will likely become obsessed with past relationships. If your partner asks a lot of questions about your exes, such as 'do you think they're attractive now?', 'did you have a lot of sex?' or 'how much money did they make?', it can be a bad sign. At the end of the day, they think your exes are competition so they want to ensure they are better than them.

If you have friends that are attractive, you may also get similar questions, as well as 'do you think they're good looking?'. They may not be able to accept that you are simply friends, which leads to awkward situations.

At the end of the day, your exes shouldn't matter – after all, they're in the past – and your partner should be able to trust you around your friends. If they don't seem capable of leaving well enough alone, you may want to make a break for it.

They try to change you

This is the biggest and often most obvious warning sign. If your partner actively tries to get you to act, dress or talk differently, they are trying to turn you into someone you're not. Your partner should be able to appreciate and accept who you are as an individual rather than attempting to turn you into the person they think you should be. 

If the person you are isn't good enough for your partner, they aren't the right person for you. You deserve to be with someone who likes you for you, so you may want to walk away.

Some people are born leaders, which is fine when it comes to work or certain pursuits but isn't ideal in a partner. If you're in a relationship with someone, it is all about give and take. This means a partnership

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Trumpeter launches Bristol Proms with station fanfare

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The launch of this year's Bristol Proms has been announced by trumpeter Alison Balsom. The musician today (Wednesday March 4th) signalled the launch with a performance at London's Paddington Station.

Alison played a fanfare in the station with trumpeters Adam Wright and Niall Keatley, at a time when commuters were heading to or from Bristol; making for an interesting morning. 

Ms Balsom told Classic FM: "We love playing in places like stations because there's this beautiful reverberant acoustic that makes you sound very heroic and grand, much more fun than playing in a really dead space with lots of velvet curtains. I'd do a concert here every week!"

This is the third year of the Bristol Proms, which will be returning to the Bristol Old Vic – Britain's oldest open-air theatre – this summer. It will provide the people of Bristol and the UK the opportunity to see classical music performers from around the world. 

The first performance of the Bristol Proms will also be the first time Bristol's own official fanfare will be performed. This will be played by the winner of the Bristol Fanfare Competition, which has also been launched today. 

Bristol Proms have commissioned the fanfare competition as part of the celebrations surrounding the city's 800th birthday and it will make Bristol the first city in England to have its own official fanfare.

The Proms will be running from July 27th to August 1st, with tickets available from as little £5. It will feature performances from Daniel Hope, Milos Karadaglic, Alison Balsom, Pumeza Matshikiza, among others.

Ms Balsom said to the news provider: "The Bristol Proms is completely visionary. They're presenting music at the highest level and they're not dumbing it down at all, and yet it's being presented in a really unexpected way.

"It's going to be a real hot ticket. I'm incredibly excited to be playing."

The launch of this year's Bristol Proms has been announced by trumpeter Alison Balsom. The musician today (Wednesday March 4th) signalled the launch with a performance at London's Paddington Station. Alison played a fanfare in the station with trumpeters Adam

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