Sistema Scotland is delighted to announce the appointment of one of the UK’s finest music educators as its Director of Music.
Violinist Francis Cummings is currently Director of Music at St Mary’s School in Edinburgh – Scotland’s only full-time specialist music school.
He will take up the new appointment in August, overseeing a drive for musical excellence at the Big Noise orchestra in Raploch, Stirling and future Big Noise centres around the country.
Modeled on Venezuela’s world-famous El Sistema, Big Noise was launched in 2008 and aims to transform the lives of children through music.
As a founding member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Francis worked extensively with eminent conductors and soloists including Claudio Abbado, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, George Solti and Lorin Maazel, appearing in festivals throughout Europe, Japan, Australia and the USA.
He has worked regularly with a number of UK orchestras including the BBC SSO, Manchester Camerata, Northern Sinfonia, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, The Hallé, Liverpool Philharmonic and The Orchestra of the Golden Age.
Francis has held teaching posts at the University of Huddersfield, University of Lancaster and Chetham’s School of Music. He is a former leader of the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and took up the post of Director of Music at St Mary’s Music School in April 2007.
Sistema Scotland Chairman Richard Holloway said: “A recently published evaluation commissioned by the Scottish Government shows Big Noise is having a huge social impact in Raploch. Good behaviour, confidence, self-esteem and pride are on the rise.
“We are proud of the music that has been made too, and the work of our existing team of 16 musicians – but we are upping the musical stakes now. The children have given us no option. Many of them have revealled a talent and a hunger to excel which we feel obliged to match.
“We are matching it with Francis Cummings. I am utterly thrilled that we have secured the services of such an eminent artist and educator. St Mary’s is very highly regarded and we want the same excellence for Raploch.”
Sistema Scotland Director Nicola Killean said: “Francis is a dream addition to the team. This community, which three years ago had no tradition of orchestral music-making, now has access to the very best musical influences imaginable.”
The appointment follows the arrival of four new board members also enhancing the organisation’s musical intelligence – Nicola Benedetti, Kathryn Jourdan, Paul Jourdan and Fergus McWilliam.