At NCM we are keen to share our enthusiasm for music with our concert audiences old and new and with those in the education system.

At concerts

Watch out for free pre-concert presentations mostly by Artistic Director Misha Donat. These are either musicological talks with recorded examples on the evenings programme or interviews with the visiting musicians. Informative programme notes also add detail.

School/student Activities

Aside from the headline concerts, NCM has an education programme aimed at enthusing, inspiring and assisting active participation in music by primary and secondary pupils – tomorrow’s musicians and audiences. Some we arrange directly, for others we partner with organisations sharing our aims.

Funding for education activities comes from generous individual donors and from time to time other local charities and trusts. We thank them all for their continuing support and we are always grateful for any new donations.


We set out to provide activities or support every year in each of three categories:

1. Arranging and funding visits by professional musicians to some primary schools in the area, to enthuse young pupils by live performances of unusual quality.
2. Funding support and encouragement to talented Norfolk young musicians through student bursaries and competition prizes for those receiving tuition and playing in local orchestras.
3. Funding support for tuition in less advantaged areas of Norwich, in both Primary and Secondary education.

Current situation

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been felt by us all, whether concert-goers, musicians or students. We trust that dire predictions of a Lost Generation of young musicians will not prove correct. For our part we are launching a Next Generation Programme to explore ways to work in the ‘new normal’ to best advantage while continuing our existing activities. We welcome any donations towards funding the Next Generation Programme and thoughts on implementing it.

Summary of School/Student Activities 2019-2020

Woodwind Workshops

The autumn began with a visit from the Moriarty Winds, an excellent wind quintet, as professional in their approach to preparing workshops for younger children as they are in playing high-quality concerts. In a series of visits to three schools, Avenue Junior School and St Francis of Assisi Primary School in Norwich and St Augustine’s Primary School, Costessey 300 children took part in an introduction to the flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and French horn. Pupils’ paid rapt attention as Moriaty Winds played sustained extracts from their recent concert programme including Debussy’s Petit Suite (arr. Gordon Davies), together with pieces from Holst, Hindemith and Malando.


For older talented students, we gave bursaries for ensemble playing to four pupils attending the Norfolk Centre for Young Musicians and, for the first time, a significant contribution to bursaries for up to 15 members of the Norfolk County Youth Orchestra, to support them in their tuition and twice-yearly residential courses. It is a challenge to both these organisations to ensure that no talented pupil should be excluded for lack of funding.


We sponsored the prize for the most promising wind player at the Norfolk Young Musician of the Year competition, promoted by the Michael Badminton Young Musicians Trust on January 12th 2020. The adjudicator, internationally known clarinettist Michael Collins gave positive and helpful comments to all entrants. He selected a young pianist for first prize overall, with a singer and a violinist in second and third places. The prize for the most promising wind player went to bassoonist Joanne Asher.


Nicholas Daniel, acclaimed oboist and member of Britten Sinfonia among other groups, delighted Norfolk oboe students, their music teachers and an audience of members, when he staged a Master Class in January as part of our concert weekend. Students each played their choice of prepared piece, with a piano accompanist, on stage at the John Innes Centre. Each received great encouragement and individual constructive comments to help with further progress.

Schools Music Project – Primary Schools

Each year NCM directly organises and funds the Schools’ Music Project for Primary Schools in March. Performers from the professional ensemble group ‘Chroma’ had rehearsed a fascinating set of work using the differing styles of music found along the ancient Silk Road route. Then the COVID-19 pandemic began spreading at speed. After checks that all was still well with all participants, we went ahead as planned on the 10th, 11th and 12th March.

Members of the Ensemble made their tour of our own ‘Silk Music Route’ to Eaton Primary, Cringleford Primary, Yaxham Primary, Costessey Primary and Bignold Primary Schools where they were much appreciated by approximately 1140 pupils and staff in total.

In each they gave a workshop presentation of their instruments: violin and viola (Chihiro Ono); cello, (Zoe Martlew, group leader); piccolo, flute and alto flute (Julian Sperry); and oboe and cor anglaise (Lydia Griffiths). They introduced the theme ‘Sounds of the Silk Road’ including musical extracts from China, India, Persia, East Africa and Turkey, in a highly engaging and dynamic way, interwoven with stories and information. The musical content had been specially adapted for us by Chroma Musical Director Stuart King.

Some 300 of the children had a second opportunity to listen to the group, with the addition of a lively and very well received percussionist, at a concert at the John Innes Centre auditorium. The final applause was deafening.

New style working for these times.

We are pleased to support Natasha Zielazinski in putting together a resource pack helping children’s exploration of sound, listening and making, including opportunities to be outdoors as well as in, and introducing new technical ways to support children, their teachers and parents at either home or school.

2020-2021 Plans for the coming season are in hand, watching government guidance, negotiating with musicians and schools and continuing work on our Next Generation Programme. Support you may be able to offer towards this will definitely be gratefully received and very carefully spent here in Norfolk. Thank you.


To see more details please click on the School/Student Activities 2019-2020