Media Release: Prestigious music education conference coming to Glasgow


International Society for Music Education, Glasgow 24-29 July (ISME)

THOUSANDS of music experts from across the world are arriving in Scotland for the International Society for Music Education conference which opens in Glasgow this weekend (Sunday, July 24).

They will include hundreds professional musicians, music teachers and performers from more than 80 countries, who are set to converge on the city.

This distinguished conference – which attracts speakers, delegates and performers from across the globe – will take place in Glasgow 24-29 July and is the 32nd annual conference of the International Society for Music Education (ISME).

Guest speakers and performers at the conference include three-times Grammy nominated, two-times Brit nominated, singer/songwriter, Joan Armatrading; percussionist, Evelyn Glennie, who performs worldwide with the greatest conductors and orchestras; and musician, Randy Weston, who has released more than 60 recordings since 1955, including works for solo piano, orchestra, compilations and many featuring his African Rhythms ensemble.

There will also be a number of performances including the screening of the iconic 1927 silent movie, IT, with live orchestra conducted by Patrick Doyle.

The IT project is a culmination of months of collaboration between young musicians from North and South Lanarkshire schools and members of the Junior Royal Conservatoire who have been coached by Patrick Doyle and his team of professionals on the complexities of playing for film.

Delegates will also be treated to performances by Laurence Juber, the Palestinian Youth Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland.

Hosted by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS), the ISME conference will take place in venues across the city including the conservatoire itself, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, the National Piping Centre and the Theatre Royal.

The week-long conference aims to strengthen ties between institutions and the sharing of ideas on the challenges and issues facing music education today.

Conference organisers hope that by sharing ideas and news ways of working, music education will be accessible for people of all ages throughout the world.

ISME offers an unique forum for music educators, academics, researchers and practitioners to come together to share worldwide experiences in music education.

At the opening ceremony in Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Sunday 24 July, (6.30pm) one of Scotland’s best-loved traditional musicians – and artistic director of traditional music at RCS – Phil Cunningham, will lead hundreds of young musicians in a musical extravaganza to mark the opening of the world’s internationally-respected international conference.

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, principal of RCS, said: “I am delighted that the RCS is hosting the ISME 2016 conference.

“It is a great privilege and a wonderful opportunity for us to welcome so many of the world’s finest teachers and performers to this great city.

“This is an opportunity for us to share new ways of thinking in delivering music education and for us to showcase the very best of music education here in Scotland.

“I have no doubt that ISME 2016 will be a memorable and inspiring event.”

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said: “Music, in all its forms, has always played a huge role in our culture and is the fabric of many Scottish communities.

“We are committed to widening access and participation in the arts to everyone in Scotland. In our schools, we know that music education provides significant benefits for young people by supporting learning and development, creating potential career paths, and as an outlet to express themselves.

“That is why, earlier this year, we pledged a further £10 million for the Youth Music Initiative which allows young people to take part in music in and outside of school.

“It is enormously fitting that for the first time it comes to Scotland, the World Conference of the International Society for Music Education is being hosted in Glasgow, the UK’s only UNESCO City of Music.

“This conference will showcase exceptional musical talent and offers valuable opportunities for us to share our different experiences and approaches to learn from each other.”

Sheila Woodward, ISME president, said: “I can think of no finer city to host this ISME conference than Glasgow.

“I am thrilled that music educators from all over the world will be here to celebrate and share the very best in music education. ISME 2016 will create the platform for the future of music education by putting it centre stage and ready to inspire the next generation of musicians.”

Michael Elliott, ABRSM chief executive, said: “ABRSM is proud to be the platinum sponsor of this year’s ISME conference. We believe it provides a great opportunity for musicians and educators from all over the world to come together to address the challenges and opportunities for music education in our rapidly changing world.

“ABRSM is passionate about widening access to music and to taking action that makes a difference. We look forward to hearing and sharing new ideas on how to nurture the next generation of music performers, teachers, leaders and ambassadors.”

Delegates from all over Europe, America, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Switzerland, Norway, Finland, Israel, Japan, Russia, Singapore and Malaysia will hear from some of the world’s finest musicologists, medics and performers.

The International Society for Music Education (ISME) was formed at a conference convened by UNESCO in 1953 ‘to stimulate music education as an integral part of general education’.

This has been ISME’s main concern over the past decades and continues to be its most important source of motivation. Present in over 80 countries, ISME is affiliated to the International Music Council and UNESCO and is the premiere international organisation for music education. ISME believes that lived experiences of music, in all their many aspects, are a vital part of the life of all people. Its mission is to enhance those experiences by:

  • building and maintaining a worldwide community of music educators characterised by mutual respect and support;
  • fostering global intercultural understanding and cooperation among the world’s music educators; and
  • promoting music education for people of all ages in all relevant situations throughout the world.

Media enquiries: Katie Bell

T: 0141 270 8387


For a complete listing of all the events at the 32nd World Conference – International Society for Music Education Glasgow, Glasgow 24-29 July

- To request media tickets

ISME stats and facts:

  • When: 24-29 July 2016
  • Where: Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, National Piping Centre, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and Theatre Royal
  • Keynote speakers: Dame Evelyne Glennie, Joan Armatrading, Darren Henley and Randy Weston
  • 1,500 delegates
  • 84 countries
  • More than 400 performances

About the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is ranked sixth in the world for performing arts education (*QS World University Ranking), the Conservatoire is a national and international centre of excellence for the performing arts. RCS is ranked highest in Scotland for employability rates for graduates (*HESA).

Building on our roots in 1847 as a national academy of music, we are now one of Europe’s most multi-disciplinary performing arts higher education centres offering specialised teaching across music, drama, dance, film and production as well as encouraging trans-disciplinary learning throughout our innovative curriculum.

We are bold, ambitious and optimistic about our future as a truly 21st century conservatoire.

As we work towards 2020, our goal, through our students, staff and graduates, is to raise the transformative power and reach of the performing arts in Scotland and to project our distinctiveness to the wider world.

Our vision is to be Scotland’s globally-recognised and inspirational leader in learning for the performing arts, attracting and nurturing the best Scottish and international creative talent.


ABRSM is recognised as the UK’s largest music education body, one of its largest music publishers and the world’s leading provider of music exams, offering assessments to more than 630,000 candidates in 93 countries every year.

ABRSM’s mission is to inspire achievement in music. In partnership with the Royal Schools of Music, we support high-quality music-making and learning around the world. We offer pathways and resources for learners and teachers that help build musical skills, provide goals and encourage progress.

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RCS contact details…

Contact: Katie Bell
Phone: 0141 270 8387