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ARCO is a collaboration between Birmingham Conservatoire and the Cape Gate MIAGI Centre for Music, Soweto Johannesburg. The ARCO aim is two-fold: to enable delivery of a more diverse and comprehensive music education platform than what is currently available to students in Soweto, South Africa, whilst giving early-experience teaching opportunities to students at the Birmingham Conservatoire. Twenty-four Soweto students have been selected to participate in this innovative project. Via live-stream broadcast they will receive individual tuition, quartet coaching, workshops, and masterclasses. ARCO draws on a long history of collaboration between the twinned cities of Birmingham and Johannesburg. The project is endorsed by both city councils, as well as having been awarded a grant from the Radcliffe Trust. Cape Gate MIAGI Cenre for Music has primary funding from the National Lotteries Commision and additional funding from the Department for the Arts and Culture in South Africa. The distance learning equipment needed for realising the ARCO programme was enabled thanks to support from ARCO’s partners, the Goethe Institute, The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Pretoria, and the Austrian Embassy in Pretoria. The Gildas Quartet have been awarded an AIDF Arts Council of England grant to travel to South Africa.

“Arco is a wonderful project, crossing boundaries between South Africa and the UK.”

“We are really happy here at Birmingham Conservatoire to support this brilliant project.”

Elsabe Raath, PG Performance Viola Student, Birmingham Conservatoire

Professor Julian Lloyd Webber, Cellist Principal, Birmingham Conservatoire.

“We hope the ARCO project with Birmingham Conservatoire will be the beginning of a long-term,

“Listening to music made me realise that I need to

progressive and exciting partnership

practice more because you don’t just wake up

that will not just bring the world’s experts to Soweto, but also bring Soweto’s learners to the world.”

and start playing like Sayaka Shoji or Hilary Hahn!”

Chris Bishop, Principal CMCM

Alistair Rutherford, BMus viola student, Birmingham Conservatoire

“The doors opening through ARCO for the students studying at our Cape Gate MIAGI Centre for Music in Soweto are

invaluable !”

Robert Brooks, CEO, MIAGI

“We are hoping to have an exchange of talent between Birmingham and South Africa” Dr. Louise Lansdown, Head of Strings, Birmingham Conservatoire.


“Arco is a project that I never thought my studies would take me on.”

Sinethemba Ngiba Student, CMCM

“I now see the importance of listening to classical music so that I can familiarise myself with the violinists, the music, the dynamics and all the elements that makes it so beautiful...” Sinethemba Ngiba Student, CMCM

PROFESSOR JULIAN LLOYD-WEBBER Principal, Birmingham Conservatoire “I fully support the ARCO Project; its ethos, aims and unique educational context and perspective. At the Conservatoire we believe that this project will be instrumental in revolutionising music education and global collaboration, as well as breaking down cultural and economic barriers. I cannot emphasise enough how important this work will be for the future of both the young students receiving this nurturing in Soweto, but also for the staff and students of Birmingham Conservatoire.”

Dr. LOUISE LANSDOWN Head of Strings, Birmingham Conservatoire


CHRIS BISHOP Principal, Cape Gate MIAGI Centre for Music

“ARCO is a project of sharing, learning, building and inspiring...a project that will be a privilege to be a part of. The impossible is now possible due to the incredible development of technology and we are able to forge worlds together around the common denominator of music.

Robert Brooks is the founder and CEO of MIAGI, Music Is A Great Investment, the umbrella organisation of CMCM.

Chris Bishop is an experienced musician, teacher, and ensemble and performance coach.

The worlds of Birmingham Conservatoire and the Cape Gate MIAGI Centre for Music will be inextricably linked via Skype and Live Streaming. This is a truly collaborative project and we mean to change the face of music education on our journey.”

Their mission statement is “Music can bridge divides” and it was set up to promote music education as a tool for positive social development. A South African Tenor, Robert was educated at the Salzburg Mozarteum, and the Hochshule für Musik und Kunst in Vienna. “The doors opening through ARCO for the students studying at our Cape Gate MIAGI Centre for Music in Soweto are invaluable !”

“To bring extra knowledge to our students using up-to-date technology is a fantastic opportunity to widen the way we educate the next generation of musicians. We hope the ARCO project with Birmingham Conservatoire will be the beginning of a long-term, progressive and exciting partnership that will not just bring the world’s experts to Soweto, but also bring Soweto’s learners to the world.”


INGRID HEDLUND Founder and Creative Manager of MIAGI


The pianist Ingrid Hedlund graduated from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.

Raised in Soweto, Samson’s story is an inspiration and example to young aspiring musicians. He started learning the violin in a music project like CMCM (Buskaid), and has gone on to become a leading South African violinist.

After completing her studies she, besides founding MIAGI, has worked as chamber musician and vocal accompanist.

As such, he has first hand knowledge and expertise in the opportunities and activities which are beneficial to the students at CMCM, and is able to advise and support the project.

MIAGI invests in human capacity through music. Human capacity is the only way to sustainability

Samson is the leader of the Odeion String Quartet and lecturer at University of the Free State, Blomfontein, South Africa. He is a graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester.

“ARCO is a fresh breeze bringing us hope of a better future”

He has played with leading U.K. and South African orchestras as a freelance violinist, as well as a soloist.

“I support this valuable initiative ... aims to provide support and opportunity to students at MIAGI.. who may not readily have access and exposure to such a rich international cultural exchange of this caliber”





Alistair studies under scholarship at Birmingham Conservatoire with Head of Strings Dr. Louise Lansdown, and is in his third year of study on the BMus course.

Njabulo is 15yrs old and has been learning the violin for 2 yrs. He has done UNISA Grade 1.

Kgaugelo is 15yrs old.

Martha is currently studying for a MMus in Viola Performance at the Birmingham Conservatoire. She has participated in masterclasses with Tatjana Mauserenko, Noboko Imai, Thomas Riebl and Garth Knox among others. She, together with her collegues, premiered compositions by Simon Rowland-Jones and Robin Ireland at the 2014 International Viola Congress in Portugal. She is excited to be involved in the ARCO project, giving opportunities to those in a unique and innovative way.

He has held the principal viola position of the National Youth String Orchestra of Great Britain, Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and JRNCM Symphony Orchestra. He has also played with the Britten Pears Orchestra and Birmingham Festival Orchestra. ALISTAIR is teaching NJABULO and KGAUGELO

He enjoys playing soccer and lives in white city Jabavu with his grandmother. When he grows up he wants to be a Chartered Accountant.

She has been playing the violin for 2 yrs and has done UNISA grade 1. She lives in white city Jabavu. She likes to make people laugh and people like it when she makes jokes. When she grows up she wants to be a business woman. Her hobby is to play violin and says “I love my teacher so much. Her name Is Olga Maraba.�






Gugu lives in Naledi and is a girl who loves people.

Sinethemba is 15yrs old.

Jack is currently studying for a Post Graduate Diploma in Viola Performance at the Birmingham Conservatoire with Dr. Louise Lansdown. He has received masterclasses from Oliver Wille, Pavel Fischer, Martin Outram, Simon Rowland-Jones and Thomas Riebl. He has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival as well as at the 2014 International Viola Congress in Portugal. Teaching is an important aspect of Jack’s musical life: he works as a chamber music coach and instrumental tutor for Birmingham Music Service. He was recently involved with the musical charity, “Musica En Las Aldeas,” in Guatemala.

Lesedi is aged 13yrs.

She has done the UNISA Grade 1 exam. When she grows up she wants to be a violinist, teacher, presenter and an actress. “These are the things I would like to do.” .

She has taken UNISA grade 1. She says.. “I’m in a fortunate position of taking music as a subject at school” One day she would love to study Accounting Science at Wits University and also further her music in her free time. She loves taking pictures, cooking, baking and watching movies. Her favourite sport is music.

JACK is teaching LESEDI

She has been learning violin for 3yrs and is UNISA Grade 3.


She is 14yrs old and has been playing the violin for one year.

She has been attending CMCM since 2013 and since then her love for music has grown.

She wants to be a chartered accountant when she is older.

She enjoys outdoor activities, playing netball and playing on her phone. She descibes herself as a “cool, crazy and fun girl who’s always happy and smiling.”





Dr. Louise Lansdown was appointed Head of Strings at Birmingham Conservatoire in 2012. She is the founder of the Cecil Aronowitz International Viola Competition, as well as founder and President of the British Viola Society. She is the Secretary of the International Viola Society, on the Council of Management of Lake District Summer Music, a Trustee of the European String Teachers Association, on the board of the Quartet of Peace Trust and directs the Conservatoire-based viola course at Pro Corda, Suffolk. She plays on a French Viola c.1750 and 1890 Sartory bow - both of which previously belonged to the South African violist Cecil Aronowitz.

Mpho is 14yrs old and has been playing the violin for 3yrs. She has done UNISA grade 1.

Mabatho is in grade 8 at Naledi high school. She is 14yrs old.

Claudia Dehnke is a South African student at Birmingham Conservatoire currently in her second year.

LOUISE is teaching MPHO and MABATHO

She loves to play netball and her special subject is Maths. She loves music a lot and also loves to take pictures. She enjoys cooking for her mother.

She loves music and the instrument she plays (violin). She also like playing sports like netball. Her hobby is to play violin. She also loves reading. She says.. “Music makes me happy.�

She studies violin with Jan Repko and Jiafeng Chen. Claudia played as a member of the MIAGI Youth Orchestra for many years and is delighted to be a part of this project. CLAUDIA is teaching MBALI and KOPANO





Mbali is 10yrs old. She has played the violin for 2yrs and sat UNISA grade 1.

Kopano is 11yrs old. She has played the violin for 3yrs and taken UNISA Grade 1.

Clara graduated from Birmingham Conservatoire in 2015 with a Postgraduate Diploma in Viola performance, studying with Dr. Louise Lansdown. As a chamber musician she performed in masterclasses with the Mandelring Quartet, the Julliard String Quartet, the Schubert Ensemble and the Navarra String Quartet. Other important musical influences came from masterclasses with Thomas Riebl, Predrag Katanic and Nils Mรถnkemeyer. Clara works as a music teacher at King Solomon Academy, London. She is a keen educator and is also training in Dalcroze Eurthythmics and Colourstrings.

Nontebko is 12yrs old.

She enjoys playing board games like chess and Monopoly. She wants to be a violin teacher one day. She has two younger sisters. She enjoys playing netball, swimming and athletics.

CLARA is teaching NONTEBKO

She likes to draw cartoons and make clothes for paper dolls for fun. She enjoys running. She wants to be a Vet when she is older. She looks up to her Mom and grandmother as they take good care of her.





Rebecca is currently in her third year of the BMus course, where she recieved a scholarship to studying with Dr. Louise Lansdown and Lucy Nolan. Rebecca is a member of the highly acclaimed CBSO youth orchestra. She has participated in masterclasses with Garth Knox, Thomas Riebl, and Ivo-Jan van der Werff and has attended courses such as Pro Corda and the Pennine Spring Music Festival. Rebecca is most passionate about chamber music and is part of the Cerulean Quartet, a string quartet comprising third year string players from the Conservatoire.

Mosa is 12yrs old.

Lieva is a third year student from Cape Town, South Africa. She was a member of the MIAGI youth orchestra for 4 years before moving to the UK. She is the deputy concertmaster of the CBSO youth orchestra for the 2015/2016 season. She has performed as soloist with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra and KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra. She was the string prizewinner and overall runner-up in the UNISA Grade 8 scholarship competition in 2013, winner of the string prize in the 2012 Artscape Youth Music Competition, and winner of the Pieter Kooij music competition in 2011.

Thando is 14yrs old.

REBECCA is teaching MOSA

She enjoys creative writing and making 3D objects. She wants to be a social worker one day and create an organisation called “We are always with you,” which provides less fortunate people with homes, food and support. She looks up to her Mom as she is a “good problem-solver.”

LIEVA is teaching THANDO

She has played the violin for 3yrs and recently passed UNISA Grade 2.





Matthew Johnstone started playing violin when he was 5yrs old, switching to viola just before studying with Dr. Louise Lansdown at Birmingham Conservatoire 3 years ago. He has taken part in masterclasses with Nils Monkeymer, Tatjana Masurenko and Thomas Riebl. Matthew currently has a place on the CBSO training scheme for 2015/2016 and has led Birmingham Conservatoire String Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra. In November last year Matthew played as part of Birmingham Conservatoire Viola Ensemble at the 42nd International Viola Congress in Porto.

Kwanda is 11yrs old.

Maria is currently studying viola at Birmingham Conservatoire with Dr. Louise Lansdown. She has played in many orchestral projects and performed in master classes with Blazej Maliszewski, Robin Ireland, Marco Van Page and Tatjana Masurenko.

Bonolo is 14yrs old.

She wants to be a forensic scientist one day. Her favourite subject is Creative Arts. She enjoys singing in the choir and playing netball.

She started on the violin 10 years ago but switched to viola about 5 years ago when she realized it suited her better and had a much nicer, rich, deep sound. Maria has been on orchestral and solo courses across the world. These courses have pushed Maria and got the best out of her and have contributed to the player she is now. MARIA is teaching BONOLO

Her favourite subjects at school are English and Technology. She enjoys playing tennis. She wants to be a TV presenter one day.


MATTHEW is teaching KWANDA

Her role model is Serena Williams as she is “active and kind.”

She looks up to her mom and describes her as a “strong, hard-working woman.”




Elsabe Raath is studying Viola Performance at Birmingham Conservatoire. Originating from South Africa she holds Bachelor and Honours degrees in Music Performance from the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein.

Keaeanu is 14yrs old .

Anele is 8yrs old. She likes playing playing with her dolls, swimming and singing.

She has worked for the Bochabela Programme teaching disadvantaged children in the black townships of Mangaung and in music outreach programmes to schools in Zimbabwe. Elsabe currently works for Birmingham Music Service as well as chamber music administrator at Birmingham Conservatoire. ELSABE is teaching KEEANU and ANELE

He wants to be a musician when he is older. His favourite subject at school is English. He looks up to his mom as she is always encouraging him to do his best and achieve his goals. He enjoys playing tennis and drawing in his spare time.




Eileen Smith completed her BMus (Hons) course in 2015, and gained a scholarship to continue her studies at Birmingham Conservatoire studying for a MMus in viola performance.

Lindokuhle is 14yrs old.

Inam is 11yrs old.

His favourite subject is Arts & Culture.

She goes to Danie Theron primary school.

He looks up to his uncle as he inspires him to be an Architect on day.

She is a new viola student at CMCM and is learning with Tiisetso .

He enjoys playing computer games in his spare time.

She likes swimming, skipping and playing hide and seek with her friends.

Whilst studying, Eileen is the Student Assistant to the Head of Strings, as well as the Executive Coordinator of the Cecil Aronowitz International Viola Competition. Eileen plays on a modern instrument made in 1989 in Chicago by Michael Darnton. EILEEN is teaching LINDOKUHLE and INAM





George completed his Masters at the Royal College of Music in June 2015, where his professor was Alexander Chaushian. Having graduated with a First Class degree in Music from Oxford University where he was an academic and instrumental scholar, George has performed at venues such as the Wigmore Hall and Holywell Music Room, and abroad at the festivals of Chigiana, Cervo, Ischia and Santa Cecilia.

Kgotatso is 10yrs old and is one of two siblings.

Tshepiso is 14 yrs old. One day she saw her cousin play the cello and she jumped at the chance to join her.

Tlotlo is 10yrs old, and is an only child.

Aside from the cello, he composes for film and radio, and performs in the Oxford folk-reggae outfit Marvellous Medicine. GEORGE is teaching KGOTATSO, TSHEPISO and TLOTLO

She shares her home with her mother and older brother. Her older brother now wishes he had picked an instrument instead of soccer. Kgotatso hopes to form a girl band one day and travel the world

She hopes to one day join her mother in running their family business.

She wants to be a concert cellist when she grows up and intends on playing her own township music in concert halls all over the world.




Sifiso lives in Braamfischer / Dobsonville and he has two brothers and two sisters.

Buhle is 10yrs old, and lives with her grandparents.

Kholeka is 16yrs old.

Laetitia is a South African cellist currently studying for a MMus in cello performance and pedagogy at Birmingham Conservatoire under the tutelage of Catherine Ardagh-Walter. She has played as a soloist with the Simfonia Juventi, the Rand Symphony Orchestra in 2011, and the University of Pretoria Symphony Orchestra. Laetitia has been principal cellist with the MIAGI and South Africa National Youth Orchestras, the University of Pretoria Symphony orchestra, and the Birmingham Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra.

He started cello because basically there wasn’t space in violin class, so he was told there was a demand for cellists. But he says with the cello you can express what you feel and he will make it his hobby and it will take him far in life.

She is also a lead singer in the church choir and wants to start playing cello as well. Both she and her younger brother take music lessons at CMCM.

She lives with her parents and two brothers. Kholeka wants to become an educator one day just like her mother and brother. She hopes to bring her cello to church one day and use it for worshipping.




Gildas Quartet

Formed in 2010, the Gildas Quartet is fast establishing itself as one of the most exciting young ensembles to emerge in recent years. As Park Lane Group Young Artists and winners of a Tunnell Trust Concert Award, the quartet has enjoyed an exciting year which included Purcell Room and Wigmore Hall debuts and a live performance on BBC Radio 3's In Tune as studio guests with Sean Rafferty. The Gildas Quartet has performed widely across both the UK and Europe including at the West Cork Chamber Music Festival, the Two Moors Festival, Altenberger Kultursommer festival and Pallazzo Ricci, Montepulciano. Passionate performers of all repertoire from old to new, the quartet has recently had the privilege of working both with Colin Matthews and with Sir Harrison Birtwistle on performing the composers' most recent string quartets at the Southbank Centre and The Forge, Camden. The quartet has also collaborated with the Medici Quartet in performing Sir John Tavener's Towards Silence and performed live via video link in New York's Carnegie Hall for the American Composers' Orchestra, giving the world première of Ray Lustig's Latency Canons which received a glowing 4-star review in the New York Times. Since its formation, the quartet has worked closely with violinist and conductor Gábor Takács-Nagy, studying both privately and in pubilc masterclasses, including for the Friends of the Verbier Festival and at the Geneva Conservatoire. Alongside performing engagements, the quartet enjoys teaching, from masterclasses to workshops and community projects, chamber music collaborations, and open rehearsals. They were appointed Junior Fellows at Birmingham Conservatoire in July 2015.


Dublin-born Lucy Nolan is tutor of Viola and Chamber Music at Birmingham Conservatoire.

A graduate of the RNCM, Peggy is the cellist of the Eblana String Trio with whom she has given many performances for music societies and festivals throughout the UK. She frequently performs with some of the UK and Ireland’s finest orchestras including the Halle, BBC Philharmonic, English National Opera, and Irish Chamber Orchestra.

She is a member of the Eblana String Trio and has performed at notable venues including Wigmore Hall, St. Martin in the Fields, Kings Place, St. John Smith Square, Yale University, as well as at the International Viola Congress in South Africa.

Peggy was a founding member of the Borromini Quartet, a young London-based ensemble, that performs on instruments and bows of the classical period. She has taught at Yorkshire Young Musicians since 2010 and also teaches at Birmingham Conservatoire



THE GILDAS QUARTET, LUCY and PEGGY NOLAN will be coaching each of the 24 students who will comprise 6 quartets named after instrument donors

The BISHOP INSTRUMENT AND BOWS string quartet The CARDIFF VIOLINS string quartet The MOSELEY VIOLINS string quartet The SOMERSET COUNTY ORCHESTRA string quartet The THWAITES string quartet The TIM TOFT string quartet

cmcm teachers





Olga is a violinist and violist from Diepkloof, Soweto. She is the first generation in her family to learn a classical instrument. She started leaning the violin at the age of 12 with the African Youth Ensemble in Diepkloof, Soweto under Kulwane Mantu.

Kabelo was raised in a musical family. His uncles form part of the Soweto String Quartet.

Tiisetso is a 27 year old violist from Diepkloof, Soweto. He started his musical journey as a young boy by following his Mom and Uncle to classical concerts. In 1999 he joined Buskaid Soweto String Project - starting out as a Oboe student to get a place in the music school. In 2000, he was given a a viola lesson and “was hooked”.

Daliwonga started cello lessons at the age of 12 when he joined the African Youth Ensemble. During that time, Daliwonga attended the South Africa National Youth Orchestra with whom he performed at the Aberdeen International Festival in 1994.

She holds violin and viola performance diploms through Trinity College London.

She started playing professionally at the age of 20, and has worked with the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra (JPO), Johannesburg Music Initiative (JMI), Kwa-Zulu Natal Philharmonic orchestra (KZNPO) and Johannesburg Festival Orchestra (JFO).

Having grown up around the sound of violin he was exposed to it very early. He started playing the violin in 1999 at ACOSA before his uncles took him to Buskaid where he flourished under the mentorship and guidance of Rosemary Nalden. Rosemary helped him audition at all 4 Colleges in London and he won a scholarship at The Royal Academy of Music. Kabelo now holds a BMus Hons degree and is back in South Africa as a freelance musician, teacher, and a member of the Resonance String Quartet.

In 2008 he was accepted with a full scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music, London. He teaches at Buskaid, MIAGI and the National School of Arts and is the Principle Viola of the Buskaid String Ensemble. He also works as a freelance violist with Johannesburg Orchestras including JPO, JFO, JMI and Mzansi Chanber orchestra.

Daliwonga holds a Masters in Performance from Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of the Performing Arts. Whilst studying in the U.S, Daliwonga performed at the Colorado Springs Chamber Music Festival, as well as in Ontario, Canada, Russia, and Tokyo. In Johanessburg, Daliwonga teaches at CMCM and has played with the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra .

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Profile for arco


A description, and outline of the participants of our project.


A description, and outline of the participants of our project.

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