12pm, 29 October 2022
The George Dawson Room, Birmingham & Midland Institute

This report covers the key areas of the BMS’s activities during 2021-22. 

E-News, Printed News and website

The BMS continues to work with Nicholas Keyworth of Revolution Arts for a monthly fee of £245. He produces and co-ordinates the E-News issued on the first day of every month, and handles website updates and maintenance, as well as the design of the thrice yearly Printed News (otherwise known as British Music Society News).  While we acknowledge that this expense absorbs a significant amount of the Society’s income, it is essential that this arrangement continues as we still do not have people with the relevant skills among our current membership to equal the quality and reliability of their work. Nicholas and his team have been fully supportive of the Society, and we would like to give Nicholas our sincere thanks for all the extra hours and articles he has donated.

Geoffrey Atkinson and his review panel makes an important and regular contribution to the E-News and Printed News. His steadfast approach has been much appreciated over a number of years.

A UK printer has been sourced for the Printed News who delivers quickly and efficiently, though this has incurred a small increase in cost. At the moment, the Society is still able to fund those members who have requested both E-News and Printed News, but this may be subject to a review at a future date.

Work by Nicholas and our Digitalisation Archive Manager Eleanor Spence continues even though the task of digitalising the entire BMS newsletters and Journals is a daunting one. This material is now only viewable on the website by members.

Most of our new members arrive via our website which is constantly refreshed and updated by Revolution Arts. To date, membership numbers have remained stable.

Matthew Schellhorn’s volume 2 of Herbert Howells piano music was recorded in December 2021, with editing completed in the summer of 2022. Naxos has now completed production, and we are pleased to announce our next BMS recording will be released in early December 2022.

Plans for our next CD, also approved for release on Naxos, are underway. This will be world premiere recordings of songs by Grace Williams performed by the Welsh baritone Jeremy Huw Williams accompanied by Wendy Hiscocks. Additional funding for this has been sought from the RVW Trust, the Ambache Charitable Trust and the Welsh Music Guild. The recording was completed in late September 2022.

John McCabe and John Joubert video tributes
Progress on the two documentaries has been slower this year, and Wendy Hiscocks is in the position of having to wait for promised material to arrive. Her intention is to proceed with the editing in 2023 and arrange for a private screening (probably in London) at the next AGM. Many thanks to the individuals who have donated their time and energy already in the form of interviews and video recording.

Amy Yuan Academy New Talent Music Contest 2022
The BMS increased its level of funding for Amy’s renamed New Talent Festival this year for the best performance of a British composition. There were two prizes awarded: £200 (an increase of £100) for the winner Mariam Siali of Dubai, and a new prize of £100 for the runner-up Millie Royle of Great Britain. Both singers performed Ivor Gurney’s Sleep

Participant numbers in the Festival have increased substantially since the BMS first donated gifts of books and a CD in its founding year of 2018. Since then, we have been joined by two other distinguished official partners, the Royal Academy of Music and the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana. To date, New Talent Festival has welcomed over 1,000 young musicians from 35 countries.

Journal report
The last year has seen the departure of Dominic Daula as editor and the issue of his generously sized final edition of British Music Volume 43, 2021. Dominic also supervised the second essay writing competition; this was won by Elizabeth French, a second year PhD student at Leeds University, writing about ‘Francis Edward Bache and his Three Impromptus for Piano‘.

We welcomed Dr. Ian Maxwell’s return as editor of the Journal who has informed the committee of the next Journal’s imminent release.

The cost of printing and posting the Journal has raised some concerns. When one of our members stated their preference for a digital version, it was offered to the rest of the membership with some thirty-one individuals subsequently opting for this format.

BMS Treasurer’s Report
Report by Stephen Trowell

Financially, 2021 was a relatively uneventful year. Subscription income was stable at around £9,000 and Sales were up following the members’ Special Offer. Royalty payments from Naxos in respect of BMS recordings showed a reduction as most sales occur within 12/15 months after issue and we are only releasing one (or two) recordings each year now.

On the Expenditure side the fluid timetable for the annual Journal can move costs into adjacent years creating difficulties in making comparisons. The significance of Revolution Arts in enabling the Society to deliver its membership benefits in the absence of in-house support is borne out by the costs absorbing some 33% of Subscriptions or 27% of overall income.

Carry forward of £604 leaves the Society with an overall surplus of £25,529.

On the membership front, losses have been balanced out by joiners.

Our thanks go to all of our membership whose subscriptions help keep the Society afloat financially.

2023 AGM
Next year’s AGM marks the departure of Dr. Wendy Hiscocks as Chairman of the BMS. She plans to celebrate her six years in office with a private screening of the McCabe and Joubert video tributes at a London venue. Details and date to be announced.