British Council Music: What We Do

2016 was gone in a blur. We brought artists together through our project work in the UK – like our Film, Archive and Music Lab Week – and abroad – like our Selector PRO event in Russia. We gave opportunities to rising stars from the UK to experience different cultures and reach a new audience, from Kero Kero Bonito in Indonesia to Giggs in Lagos. We introduced overseas counterparts to fantastic new British music through The Great Escape festival, showed how cutting edge music technology can transform disabled musicians’ access to music and continued to show school children, and their teachers, how effective singing can be at improving educational outcomes across the curriculum. We brought you podcasts on Chinese music and culture, how punk and grime share common ground within the DIY music scene and attempted to make sense of the venue closures threatening our cities worldwide. In between, we lightened the load with playlists on everything from epic film scores to the humble whistle.


What’s in store for 2017

Here is just a taster of some of the projects we have coming up this year. We’ll also be at Convergence, The Great Escape and Liverpool Sound City festivals later this year and, as ever, you can follow us on Twitter for all the latest news and opportunities we have to offer.

Egyptian Ensemble and Aldeburgh Youth Musicians

We are looking forward to musicians from Egypt joining us at Snape Maltings to lead educational workshops for young musicians. Composers Bahaa el Ansary and Rosalia Adel Samir will be joined by Saber Abdel Sattar (Qanun Player), Hany Al Badry (Nei Player), Nesma Abdel Aziz (Percussionist) and Hossam Shehata (Violinist). They will work with Aldeburgh Young Musicians and assist in the creation of the Open Session performance on 17 February.

Musicians in Residence, UAE

As part of the UK-UAE Year of Cultural Exchange, we will soon announce who will be heading to the Middle East to take part in flagship performance and education events with the Welsh National Opera and the BBC Symphony Orchestra as part of a special BBC Proms from Dubai Opera House. Alongside this, British Council Director of Music, Cathy Graham, will chair a panel on the role of composers in contemporary society.

World Voice

Our World Voice programme is beginning work in Sierra Leone, Rwanda and Greece, showing teachers how to incorporate singing into the classroom, and showing children the benefits across the curriculum. There is also new material coming up from Colombia and Sudan for the World Voice Songbook. We are also developing digital teacher training materials with our colleagues in Hong Kong.

Selector PRO

Following the success in previous years of Selector PRO in Russia, this year will see the format move to new destinations. Azerbaijan, Turkey, Ukraine and Kazazkhstan are all planning similar events and there will once again be a Selector PRO in Russia too. Selector PRO brings together music industry experts to debate the key issues of the day and watch some great live British music along the way. Last year, Actress and the London Contemporary Orchestra put on a fabulous show and John Robb spoke about the legacy of punk in its anniversary year.

Musicians in Residence, China

Emmy the Great, David Lyttle and Quinta will be our Musicians in Residence in China this year in our (almost) annual programme of residencies with PRS For Music Foundation. You can find out more about the programme in this article from Laura Snapes.

Trans Sib Lit with Gruff Rhys  

In October 2016, musician Gruff Rhys (Super Furry Animals) joined a group of photographers and writers as they travelled on the Trans-Siberian Express as part of the UK-Russia Year of Language and Literature 2016. This art residency tour has already provided us with a host of incredible images but there’s more to come in 2017 as we look forward to seeing Gruff’s own video of the trip and share an interactive website which allows you to trace his steps on this fantastic journey.


Find out more

  • Our Twitter channel offers up the latest news from around the world of music and also highlights opportunities for people working, or hoping to work, in music
  • Our newsletter gathers together the best of the articles, blogs, project updates, podcasts and playlists you’ll need to keep you entertained all year round
  • Tune into Selector Radio every week for the best new British music, hosted by the inimitable globe-trotting DJ and quintessential music lover, Goldierocks