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Norton York BW (002)

Sound Connections has a new Chair!

Sound Connections is thrilled to announce that Norton York has been appointed as the new Chair of the charity. Norton takes over from Chris Brannick, who recently stood down due to other work and charitable commitments.

Norton chairs the group board of RSL Awards, taking overall responsibility for the organisation. He is one of the pioneers of popular music education particularly with an emphasis on connecting education with the music industry. This started in the late 1980’s with the Brighton Rock summer school which became a BBC Radio 1 event, his work as music education co-ordinator on the BPI/MU/Radio 1 Sound City festivals, and his book on the music business, ‘The Rock File’ for Oxford University Press.

Norton’s first university lectureship led to establishing the UK’s first rock and pop foundation course which inspired the creation of RSL Awards and the world’s first grade exams for rock guitar and drums and for bass guitar as an instrument. Since 1991, RSL has grown to awarding qualifications in nearly 50 countries, and has expanded our portfolio to include music production and theory, vocational qualifications taken by stars such as Ed Sheeran, as well as exams in piano, keyboards, vocals and ukulele.

He wrote the world’s first commercial music degree at University of Westminster, where he subsequently became chair of music, film and fashion by the late 1990’s. In this role he developed graduate recruitment schemes in partnership with EMI, Universal and Sony, and worked with leading music figures as external examiners (Dave Stewart and Stephen Warbeck), course tutors (Keith Harris and Mykael Riley) and course advisers (Horace Trubridge, John Kennedy) amongst many others. There he also worked as a Teaching Quality Assessor for the Higher Education Funding Council and co-authored industry commissioned reports on the value of the music economy for the BPI, London Arts Board, the Musicians Union and Jazz Services. Since then Norton has been elected Visiting Professor at the University of Westminster, has given a visiting professorial lecture at Gresham College, London, and has consulted and led projects for international universities including the Tisch School of New York University, Victoria University in Melbourne, and the International College of Music, Malaysia. In 2012 Norton co-led the Somerset House ‘What’s Next’ project for the Cultural Olympiad official programme.

Norton holds three degrees in music from the University of Sussex (recently sponsoring a new award there to encourage women to study music technology. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and is also a charter patron of the Coram Foundation and a patron of Regents Park Theatre in London.

Of his appointment Norton said, “I am delighted and honoured to be joining Sound Connections as chair of the board. I have admired Sound Connections’ work in making music education more accessible and available for everyone over many years and am thrilled to be able to support their exciting and necessary future development in London and beyond.”

Philip Flood, Director of Sound Connections, said “I am really looking forward to working with Norton as the new Chair of Sound Connections. He brings a huge range of experience and skills and has a deep understanding of the music industry and music education. I know that he will be a great advocate for our work, for the young people that we work with and for the wider music education sector.”

 

“I am delighted and honoured to be joining Sound Connections as chair of the board. I have admired Sound Connections’ work in making music education more accessible and available for everyone over many years and am thrilled to be able to support their exciting and necessary future development in London and beyond.”

-Norton York

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