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Training for the future is integral to much of Mark's work. In the case of orchestras, opera companies and small ensembles, this means developmental work for artists that runs alongside outreach activities. Mark works regularly with selected musicians from the LSO with the aim of keeping their skills moving forward in their work with people with special needs. With many ensembles, working with Mark is the first opportunity that their artists have had to work in a creative way with sections of the community and a major part of Mark's role is to help these artists find the appropriate ways to extend their existing skills. 
Similarly, Mark writes and delivers training materials for teachers, families, carers: for anyone looking at engaging people in the process of creating music. All of Mark's projects in education and the community aim to extend the range of skills of the professionals involved and a training element is included to enhance this. Together with music therapists Vicky Kammin and Cathy Ibberson, Mark leads training activities with Jessie's Fund that provide staff in children's hospices and special schools, skilled musicians or not, with resources to include practical music making in their working lives.
Work with students and young professional musicians is clearly of great importance and Mark is developing training in outreach activities at the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse in Paris. In 2020, he began working with the String Quartet Biennale Amsterdam on a radical new residency for young string quartets.



From the outset of the LSO's residency at the Festival d'Aix in 2010, it was clear that an essential long term legacy that the LSO could leave at the Festival was the handing on of the outstanding skills and abilities that their musicians have developed in LSO Discovery to young artists who were associated with the Festival. Mark worked with these young musicians to build their skill base and integrate them into all of the LSO's outreach activity in Aix and Marseille as an essential part of the LSO team. As the LSO's time in Aix drew to a close, it became clear that this developmental work with young artists needed to continue and the Festival's Académie invited Mark to collaborate across the  Académie's activities and to lead a new programme of training work.


Artistes-Relais is a modular programme for orchestral musicians, chamber music groups, singers, composers and traditional musicians from around the Mediterranean basin. Mark leads introductory sessions with these musicians during their period in residence in Aix for the Festival. Then, through the following year, interested musicians are invited to return to Aix for week-long periods to develop their own skills whilst delivering outreach projects to selected groups as a part of the Festival's Passerelles programme. Since 2014, the Artistes-Relais have held workshops for young children, teenagers, groups at risk of social exclusion, children and adults with disabilities and immigrants newly arrived to France. They have written and performed new operas and supported Passerrelles in Ouvertures,  a major event for the 2016 Festival. The Artistes-Relais programme featured in Aix's online activities during the covid-19 pandemic and young artists were mentored by Mark in exploring new ways to interact with music through virtual media.



Singers from the Artistes-Relais programme can be seen in action at 

More information on the programme for the coming year can be found at

"The Artistes-Relais programme highly contributes to the training of a new generation of artists, enabling them to cope with the XXIst century challenges." - Emilie Delorme, formerly Director of the Académie du Festival d'Aix, currently Director of the Paris Conservatoire.

Pictures of the Festival d'Aix Artistes-Relais programme, and of the Aix Junior Orchestra (Contact page) by 

Vincent Beaume,

© Festival d'Aix en Provence

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