Sir Peter Birkett in Conversation with: Dr Stefania Passamonte, President of the LPMAM
Sir Peter Birkett & Dr Stefania Passamonte — LPMAM
PB: Please describe the LPMAM vision.
SP: LPMAM is a new International Music Conservatoire focused on Innovation, Diversity and Inclusion.
The LPMAM vision is to prepare a new, diverse generation of musicians that will shape the future of the Classical Music industry and push it into the XXI Century.
PB: Who or what inspired this ambitious concept?
SP: I am the founder of LPMAM, with over 14 years experience as Director of the awards winning music academy London Piano Masters and of the classical record label Master Chord Records, together with a life-long experience as international concert artist, music director and radio broadcaster.
While sitting at the table of the Classical Label Committee at BPI and teaching students from the best universities around the world, I noticed that there was a big gap between the Classical Conservatoire Degree programmes and the real profession in the current Classical Music industry.
Furthermore, the music industry is really focused on finding new ways to offer opportunities to include more diverse artists and reach out to a wider audience.
PB: What makes LPMAM special or different from other conservatoires?
SP: Our innovative Undergraduate, Postgraduate and Advanced Diplomas, pursuing excellence in musical performance (staple of the UK Conservatoires) is integrated with supportive studies on the current music industry, such as Music Law, Music Journalism, Music Production and New Technologies, Music Management, and Music Business and Marketing. In addition to the core classical music degree, our innovative courses in music business, music technology, music management were designed to prepare a new generation of musicians to embrace the current spirit of “Retrain.Reboot.Reskill” well before the challenging times we are living in now.
Among many notable features, the Academy will also be home to Contemporary African/Classical music, Contemporary/Classical Indian music with Talvin Singh OBE and Kuljit Bhamra MBE, Contemporary African Jazz headed by Dele Sosimi, Caribbean heritage music with Leon Foster Thomas, “Classical Black music history”, all the way to lectures on “Historical and Social impact of music” and “Reflecting on Race and the BlackLivesMatter Movement”, making it a unique example of Diversity and Inclusion.
PB: Overall, what percentage of interest in courses is from overseas?
SP: So far, 90% of the interest comes from overseas students.
PB: Is there anything else comparable to the LPMAM concept in the world?
PB: Where is the LPMAM based?
SP: In London, United Kingdom
PB: Which qualifications does LPMAM offer?
SP: Undergraduate, Postgraduate and Advanced Diplomas in all instruments and voice for both Classical, Jazz and Crossover, plus Certified Short Courses in any instrument, voice and supportive studies.
PB: What other supporting subjects are being offered at LPMAM?
SP: Some of the most innovative courses offered by LPMAM are:
- Tabla & Indian Composition
- Ancient Greek Lyra performance and composition
- Russian Music Business
- Music Appreciation & Classical Indian Music
- Still Pan and Caribbean Heritage Music
- Afrobeat Music
- Stanislavski Method in Opera
- Black Classical Music History
- Music Diplomacy & Equality
- Performance Analysis & Technology (Creative Mirroring Lab)
- Performer’s Psychology
- Google Marketing Tools
- Speech and Theatre
- DIY Career & Self-Promotion
- Musical Dramaturgy
- Improvisation & Experimental
- Technique, Analysis & Interpretation
- Production & Design
- Voice Balance Technique
- Artist Management
- Music Business
- Kodaly Technique
- Opera Management
- Music Publishing
- Relaxation Technique
- Music Technology
- Sound Engineering applied to performers
PB: Could you explain our scholarship programs and procedure for talented and aspiring students of music from disadvantaged backgrounds.
SP: LPMAM has strict criteria for Entrance Scholarships.
Scholarships are awarded based on merit following a live audition, and composers are assessed for scholarships on the basis of their second interview. This happens as part of our normal admissions process and does not require an additional application process.
Scholarships for UK undergraduate students will eventually be administered through the Student Loan Company.
LPMAM does not usually consider further bursary support to UK students beyond our Scholarship Awards.
UK students who develop difficulties with living costs while they are studying with LPMAM, may choose to apply for assistance from our ‘Access to Learning’ funds.
EU and international students who encounter extreme financial hardship during the academic year may also be considered for funding. Information regarding this is available through the Vice-President’s Office.
Postgraduate and International Students who are considering a bursary will be asked to complete a Financial Assistance Form outlining their financial situation. Availability of funds can vary from year to year, however we endeavour to provide as much financial assistance as possible.
In Addition to these two options, LPMAM will establish a Hardship Fund which can be accessed in cases of extreme financial difficulties that arise mid-academic year. Enquiries and applications for this funding should be directed to the Vice-President’s Office.
PB: How does the LPMAM differ from the other established Universities such as the Royal Academy of Music, The Royal Holloway and Guildhall?
SP: LPMAM is the first Classical Music Conservatoire to offer full instrumental Classical music diplomas online. Our technologically advanced LPMAM platform for online courses will not only allow us to connect and educate during lockdown, but it will be incredibly beneficial for reaching out to a wider group of disadvantaged students who may not have access to higher music education.
Furthermore, international students from the poorest countries worldwide are able to receive the same online education as the on-campus students, without the prohibitive costs of international fees and relocating to the UK.
PB: How has the pandemic affected the LPMAM and how have you overcome these challenges?
SP: We were planning to open our campus last year when the first lockdown occurred, and the launch had to be postponed, like many other new ventures.
I was very fortunate to meet a very talented software engineer with whom I designed and developed the unique LPMAM Platform for Online teaching.
The LPMAM platform offers:
- The highest sound quality and near zero latency, for a virtual ‘in person’ acoustic experience.
- High fidelity Stereo sound designed for the best Classical and Acoustic performance
- Is easy to use, without the need to download software or apps
- Access to personalised accounts from any laptop, computer, tablet or smartphone
- Personalised language and time-zone in order to plan performance/rehearsal/lesson with anyone anywhere around the world.
- Opportunities to record the performance, lesson or meeting
- Share videos, music scores and documents in real time for rehearsals, lessons, conferences or meetings
- Pre-upload and share any professional or educational material needed for the meeting.
Thanks to the platform, during lockdown we have been able to establish the most exciting and diverse Faculty of any other Classical Music University, with more than 160 world-wide renowned artists of Classical, Jazz, Opera and Crossover, many of whom are international artists and winners of Grammys, Oscars, and the BRIT awards.
Furthermore, the platform allows us to establish partnerships with Music Universities, Academies and Theatres worldwide, including:
- Gnessin Russian Academy of Music of Moscow, Russia
- Music Conservatoire “Vecchi-Tonelli” of Modena, Italy
- Grattacielo Theatre and Camerata Bardi Vocal Academy of New York, USA
- Berliner Operngroupe of Berlin, Germany
- Teatro dell’Opera of Rome and its Young Artist Programme, Italy
- Canadian University of Bangladesh
- Accademia Perosi of Biella, Italy
- Rossini Festival and Accademia in Pesaro, Italy
PB: When do you hope to fully launch online?
SP: We are ready to start our First Academic Year online in September 2021.