EMI Group chairman Eric Nicoli, legendary South African jazz musician Hugh Masekela, renowned British folk musician Martin Carthy, and Mercury Prize-nominated jazz/rap artist Soweto Kinch are among the industry luminaries participating in a London conference on music education Jan. 16-17.

Dedicated to the promotion and encouragement of musical creativity among young people, the "State of Play" conference and related live performances will take place at London's Roundhouse and nearby venues. The 800 paying attendees are drawn from the music, arts and education sectors.

The event is intended to highlight, among other issues, the U.K.'s "Music Manifesto," a government-backed initiative launched in July 2004 which was updated in October 2006. It was designed to help music-industry organizations and related bodies place music at the heart of British education.

Keynote speakers during the event will include the U.K. government's secretary of state for education and skills, Alan Johnson (Jan. 16). The panel debates will include "The Transformative Power of Music" (also Jan. 16) in which Masekela is participating.

On Jan. 17, Nicoli is a panellist on "Supporting The Creative Industries," which looks at the relationship between education and the music industry.

The conference will be accompanied by live-music workshops and sessions. On Jan. 17, for example, U.K.-resident U.S. trumpeter Abram Wilson and other musicians will discuss and demonstrate how musical skills can benefit school children.

There will also be sessions on musical families. Talking about their experiences will be Carthy, his wife Norma Waterson and their daughter Eliza Carthy, plus Soweto Kinch and his father, the playwright Don Kinch.

The event is organised by London-based jazz/world music event producer Serious. Sponsors of "State of Play" include the Musicians Union, national radio network Classic FM, public broadcaster the BBC, authors body British Music Rights, and the U.K. government's Department of Education and Skills, and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

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