News Nicola Benedetti has criticised the state of music teaching in Britain

Acclaimed violinist criticises music teaching in the UK

Tom Hodgkinson: The bohemian spirit is alive and well

While our image of Notting Hill today may be of a wealthy person's retreat, the area had a more bohemian and radical reputation when I was growing up. A combination of West Indian culture and a punky vibe made it irresistibly glamorous and edgy to me and my friends. It was the land of sound systems, skateboarders, the Clash, the Westway, the Mutoid Waste Company, the carnival and head shops on Portobello Road. It was home to Rough Trade (where I worked for a year when I was 21), Whole Earth foods, second-hand clothes shops and stalls on Portobello Green run by artists. It was the Notting Hill of Jimi Hendrix and of John Michell, the celebrated late cosmologist and author. I suppose it represented creative freedom.

Nathan Cleverly (left) beat Tommy Karpency comfortably

Boxing: Cleverly pulls out of title fight

Nathan Cleverly has pulled out of his WBO light-heavyweight title defence against Robin Krasniqi this month, because of a viral infection.

Pulp, Royal Albert Hall, London

The people's favourites show they're still in a different class

Winslet sails again as Titanic gains a new dimension

Kate Winslet signed autographs as she walked the red carpet at the re-launch of the film that made her a star.

Urban legend: the Barbican Centre

What will arts centres of the future look like?

As austerity bites, the temples of culture will have to change and be at the centre of communities, says Nicholas Kenyon

Urban legend: the Barbican Centre

What will the arts centre of the future look like?

As austerity bites, the temples of culture will have to change, says Nicholas Kenyon

Guitar hero Clapton takes home £4m

Eric Clapton proved himself no slow hand in the moneymaking stakes again last year as he took a salary of nearly £4m out of his music business.

Strictly Gershwin, London Coliseum, London

For the end of their London Christmas season, English National Ballet dive into Strictly Gershwin with a will. Derek Deane’s production blends ballet and ballroom, with a dollop of tap dancing and a fair bit of padding. The dancers do it all with care and attention. At the back of the American in Paris crowd scenes, you can spot corps dancers giving their steps a flirtatious edge.

'Banned' group protesters detained after US embassy demonstration

A gang of 20 protesters were arrested outside the US embassy in London today on suspicion of representing the recently-banned extremist group Muslims Against Crusades.

Proms 65/67, Hamelin/Goode/BBCNOW/Steen//LSO/Davis, Royal Albert Hall (3/5, 5/5)

Michael Berkeley’s Organ Concerto had its premiere in Ely 24 years ago, but it’s only now had its London premiere.

Proms 63 & 64: Budapest Festival Orchestra / Fischer, Royal Albert Hall

The surprises came thick and fast - but variants on a theme of Lady Gaga in the style of Bach was not one we might have anticipated.

Ma/Brewer/Spence/Paterson/BBCSO/Robertson, Royal Albert Hall

Graham Fitkin is one of our most versatile composers, and since he’s been commissioned to celebrate the Olympics, the Cello Concerto he has written to showcase the talents of Yo-Yo Ma - plus the (dubious) acoustic possibilities of the Royal Albert Hall – is of more than passing interest.

Prom 60, Fray/Netherlands RPO/Zweden (Royal Albert Hall)

Bruckner and Mahler may attract the same kind of crowd, but as characters they have nothing in common. While Mahler was a worldly neurotic with an over-developed messiah-complex, Bruckner was a tormented and obsessive social simpleton. Yet when Mahler’s sixth symphony and Bruckner’s eighth are given a Proms airing just four days apart, comparisons rise unbidden to the mind, and not only because, by a strange coincidence, they both last exactly 85 minutes.

Proms 56/57, Gerstein/BBCSO/Bychkov/Pires/Tonhalle/Zinman (Royal Albert Hall) (5/5, 5/5)

Mahler toyed with naming his sixth symphony ‘Tragic’, and his widow Alma claimed he regarded the final movement, with its three notorious hammer-blows, as depicting ‘the hero, on whom fall three blows of fate, the last of which fells him like a tree’.

Prom 58: Gabrieli Consort & Players/ McCreesh, Royal Albert Hall

When the fiery chariot finally arrived to transport Elijah aloft and the antiphonal trumpets and drums and assorted ophicleides of Paul McCreesh’s mightily augmented Gabrieli Players Consort and Players were rent asunder by the open-stopped thrust of the Royal Albert Hall organ you suddenly realised why the Victorians became damp with ecstasy at the very mention of the prophet’s name.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there