Our award-winning schools’ projects are underway across the city, bringing high-quality music education to hundreds of young people.

The Discovering Lieder and Living Lieder projects have been running in Leeds schools regularly since 2009. Initially running every year in line with the biennial festival, they have took place on an annual basis since 2016. We have run both projects at full capacity twice since the 2021-22 school year, effectively doubling our output to visit up to 24 primary schools and 12 secondary schools each year, working with over 1000 young people and 50 teachers.

Our projects have a well-established reputation for being of the highest quality, both in terms of the art form that we represent, and for the standard of artist that we book to deliver our work. We select artists who are not only excellent performers, but also fantastic educators, who present Lieder to young people, without any dumbing-down of the material, as a relevant, interesting and exciting art form. We encourage participants in our projects to feel ownership of the repertoire not only through coaching them in the performance of song, but also by inspiring them to create their own artistic responses to the poetry and the music for themselves.

The Living Lieder Project involves Leeds Lieder artists making visits into secondary schools to rehearse class groups in the performance of Art Song leading to a culmination concert. Our team make two workshop visits into each school to work on singing, musicianship, storytelling, creative thinking and performance practice. A poet or storyteller is included on the team to provide cross-curricular links and to encourage broader study of the poetic themes. On the concert day over 150 children aged 12-14 come together and perform a fantastic programme of Art Song. Over the 2022-23 school year we will work with over 300 children and 15 staff coming from 12 secondary schools.

The Discovering Lieder Project runs for one intensive week in which each participating primary school is visited for one hour by our team. The children explore the joys of attending a concert of Art Song and the artists help to breakdown barriers and dispel myths about classical music, presenting it as an art form full of characters and stories, that can excite the imagination and stimulate the mind. On the final day, 360 children aged 9-11 come together for a concert given by Leeds Lieder artists including songs by Schubert, Poulenc, Head and Dove all in their original language. The concert finale is a mass-sing of Schubert’s Das Wandern, with each class singing their own verse specially written by them in the workshop sessions. In 2022-23 we will work with over 650 children and 30 staff from 24 primary schools.

As a student at Leeds College of Music, Learning and Participation Manager Phil Wilcox gained his first experience in music education and outreach with Leeds Lieder founder, Jane Anthony. It was those formative experiences working on the early incarnations of the very same education projects we still run today, that showed him how fulfilling it is to have an all-round musical career involving performance, teaching, workshop leadership and directing. We continue to have a link with Leeds Conservatoire and each year invite students to shadow our project teams to gain insight and training in learning and participation work.

Our annual collaboration with Pyramid of Arts has been running for nearly as long as our education projects and we are delighted to say that, once again, Leeds Lieder regulars, Philip Smith (baritone) and Jonathan Fisher (piano), have been working with the team at Pyramid. The High-Rise Music Group is a weekly session for adults with profound learning disabilities and their carers to focus on engagement through music, touch and sensory stimulation. The group have been producing artistic responses based on the music and theme of the Festival, ‘Touches of Sweet Harmony’.

If all of that wasn’t enough, we’ve also been taking Lieder out into the community this year with Pop Up Performances around Leeds City Centre and the wider Leeds area. We’ve surprised the shoppers and commuters with Pop Up Recitals at Trinity Shopping Centre, Kirkgate Market, and in the Merrion Centre in conjunction with Leeds International Piano Competition’s Piano Trail. We’ve also appeared recently in Barnsley, Kirklees and Pudsey.

Leeds Lieder are proud to provide musical opportunities which are completely free to schools and to the community. We are very grateful to the charitable trusts, Arts Council England, Leeds Music Education Partnership, Three Monkies Trust, and Jean Meikle Music Trust, which support our work and make it possible. We’re also very grateful for the generosity shown to us by our venue and arts organisation partners. Finally, a big ‘thank you’ to the wonderful children, teachers, directors, artists, administrators who made this our biggest year to date!

If you’d like to hear more about our Learning and Participation work, find Phil Wilcox at the Festival or send him an email here.


For the first time in recent years, our schools’ culmination concert sits at the heart of the Festival. Come and see the next generation engage with classical music.

Schools Culmination Concert I – Living Lieder
Tues 13 June, 11am – 12pm
The Ballroom, Pudsey Civic Hall
Free – RSVP here

Schools Culmination Concert II – Discovering Lieder
Tues 13 June, 1.30pm – 2.30pm
The Ballroom, Pudsey Civic Hall
Free – RSVP here



“Many thanks again for your visit this afternoon. Enormously appreciated, and a great introduction to an area of music they have had very little exposure to – a real chance for them to see the artistry involved, from the performing and the compositional angles.”
– Teacher, Bankside Primary (Discovering Lieder)

“It was awesome. Ours kids loved it and want to do it again. It’s such a fantastic project. We just love how our students get stuck into the repertoire and enjoy the final performance.”
– Teacher, Crawshaw Academy (Living Lieder)

“My daughter was singing with you today. It was lovely to hear the songs and to be involved at the end of such a creative piece of work for our young people. Coming into the centre of Leeds and singing at the [concert] gives a sense that Leeds is their city and contributes to breaking down barriers. Thanks again for a fantastic event, I’m so pleased our daughter was involved.”
– Parent, Living Lieder Project


Secondary schools which took part in Living Lieder 2022-23:
Abbey Grange CofE Academy
Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School
Leeds Jewish Free School
Pudsey Grammar School
Rodillian Academy
Roundhay School
Carr Manor Community School
Cockburn School
Crawshaw Academy
John Smeaton Academy
Lawnswood School
Ralph Thoresby School

Primary schools which took part in Discovering Lieder 2022-2023:
Beeston Primary
Blackgates Primary
Blenheim Primary
Burley St Matthias Primary
Castleton Primary
Chapel Allerton Primary
Cookridge Primary
Cross Gates Primary
Grimes Dyke Primary
Hawksworth Wood Primary
Hollybush Primary
Hunslet Moor Primary
Quarry Mount Primary
Seacroft Grange Primary
Stanningley Primary School
St Anthony’s Catholic Primary
Weetwood Primary
Westerton Primary
Westgate Primary
Westwood Primary
Whinmoor St Paul’s Primary
White Laith Primary

Pyramid of Arts Team: Philip Smith (baritone) and Jonathan Fisher (pianist)

Living Lieder Team: Ed Robinson (Baritone), Rachel Fright (Piano), Michelle Scally Clarke (poet)

Discovering Lieder Team: Phil Wilcox (baritone and animateur), Jane Burnell (soprano and animateur) and Hilary Suckling (pianist)