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Alumni Roundup April 2022

Our monthly round-up of some of the successes for Trinity Laban alumni.

Alumni took the spotlight in many performances over the course of April. John Savournin joined Oxford Opera in their first performance since the pandemic. He also featured in English National Opera’s 2021 production of HMS Pinafore, which was broadcast on Sky Arts at the end of April.  

Ezra Collective performed at 6 Music festival, and Joe Armon-Jones played a Jazz FM session.  

Alumni also featured in new releases this month. Moses Boyd joined Quinn Oulton for his new single Clashing Colours. 

Deschanel Gordon features on Rowan Flack’s new single, The Calling. 

The soundtrack for the new Downton Abbey film, featuring Cherise Adams-Burnett, has been released. 

Diphonon Duo, of whom Michael Iskas is one half, have released their new album Emerging Voices. 

Malcolm Earle Smith’s album, Vocal Intent, features alumni Leo Richardson, Chris Eldred, Conor Chaplin, and Douglas Marriner. The release has been described by London Jazz News as ‘a brave album full of unexpected rewards’. 

Reviews and features covered alumni, their works, and their performances this month.  

balletLORENT’s production of The Lost Happy Endings at Sadler’s Wells, directed and choreographed by Liv Lorent, was described as ‘an introduction to the magic of storytelling through dance’ by The Reviews Hub. 

Nardus Williams’ appearance with the London Handel Orchestra garnered this review in the Guardian. 

Limon Dance Company, led by Dante Puleio, was reviewed in the New York Times for their performance in the Joyce Theater. 

Punchdrunk has received coverage for its new immersive theatre piece The Burnt City, including reviews in the Guardian and the Evening Standard, and an appearance on Channel 4 featuring Associate Director and Choreographer Maxine Doyle. 

Doyle’s choreography is also featured alongside Cassie Kinoshi’s music in BalletBoyz’ Bradley 4:18, which was praised by the Guardian . 

Parallax Orchestra featured in Kerrang! this month. Alum and founder Will Harvey talks about how the orchestra became “rock’s indisputable go-to group for all things orchestral”. 

Candoco Dance Company, which includes alumni Olivia Edington and Megan Armishaw, were featured in the New York Times, ahead of their New York debut. 

Xhosa Cole was interviewed by London Jazz News, ahead of his April 30 concert for International Jazz Day. It was also announced that he would be part of this year’s Take Five talent development programme from production company Serious. 

Alumni were also the subjects of awards and announcements in April. Luca Silvestrini’s Protein Dance Company announced dance workshops for refugees and asylum seekers this month. 

Louise Balkwill won the Vocal Jazz prize at the Riga Jazz Stage 2022. 

Ayanna Witter-Johnson has been cast as Snake in Amazon Studio’s upcoming series Anansi Boys. 

The Critics’ Circle Dance Award nominations have been announced, with Matthew Bourne featuring among the nominees. 

Heloise Werner has been commissioned by Radio France to write two new works for their upcoming season. 


Coming Up: 

Many TL dance alumni will be appearing at Resolution Dance Festival 2020, The Place’s celebration of new choreography and performance works. These will include Innovation Award winners Laura Engholm (2020) and Tough Boys Dance Collective (2021). 

Konrad Jaromin has been cast in Opera Holland Park’s rendition of Eugene Onegin, premiering May 31. 

Cohort of students in caps and gowns.

Alumni Roundup March 2022

Our monthly round-up of some of the successes for Trinity Laban alumni.

March saw new releases from music alumni. Estraven, the jazz quartet including alumni Duncan Eagles and Chris Hyde-Harrison, released their new album Ignored Advice, and jazz quintet Ezra Collective, which features alumni Femi Koleoso and Joe Armon-Jones, released their new track May The Funk Be With You. 

Anna Stereopoulou wrote the music for Into the Land of Ice and Fire, a documentary film about the Sámi people of the European arctic, which was premiered at the 24th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, and Serafina Steer appears in the band for the soundtrack of the BBC series This is Going To Hurt, which was released this month. 

Music and dance alumni also performed throughout the month. Candoco Dance Company, featuring alumni Megan Armishaw and Olivia Edgington, had several of their works featured in Sydney Opera House’s Digital Season. 

Choreographer Malik Nashad Sharpe’s piece He’s Dead, inspired by the music and life of Tupac Shakur, was performed at Battersea Arts Centre this month. The piece was reviewed well in the Guardian and the Stage.  

Cloud Gate Theatre, of whom Ching-Chun Lee is Associate Artistic Director, presented their new work Send in a Cloud in a tour around Taiwan this month. Also touring is Jeff Wayne’s musical production of War of the Worlds. 

The Love is Attention series of live events and concerts took place around Lewisham throughout March. Moses Boyd’s concert in this series at The Albany received a 5-star review in the Evening Standard. 

Nardus Williams appeared in Cosi fan tutte with the English National Opera, which received this 4-star review from the Stage. 

March saw the annual SXSW Music Festival take place, where several music alumni performed. The Austin Chronicle interviewed Daniel Casimir about the event, and praised him, Cherise Adams-Burnett and Cassie Kinoshi for their performances in this review. 

Cassie also featured as cover star for Jazzwise’s April 2022 edition celebrating the magazine’s 25th anniversary, and the magazine’s list of the best new albums for March 2022 featured Feeding the Machine, the recent album from Binker and Moses, and Legacy, from the group Kinetica Bloco, which includes alumni Emmanuel Franklyn Adelabu, Lily Carassik, Mark Kavuma, Nubya Garcia, Reuben James, Ruben Fox, and Sheila Maurice-Grey. 

Also featuring in the media this month was alum and Director of the New Zealand School of Dance Garry Trinder, who spoke to Dance Europe’s about the school’s 55th anniversary celebrations. 

Reuben James appeared in Complex’s list of British R&B and Soul artists to watch in 2022, while Nubya Garcia was interviewed by Stereogum for their Month in Jazz column, and Dai Fujikira’s Bach-inspired Sweet Suites featured in the Strad’s examination of several pieces composed during the quarantine. 

Alumni have also celebrated wins, appointments and new research during March. 

Luca Silvestrini’s dance company Protein has been involved in the Rural Touring Dance Initiative, bringing dance to spaces outside of large cultural centres. The RTDI’s findings were published at the end of February, showing how rural touring could be a new reliable path for the sector. 

Emma Redding has been appointed Director of the Victorian College of the Arts at the University of Melbourne. 

James Newby received a Borletti-Buitoni Trust prize. 


Coming Up: 

The cast of The Secret Diary of Adrien Mole Aged 13 ¾ at Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch has been announced, with alum Tom Self playing Bert. The show will run 28 April – 21 May. 

Jazz ensemble Kokoroko, featuring alumni Sheila Maurice-Grey and Cassie Kinoshi, announced their debut album Could We Be More is set to be released in August. 

Cellist Ayanna Witter-Johnson performs at Wigmore Hall on 5 May. 

Cohort of students in caps and gowns.

Alumni Roundup November 2021

A roundup of alumni news, success and creative endeavours.

Many of our alumni performed at the EFG London Jazz Festival 2021 (12-21 Nov), joining a city-wide showcase of talent from around the world.

Olie Brice and Tom Challenger, along with Will Glaser, headlined a performance Downstairs at The Vortex, while Damon Brown took to the stage at the MAP Café in Kentish Town in his first performance in England for two years, having spent much of the COVID-19 pandemic in Seoul.

Rebecca Nash played at the Spice of Life, performing with fellow alums Paul Michael and Matt Fisher. Leo Richardson and Deschanel Gordon were part of Quentin Collins’ Sextet at SpiceJazz Soho. Femi Koleoso performed in a retrospective on Tony Allen’s music at the Royal Festival Hall, and Xhosa Cole performed with Cecile McLorin Salvant at Cadogan Hall.

Nérija, a jazz septet featuring alumni Lizy Exell, Nubya Garcia, Cassie Kinoshi, Sheila Maurice-Grey, and Rosie Turton, opened for Charles Lloyd at the Barbican, in an concert that earned five stars from The Times. They, along with alumni Laura Jurd and Cherise Adams-Burnett, were among the wealth of multi-skilled female jazz musicians rocking the festival and smashing stereotypes.

Composer, saxophonist and bandleader Cassie also spoke to Red Bull about creating futuristic jazz music that tells stories of modern society and the experience of being a young Black woman in the UK.

This month, Afrobeat pioneer and activist Fela Kuti was honoured with a Blue Plaque, installed at his former west London home in Shepherd’s Bush where he lived while studying at Trintiy Laban. This follows last year’s installation of a temporary commemorative plaque at our Faculty of Music as part of the Black Plaque Project. Unveiled as part of the conservatoire’s Black Culture 365 programme, we’re proud that it is now a permanent fixture at our Greenwich campus.

November saw multiple award wins and nominations for our alumni, including Made Kuti who has been nominated along with his father Femi Kuti for the Best Global Music Album at the 2022 Grammy Awards, for their album Legacy +.

Daniel Casimir won Instrumentalist of the Year and Emma-Jean Thackray was named UK Jazz Act of The Year at the 2021 Jazz FM Awards.

Transitions alum Mirjam Gurtner won the June Johnson Newcomer prize at Schweizer Preis Darstellende Künste 2021.

Soprano Hilary Cronin was named the winner of the prestigious international Handel Singing Competition 2021, taking home both first prize and the audience prize. Second prize was awarded to fellow alum Bethany Horak-Hallet, and Felix Kemp also performed in the final.

Musical Director of the Bristol Choral Society Hilary Campbell received the Inspiration Award at this year’s Royal Philharmonic Society Awards, while The Hermes Experiment, founded by Héloïse Werner, won the Young Artist Award.

Baritone Michael Lafferty and collaborative pianist Ashley Beauchamp made it to the final of the renowned Kathleen Ferrier Awards.

Throughout November our dance alumni shared their expertise at Independent Dance, including morning classes with Carolyn Roy, Lizzy Le Quesne and Alexandra Baybutt and Monday Night Improv with Kate Brown.

James Pett performed in and Assistant Directed dance film A Space Left Blank, which was shown at three international festivals this autumn – Florence Dance on Screen Festival, Frame x Frame Film Festival in Houston, Texas, and Inspired Dance Festival in Sydney and Perth, Australia.

Also running through the month, alum Peter Edwards conducted Tomorrow’s Warriors ensemble Nu Civilisation Orchestra on their UK tour touring celebrating 50 years since the release of Marvin Gaye’s iconic album ‘What’s Going On’.

Running until December 11 at English National Opera, HMS Pinafore has been getting rave reviews and alum Jonathan Savournin is a stand out.

Coming up:

Alum Cecilia McDowall has been commissioned by King’s College, Cambridge to write this year’s carol for the annual Christmas Eve Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. She has chosen to set her piece to the traditional song “There is no rose”, which she hopes will bring “a moment of stillness” to the Christmas Eve service. The piece will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service on 24 December at 15:00.

Jazz-grime group Ezra Collective, featuring alumni Femi Koleoso, Joe Armon-Jones, and Dylan Jones, will be releasing a new album in the next month.

Season 2 of the Tight Lads podcast, created by alumni Chesney Fawkes Porter, Jordan Donnelly and Abi O’Neill, has begun. Their most recent episodes are a deep dive on the musical Heathers, and a discussion of how body confidence can change through the seasons.