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Master’s Student launches Europik Music Online Festival

Cellist Thibault Blanchard curates digital chamber music series for summer 2020

Launching on Friday 26 June and running until 3 September, the Europik Music Online Festival features seven live-streamed chamber music events.

Created and produced by Trinity Laban postgraduate Thibault Blanchard, the Festival has been designed to provide paid opportunities for musicians and offer the performers and audience an authentic concert-going experience.

Viewers are invited to purchase their ticket online, for either a single event or the whole series, and will only be able to stream the content in real-time, as if they were attending in person.

By making the content exclusive via broadcast with no replay, Thibault hopes to create the sense of occasion, evoking the transient atmosphere of a physical live event.

In a change of pace from Zoom screens and sofas, the musicians will perform – whilst maintaining social distancing – within real-life concert venues in London and France.

The audience will be invited to submit questions that the musicians will answer in a live post-concert interview.

Festival founder Thibault comments –

“Europik Music Online Festival was created in response to the current health crisis to support musicians. Performing live represents the mainstay of the musical profession and we want to offer a performance platform for artists to reconnect with their audience and bring back a sense of community between the listeners and musicians.

In these uncertain times, it is important for us to create live performances with all their usual energy, spontaneity, expression of life and body and risk-taking in a real concert environment.”

Thibault developed his entrepreneurial skills by organising his own projects during Trinity Laban’s annual collaboration festival, CoLab, and has honed his abilities through the Digital Musicianship and Entrepreneurial modules as part of his programme.

“My studies have helped me to build up my confidence as an organiser and I now feel ready to take on bigger, external projects.”

Among the artists involved in Europik Music Online Festival are several from the TL family including: Duo Furioso, formed of alumni and award-winning cellists Helena Švigelj and Urška Horvat; Pianist and faculty member Irina Lyakhovskaya; husband and wife duo Samuel Burstin (viola) and Ana Šinkovec (piano); and Carne Trust Ensembles in Residence the Carducci Quartet.

With immersive settings and interactive features, this promises to be an exceptional digital experience.

To find out more, and book tickets, visit: europikmusic.com

Image credit: Juno Snowdon

Performance Dates and Artists:

  • 26 June – Carducci Quartet: Matthew Denton (violin), Michelle Fleming (violin), Eoin Schmidt-Martin (viola), Emma Denton (cello)
  • 3 July – Duo Furioso (cello)
  • 10 July – Irina Lyakhovskaya (piano)
  • 17 July – Ana Šinkovec (piano), Samuel Burstin (viola)
  • 21 August – Duo Zyia: Apolline Kirklar (violin), Lucie Arnal (cello)
  • 28 August – Nicolas Prost (vibraphone), Franck Tortiller (saxophone)
  • 3 Sept – Lana Trotovšek (violin), Boris Bizjak (flute)

Innovation Award 2019 winner launches new platform for emerging composers

Composition alum James Layton presents first ‘Into the Ocean’ digital concert

Curated by James Layton, one of six winners of the inaugural TL Innovation Award, ‘Into the Ocean’ is an integrated concert and recording series showcasing the work of recent graduate composers.

The project has its origins in James’ time at TL studying composition, where a highlight was how frequently his works were performed and recorded. He recognised the importance of this for developing artists, but noticed that many contemporary classical record labels tend to focus on work by established composers. To remedy this, James set up ‘Into the Ocean’, a new platform for emerging writers.

James is launching ‘Into the Ocean’ on Friday 26 June with, a concert streamed on Trinity Laban’s YouTube channel at 19.00.

Originally due to be performed last month at The Hundred Years Gallery, the performance has been reinvented for a digital audience.

Included in the 30-minute programme performed by American violist Stephen Upshaw (TL’s Richard Carne Junior Fellow for Individuals 2016-17) are premieres of Georgina Bowden’s Yaban Arilar (Wild Bees) and Heather Stephenson’s Passacaglia, two new commissions specifically written for ‘Into the Ocean’ by TL alumni.

The evening’s concert offers a taster of the brand-new album of newly commissioned works by emerging composers which is due for release later this year.

For more info on ‘Into the Ocean: The Viola – featuring Stephen Upshaw’ please visit the Facebook event page.

Image credit: Georgina Bowden

Rebecca Allen named president to rebranded label: EMI Records

Trinity Laban Governor and Music alum Rebecca Allen has been named President of renowned EMI Records, following from her successful role as President of Decca.

Most recently named Virgin EMI, EMI Records has relaunched and rebranded. Triggered by the previous President, Ted Cockle’s, departure, the rebrand will be marked under its new title and its new President, TL alum Rebecca Allen.

The London-based label is one of Universal Music UK’s biggest and houses artists such as Florence + The Machine, Elton John and Bastille. Supporting big names is no new challenge to Rebecca who is coming from a three-year stint at Decca supporting artists such as Gregory Porter, Jamie Cullum and The Lumineers.  

Rebecca will be reporting to Universal Music UK Chairman & CEO David Joseph who said in a MBW press release:

“Rebecca’s track record at Decca speaks for itself but her string of successes don’t tell the full story: quite simply she is an inspirational leader and no-one has a greater understanding of what it takes to bring artists and music to new audiences.

“She is an extraordinarily dynamic and creative executive with the vision and ambition to restore EMI Records to its position as a powerhouse of culture and music discovery.”

Rebecca Allen graduated from what was then Trinity College of Music (now Trinity Laban) in 1995 with a GTCL. She started her career in the BBC Symphony Orchestra and later the BBC Proms. Rebecca joined Universal Classics and Jazz in 1999 and remained with the label after it was re-named Decca Records UK where she eventually became President. Rebecca is also a Governor for Trinity Laban.

Find out more about studying music at Trinity Laban.

Image Credit: Alisa Connan

Alum premieres new work for Bang on a Can Marathon

Award-winning composer and harpist Ailie Robertson presents the world premiere of her new commission to fundraise against injustice

In April, contemporary classical music organisation Bang on a Can commissioned Trinity Laban alum Ailie Robertson to compose a new work for virtuoso double bassist Gregg August.

The Bells Are All Silent receives its world premiere on Sunday 14 June alongside pieces by internationally celebrated composers such as Nico Muhly, Terry Reilly, Judd Greenstein and Pamela Z. 

Ailie’s piece is one of 10 premieres commissioned for the event, and amongst 25 live performances connecting musicians in a six-hour online concert of “non-conformist, boundary-smashing music from all over the globe”.

This marathon event is free to attend, with 10% of donations going to Equal Justice Initiative, to support of Bang on a Can’s “commitment to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting the basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.”

Since its first Marathon concert in 1987, Bang on a Can has been building an international community dedicated to innovative music, wherever it is found.  With adventurous programs, it commissions new composers, performs, presents, and records new work, reaches new audiences, and educates emerging musicians. 

Ailie, who completed her PhD at Trinity Laban in the summer of 2019, comments –

“I’ve been delighted to work with virtuoso Double Bass player Gregg August on The Bells Are All Silent. Thanks to Bang on a Can, the ASCAP Foundation and Connie Steensma and Rick Prins for their support in commissioning this work.”

The concert begins at 20.00 BST Sunday 14 June and can be accessed at https://marathon2020.bangonacan.org/   

A spotlight on… our oboe staff

Our Wind Brass and Percussion department has world-class teachers who enjoy incredible professional performance careers while inspiring and supporting our students.

Our roster oboe and cor anglais staff is no exception, with five Principals of major UK orchestras:

Described by Gramophone magazine as “an elegant soloist”, professor Ruth Bolister is Principal Oboe of English National Opera, a position she has held since 1997. She has been teaching at Trinity Laban since 2016.

Chris O’Neal has been a teacher at TL since 2002 and an established principal oboe player for over 25 years. He holds Principal Oboe positions in the Orchestra of St Johns, the London Mozart Players and the New Queens Hall Orchestra.

Tutor David Thomas is the former Assistant Principal Oboe with the Hallé Orchestra and Principal Oboe of BBC Symphony Orchestra, and held the position of Principal Oboe with the Royal Opera House Orchestra until 2015 before going freelance.

Alan Garner Principal Cor Anglais player with Royal Opera House Orchestra and holds the unusual distinction of having held full-time posts in all three roles within the orchestral oboe section. He previously worked as Second Oboe of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Principal Oboe with the Orchestra of Scottish Opera.

The newest member of the double reed staff team, Maxwell Spiers is principal cor anglais with the Royal Ballet Sinfonia and is a regular guest with the English Chamber Orchestra, the Northern Sinfonia, the Orchestra of English National Opera and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House.

We caught up with them to find out more about what they love about teaching their instrument at TL:

What’s been your best Trinity Laban moment? 

Ruth: Playing alongside my students in the Side-by Side orchestra.

Alan: The joy of finding ways of conquering a particular stumbling block for a student is a lovely thing to see – the sudden ‘light-bulb’ moment when they realise that they have found their way!

Chris: Conducting the Wind Ensemble last Summer in the Royal Chapel and St James’s, Piccadilly.  The students really stepped up in a tricky programme of unfamiliar works.

David: Welcoming our new members of teaching staff to the oboe department really was a red-letter day.

Maxwell: The day all the new reed making machines arrived for the oboe students to use. We now have one of the best facilities in the country.  It has been fantastic to see the oboe students develop and blossom as musicians since then, facilitated with much better reeds.

What do you love about your instrument?

Chris: The sheer viscerality of the oboe tone makes it possible to express music in such a variety of colours.

Alan: I love the pitch and sonority of the Cor Anglais. It can take on many different roles in an orchestra… One of the most rewarding aspects of playing the Cor Anglais is really getting ‘inside’ the sounds of other instruments to create new colours is.

Ruth: It’s such a personal instrument and it’s really true that everyone has their own individual sound. Also it’s incredibly expressive.

Maxwell: It still captivates me the same today as it did the first time I ever heard it, singing out of the television set at me, aged 3; the oboe featured a lot in television theme tunes back in the day.

David: Some wonderfully expressive music has been written with the oboe in mind. It’s always challenging to try to do justice to these pieces whether it be a Bach cantata, solos in the ballet Swan Lake or an opera like Der Rosenkavalier but extremely rewarding to play.

What are the highlights of being a professional musician?

Alan: It is such a huge privilege to work with my world-class colleagues and visiting artists at the Royal Opera House. We in the orchestra are but one part of a massive ‘family’ from a wide range of skills, all combining to make these incredible works of art come alive. It’s hugely exciting and rewarding to see the sheer emotion on the faces of the audiences.

Maxwell: I sometimes deputise for players who hold chairs in West End shows, which I really enjoy. Currently I play in the musical Wicked which is a brilliant show and lots of fun in the pit.  The oboe part requires the player to double on cor anglais and penny whistle, which is always a challenge. I can occasionally be found secretly playing the organ at my local church too, but only when they’re really stuck!

Which instrumentalists do you most admire?

Maxwell: The first player I ever heard as a teenager who really made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up was the late and very great Lothar Koch. But I also hugely admired the playing of my first oboe teacher’s oboe teacher, Janet Craxton, my oboe grandmother!  Her elegant style was always so beautifully phrased and her sound was lovely – light and vocal.

Ruth: I don’t have one favourite player but enjoy listening to lots of different artists and try to think what I love about, for example, their sound or dynamic range or the way they shape a phrase or vary the articulation.

What is your favourite piece of music to play?

Ruth: I love playing a range of music but especially from the Baroque era which really was the heyday of the oboe. I particularly enjoy playing music by J. S. Bach and Handel. Of course the instrument has evolved since then, but we can take the best style and custom from our period instrument friends to guide us on our modern oboes.

Maxwell: The ballet I’ve enjoyed playing most is Ravel’s score to Daphnis & Chloe. In opera I’d have to go for The Cunning Little Vixen by Janacek, which is just gorgeous.  The Symphonic Dances by Rachmaninov are great fun to play, as are the symphonies, because he writes for the oboe and the cor anglais so brilliantly. 

Alan: When I was a student I never really liked the concept of opera – it was chamber music and orchestral stuff for me – but having found myself in an opera orchestra I discovered this astonishing treasure-trove of jaw-dropping music. And what’s more, the Cor Anglais has a massive role in this repertoire. It’s such a dramatically-useful sound, especially for tragedy. I get to play some of the greatest solos, day-in, day-out.

Listening recommendations?

Chris: I would recommend every instrumentalist listen to as much opera as possible, from all eras. That’s where the true expression is. Listen for the cries from the heart of the myriad of 19th century tragediennes, the humour from so many of Mozart’s characters, and the sincerity and brilliance of Handel’s works.

Alan: Listen to the Oboe/Cor writing in Act 3 of Wagner’s Die Walkure, where a heartbroken Wotan is committing his ‘soulmate’ daughter Brunhilde to be imprisoned within a ring of magic fire. It is almost transcendental in its beauty tinged with tragedy and regret. Sublime!

Find out more about our double reed department on our Wind Brass and Percussion pages

Image L-R: David Thomas, Ruth Bolister, Maxwell Spiers, Chris O’Neal and Alan Garner (credit JK Photography)

Take Part at Home with our New Digital Resource

We’re delighted to introduce Take Part At Home, our unique collection of free digital resources for the whole family, expanding the ways in which we connect with our wider community while they’re at home.

As London’s Creative Conservatoire, we are committed to providing opportunities for people to encounter dance and music. Our free online resources are specifically designed to enable individuals and families of all ages to engage with us in creative ways.

From light-touch, bite-sized dance activities to deep-dives into the listening experience, the wealth of bespoke music and dance learning resources and creative activities includes:

  • weekly creative tasks for young musicians with a chance to be showcased on Trinity Laban’s website and social media channels
  • home learning packs that introduce young children and their families to pieces of music by Beethoven, Rimsky-Korsakov, Dvorak, and Brahms. The downloadable PDFs – accompanied by a Spotify playlist – have background information, tips for closer listening and creative exercises to encourage music-making.
  • a range of short dance activities designed for the home environment. With simple-to-follow instructions children, young people and families can dip in for 15 minutes of fun or expand and link to create movement and develop dance skills.
  • free online course Massive Open Online Course ‘Making Music with Others’ which enables adults to reflect on music-making activities and their interactions with other musicians.
  • a sequence of warm-up videos for dance and movement.
  • a selection of short films focusing on breathing and singing exercises that engage the mind and body and promote good lung health.
  • a guided vocal meditation for adults to find calm through breathing and gentle singing.

Head of Public Engagement Veronica Jobbins MBE comments –

“Created by our talented team of music and dance artists, we hope this digital resource will bring joy and creativity, and support and encourage people to continue to engage with Trinity Laban while they are at home.”

Find out more at trinitylaban.ac.uk/takepartathome

Looking ahead to 2020/21

Trinity Laban plans to fully re-open buildings in September, and teaching will be blended.

In September, subject to UK government guidance, we will fully re-open the Trinity Laban buildings.

To make sure we adhere to UK social distancing measures, which are anticipated to last for some time, teaching in term one will be a combination of in-person and virtual methods.

We will  be taking all relevant measures to maintain hygiene and are working carefully to ensure that our buildings are used in a way that can enable social distancing.

Performance is an integral part of our programmes and we will find innovative ways of presentation, building up across the year as social distancing is relaxed. Visit our YouTube channel to discover the incredible range of digital performance that we’ve produced over the last few months.

We are working closely with the Trinity Laban Student Union to ensure new students get a welcome to remember and anticipate that student life will be as rich and active as ever.

We are staying up-to-date with government expectations on quarantine and other entry requirements in order to support international students and staff.

For more information, please visit our coronavirus guidance page and read our FAQs.

King Charles Court and Laban Building

A Message from The Principal: Black Lives Matter

Dear Trinity Laban community,

Over the past week, many of you have asked me to expand upon Trinity Laban’s response to the global Black Lives Matter protests. I have taken some time, and a lot of thought, to come back to you on this. I wanted to be certain that we could offer a committed route to real change.

As we have already stated, at Trinity Laban we believe – unequivocally – that Black lives matter. But we also recognise that to uphold that belief, and to truly stand in solidarity with our Black staff, students and alumni at this time and at all times, we have significant work to do. Over the past week I have sat with many uncomfortable and difficult feelings as, with my senior team, we have begun to unpick what needs to be done.

Racism is not a matter of freedom of speech. It is an abhorrent form of discrimination that sits outside of political opinion. Black people have the same human rights as white people, and yet through the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless others, we see clearly how these rights are denied. We see clearly that so many of the structures and institutions on which all humans rely are set up to give an advantage to some people over others.

In order for Trinity Laban to uphold our core belief in equality, we have to first admit that we too – as an institution and as a collective of humans – need to examine and alter our structures, in order to dismantle the inequality within them. In order for us to meaningfully celebrate, encourage and ensure diversity in our art forms, we need to make it easier and safer for Black and other minority ethnicity voices to be heard.

My belief is that as an Institution, our actions should speak louder than our words. Here are my commitments:

  • Within the next fortnight, a facilitated cross-faculty meeting with our Black students and alumni so that we can listen to their experiences of racism and white privilege at Trinity Laban. To register your interest, email my team.
  • Within the next fortnight, we will create a space for students and alumni to anonymously log their experiences of micro aggressions and racism at Trinity Laban
  • This term, I am taking over the executive lead of the Equality, Diversity and Access committee, which I will reformulate to increase its effectiveness, with meetings to include a standing item on Black student experience
  • Next term, facilitated discussion meetings with staff and students to support a shared responsibility for changing TL
  • Next term, Anti-racism training for staff and students, with a schedule for regularly refreshing training
  • Next academic year, a review of our Music, Dance and Musical Theatre curriculums, including performance programmes
  • Next term, a review of staff recruitment practices
  • Already underway, a critical review of our Access and Participation plan
  • As soon as possible, a public action plan, reviewed annually
  • As soon as possible, Board of Governors meetings to include a standing item to hold leadership to account

I hope that, as a member of the Trinity Laban community, you will join me in this work. This work is essential. Together, we must make Trinity Laban better and safer, and we must make it equal.

Thank you to those of you who have had the bravery and compassion for your peers to speak out in the past week, and for the patience and respect you have shown me as you await a response.

I will personally drive this work forward.



Professor Anthony Bowne, Principal

May Alumni Roundup

Our roundup of some of the successes of Trinity Laban alumni.

This month alumni continued to stay active in the community during lockdown.

Clarinet alum Elliott DeVivio invited people in the UK to play ‘Ode to Joy’ from windows and doorways during the clap for the NHS on Thursday 7 May, with donations going to NHS Charities and Help Musicians UK. Stjepan Hauser also helped to raise funds and awareness, filming a solo cello concert to support the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and to thank frontline workers around the world. Watch Stjepan play a set including Bach, Puccini and Mascagni in isolation in his Croatian hometown.

Following cancelled work playing live music on hospital wards, alum Jess Tomlinsons Healbeats duo decided to record music to send to hospitals instead. Find out how you can support their work in this video.

Filmed and edited by award-winning filmmaker and dance alum Roswitha Chesher, Greenwich Dance created an online version of their ‘Up My Street: SHOWTIME!’ project designed specifically for residents, families and communities of Greenwich to participate in during lockdown.

Vocal alum Lucy Drever was announced as a music leader in the Benedetti Foundation’s new virtual workshop initiative. We caught up with Lucy to hear about her work in education and upcoming projects.

In our online Industry Insights series, we welcomed back two Musical Theatre alumni. Lori-Jane McLean shared her experience of performing in Six the Musical and Jochebel Ohene MacCarthy discussed her recent roles in The Lion King UK tour and the Ghost International tour.

Many alumni continued to provide online resources for all of us at home during quarantine. Kieran Leonard gave an online percussion lesson for international Bodhrán summer school Bula Buzz, while alum and Trinity Laban bassoon professor Phil Turbett introduced the variety of bassoons he plays for English Touring Opera in their new online series, ‘Warm Technical’.

Nefeli Tsiouti of Project Breakalign led an online session giving tips for hip hop dancers on safe practice for home training sessions during lockdown, Anna Der-Pahlen led daily yoga sessions as part of L’Officiel Magazine’s ‘L’Officiel on Tour’ Instagram series and Musical Theatre alumni Becky Hoyle and Ruth Seager led ‘Daily Dance’ classes for people to participate in over Zoom as well as inviting their neighbours to dance in front of their houses.

The Yard Theatre provided a full day of online shows to help entertain us at home, featuring marikiscrycrycry’s (Malik Nashad Sharpe) recent dance work I’ll Be Lucina.

The world of dance science saw many contributions from alumni this month. Dance alumni Farah Fadzali, Charmaine Tay and Reina Teh have set up new website Scape for dancers in Singapore and Southeast Asia. Read Farah’s article on the importance of dance science in Singapore or read Reina’s fact sheet debunking the myths of resistance training.

Simone Sistarelli gave an interview in Hanna Wroblewski’s online series ‘Creative Creatures’, discussing his project Popping For Parkinson’s and the importance of dance for both mental and physical health.

 In May alumni continued to showcase their talents in live performance. Trinity Laban hosted an online concert from award-winning oboist and alum Olivia Fraser on our Facebook page, while our YouTube channel saw the live premiere of all-female dance collective Mass Hysteria’s new work in this.net.

MOBO and Jazz FM nominated saxophonist Camilla George gave an online performance as part of the Serious Livestream Sessions. Find out more about what Camilla’s been up to in this interview with London Jazz.

National Dance Company Wales recreated Alexandra Weistall’s 2067:Time and Time and Time for all their dancers to perform at home, including alum Camille Giraudeau.

The end of the month saw the TV premiere of the BalletBoyz 20th anniversary show Deluxe. Part of the BBC’s Culture in Quarantine Festival, the show featured dancer Matthew Sandiford, choreography by Maxine Doyle and music by Cassie Kinoshi.

Award-winning composer and saxophonist Cassie was also announced as one of three newly elected members of the Ivors Academy’s Jazz Committee and her SEED Ensemble was nominated for two Parliamentary Jazz Awards alongside fellow alumni Cherise Adams-Burnett, Nubya Garcia and Steve Rubie.

Alumni Rosie Turton and Sam Eagles were among eight artists announced as the new participants in Serious’ Take Five annual programme, offering mentorship and opportunities to emerging jazz and improvising musicians from across the UK.

Elliot Galvin was named as one of four artists to receive a Jerwood Jazz Encounters Fellowship; read more about the pianist’s plans for the fellowship in this interview. Elliot also started a weekly music series, releasing a new electronic composition every Wednesday on Soundcloud.

Other new music released this month included Oscar Jerome’s new single ‘Your Saint’, from his upcoming debut studio album Breathe Deep, and new album To The Earth from Laura Jurd’s Dinosaur, which received wide critical acclaim and gained four-star reviews from The Guardian and The Times.

Also garnering praise were Shirish Malhotra’s “roguish melodies on the clarinet and alto saxophone” on Ape Echoes’ debut album Charlie Dreams of Escape and Nubya Garcia’s new single ‘Pace’, featuring Joe Armon-Jones on keys and Daniel Casimir on bass.

2019 Innovation Awardee James Layton gave followers a sneak peek of his upcoming viola album with his piece ‘Wandering’ while composition alum Emanuele Carbone released new work ‘The Stellar Space Eye’, a collaborative project completed remotely by musicians living in both London and Los Angeles.

Kairos 4tet released their new single ‘The Body Keeps the Score’. Inspired by frontman Adam Waldmanns grandmother, the track also features fellow alum and longstanding collaborator Emilia Mårtensson on vocals.

More dance came to our screens this month when renowned choreographer Rosemary Lee released her 1995 film boy on YouTube and dance alum and movement director Robbie Synge featured in Forest Floor, listed by the Financial Times as one of the best films to stream at home during quarantine.

Transitions Dance Company alum David Ogle choreographed and starred in Sounds of System Breakdown’s remotely-filmed music video for their new single ‘Connect With Me’, also featuring alumni Lisa Rowley, Tim Chew and Ryan O’Neill.

Sadler’s Wells saw hip hop dance meet live music in their Breakin’ Convention online festival starring the Jazz re:freshed Sonic Orchestra and a host of alumni, including Rosie Turton, Wayne Francis, Nubya Garcia, Jay Phelps, Sheila Maurice Grey and Ayanna Witter-Johnson. Hear more from Ayanna in this episode of TNMEA’s ‘Keeping the Beat’ interview series and listen to her new composition ‘Fairtrade?’, commissioned and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra in response to the mistreatment of workers in the fashion industry.

The award-winning cellist and singer Ayanna also featured in composition alum Max De Lucia’s newest instalment of ‘Lockdown Experiment’, created by musicians in isolation around the world. Hear the sounds of percussion alum Manu Delago on hang in this recording, and again in singer Douglas Dare’s track ‘Wherever You Are’.

Alumni continued to entertain with fun music videos this month. In a collaboration between 27 musicians from 8 different countries, MultiTraction Orchestra created new track ‘Emerge Entangled’, featuring alum Rosanna Ter-Berg on flute, while Virtual Big Band released a video of their multi-track online performance of ‘I Want You Back‘ by the Jackson 5 with lead vocals from Ineza Kerschkamp and arrangement by Louise Balkwill.

Vocal alum Ellie Turner joined forces with her parents Paul and Mandy, both of whom studied at Trinity College of Music, to perform ‘The Sun Whose Rays Are All Ablaze’ from The Mikado and award-winning composer Jeff Wayne teamed up with Gary Barlow to perform in his online series ‘Crooner Sessions’.


Coming Up

Don’t miss Million Square performing in the Serious Livestream Sessions on Friday 12 June, 19.00. Formed of saxophone alum Duncan Eagles and electronic artist Max Luthert, the duo will perform their brand-new release Spirit Bloom along with material from previous albums.

Soprano Jessie Tse will lead a live-streamed concert of programme of songs, arias and piano work found in the literary world of author Haruki Murakami. Tune in at 18.00 BST on Saturday 6 June to hear Jessie perform alongside baritone Przemyslaw Baranek and pianist Danor Quinteros.

Alum Manuel Arellano Bover’s Siegfried Camerata will continue their ‘Music Talks’ series on Zoom this Saturday, 11.00 BST, inviting String faculty staff John Crawford to discuss freedom of movement in playing and performance.

James Layton has curated the first ‘Into the Ocean’ online concert, showcasing solo viola music by young composers, performed by Stephen Upshaw, which will be premiered on YouTube 19.00 on Friday 19 June.

Parliamentary Jazz Awards: 2020 nominations

Alumni and staff shortlisted at this year’s prestigious awards that celebrate best of British jazz

Following an online public vote, nominations for the 2020 Parliamentary Jazz Awards have been announced.

The shortlist, chosen by a panel representing a broad cross-section of backgrounds, united in their passion and knowledge of jazz, includes:

  • Jazz alum Cherise Adams Burnett for Jazz Vocalist of the Year
  • Saxophonist Nubya Garcia for Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year
  • Jazz pianist and faculty member Liam Noble for Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year
  • Professor of jazz trumpet and composition Byron Wallen for Jazz Ensemble of the Year (Byron Wallen’s Four Corners)

Musician and alum Steve Rubie,who has run London’s 606 club since 1976, has been nominated for the Services to Jazz Award and for Jazz Venue of the Year.

Composition alum Cassie Kinoshi’s SEED Ensemble has picked up two nominations: Jazz Album of the Year for the Mercury-nominated Driftglass and Jazz Ensemble of the Year.

In the press release John Spellar MP, Co-Chair of All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group (APPJAG), said –

“These shortlists demonstrate the wealth of talent and commitment that exists in the British jazz scene. Now in its 15th year, the Parliamentary Jazz Awards honours the best of British jazz. MPs and Peers in the All Party Group are delighted to host another ceremony at Pizza Express Live and we are extremely grateful to Pizza Express Live for supporting the event.”

Established in 2005 by the APPJAG, the Parliamentary Jazz Awards are recognised as some of the UK’s most important and respected awards, recognising rising stars and established talent.

The winners, chosen by judging members of the APPJAG, will be announced at 8.30pm on Tuesday 30 June 2020.

To learn more about jazz at Trinity Laban, visit our jazz pages

Image credit: Steven Cropper

About being lost, belonging and kindness

For Mental Health Awareness Week performance psychologist and Trinity Laban lecturer Dr Liliana S. Araújo reflects on the impact of Covid-19 and the importance of kindness.

A worldwide pandemic is changing us in ways we do not really understand or know how to explain it. Our comfort zone was abruptly swirled without permission, and we lost a sense of control over our way of being and living. We do not like it. We feel lost, somehow disconnected. Many of us are behaving, thinking, and feeling in ways that feel unfamiliar to us, which can be very unsettling. It is like being lost in a forest, trapped without knowing which way to go: ‘should I wait for a miraculous solution, turn back, or keep walking forwards?’. Some days feel like we are closer to a way out, or we may even feel brave enough to explore a new path and get excited about it; other days feel like we are alone and will never see beyond that forest.


Over the past two months, we quickly learned how to navigate a new forest of online learning and teaching, using ‘drones and geolocation’ apps (assuming our internet signal is good enough) as in a videogame with different levels of accomplishment. As human beings, we have an intrinsic tendency to seek novelty and challenge, to explore and to learn, to protect ourselves and others; our ability to adjust to adverse situations is remarkable. We are probably experiencing a gradual ability to adjust and manage this situation and find our way through that unknown forest. However, the ‘virtual reality’ we are all living in is not our reality as human beings.

Research has established that there is a universal set of psychological needs that are essential to our social functioning and personal wellbeing. They are autonomy, or feeling that we have choice and we are empowered; competence, feeling that we can find optimal challenges and deal effectively with our environments; and relatedness, which relates to the need for social interactions and a sense of belonging. The extent to which we feel our basic psychological needs are satisfied (or frustrated) has important consequences for learning, performance, personal experiences and psychological functioning. This pandemic has certainly affected our psychological needs and strongly impacted our motivation, productivity, and wellbeing.

We are all sharing our homes in this virtually oriented landscape, yet our sense of belonging is deeply affected. Our own public and private spaces are being redesigned. We ‘go home’ when we close the screen of a computer or end a video call, probably remaining in the same space. Our class ends and we are not staying behind having a chat or answering a quick question while leaving the room. The Zoom calls have a disturbing silence so unnatural of an educational setting. We are not seeing colleagues and students in the corridor or stopping to share a thought, a smile, or a hug. We are not saying ‘bye’ to someone taking the same bus or train on our way home whilst having unexpected conversations. Neither we are saying ‘morning!’ to the people in the reception and whoever is entering the building at that time, make us smile even if we are in a bad mood. Those were small gestures and acts of kindness in our ordinary days that would give us a sense of being connected, belonging, being part of a community, and that has changed indeterminately.

This week is Mental Health Awareness week and we are reminded to be kind. Being kind is a prosocial behaviour intended to benefit others and marked by the ability to feel concern and consideration for others. It is about sharing, comforting, cooperating, showing empathy and compassion for others. This behaviour naturally triggers a sense of connectedness and certainly requires courage and strength. It cannot be imposed, or it can backfire. It is an individual and organisational voluntary choice. The best thing of kindness: it is contagious! A recent study showed exactly that: being kind benefits both those who give and receive acts of kindness and has long-term effects. It is inspiring and make people feel more satisfied with their work and lives.

From a psychological perspective, this pandemic feels like being part of an experiment that would never get ethical approval to run and yet, it is happening. The cognitive, behavioural, social, and emotional impact of this pandemic at individual, organisational and societal levels is far from being understood, explained, anticipated, or managed. The psychological impact is unprecedented and cannot be underestimated. This is undoubtedly showing that we are more than human doings, we are human beings! So please, let us be kind to ourselves and others because we are all learning a new way of being.


Dr Araújo is a Programme Leader MSc and MFA in Dance Science and Senior lecturer in Performance Psychology (Music and Dance) at Trinity Laban.

Find out more about Dance Science on our study pages.


Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2008). Self-determination theory: A macrotheory of human motivation, development, and health. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie Canadienne, 49(3), 182.

Chancellor, J., Margolis, S., Jacobs Bao, K., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2018). Everyday prosociality in the workplace: The reinforcing benefits of giving, getting, and glimpsing. Emotion, 18(4), 507.