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Statement on recent events in the Jazz department

You may be aware that in recent days a member of TL staff shared their personal views about the jazz scene in an email they forwarded to students which is now in the public domain.

We are unable to comment on actions taken in response to this email, but we want to make it clear that Trinity Laban in no way endorses or aligns with the views expressed within it. At present the member of staff is not performing teaching or examining duties.

After a meeting with our students yesterday – held to give them space to express their concerns and feelings about this issue – we would like to say firstly how in awe we are of their sense of community and solidarity with each other. We also recognise that we still have a large amount of work to do to provide an inclusive environment in which our students feel safe from harm and discrimination.

We hope that our actions in the coming weeks, months and years will speak louder than our words today.

Hope 4 Justice EP calls for urgent action on the climate emergency

“The pollution is getting worse every day, every minute, every second. Aren’t you ashamed that the first person to die of pollution was a little girl from Lewisham, who was just like me? The songs that we sing show we care; we care about Lewisham.” – Zahra, Brindishe Manor student

Today, on the eleventh anniversary of the death of Lewisham resident Ella Roberta Adoo Kissi Debrah who died aged nine after a fatal asthma attack, Air from the forthcoming Hope 4 Justice EP is released on all major streaming platforms. Ella was the first person in the world to have air pollution listed as a cause of death on their death certificate. Air is a powerful dedication to Ella, with lyrics written by Mercury Prize nominee ESKA and Young People’s Poet Laureate for London Cecilia Knapp, the children’s voices boldly asserting “I’ve got the right to breathe in my own city’s streets.”

In 2022 over 1,000 young people, including students from 27 South London schools took part in Hope 4 Justice, an urgent call to action on the climate emergency highlighting issues such as air quality, ‘throw-away’ culture and housing inequality through compelling performances of music, dance and spoken word. Created and produced by Trinity Laban in collaboration with leading artists and local young people, the socially engaged project was a key part of the Mayor’s London Borough of Culture 2022 celebrations and was performed in Mountsfield Park on Saturday 18 June 2022.

Now, to commemorate the project, five songs composed by Mercury Prize nominated artist ESKA have been recorded at Trinity Laban with John Stainer Community Primary School Choir and students from the TL Jazz Department and will be shared as an EP on 8 March.

The Hope 4 Justice EP also features tracks Building (Foundations), Future Culture, New Legacy and Waste.

Listen to Air here.

Pre-order the Hope 4 Justice EP (including a limited edition CD version here).

Hope 4 Justice was created and produced by Trinity Laban for We Are Lewisham and was co-commissioned with The Albany. It was part of a wider programme of climate emergency artworks commissioned for We Are Lewisham, the Mayor’s London Borough of Culture for 2022. Special thanks to ESKA, choreographer Sarah Golding, writer Cecilia Knapp and all the wonderful students, musicians and dancers involved.

Remembering Emma Gladstone OBE

Trinity Laban is extremely sad to learn of the death of alum and honorary fellow Emma Gladstone OBE.

Emma was a cherished member of the Trinity Laban community. Graduating from the inaugural Transitions Dance Company class in 1986, she went on to co-found Adventures in Motion Pictures with her friends and TL classmates Sir Matthew Bourne and David Massingham. She was an extraordinary dancer, also dancing with Lea Anderson’s company The Colmondeleys.

Emma moved into producing, presenting performances for many partners including the Southbank Centre, The Place, Latitude Festival, Tate Modern and the Young Vic. She was Associate Director at The Place Theatre and then Artistic Producer and Programmer at Sadler’s Wells and for over seven years Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Dance Umbrella.

Emma was Chair at Siobhan Davies Studios, and in Trustee positions at Aesop and Dartington Hall Trust. She remained closely linked to Trinity Laban throughout her career, and will be sorely missed by us all.

Professor Peter Dickinson captured standing in front of a field. His is wearing a black blazer.

Remembering Professor Peter Dickinson, 1934 – 2023

Composer, pianist, academic, author and broadcaster Professor Peter Dickinson (1934 – 2023) has died at age 88. Professor Dickinson was a former Governor and Honorary Fellow of Trinity College of Music, and a valued member of our musical community.

Professor Dickinson was born in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, England, on 15 November 1934 and in later life lived in Suffolk. He went to Cambridge as Organ Scholar of Queens’ College and then spent three formative years in New York, initially at the Juilliard School, then working as a critic and freelance performer. After a spell as a pianist at the New York City Ballet, where he played for Balanchine to choreograph, he became a Lecturer at Fairleigh Dickinson University, New Jersey. From this time onwards Dickinson’s music has been regularly performed and recorded by some of the leading musicians and in 1988 the leading British TV arts programme, Melvyn Bragg’s South Bank Show, made a one-hour documentary about him.

Professor Dickinson was known for introducing music lovers in Britain to new sounds from America from ragtime and jazz to the most experimental pieces. He inspired interest in unfamiliar works and was a pioneer in the teaching of jazz and popular music in UK degree courses.

An authority on American and British composers from Aaron Copland and John Cage to Sir Lennox Berkeley and Lord Berners, he wrote books including The Music of Lennox Berkeley (1988) and CageTalk: Dialogues With and About John Cage (2006).

These composers in turn inspired Dickinson to write concertos for organ (1971), piano (1984) and violin (1986). Other major works included his Blue Rose Variations for organ, which was performed at the BBC Proms by David Titterington in 2009, and his Mass of the Apocalypse, played by the Mahler Chamber Orchestra at the Aldeburgh festival in 2015.

In addition to his other work, Professor Dickinson was a philanthropist and co-founder of the music education charity, Rainbow Dickinson Trust, alongside another former TCM student Dr. Bernarr Rainbow. The Trust has a continuous record for supporting musical projects involving training for young people, performance and research, spending over £300,000 since it was established. It has supported the publication or republication of writings by Rainbow, often brought up to date by specially commissioned further material, and has completed his series of thirty-five Classic Texts in Music Education. The running of the Trust will now be taken over by Professor Dickinson’s son Francis.

He is survived by his wife, his sons and his sister.

Kaleidoscope: Celebrating Black British Music

Introducing Kaleidoscope, a groundbreaking new initiative celebrating the work of Black British composers and Black musical artists in Britain. The repertoire presented ranges across all genres, featuring solo, small and large ensemble, and staged performances, with selected works set in the context of music by composers from other backgrounds whose work is also frequently overlooked in mainstream programming.  

Kaleidoscope not only provides an opportunity for audiences to experience Black British music from across history and the current moment, but also ensures that our students are exposed to work that reaches beyond the established classical music canon taught in conservatoires, in which Black British composers and artists are routinely overlooked. 

Roger Wilson, Trinity Laban Governor and Founder of Black Lives in Music said: “Kaleidoscope is a bold new initiative. It’s typical of the work that Trinity Laban does in acknowledging and connecting a wider community in terms of students, performers, creators and audiences. There is a rich cornucopia of music to hear as part of the programme, while allowing us to celebrate their creators whose voices are traditionally underrepresented. Don’t Stop the Carnival on 26 October at Blackheath Halls embodied the very spirit of this initiative. It featured the collaborative, creative magic of Kevin Le Gendre and Camilla George and, in turn, heralded much more to come from this programme through to the end of this year and beyond.”

Dr. Aleksander Szram, Director of Music said: “As part of our commitment to amplify the music by hitherto under-represented composers, the Faculty of Music’s public performance programme over the next two academic years will seek to highlight and celebrate the work of Black British composers and Black musical artists in Britain. This ambitious initiative demonstrates Trinity Laban’s determination to make space for more voices, an aspect of our community that is quite unique in the sector and one that holds a very deep personal resonance with me.”

Some performance highlights in the 2023/24 season include:

Trinity Laban Symphony Orchestra
Great Hall, Blackheath Halls
Thursday 2 November, 19:30 

Conducted by Alpesh Chauhan and Vicente Chavarria, Trinity Laban Symphony Orchestra will perform Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Touissant L’Ouverture op. 46 and award-winning contemporary composer James B. Wilson’s Remnants for Poet and Orchestra.

Coleridge-Taylor was an 19th-century composer and conductor and is an iconic figure in Black British history. Toussaint Louverture was inspired by the eponymous black General, who was born enslaved, and led Haiti to independence from the French. 

James B. Wilson’s Remnants, featuring a poem by Yomi Sode, re-opened the Southbank Centre in 2022. In this work the words and music respond to 2020’s most viral image, depicting Patrick Hutchinson saving a counter protestor at a Black Lives Matter protest. 

Trinity Laban Jazz Orchestra & Big Band
Great Hall, Blackheath Halls
Wednesday 24 January 2024, 19:30 

Trinity Laban Jazz Orchestra will perform works by TL professor, composer and trumpeter Byron Wallen. Byron is a seminal figure in the Jazz world, and has performed with the likes of Chaka Khan, George Benson, Mulatu Astatke, and many others. Wallen is an acclaimed writer and producer whose original scores have been commissioned by the Science Museum; PRS, the BBC, Jerwood Foundation, Southbank Centre, National Theatre, Arts Council, FIFA and Sage Gateshead. 

Trinity Laban Big Band will play alongside Trinity College of Music alum, and acclaimed trombonist Winston Rollins. His background is steeped in music, having been in bands such as The Brand New Heavies, Incognito, Aswad, Jamiroquai, Courtney Pine. Currently he is a member of Jool Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, since 1994 he has been one of four trombonists in the Brass section of the Orchestra. 

Trinity Laban Symphony Orchestra
Great Hall, Blackheath Halls
Thursday 28 March 2024, 19:30 

Conducted by Matthew Lynch, Trinity Laban Symphony Orchestra will perform Daniel Kidane’s Sun Poem alongside Eleanor Alberga’s First Symphony. 

Matthew Lynch is a regular collaborator of the composers Max Richter and Devonté Hynes, and has performed their music with ensembles internationally. In the 2023/24 season he will be returning to London’s Southbank Centre to perform Beethoven’s Eroica with the Chineke! Orchestra and making debuts with, the Philharmonia, the London Mozart Players, Sinfonia Viva, and the French chamber orchestra, Le Balcon. 

Trinity Laban Chamber Choir with Alexander Douglas
St Alfege Church, Greenwich
Thursday 6 June 2024, 13:05 

Conductor, composer and multi-genre musician, Alexander Douglas, conducts Trinity Laban’s Chamber Choir in a programme that features classical works alongside gospel music.  

Trinity Laban Opera: Dido’s Ghost
Great Hall, Blackheath Halls
Thursday 4 – Saturday 6 July 2024 

As its annual Summer opera, Trinity Laban presents Errollyn Wallen’s continuation of the story of Dido and Aeneas, which frames the original Purcell opera within Wallen’s new drama.  

Participants of the Trinity Laban Saxophone Competition stand in a row facing the camera.

Trinity Laban Saxophone Competition 2023 winner announced

Congratulations to Jake Phillips, the winner of this year’s Trinity Laban Saxophone Competition, and Steph Barker who was awarded a highly commended!

The annual Trinity Laban Saxophone Competition took place on October 9, and was adjudicated by Dr. Emilie Capulet (Programme Leader – BMus). Competitors were required to perform a five-minute movement/section/piece from their 2023 end of year recital programme, reacting to the written feedback given to develop their performance.

The programme was as follows:

  • Annabelle Duxbury Improvisation 1 (Ryo Noda)
  • Steph Barker Fusion Suite. Mvt 3 (Catherine McMichael)
  • Zhiwei Feng Prelude and Cadence from Prelude, Cadence and Finale (Alfred Desenclos)
  • Amadea Topalli Hot Sonate: Mvt I (Erwin Schulhoff)
  • Lily Skinner The Door of No Return: Mvt 3: The Door of Return (Althea Talbot-Howard)
  • Jake Phillips October Dances: Mvt 2 (Mick Foster)

Dr. Emilie Capulet said: “It was wonderful to hear such a varied and diverse programme of works, performed to the highest standards by all the students taking part.”

Jake Phillips, the 2023 winner said: “Firstly, I would like to thank Howarth of London for sponsoring the competition. It was a great opportunity for us all to perform and receive some well-informed and much-appreciated feedback from our new program leader Emilie Capulet.

I was last on the program, and it was a privilege to stand outside and hear all the other participants perform before me. I played the second movement of Mick Foster’s October Dances, an exciting but melancholic piece which really challenged me and brought out the best in my playing. It was an honour to win the competition and I look forward to continuing my progress with the help of some new equipment (courtesy of Howarth of London, thank you again!)”

We gratefully acknowledge the generous support we receive from Howarth of London to make this annual competition possible and extend our thanks to Gavin Tate-Lovery (TL alum) for joining us on their behalf. The winner received a £250 voucher to spend at Howarth of London’s shop at 31 Chiltern Street, London W1U 7PN.

A.R. Rahman stands next to TL Principal Anthony Bowne. They are jointly holding a signed agreement between TL and KM Music Conservatory.

Academy Award-winning composer A.R. Rahman visits Trinity Laban

We were delighted to welcome A.R. Rahman to Trinity Laban this week. His visit followed a headline show at the O2 on Saturday 30 September, his first London performance in six years.

A.R. Rahman dropped in at Laban Building and King Charles Court to check out the work of our Music, Dance and Musical Theatre students, including a Composition seminar and a rehearsal with students Samyuktha Rajagopal (violin) and Martina Joy (viola).

In addition to his glittering career as a composer for screen, A.R. Rahman is the Founder of KM Music Conservatory in Chennai, India. KM Music Conservatory was founded to expand the horizons of musicians in India. While continuing to respect and strengthen the art of Indian music, the institution also offers an education in Western music and music technology. KM Music Conservatory provides students with a strong artistic, intellectual, and technical foundation for pursuing professional careers in music. Students will graduate with an internationally competitive education in Western music and music technology and production. During Principal Anthony Bowne‘s visit to India earlier this year, he signed a partnership agreement with KM Music Conservatory, which will lead to students from KMMC being able to split their studies between Chennai and London.

A.R. Rahman is also an Honorary Fellow of Trinity College London in recognition of his vast contribution to music in India.

More about KM Music Conservatory

KM Music Conservatory is a higher education institution founded in 2008 by the A. R. Rahman Foundation. Located in Arumbakkam, Chennai, in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, the conservatory offers a range of part-time and full-time courses in Hindustani and Western classical music and music technology. Composer A. R. Rahman is the Founder and Principal, Fathima Rafiq the Executive director.

KMMC is developing a newly founded symphony orchestra, to serve as resident studio orchestra for A.R. Rahman’s compositions and to perform for the general public in Chennai and elsewhere in India.

More about A.R. Rahman

Described as the world’s most prominent and prolific film composer by Time, his works are notable for integrating Eastern classical music with electronic music sounds, world music genres and traditional orchestral arrangements.

He has won two Academy Awards, two Grammy Awards, a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe, four National Film Awards, fifteen Filmfare Awards and thirteen Filmfare Awards South in addition to numerous other awards and nominations.

His extensive body of work for film and the stage earned him the nickname “the Mozart of Madras”. In 2009, Time placed Rahman in its list of World’s Most Influential People.

Carolyn Bolton is pictured in black and white. She is wearing a black turtleneck, the neck of which she is pulling up to her chin.

Carolyn Bolton appointed Creative Director of ENBYouthCo

Second year MFA in Dance Leadership and Community Practice student, Carolyn Bolton, has been appointed Creative Director of ENBYouthCo.

Born in Columbia, South Carolina, Carolyn Bolton began her pre-professional training at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities before completing her Bachelor of Arts in Dance Performance and Choreography at the University of South Carolina. She received a full scholarship to the Martha Graham School for Contemporary Dance in New York and trained with Béjart Ballet Lausanne before joining Ballet Rambert in 2013. She has since had the pleasure of working with Julie Cunningham and Company and L’Opera National du Rhin and has been featured in film and television work with Marvel Studios, Apple TV, and HBO Max.

Carolyn has presented two site-specific solo works for the Operaestate Festival in Bassano Del Grappa, Italy and has been an Artist-in-Residence for both the Operaestate Festival and for The Place’s Choreodrome in London. Her choreography has been performed nationally and internationally, most notably at Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, National Theatre’s River Stage, Rich Mix, Rambert’s In The Making, The Place’s Resolution, The Lowry, South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities and Youth America Grand Prix.

Carolyn has worked with the Centre for Advanced Training at Trinity Laban since 2019. In 2022, she was nominated for a Black British Theatre Award in the Achievement Category for Best Teacher. Carolyn has been invited as an academic tutor, guest instructor and lecturer in both ballet and contemporary styles for numerous schools including London Contemporary Dance School, Trinity Laban, Tring Park School for the Performing Arts, Mountview, Shockout Arts, The Dang and Bird College.

In 2023, Carolyn was one of nine artists/companies selected by The Place for their commissioned community projects. The proposed intergenerational work Seeking the Unseen explored the body as an archive and received excellent reception from those involved in the process. She is proud to be working with the Royal Opera House on both the Chance to Dance and Create and Dance programmes.

More about ENBYouthCo

Launched in 2012, English National ballet’s youth dance company ENBYouthCo promotes personal creativity, commitment and innovation and offers young talented artists aged 14 – 19 an opportunity to fulfil their potential and progress their dance journey.

ENBYouthCo focuses on both ballet and contemporary dance technique, reflecting the varied and diverse styles seen in English National Ballet’s repertoire. The programme offers high profile performance and creative development opportunities, including a main stage performance in London during the Company’s season, and access to a wide range of professional artists, international choreographers and creatives.

Atharv Gupta and TL Tutor Darren Bloom stand in front of a yellow wall.

Junior Trinity’s Atharv Gupta wins BBC Young Composer 2023

Junior Trinity student Atharv Gupta, aged 14, is a winner in this year’s BBC Young Composer Lower Junior category.

A biennial competition for 12 to 18 year olds across the UK who create their own original music. Winners participate in a tailored development programme, working with a mentor composer on a project with members of the BBC Concert Orchestra, culminating in a performance or broadcast opportunity. Previous mentors include Gavin Higgins, Rhian Samuel, Martin Suckling, Dobrinka Tabakova and Errollyn Wallen.

Atharv Gupta has trained with TL Composition and Musicianship Tutor Darren Bloom for the past four years, and joined Junior Trinity last year after encouragement from Darren. Having spent a year bouncing ideas off other composers, regularly performing contemporary music, and most crucially, working on his own music for the first time, his development has accelerated exponentially.

Since joining JT, he has written the opening of a symphony for a workshop with Andy Morley and the JT Symphony Orchestra (the complete work has now been commissioned by the Essex Youth Orchestra), a wind quintet called the Wild Chase for the New London Chamber Ensemble, and Demain, Dès L’Aube for the JT Composers’ Ensemble (mezzo soprano and chamber orchestra) which will be premiered at this term’s Winter Concert.

Eliana Echeverry joins LPO Young Composers programme 2023/24

Eliana Echeverry has been named as one of five London Philharmonic Orchestra’s Young Composers for 2023/24, a programme which supports the progression of talented young orchestral composers.

Eliana Echeverry is one of the most versatile composers and arrangers in Colombia. She studied Composition and Psychology at the National Conservatory of Colombia, and went on to complete an MMus in Composition at Trinity Laban, thanks to a scholarship awarded by the Central Bank of Colombia to the most promising young musician and the kind support of The Henry Wood Accommodation Trust Fund.

Eliana has a background in classical music, jazz, pop and Colombian traditional music. One of the main focuses of her work is the inclusion of Latin-American traditional music in her classical and jazz compositions. She collaborates with artists of different styles. Her music has been played in the USA, Netherlands, Canada, Colombia, Argentina and in the UK at the Lake District Summer Music Festival, Chichester Festival and First Light Music Festival.

Mentored by the LPO’s Composer-in-Residence, award-winning Cuban-American composer, Tania León, the Young Composers spend a season with the LPO, each creating a new work for chamber orchestra that is performed by Foyle Future First musicians and LPO players at the Debut Sounds public showcase concert at the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall.

As well as several composer seminars, there is a three-hour workshop in the spring – a chance for composers to experiment with new ideas, talk to players and receive feedback in a constructive and inquisitive environment. This is followed by further workshop-rehearsals leading to the final concert performance in June. During the year, composers also have the chance to attend concerts, observe rehearsals, meet guest composers and get involved with the LPO’s wider education work.

Click here to findout more about the other LPO Young Composers 2023/24.

Head of Libraries, Claire Kidwell, being presented the Excellence Award for the Jerwood Library by Dr Charles Inskip

Jerwood Library wins IAML Excellence Award for the fourth time!

We are delighted to announce that Trinity Laban’s Jerwood Library of the Performing Arts has, for the fourth time, been awarded an Excellence Award by the UK & Ireland Branch of the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres. Trinity Laban’s Head of Libraries, Claire Kidwell, was presented with the award at the 2023 IAML Annual Congress at Cambridge University.

The award panel comprised a variety of academics, librarians and professional musicians and was chaired by Dr Charles Inskip, Associate Professor at the UCL School of Information Studies. The Jerwood Library’s application was especially commended for identifying key aspects of collection development and paying good attention to equality, diversity and inclusion through the collection and links to the curriculum. Other areas highlighted were well-qualified staff who engage with the wider professional field, excellent accessibility provided by a wide range of formats and detailed catalogues and a commitment to information literacy, outreach and engagement with the mechanisms of the wider institution.

The panel concluded: “The Jerwood Library boasts a tremendously impressive range of text and music resources, and a wholly involved and committed library team. This is a library that is conscious of, and takes seriously, its responsibilities both to follow good practice and to lead it. Its commitment to User Education and Information Literacy is admirable, and may be useful to others who are looking to advance their offerings in this area.”