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Sinfonia Strings perform at a school

TL Sinfonia Strings and schools side-by-side in recent tour

Trinity Laban’s Sinfonia Strings recently visited four partner secondary schools to explore the strings family. Young people aged 11 to 18 enjoyed a varied programme by Mendelssohn, Philip Herbert, and Holst as part of our interactive concert.

During the concert, school students also joined our Sinfonia Strings side-by-side to perform Górecki’s Three Pieces in Old Style. This composition was written for string orchestra in response to a comment by publishing director Tadeusz Ochlewski that Górecki‘s music lacked melody. First performed in 1964, the work combines elements of folk with contemporary musical techniques. The performance was led by our String Department Head, Professor Nic Pendlebury.

The tour marks the launch of an exciting project for Trinity Laban, the Side by Side Strings initiative, which continues throughout this year and beyond. It is one of many chances for local schools to experience live music through our Public Engagement programmes. The project also presents a wonderful opportunity for our musicians to join forces with school string players and gain education skills, while spreading a love for collective musicianship.

To find out more about our teaching staff and programmes, visit the Strings Department page.

Professor Penelope Roskell photographed holding her ‘Essential Piano Technique’ series.

Penelope Roskell becomes Chair of EPTA UK and wins Presto Music Award

Piano professor Penelope Roskell has been appointed as the new Chair of EPTA UK (European Piano Teachers Association). She has also won the Presto Music Award for Best Educational Publication 2023 for her new children’s books, the Essential Piano Technique series, which were first launched at Trinity Laban.

Our professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy Penelope Roskell has recently been appointed Chair of EPTA UK. Having actively participated in conferences, webinars, and the EPTA competition, she has been a member of the EPTA for over 40 years and was previously Director of the EPTA Piano Pedagogy course. Penelope is also a renowned author, having released the award-winning book The Complete Pianist: from healthy technique to natural artistry, published by Peters Edition. This December, her series Essential Piano Technique has been awarded Education Publication of the Year in the Presto Music awards. Providing a strong foundation of healthy technique, her series helps young pianists to progress rapidly and confidently through the early stages of piano playing. Presto music were impressed with “its fresh, unique style, as well as its appealing and original content”, thus affirming Penelope’s status as one of the world’s leading authorities in natural and healthy piano technique.

Penelope Roskell is an extremely dedicated, inspiring teacher, who aims to guide each individual student to reach their full potential as a pianist – both musically and technically – and as an artist in the broadest sense. She is extremely experienced in all aspects of advanced teaching, having taught at undergraduate and postgraduate level for thirty years. She was a professor of Piano at the London College of Music from 1982 until 1999, when she moved to Trinity College of Music. Alongside her piano teaching, she is involved in examining and auditioning, while running regular classes on piano pedagogy. She frequently gives masterclasses at UK and conservatories abroad, and has taught regular postgraduate classes at the Royal Academy of Music. A resident at many summer schools including Chetham’s and Dartington International Summer School, she has been on the jury for major competitions, including BBC Young Musician of the Year. Her London Advanced Piano Courses, run under the Roskell Academy, attract students from all over the world. Penelope also works as piano advisor to the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine, where she holds a clinic for pianists experiencing tension or injuries.

Penelope combines an international performing career with her professorship at Trinity Laban and her role as visiting artist at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. She has performed as soloist at major concert halls through Britain, including the Barbican Concert Hall and Wigmore Hall, but has also toured worldwide. Her first prize at the British Contemporary Piano Competition resulted in numerous invitations to festivals of contemporary music, including eight recitals in Hans Werner Henze’s festivals in Montepulciano and Munich. She has played Mozart Concertos with numerous orchestras, including the London Mozart Players at the Barbican Concert Hall and on tour with Sir Simon Rattle. A committed chamber musician, she regularly plays piano quintets with the Fitzwilliam String Quartet and the Roskell Piano Trio. At Trinity Laban, she founded Meridian – a piano and wind ensemble featuring TL professors. Her work with dance companies has included a season of solo performances with Twyla Tharp Dance Company at Sadlers Wells.

Xiaodi Zhao, the new recipient of the Bagri Foundation Scholarship stands holding her cello in front of a large staircase.

Introducing TL’s Bagri Foundation Scholar 2023-2024

Congratulations to Xiaodi Zhao, the new recipient of the Bagri Foundation Scholarship. The cellist joined Trinity Laban’s Faculty of Music on the one-year Artist Diploma Programme this September. 

Supported by the Bagri Foundation, talented young musician Xiaodi Zhao will study with Trinity Laban’s internationally celebrated Cello Department. Her musical journey began at the age of six under the guidance of her first cello teacher, Zhang Yiming. This pivotal introduction led to admission to the Affiliated Middle School of Sichuan Conservatory of Music, laying the foundation for her passion for the cello. Driven by a commitment to continuous improvement, Xiaodi aims to delve into the nuances of music performance, refining her craft and bringing even more captivating music to audiences.

The Artist Diploma is an ideal window into the music profession for advanced students who have already completed a postgraduate programme. Having graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music with a BMus (Hons) and the Royal College of Music with a Master of Music in Performance, Xiaodi will further develop her musical skills and collaborate with fellow artists at Trinity Laban this year.

The Bagri Foundation Scholarship

The Scholarship is part of the Foundation’s mission to encourage emerging artists from Asia to develop their work, especially those in need of additional financial support. Established in 1990, the Bagri Foundation is committed to individual excellence in the arts. It works collaboratively across artistic disciplines to engage and inspire, raising the visibility of artists and experts from across Asia and the Diaspora.

As a Bagri Foundation Scholar at Trinity Laban, Xiaodi Zhao will continue to cultivate her distinct and individual artistic voice through performance, mentoring and collaboration to confidently enter the music world with a highly evolved professional profile and portfolio.

Alka Bagri, Trustee of the Bagri Foundation says – “In our pursuit of nurturing learning, creativity, and artistic excellence, the Bagri Foundation is delighted to offer cellist Xiaodi Zhao the opportunity to advance her education with Trinity Laban.”

On being awarded the scholarship, Xiaodi Zhao comments – “I am very honoured to receive the Bargi Scholarship – this will really help me with studying for my Artist Diploma. I’m very much looking forward to collaborating with other professional artists at Trinity Laban, including dancers as well as musicians. It will be a great experience!”

Remembering Richard Gaddes, 1942 – 2023

Trinity Laban Honorary Fellow and alum Richard Gaddes has died, at age 81. Richard graduated from Trinity College of Music in 1964, and went on to become one of the most influential and progressive leaders in American opera.

Richard was born in 1942 in Wallsend in the North East of England. After graduating, he co-founded the Wigmore Hall Lunchtime Concerts – designed to give young musicians performance opportunities – which introduced celebrated artists including soprano Dame Margaret Price. He then joined the staff of Artists International Management, arranging auditions for impresarios including John O. Crosby, who hired him as Santa Fe’s Artistic Administrator in 1969.

Richard went on to found Opera Theatre of St Louis and served as its General Director until 1987. Under his leadership, the company achieved international recognition for the development of talented young artists – giving them professional debuts – and the presentation of a varied repertoire.

Returning to the Santa Fe Opera as Associate General Director, Richard became General Director in 2000 until his retirement in 2008. Among Richard’s multiple successful initiatives were offering discounts to first-time ticket buyers from New Mexico, hosting post-season concerts at the opera presented by different community groups, and staging fully produced offerings at various downtown locations, including Gilbert & Sullivan operettas at the Lensic Performing Arts Center.

Richard’s career was dedicated to furthering the careers of young singers; he championed adventurous repertoire and built new audiences through imaginative education and outreach programmes. The recipient of many awards, his international artistic status was confirmed when he received one of the first Opera Honors Awards from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2008.

In later years, Richard reconnected with Trinity Laban and became a strong advocate for us in his adopted home of New York. Richard supported our brilliantly successful trombone department trip to the Juilliard School in 2022 and we were looking forward to many more collaborations with him in his retirement.

Richard will be hugely missed by us. He leaves behind a magnificent musical legacy, and we will be forever grateful to have been part of his life.

Stephen Upshaw pictured in a black shirt, sitting and holding a viola.

Stephen Upshaw joins Lucerne Festival Academy

TL Viola professor, Stephen Upshaw, has been appointed as the Viola Faculty Teaching Artist at Switzerland’s Lucerne Festival Academy.

TL Viola professor and highly acclaimed violist Stephen Upshaw has recently joined the teaching faculty at the Lucerne Festival Academy. Regularly performing in a vibrant range of festivals worldwide – including the BBC Proms, Aldeburgh, Huddersfield, Aix-en-Provence, Wien Modern, Glastonbury, and Lucerne – Stephen’s performance has been described as “astonishingly powerful: full-on, self-assured, as well as searingly expressive”. A highly sought-after chamber musician, Stephen is a member of the award-winning Solem Quartet, praised for their “immaculate precision and spirit” (The Strad) and recognised as one of the most innovative and adventurous quartets of its generation. He has shared the stage with celebrated artists such as Tai Murray, Gary Hoffman, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Philippe Graffin, Jennifer Stumm and Garth Knox. Recent engagements have taken him to Boston’s Jordan Hall, London’s Barbican and Wigmore Halls, Tokyo Opera City, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and Vienna’s Konzerthaus.

A noted interpreter of contemporary music, Stephen is also a member of London’s Riot Ensemble, winners of the Ernst von Siemens Foundation Ensemble Prize, whose disc Speak Be Silent was selected as one of New Yorker Magazine’s ‘Best Recordings of 2019’. He has taken part in over 300 world premieres including chamber music of Georg Haas, Sally Beamish (alongside the composer), Edmund Finnis and solo works of Mark Simpson, Simon Holt, Michael Finnissy and Errollyn Wallen. Stephen has also toured regularly to the USA, Europe and Asia with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and its music director, Joshua Bell and works with the Chineke! Orchestra as principal viola and as a member of the chamber players.

One of Europe’s most prestigious summer academies, the Lucerne Festival Academy is a school for new music and a creative laboratory for the future. Every summer, 100 talented young musicians from all over the world are given the opportunity to concentrate on a repertoire that is still too often overlooked in the world of classical music: the music of the 20th and 21st centuries. Through daily rehearsals and workshops over a three-week period, musicians immerse themselves in key selected works of Modernism; they work on and rehearse brand-new scores that are often written especially for the Academy and experiment with innovative forms of performance.

Conductors and composers also benefit from the Academy’s training through the Conducting Fellowship, where young conductors observe and follow along during the Academy’s rehearsal work, while gaining important experiences through masterclasses. The Composer Seminar gives young composers an opportunity to discuss their works with the celebrated Wolfgang Rihm and other composers. They can also test out these works with musicians from the ranks of the Lucerne Festival Academy. The Roche Young Commissions series gives young composers commissions to write new works.

Applications for the Lucerne Festival Academy are now open until 18 February 2024. Full details are available here.

Leo Geyer restores music composed at Auschwitz

Fragments of music scores found at Auschwitz were played for the first time two weeks ago after being restored by Junior Trinity alum, conductor, and tutor Leo Geyer.

On 27 November, Leo Geyer’s organisation Constella Music celebrated its tenth anniversary and relaunch with a special concert at Sadler’s Wells, featuring several new premieres and an exceptional team of performers. The concert included four restored pieces from Geyer’s new opera-ballet, The Orchestras of Auschwitz – a project that pays tribute to musicians murdered in Auschwitz and highlights the music written in concentration camps.

Back in 2015, Leo was commissioned to compose a musical score in memory of British historian and holocaust expert Martin Gilbert, who had died earlier that year. To deepen his understanding of the historian’s work, Leo visited Auschwitz and met with an archivist at the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial and museum. It was here that he discovered remnants of musical scores arranged and played by orchestras at the camp: 210 pieces of varying completion – original compositions, arrangements, printed music.

“The music had been mostly destroyed so what remains is almost like a broken jigsaw puzzle, except there are several and they are all mixed in together,” said Leo when discussing the subject with CNN. Returning multiple times to Auschwitz, Leo Geyer also carried out extensive research into testimonies from the camp and its history of music. “There were, at one point, as many as six orchestras at Auschwitz and they were all very much sanctioned by the SS and in some cases commissioned by the SS,” Leo explained – often the instrument combinations were small and unconventional. For years, the women’s orchestra of Birkenau had no cellist until Anita Lasker-Wallfisch arrived – a survivor of the holocaust who still lives in Britain today. Her grandson, Simon Wallfisch, a baritone, took part in Constella’s performance.

In an online interview with the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, Lasker-Wallfisch recalled: “That I survived nearly one year in Auschwitz is without any doubt due to the fact that I became a member of the camp orchestra. As long as the Germans wanted an orchestra, it would have been counter-productive to kill us. Our task consisted of playing every morning and every evening at the gate of the camp so that the outgoing and incoming work commandos would march neatly in step to the marches we played. We also had to be available at all times to play to individual SS staff who would come into our block and wanted to hear some music after sending thousands of people to their death.”

The orchestras sometimes played in private or for prisoners in secret, and rebelled in musical cryptograms, sending messages through music. Leo cites the weaving of the Polish national anthem into marching music as a good example of this. Having gone unnoticed for 80 years, the scores are now being brought back by Leo’s historic project – an important homage to the victims of Auschwitz.

The Orchestras of Auschwitz Research & Development week is taking place at the Laban Studio from Monday 11 – Friday 15 December, and will involve nine students from the TL Music faculty and four from the TL Dance faculty. Reflecting on his time at Trinity Laban, Leo says: “I attended Junior Trinity as a student many moons again, and this was when I first collaborated with dance. It was a lifechanging experience and in addition to teaching [composition and musicianship] at Junior Trinity, I have continued to work in dance ever since, securing my first job as a conductor with The Royal Ballet. It is therefore most fitting to be developing my most significant dance work with Trinity Laban.”

A composer, conductor, presenter, founder and artistic director, Leo Geyer holds a diverse career spanning across opera, dance, film, and concert music. He has established a reputation for his reimaginings, which creatively engage with music of the past, and is currently studying for a doctorate in opera-ballet composition as the Senior Music Scholar at St Catherine’s College, Oxford. His music has been described by The Times as “imaginative and beautifully shaped”, and has received performances by ensembles including the English Chamber Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Rambert Dance Company and Opera North.

Anthony Davis pictured with TL music faculty staff and students.

World-renowned composer Anthony Davis visits Trinity Laban

We were delighted to welcome Anthony Davis to Trinity Laban last week on Thursday 30 November. His visit followed the EU premiere of his work You Have the Right to Remain Silent, performed by Anthony McGill and Britten Sinfonia at Milton Court. Discussing his musical experience with our Head of Composition, Dominic Murcott, the celebrated composer led an insightful seminar based on an extract from his opera X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X.

Anthony Davis visited King Charles Court to speak to our music students about his compositions and experience in the music industry. An internationally recognised composer of operatic, symphonic, choral, and chambers works, he is also a virtuosic solo pianist and leader of the ensemble Episteme. He was a classical pianist up until he was 16, but then discovered jazz: a revelation which completely changed his musical direction. The records of Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Miles Davis, John Coltrane (among others) inspired him to improvise and begin composing in the style of jazz. Studying at Wesleyan and Yale universities, he was Yale’s first Lustman Fellow, teaching composition and Afro-American studies. Later appointed Senior Fellow with the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University, he then returned to Yale as Visiting Professor of Music. He became Professor of Music in Afro-American Studies at Harvard University in the fall of 1992, and assumed a full-time professorship at the University of California at San Diego in January 1998.

Davis’s early university experience was marked by social unrest and the developments of the Civil Rights movement. He actively monitored the demonstrations of the Black Panthers, trying to ensure that no one was killed by the National Guard. The desire for social and political change was reflected in his music. “Music in the spirit of revolution greatly resonated with me”, he says – indeed, his early pieces focused on the injustice within the trial of Bobby Seale. His first opera X, The Life and Times of Malcolm X was the first of a new American genre: opera on a contemporary political subject. Selling out houses at its premiere at the New York City Opera in 1986, it made its debut at the Met this year to great critical acclaim.

Davis won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for his most recent opera, The Central Park Five, based on the 1989 Central Park jogger case. Also of note are his instrumental compositions, particularly the recent EU premiere of his You Have the Right to Remain Silent. Inspired by the moment Davis was pulled over by an armed police officer during the 70s, the piece is defined by “the orchestra interrogating the clarinet”. It was favourably described by The Boston Globe as poignantly recasting “the traditional mythic narrative of the individual versus the collective” through “the modern prism of racial prejudice”. Bachtrack also paid credit to Davis’ versatile composition, reporting that it “seamlessly mixes modernist techniques with jazz, hip-hop, and other popular idioms”.

The choreographers and LPO composers photographed together as a group.

TL choreographers collaborate with LPO Composers for Debut Sounds 2024

We are thrilled to announce our collaboration with the London Philharmonic Orchestra for Debut Sounds 2024. Nine Trinity Laban choreographers will work closely with the LPO Young Composers this season, mentored by LPO composer-in-residence Tania León. They will create choreography for five brand new pieces by the Young Composers, to be performed at the LPO’s Debut Sounds concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre in June 2024.

On 26 October, TL choreographers joined forces with Tania León and the LPO Young Composers for the first time, launching the start of their creative discussions. One of the five LPO Young Composers is our alum Eliana Echeverry, one of the most versatile composers and arrangers in Colombia, who previously completed an MMus in Composition at Trinity Laban!

Tania set the session in motion by introducing the brief and discussing the collaboration in more detail. Each composer and choreographer split into their teams to discuss and develop their artistic ideas, with different directions being explored: in-depth discussion, online research and drawing to unlock creativity. The groups then reunited – the perfect opportunity to get to know each other better and come together as part of a creative community. The composers and choreographers will continue to meet throughout the season, before their works are performed in June by Trinity Laban dancers, members of the LPO, and musicians from the LPO’s Foyle Future Firsts scheme. Read on to learn more about the brilliant TL choreographers who are taking part in the project…

Dr Irene Fiordilino is a London-based choreographer and researcher. She is the director of the emerging Scirocco Dance Theatre Company and Associate Director of the London International Screen Dance Festival. Irene’s original artistic methodology – Transitory Architecture – sits in the space between choreography and architecture: the intention is to bring the relation between bodies and space to the fore, questioning the aesthetics and the politics of cohabitation. Irene completed her PhD in Creative Practice at Trinity Laban where she occasionally works as a lecturer. Both her papers and choreographic work have been presented at international conferences and festivals in Europe, India, the UAE and the United States.

Sarah do Carmo Santos is Brazilian and relocated to England to pursue her MA in Choreography at Trinity Laban. She graduated with a BA in Dance from the University of Campinas in Brazil, where she trained in ballet, contemporary dance, and Brazilian dances. She is a dancer/choreographer interested in exploring movement through touch and text, combined with practices of mindfulness and body awareness.

Nina Murphy is a creative artist who works in the mediums of movement/dance, choreography, and film. She is currently living and working in London. Preceding her time in London, Nina resided in Helena, Montana as a dance instructor/choreographer at two established dance studios. She holds a BFA in Dance Performance from the University of Wyoming as well as an MFA in Creative Practice from Trinity Laban. Nina has had the honour of working with artists such as Daniel Charon, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Charmaine Hunter, André Megerdichian, and Jesse Obremski. She also had the opportunity to perform as a soloist and ensemble in works choreographed by José Limón and Colin Connor. She has training in ballet, modern (Limón and Graham technique experience), jazz, tap, and vertical dance. Nina’s choreographic experience spans from small black box works and dance films to site-specific and studio recitals. During her time in London, Nina has had the pleasure to dance in several dance films by artists around the world as well as take part in the historic event of The Platinum Jubilee Pageant for the late Queen of England. She also had the honour of presenting her dance film Unapologetically Herself in an art exhibition where she explored the use of the female figure as art.

Yun Cheng is a choreographer based in London. Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Yun began her dance journey in creative dance lessons, and trained in ballet, contemporary and Chinese dance. She studied at Taipei University of the Arts and London Contemporary Dance School with a focus on choreography. Yun explores the delicate connection between human beings and introspection in her choreographic works in collaboration with dancers, musicians, new media artists, and filmmakers. She is currently conducting her PhD research – Nurturing the process: a Feldenkrais-informed choreographic practice at Trinity Laban. Her previous choreographic works include Closer: Five Portraits of Dancers (Dance film) (London, 2020) and The Quake Within (The Place London, 2020), among several others.

Franziska Boehm is a multidisciplinary artist, performer, and lecturer whose work is grounded in embodied awareness and phenomenological research. She believes in artistic expression as a transformational tool for finding language on seemingly inexplicable topics such as grief, loss and love. She holds two degrees (BA, MA) in Music (Flute, Voice, Music Education) from the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich, and an MFA in Creative Practice: Dance Professional from Trinity Laban. Currently in her last year of a practice-based PhD at Trinity Laban, she continues to explore the lived experience of the “vocalic self” in performance and practice. As a lecturer, she worked in the field of music and dance at different conservatoires in Germany and the UK, taught as a course presenter in China, and has been involved in artist-in-school programs, developing choreography with children and youth. Performances, exhibitions and workshops include: feel soft at ASC Croydon (collaborative exhibition with Mira Hirtz, London 2023), a revealed study at Resolutions Contemporary Dance Festival (London 2022), and for expressions sake (a performative installation at Laban Theatre, 2022), among several others. As a performer, she works with creatives such as Lizzy Le Quesne, Mira Hirtz, Kate Wilson, and Joachim Hamou. She also has a creative long-term partnership with artist S. Ruth, making work together since 2021.

Sofia Pomeroy is a dancer and choreographer who was born and raised in Madrid, but is half English. After finishing her studies in Psychology, she went on a gap year to New York and this ignited her desire to start a career in dance. Encouraged by her peers, she went to Germany and studied Dance and Pedagogy at Iwanson International School of Contemporary Dance in Munich. During her studies, she focused on Contemporary Dance and developed a strong passion for choreography, taking every opportunity to make a new creation. In her final year at Iwanson, she took part in the festival Hier=Jetzt with her choreography Stuck/unstuck. Immediately after her graduation, Sofia received state funding to create a dance performance of her own and in the following month, she premiered a two-day performance called Suit-cased at PLATFORM gallery in Munich. The day after the performance, she flew to London and started an MA in Choreography at Trinity Laban.

Celebrated London productions feature TL’s Musical Theatre Students

During the 2022-2023 season, Trinity Laban’s students have featured in prestigious London productions, acting and dancing alongside the biggest stars of the theatrical stage. Read on to discover what the future stars from our vibrant Musical Theatre Department have been up to!

Based on the classic Victorian novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden was adapted for theatres by Pulitzer Prize-winner Marsha Norman with music by Lucy Simon and was staged in The London Palladium to high acclaim.

“Based on the screaming ovation from the audience at The London Palladium, we’ve all been waiting too long for the multi Tony award-winning 1991 musical of The Secret Garden to return to the West End”, read The Prickle’s review of the show.

Former student Aleyna Mohanraj made her professional debut as Ayah in this dazzling production, singing alongside Mark Feehily and a host of talented West End performers. TL alum Lucy Drever – now a workshop leader, presenter, and narrator – narrated the production, performed on 28 August 2022.

Our Musical Theatre students also performed at The London Palladium alongside West End stars and TL alumni in Lerner and Loewe’s majestic Camelot in Concert, back in February 2022. From the writers of My Fair Lady, the Tony-Award-winning musical Camelot tells the story of the legendary love triangle between King Arthur, Guenevere and Sir Lancelot. 35 future stars shared the stage with West End and Broadway legend Ramin Karimloo. Also featuring in the performance was 2013 Trinity Laban vocal graduate Georgi Mottram, who played Nimue.

Smash-hit musical Annie Get Your Gun was celebrated on 7 April 2023 with a special one-night only concert production at The London Palladium. Led by the celebrated Rachel Tucker, the show featured TL’s BAMT students in featured stage roles and was described as “extremely tight and well-rehearsed” (The Prickle). The hard work of the cast and our TL students helped to produce a truly star-studded production.

The dazzling and devastating life of Princess Diana will be staged in the original show Diana: The Musical at the Eventim Apollo for one night only on 4 December 2023. This marks the UK’s debut of this iconic Broadway musical live on stage, featuring ‘80s-inspired mega-hit show tunes by Bon Jovi’s David Bryan and Tony Award winner Joe DiPietro (What’s New Pussycat?, Memphis). Starring Kerry Ellis as Princess Diana, the ensemble will be played by Trinity Laban Musical Theatre students, making it a definite date for the diary! Get tickets here.

Image Credit: Danny Kaan

Musical Theatre Alumni take centre stage

Our magnificent Musical Theatre Alumni continue to grace the greatest stages after graduating with Musical Theatre degrees from Trinity Laban! From performing in West End theatres to touring the UK and beyond with sell-out shows, find out what some of our alumni are up to after finishing their studies…

The 2023/24 UK tour of smash-hit musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is currently in full swing and our Musical Theatre alumni are stealing the spotlight! Finton Flynn is playing Young Loco/Cover Jamie, while David McNair is performing as Tray Sophisticay. Also on tour is Teddy Hinde, holding the golden ticket and performing as Mike Teavee in the first ever UK and Ireland tour of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Meanwhile, Jacob Kohli has been cast as Cover Justin and an ensemble member in the original UK tour of Kathy & Stella Solve A Murder of 2023. This is a new and critically acclaimed comedy musical, written by the Olivier Award winners behind Fleabag and A Super Happy Musical (About Feeling Super Sad).

Many of our alumni are also performing in shows at the glittering West End and premier London venues. JoJo Meredith made his West End Debut in the European premier of Death Note The Musical in August at the London Palladium and will soon be gracing the boards at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London in the cast of Pacific Overtures (from 25 November 2023 to 24 February 2024). Jessica Johns-Parsons joined the West End cast of Les Misérables, the theatre’s longest-running musical since its opening in 1985, this September. Both Matthew Elliot-Campbell and Hannah Qureshi are enjoying success in hit musical Hamilton at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London, with Matthew performing in 2022 and Hannah from this summer onwards. Having featured in the National Theatre’s West End transfer of The Crucible at Gielgud Theatre, Lucy Brindle has recently finished performing as Kate McGowan in Titanic: The Musical in China. Currently performing as an Alternate Catherine Howard/Anne Boleyn in the 2022-2023 West End production of Six the Musical is Danielle Rose.

Rebecca Wickes likewise starred in Six the Musical as Katherine Howard in the 2022-23 UK tour, playing the same role in the English leg of the South Korean Production in 2023. She also played Veronica Sawyer in the 2021 UK tour of Heathers the Musical. More recently, she made her West End debut in We Will Rock You at the London Coliseum, performing as Ensemble First Cover ‘Meat’ and Second Cover ‘Scaramouche’. Joining the cast in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of The Fair Maid of the West is Marc Giro, who will perform in the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon (from Saturday 2 December 2023 to Sunday 14 January 2024).

Our alumni have had equal success in bringing their own shows to the theatres. Founded and managed by Phoebe Noble, the theatre company 13 Months Theatre gives a platform to new writers and performers. Born with the idea that creatives can craft their own work as an ensemble in the industry, the company gave themselves 13 months to create a fringe show. Recent adventures include production The Grumble Cat at the Camden Fringe (with book and lyrics by Phoebe Noble), and Musical Manifest Vol. 2 at the Other Palace Theatre (with Phoebe Noble as Artistic Director). The 2022-2023 Queens Theatre Production of Sleeping Beauty, with original music and lyrics by Tom Self, won ‘Best Pantomime’ at the 2023 Off West End Awards. Building on this immense success, Tom Self shall be bringing his own solo cabaret show, Me, Tom Self, and I, to the West End next year!

Find out more about studying musical theatre at Trinity Laban.

Introducing new Wind, Brass & Percussion teaching staff

We are delighted to welcome Matt French, John Roberts, Matt Skelton, James Turnbull, and Matthew Lewis to TL’s roster of distinguished artists and educators as members of the music faculty professorial staff.

An accomplished percussionist, Matt French enjoys a varied career performing with world-renowned orchestras—including the Orchestra of The Royal Opera House, London Philharmonic Orchestra, and BBC Concert Orchestra—and playing in several musicals in the West End. While studying at the Royal College of Music, he won the Sabian Percussion Prize and received the prestigious Archer Scholarship, where he played with Bobby Lamb’s Trinity Big Band. He later went on to teach at the Royal College of Music Junior Department. As an educator, he has given classes to the Royal Marines. He actively participates in large-scale education projects, including the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama’s Big Bash.

John Roberts is the principal oboe of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra, and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Having studied with the Royal Opera House’s principal oboe, Christopher Cowie, John performed internationally and toured extensively with ASMF. He also worked with the London Winds, the Gaudier Ensemble, Zarek Chamber, and London Sinfonietta. His recent recordings include Poulenc’s Sonata, Trio and Sextuor with the pianist Mark Bebbington, and a solo number in John Rutter’s I Sing of a Maiden EP.

Matt Skelton enjoys an illustrious international career already spanning three decades. A drummer excelling in modern and vintage Jazz, he accompanied many leading Jazz luminaries and recorded with internationally acclaimed singers. Having been Sir Richard Rodney Bennett and John Wilson’s drummer of choice, he has most recently performed with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Stockholm Philharmonic, and The Hong Kong Philharmonic. He has also toured internationally with Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra. His theatrical credits include the 2017 Broadway transfer of An American In Paris at the Dominion theatre and the 2021-2022 performances of Anything Goes at the Barbican. A sought-after educator, Matt was an interim Head of Jazz and teacher at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, while giving masterclasses at the Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music, and Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

Hailed by the Independent as “a worthy champion” of contemporary oboe music, James Turnbull is a multi-talented and renowned oboist. He launched the New Oboe Music Project in 2015, promoting 21st century oboe repertoire worldwide. He is the founder of the Léon Goossens Prize for Emerging Composers (specific to the oboe). An accomplished chamber musician, he holds the position of Artistic Director of Ensemble Perpetuo while also performing with ensembles like the Berkeley Ensemble and the Allegri String Quartet. His solo recordings credits include Toccata Classics, Champs Hill Records, Quartz Music and the ABRSM, with Gramophone Magazine describing his debut recital disc, Fierce Tears, as a “notable debut” and the Classical Music Magazine selecting it as the Editor’s Choice Recording.

The Royal Academy of Music recently awarded him an ARAM for his outstanding contribution to the music profession. In his role as an educator, he has launched the website, making learning the instrument infinitely more accessible, while also teaching at the Royal College of Music Junior Department.

Matthew Lewis enjoys a vastly successful and diverse career as a trombonist and educator. Graduating from the Royal Academy of Music with a BMus(Hons) and MA, he performed with several British youth ensembles and as principal trombone of the European Union Youth Orchestra and the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester. In 2020, Matthew became the principal trombone of the BBC Concert Orchestra, with whom he also performed as a soloist. Matthew has performed as guest principal trombone with other world-class orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, to name a few. As a freelance trombonist, his projects have ranged from touring Europe with the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, to performing at large scale club nights with the Heritage Orchestra in arenas across the UK.

More recently, Matthew has been awarded an ARAM for his contributions as an educator. He has featured on the soundtrack of many films including Mission Impossible, Death on the Nile, and the latest Wonka film. A regular guest in the UK’s top music schools and conservatoires, Matthew is professor of trombone at St Paul’s School and Dulwich College.

To find out more about our teaching staff and programmes, visit the Wind, Brass and Percussion department page.