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Raphael Wallfisch

Raphael Wallfisch appointed as International Chair of Violoncello and Chamber Music

World-renowned cellist Raphael Wallfisch has joined the conservatoire’s dynamic strings department to teach on the prestigious Artist Diploma Programme and provide chamber music coaching across the Faculty of Music.  

Trinity Laban’s String Department comprises leading professionals and acclaimed artists from a wide variety of backgrounds. The latest addition to the talented teaching team is Raphael Wallfisch, one of the most celebrated cellists performing on the international stage.  

Having honed his craft studying with distinguished tutors including Russian cellist Gregor Piatigorsky, Wallfisch has played with many of the great orchestras worldwide and at major festivals such as the BBC Proms, Edinburgh and Aldeburgh.  

Wallfisch has an extensive discography, having recorded nearly every major cello work, and has worked with leading British composers including Sir Peter Maxwell Davies and John Tavener. He also has a long-standing and distinguished duo with pianist John York and tours with his very successful piano trio, Trio Shaham Erez Wallfisch. 

With a passion for teaching, London-born Wallfisch is also in demand globally as a respected educator. He has taught at Zürich Hochschule der Kunst in Switzerland and is currently a professor at Royal College of Music.

In his new role as International Chair of Cello and Chamber Music at Trinity Laban, Wallfisch will deliver one-to-one teaching on the conservatoire’s selective Artist Diploma programme from September 2023, and lead masterclasses and chamber music coaching starting later this year. 

On joining Trinity Laban, Wallfisch comments –  

“I am delighted and greatly looking forward to becoming International Chair of Cello and Chamber Music at Trinity Laban. It is an honour to be involved with gifted musicians from all over the world at such a high level.” 

Trinity Laban’s Director of Music, Havilland Willshire, comments –  

“We are delighted to welcome the celebrated cellist Raphael Wallfisch to Trinity Laban’s vibrant strings department as International Chair of Violoncello and Chamber Music. Raphael is recognised the world over as a successful soloist and chamber musician and we are thrilled that our students will have the opportunity to work with him regularly. We hope that Raphael will enjoy the Trinity Laban environment immensely.” 

Nic Pendlebury, Head of Strings at Trinity Laban, comments –  

“Chamber music is a core focus of string training at Trinity Laban, and it’s important for us to work with musicians and educators who are active in the profession, which is why it is so brilliant to welcome Raphael Wallfisch to our talented roster. The appointment expands our world-class teaching and enables us to continue to support our students to develop an enquiring musical mind and the technical security necessary to flourish as an artist in the 21st century.” 

In addition to sharing his expertise with students, Wallfisch will act as a global Ambassador for Trinity Laban, representing the conservatoire abroad as he continues his illustrious and wide-ranging performance career. 

Find out more about studying at Trinity Laban.

Image: Raphael Wallfisch (credit: Bill Knight)

Two dancers crouching in front of an overhead projector showing marks and drawings

Creative Practice PhD student published in Drawing: Research, Theory, Practice  

Choreographer and researcher Irene Fiordilino explores mapping as an approach to practice and performance 

Irene Fiordilino is a choreographer and researcher at Trinity Laban, where she is completing her PhD in Creative Practice 

Her research is situated between choreography and architecture, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary outputs (installations, films, staged pieces) and their implications in the field of phenomenological aesthetics. 

Irene’s article ‘Mapping: An original method of practice and research’ has recently been published in Drawing: Research, Theory, Practice: a peer-reviewed journal that facilitates international debates on all forms of drawing practice and theory. 

Irene describes mapping as “a particular instance of drawing employed to portray the movement of bodies in space within the specific context of my choreographic practice and performance-oriented projects”. 

Using her recent choreographic work Invisible Cities as a case study, Irene’s paper demonstrates mapping’s potential applications within a creative process. 

Invisible Cities premiered at the Laban Theatre in July 2021, was performed at the Bath Fringe Festival 2022, and will be touring nationally in July 2022 thanks to the support of the Arts Council through the National Lottery Project Grant.  

Performer documenting dancer's movement during live performance by using overhead projector showing markings on a page

Alongside her studies, Irene is Director of the emergent Scirocco Dance Theatre Company, and works as a guest lecturer, speaker and teacher internationally. In July she will be presenting at the NOFOD Conference in Copenhagen and at the Performative & Experiential Translation: Meaning-Making through Language, Art, and Media conference at King’s College London.  

World-leading research is at the core of Trinity Laban’s mission and informs our teaching activity. 

Find out more about research at Trinity Laban.  

Dancer performing in TL studio with neon lights

TL’s research deemed world-leading by REF 2021

The results of the Research Excellence Framework 2021 have been published 

Overall 68% of Trinity Laban’s research was assessed to be world-leading and internationally excellent, a significant improvement from the last REF (2014) furthering TL’s position as one of the UK’s leading conservatoires and its standing in a comparative group of UK conservatoires. 

100% of our research impacts were ranked at the two top grades 4* (world-leading in originality, significance and rigour), and 3* (internationally excellent). This reflects the real world benefits Trinity Laban’s research has delivered. 

At sector level, we are in the top three UK conservatoires offering musical training. 

Undertaken every seven years, the Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a peer review process set up to assess the quality of research across UK universities. It aims to provide accountability for public investment in research and to support benchmarking within the HE sector and beyond. The outcomes are also used to calculate the distribution of public funding for university research. 

Find out more about research at Trinity Laban. 

Ayanna Witter Johnson holding cello bow behind her head with defiant expression

TL Alum Joins London Music Fund

Multi-instrumentalist Ayanna Witter-Johnson named Ambassador and Trustee

Acclaimed singer, songwriter, pianist and cellist Ayanna Witter-Johnson graduated with a first-class honours degree in composition from Trinity Laban in 2008, and has established a celebrated career as a performer, orchestrator, composer and musical maverick.

Now she will join Nicola Benedetti CBE, YolanDa Brown, Jess Gillam, MBE and Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE as an Ambassador for London Music Fund (LMF).

Established in 2011 by fellow music alum Chrissy Kinsella, the Fund is an independent charity that works in partnership with London’s 32 Music Education Hubs, and with other education and music providers, to enable children to access high-quality music education.

Ambassadors play a significant role within the charity, both promoting its work and as inspiring role models for young musicians.

In her new role, Witter-Johnson will be joining young musicians at a LMF workshop at on Sunday 3 July.

In addition, LMF have announced that she has been appointed to the charity’s Board of Trustees, led by Chair, Baroness Fleet, Veronica Wadley CBE.

The announcement comes shortly after London-born Witter-Johnson, who is celebrate for crossing the boundaries of classical, jazz, reggae and R&B music, was appointed to the Board of Awards For Young Musicians.

In LMF’s press release, Witter-Johnson commented –

“As a Londoner myself, I fully understand the importance of supporting young musicians in the capital on their musical journey. The LMF is undoubtedly creating life-changing opportunities for young musicians to thrive so I am truly honoured to be joining as an Ambassador and Trustee and look forward to being part of the organisation’s fantastic work in our city.”

LMF CEO Chrissy Kinsella commented –

“We are thrilled to have Ayanna joining us both as an Ambassador and Trustee. As one of the UK’s most exciting and innovative young musicians, she brings a new voice to our work. Her personal experience as a young London musician will be integral to our future plans as we develop and grow as an organisation, and I am certain that she will inspire the young people we work with, through her immense creative talent.”

Find out more about Trinity Laban’s programmes nurture creative entrepreneurs and future changemakers on our Study Pages.



Four young dancers on lawn lunging forward pleadingly

Over 1000 young people call for action on the climate

As part of the Mayor’s London Borough of Culture 2022 celebrations, over 1,000 young people, including students from 26 local schools, will fill Lewisham’s Mountsfield Park on Saturday 18 June in two mass protest performances about the climate emergency.

Created and produced by Trinity Laban in collaboration with leading artists and local young people, Hope 4 Justice is an urgent and powerful call to action.

Directed by Hannah Gittos, the socially-engaged project uses music, dance and spoken word to highlight issues such as air quality, ‘throw-away’ culture, and housing inequality in the Borough in a bid to make a difference.

A thousand-strong choir of primary school children and musicians from South London Samba will perform a series of newly composed songs by Mercury Prize nominated composer, singer and multi-instrumentalist ESKA, imploring their communities to take action.

100 young dancers, including members of Bellingham Dances and TL ‘s Youth Dance Company, will perform choreography led by Lead Choreographer and Trinity Laban alum, Sarah Golding, and Associate Choreographer Waddah Sinada, exploring their connection to the climate emergency.

Local teenagers will contribute spoken word interludes, mentored by writer and Young Poet Laureate for London (2021/22) Cecilia Knapp, questioning how we want the world to be in the future.

Hope 4 Justice is the culmination of over a year-long engagement by Trinity Laban’s Children and Young People and Public Engagement programmes. For the project, we have been working in partnership with Lewisham Music to deliver in-school music training.

Find out more about the creatives and the project.

Tickets for both 15:00 and 16:30 performances are free, but booking is advised. Tickets can be reserved via The Albany.

Hope 4 Justice is part of a wider programme of climate emergency artworks commissioned for We Are Lewisham, the Mayor’s London Borough of Culture, and is supported by Arts Council England, Open Hand, Trinity Laban, Lewisham Music and the Albany.

Open lid grand piano on stage in front of empty Wigmore Hall auditorium

CAVATINA Intercollegiate Chamber Music Competition 2022

Student ensemble the Metastos Trio win second prize

With its origins dating back to 1961, the CAVATINA Intercollegiate Chamber Music Competition has long celebrated the finest talent from the UK’s leading conservatoires.

For 2022, eight ensembles performed Beethoven’s Piano Trio in D Op. 70 No. 1 ‘Ghost’.

Representing Trinity Laban on the Wigmore Hall stage were Greta Papa (violin), Miguel Villeda Ceron (cello) and Christos Fountos (piano). The trio are supported in the studies by scholarships from Trinity College London (TCL).

The ensemble impressed adjudicator Roger Wright CBE to claim second prize.

The competition was broadcast live 11 May 2022, and the video is available on demand for 30 days. Voting is now open for the audience prize.

Find out more about chamber music at Trinity Laban.

Nic Pendlebury standing in repeating arches of viaduct, facing away and looking into distance

New solo album from TL Head of Strings

Nic Pendlebury expands electric viola repertoire with release of Multiple

Internationally acclaimed violist and founder of the Smith Quartet, Nic Pendlebury, has been at the forefront of the contemporary music scene for over thirty years and leads one of the most vibrant string departments in Europe.

His latest venture, Multiple, is an unchartered and exciting project showcasing the solo electric viola.

“This album is unique in terms of genre and sound world – I don’t believe anything like it has been heard before.”

Featuring a wide range of works from an ambitious transcription of Thomas Tallis’ 40-part choral epic Spem in Alium to a specially commissioned piece by Trinity Laban alum and former staff member John Ashton Thomas, the recordings demonstrate the instrument’s versatility and performance qualities.

Nic explains –

“The electric viola has tremendous scope for timbral exploration, particularly when combined with sonic manipulation, and is an instrument that has exciting and wide-ranging compositional possibilities.”

The album also includes Pendlebury’s arrangement of Electric Counterpoint by composition legend Steve Reich, which received a standing ovation from Reich himself following an exclusive performance in October 2019.

Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint / Head of Strings Nic Pendlebury – Bing video

Commenting on Nic’s fresh take, Reich said –

“The idea that Electric Counterpoint would be bowed had never occurred to me. I want to thank Nic for a beautiful surprise. I was moved to tears.”

The album will be released on the Orchid Classics label 20 May 2022, and is available to pre-order now.

Find more about the Trinity Laban Strings Department at our Strings Open Day (7 July 2022).

Image credit: Molly Ann Pendlebury

Matthew Bourne

Multiple nominations for Sir Matthew Bourne OBE at National Dance Awards 2022

The TL alum and his company New Adventures have been shortlisted for a total of seven accolades

The UK’s Critics’ Circle has announced nominations for its annual National Dance Awards, and Matthew Bourne’s The Midnight Bell tops the list of individual productions with five nominations.

The celebrated choreographer completed his BA at Trinity Laban before going on to do the Graduate Diploma in Dance Performance (Transitions Dance Company) graduating in 1986. Matthew launched New Adventures in 2002.

The company has now secured seven nominations at this year’s awards including the Stef Stefanou Award for Outstanding Company.

The Royal Ballet’s The Dante Project, by Trinity Laban Visiting Professor of Choreography Wayne McGregor, has also secured four nominations.

The winners will be announced at a live ceremony in London on 13 June 2022.

Image credit: Hugo Glendinning

TL dancers are finalists for BBC Young Dancer 2022

Two alumni of the conservatoire’s CAT scheme will compete in Saturday’s Grand Final

The ultimate talent show for young UK dancers, BBC Young Dancer showcases some of the best up-and-coming performers from ballet to contemporary, street to tap and South Asian.

The competition is overseen by TL alum and former Chief Executive and Artistic Director of London’s international festival Dance Umbrella, Emma Gladstone OBE.

To adjudicate this year, Emma is joined by some of the industry’s best talent including Hip Hop dance phenomenon Gianna Gi, South Asian choreographer Geetha Sridhar, independent dance artist Annie Hanauer and award-winning multi-disciplinary artist Ivan Blackstock.

They will be judging the talents of 10 dancers, including 19-year-olds Hannah Joseph and Robert Dunkley-Gyimah, who trained as part of Trinity Laban’s Centre for Advance Training.

The innovative scheme offers young people with exceptional talent and potential in dance the opportunity to access high quality dance training. The programme of classes provides intensive and rigorous dance training taught by a highly experienced team of professional dance teachers and artists.

Robert discovered his passion for dance aged 12, and has trained in street dance, ballet and contemporary, while Hannah started in a local ballet school at six before joining the CAT scheme and is now a member of National Youth Dance Company.

They will compete to be crowned BBC Young Dancer 2022 in the Grand Final at London’s Roundhouse, broadcast on Saturday 7 May on BBC TWO and on iPlayer.

BBC Young Dancer 2022 – The Final | Trailer – BBC Trailers – YouTube

Discover more about studying dance at Trinity Laban.

Cherise Adams Burnett

Hollywood Role for Jazz Alum

Award-winning British singer Cherise Adams-Burnett features in hotly anticipated film Downton Abbey: A New Era

Scored by composer and TL Honorary Fellow John Lunn the soundtrack for Downton Abbey: A New Era has been released on Decca Records.

It features a new generation of UK jazz and soul artists, including award-winning British singer and TL alum Cherise Adams-Burnett, whose voice shines on ‘Crazy Rhythm’ and ‘Am I Blue’.

The jazz vocalist also appears in the film, released 29 April, performing songs from the soundtrack.

Adams-Burnett comments –

“I would have never thought I’d be cast in Downton Abbey, to be part of the soundtrack is even more of a bonus to bring this great story to life. I tried to channel the energy of Josephine Baker, a notable rebel of her time and even today with my own soul music, I try to channel her individuality, fun and flare.”

Since graduating from Trinity Laban in 2017, Adams-Burnett has performed at prestigious venues and festivals ranging from the BBC Proms at The Royal Albert Hall and the Kennedy Centre in Washington D.C to the Love Supreme Jazz Festival. She was awarded Jazz FM’s Vocalist of the in 2019 and Vocalist of the Year by the Parliamentary Jazz Awards in 2020.

The soundtrack retains the distinctive orchestration and title motifs from the multiple Emmy Award-winning series whilst celebrating the story’s entrance to the 1930s.

John Lunn comments –

“Along with reworking familiar and well-loved themes, the new storylines have opened up a whole new vista for me.”

Lunn has already received two Primetime Emmy Awards and two BAFTA nominations for his scores for Downton Abbey.

Cassius Hackforth

TL student in final of West End Sondheim Competition

Cassius Hackforth in the running to be crowned Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year 2022

After a COVID-enforced hiatus, the celebrated Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year competition returns for its 14th anniversary showcase on Monday 30 May.

Current Trinity Laban third year musical theatre student Cassius Hackforth is one of 12 finalists who will take to the West End stage at London’s Sondheim Theatre to compete for the coveted prize.

On becoming a finalist, Cassius comments –

“It’s a dream come true to be in the final. I’ve been following the competition for a while now with the judges and previous competitors being a big inspiration for me.

“I’ve worked so hard on my acting through song over the past three years at Trinity Laban and I can’t thank Helen Evans, Tony Castro, Pete Gallagher and Verity Quade enough for helping me reach this moment.”

Cassius will perform ‘Class’ from Sondheim’s first musical Saturday Night for a panel of industry experts including British music journalist and radio presenter Edward Seckerson.

The TL student will also premiere a newly written piece of musical theatre, in partnership with the New UK Musicals organisation.

Affectionately known is SSSSPOTY, the annual contest is a major platform for emerging musical-theatre talent. Previous winners include Rocketman star Taron Egerton and Tony Award-winner Cynthia Erivo.

Cassius is set to play Willard Hewitt in the Trinity Laban Musical Theatre production of Footloose at The Albany (27 & 28 May).