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Àjò – Gabriel Adédèjì

Malaika – Adam Salim, rearranged by Gabriel Adédèjì

Pastorela – William Grant Still

Folk Suite No. 2 – William Grant Still


Isreal Akíndípẹ̀

Amy Wood

Maddy Hamilton

Aleksandra Myslek

Micah Baker

Àjò – Gabriel Adédèjì

Àjò was written by the composer to imitate the “talking drum culture” of the Yorùbá people who have a tonal language. The Talking drum is a huge tradition of the Yorùbá people as it speaks by imitating the tones of the language.

In Àjò, Gabriel Adédèjì experiments speaking the Yorùbá language on the Clarinet, Cello and Piano.

Gan gan talking drum Gan gan talking drum

Malaika – Adam Salim, rearranged by Gabriel Adédèjì

Malaika is a popular song written in Swahili, the words “Malaika nakupenda Malaika” translates “My angel, I love you my angel”. This song has been rearranged and rewritten by many people and the actual composer is quite a controversial topic, however, Adam Salim is the earliest person attributed with the authorship of the song. It was first recorded by Fadhili William who also claims to have written the song, however the recording that brought this song to the world stage was by Miriam Makeba. This concert features Gabriel Adédèjì’s arrangement of the song.

Pastorela & Folk Suite No. 2 – William Grant Still

William Grant Still is regarded as one of the most successful African American composers of all time. Born into a strong educational background, William Grant Still achieves scholarships for both his undergraduate and masters degrees at the Oberlin Conservatory and later the New England Conservatory.

William Grant Still began his career as a professional violist and cellist, performing for major orchestras and pit bands in New York. By the early 1930s, William Grant Still became the first African American to have a professional orchestra perform a major composition in full, when in 1931 the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra performed his composition Symphony No. 1.

William Grant Still’s success continued through to the 1950s, as he went on to become the first African American to have an opera produced by a white opera company, conduct the Hollywood Bowl and conduct in the Deep South.

Pastorela was composed in 1946, when William Grant Still’s compositional style shifted more towards folk music. Originally written for violin and piano, our performance today features specialist equipment and slight adjustments to the original double stop markings to make it possible as a Flute performance.

Pastorela utilises the traditional structure of a Pastorale, whilst simultaneously fusing modern compositional techniques to successfully create an image of the ever-changing American landscape.


Isreal Akíndípẹ̀

Ola Akindipe

Isreal Akíndípẹ̀ is a clarinettist and song writer studying at Trinity Laban conservatoire of music and dance with support of the The Trinity Laban Chineke! Scholarship, Cordelia Moses Scholarship and the Beryl Searls Scholarship.

“Ọlá” which he is known as, grew up in Lagos Nigeria to a non-musical family but fell in love with music and decided to pursue his passion.

His two years of study at the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON) was a turning point in his life as this was where he gained formal tutelage in music. In 2017, Ọlá emerged winner of the MusiQuest competition, a youth competition in Lagos, the following year, he was recipient of the David Nwamara award for woodwind performance.

Ọlá is currently under the tutelage of Micheal Whight and has also been coached by Katherine Spencer, Oluwasegun Adejare, Seun Oluwabusuyi and Seun Onifade.

Ọlá is the founder of the Nigerian Clarinet Hub and an active member of the Chamber Music Society, Nigeria, he is also co-founder of the TraIN (Transformation In Nigeria) initiative.

Ọlá hopes to increase classical music appreciation in Nigeria and to promote traditional Nigerian music to the world stage, most important to him is to make the study of professional music in Nigeria affordable and much more accessible compared to how it was for him.

Amy Wood

Amy Louise Wood is a Michael Hirst scholar at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Amy is a second year Classical Flautist, however, she also studies Piano and Piccolo

as second study instruments. In her first academic year, Amy won the first year division of the Harold Clarke Woodwind Competition.

Originally from the UK, Amy has spent 12 years living in Australia and Hong Kong. She is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and can speak some Cantonese.

Amy was inspired to begin learning music from a young age by her mother, who is a Piano Teacher. Amy learnt Piano and music theory from her mother, and later began learning the Flute and Alto Saxophone.

During her time in Sydney, Amy became involved in her school bands and had the chance to learn about Australian music at school. She joined the Australian Girls Choir and in 2009, performed with the choir at the Sydney Opera House.

Whilst living in Hong Kong, Amy was exposed to traditional Chinese music by her peers as well as Jazz Music. At school, Amy became involved in various ensembles, ranging from Big Bands to Orchestras, Choirs and A Cappella groups. In her final two years, she lead the Woodwind ensemble, and began arranging her own music for the first time.

During her time at Trinity Laban Conservatoire, Amy hopes to share her knowledge of Australian and Chinese music with her peers. Amy became involved in Chamber music for the first time at Trinity Laban Conservatoire this academic year and hopes to explore chamber repertoire further.

Maddy Hamilton

Headshot - Maddy Hamilton

Originally from Milton Keynes, Maddy Hamilton is a versatile and vibrant cellist. She recently graduated from Trinity Laban in July 2020, where she completed her undergraduate studies under the guidance of Joely Koos and Naomi Butterworth.

Maddy enjoys a varied musical life and regularly performs in many different settings. Throughout her career she has performed at many prestigious venues including the Wigmore Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Cadogan Hall and Birmingham Symphony Hall with various orchestras and ensembles. A highlight was travelling to Davos, Switzerland to perform at the 2019 World Economic Forum, as part of the Taki Concordia

Orchestra under Marin Alsop. Maddy is also principal cellist of Capital Orchestra, the UK’s first intercollegiate pop and jazz orchestra, which hosted three sold-out shows as part of it’s year-long residency with LSO St Luke’s in 2019. Maddy is an avid chamber musician and is one of the founding members of The Undercroft Piano Trio alongside Tom Knowles (piano) and Tom Crofton-Green (violin). The three have performed together for 4 years and were recipients of the Richard Carne Chamber Mentorship Award last year. The Undercroft Trio were also selected as finalists in the 2020 Intercollegiate Piano Trio Competition and were joint winners of the 2020 Carne Chamber Competition.

Maddy is a keen session musician and enthusiastic for contemporary music styles. Over the years Maddy has worked closely with various composers and songwriters, writing, recording and performing new music. Highlights include performing at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival with Swiss pianist and composer, Nik Bärtsch, as well as recording for numerous sessions at Air Edel and Abbey Road Studios in London. Maddy can be heard performing cello on the original soundtrack to the documentary film, Homs und Ich (2019) composed by Marco Caricola. Her other discography includes 2 albums from folk singer/songwriter Sian Magill amongst more from other genres and artists.

Alongside her performing career, Maddy is a passionate educator. She teaches at The Conservatoire, Blackheath in addition to tutoring various educational workshops and training orchestras. During her time at Trinity Laban, Maddy gained unparalleled experience in community outreach, particularly working with young people in collaborative educational settings.

Aleksandra Myslek

Aleksandra Myslek

Aleksandra is a Polish pianist based in London. Having won the III International Chopin Competition in Budapest at the age of 16, she was given opportunities to perform extensively in France, Poland, Hungary and Spain. In 2010 Aleksandra received a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London with prof. Christopher Elton. She went on to pursue a postgraduate degree in performance and research with prof. Hamish Milne, which she completed with a distinction for overall outstanding studentship. Aleksandra regularly works with singers on both song and opera repertoire; her collaboration with Damian Ganclarski resulted in her becoming a winner of the prestigious Brenda Webb Accompanist Prize in association with the Richard Lewis Award, whereas the cellist Alberto Casadei was her duo partner in the winning performance of the Wilfrid Parry Brahms prize. In addition to her chamber music professors at the Academy- Michael Dussek and Ian Brown- she took advice on ensemble playing from Ferenc Rados, Maxim Vengerov, Thomas Steinhöfel, Adrian Brendel, Michel Beroff, Gyorgy Pauk, James Ehnes and many others.

Aleksandra is now a Live Music Now musician and a Junior Fellow in Piano Accompaniment at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.

Micah Baker

Headshot - Micah Baker

Micah Baker is in his Second year studying classical percussion and drum kit at Trinity Laban, originally coming from Bedfordshire. Alongside his studies, he holds a passion for world music in particular African music due to his upbringing in West Africa, where he spent most of his childhood.

Richard Henry (Mentor)

Richard Henry

Richard is a graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music Manchester and a post graduate of the National Centre for Orchestral Studies, Goldsmiths College London.

He is a freelance low brass musician, specialising on bass trombone. Over the last 30 years or so he has built a solid reputation in the film and TV session world, West End theatre and the big band jazz format.

He is a member of the London Jazz Orchestra, the Chineke! Orchestra, musician at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre and Professor of Jazz trombone, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Here he also co runs the Studio Band, one of three jazz orchestras at Trinity Laban. Recently he made a film acting debut in the film The Man in the Hat, which saw its general release in the UK and Ireland 2020. He is a former teacher of Music and taught for several years at Cumberland School, East London.

Artists Richard has performed extensively with or recorded with include; Carla Bley, George Russell, Hermeto Pascoal, Joni Mitchell, Peter Gabriel, George Michael, Django Bates’s Delightful Precipice, Jazz Jamaica, Nikki Iles Jazz Orchestra, BBC Radio Big Band, Julian Joseph, Bob Brookmeyer/Ed Partyka Jazz Orchestra, Kano and Dame Shirley Bassey. Film soundtrack highlights include Shakespeare in Love, Sleepy Hollow, Harry Potter and various Bond movies. He was musical director for Richard II, 2015 and Romeo and Juliet (Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank) 2019, both at Shakespeare’s Globe.

This was an enriching and rewarding experience mentoring both Amy and Ọlá. Providing guidance, motivation (they had this is abundance), setting of goals and constructive feedback inspired me to look back at my own performance experiences in large and small ensembles and to a very young self when I took part in the BBC Young Musician of the Year event reaching the brass final. We had some excellent discussions about composers of African or Caribbean heritage and their music, before choosing the final program for the concert at St Alfege, 29th October 2020. We have gone from topics such as the preserving of Aboriginal musical settings to the Cuíca or Quíca of Brazil, via the Yoruba language and the west African talking drum. I have learnt so much and have taken great pleasure watching both students develop their performance and communication skills and for that me, that is the beauty of mentoring.

Many thanks to the Royal Borough of Greenwich and to Trinity Laban Learning and Participation, for giving us this opportunity to help celebrate #Blackculture365 #BHM365.