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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.

 

 

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

Errollyn Wallen headshot

Composition Professor in award-winning Venice Biennale Installation

Featuring Errollyn Wallen CBE, ‘Feeling Her Way’ has won the Golden Lion at the 59th International Art Exhibition

Sonia Boyce has made history as the first black artist to represent Britain at the Venice Art Biennale, the world’s longest-running and most high-profile international exhibition of contemporary art.

And now her multi-layered artwork for the British Pavilion has claimed the top prize at the 59th International Art Exhibition, making her the first British artist to win the award in almost 30 years.

Feeling Her Way combines video, collage, music and sculpture to focus on the vocal experimentation of five outstanding black female musicians as they embody feelings of power, freedom and vulnerability.

At the heart of the installation are filmed sessions recorded at London’s iconic Abbey Road studios.

Trinity Laban composition professor Errollyn Wallen CBE guides jazz singer Jacqui Dankworth, singer songwriters Poppy Ajudha and Tanita Tikaram, and experimental vocalist Sofia Jernberg through a series of exercises, inviting them to improvise and play with their voices in new ways.

Boyce wants to hear what happens when creative women are unconstrained by social expectations or market forces, by the demand that they behave themselves. So Wallen encourages the vocalists to use the voice as a vehicle of free expression, inviting them to make curious, disturbing, even ugly sounds: “You don’t have to make a nice sound”, she explains.

On being involved in the award-winning artwork, Wallen comments –

“I loved working with Sonia as I have long been an admirer of her work. Feeling Her Way captures the essence of being a musician and the devotion combined with attentive listening, which is central to this activity.”

Described by The Observer as a “renaissance woman of contemporary British music”, Wallen is central within Trinity Laban’s Composition department.

Launching TL’s Summer Season 2022

Encounter intriguing and inventive music and dance in our live events programme. 

Running from May to July, our summer season takes Trinity Laban talent to venues across the capital to celebrate innovative new works and contemporary voices across artforms.  

Highlights include a new opera, two festivals, three musical theatre productions, a host of new dance works and a rousing call to climate action.  

Hope 4 Justice  

Co-created by composer Eska Mtungwazi, Young Person’s poet laureate Cecilia Knapp, choreographer Sarah Golding and hundreds of local young people, Hope 4 Justice will highlight global and local climate concerns and look to the future with hope. The cross-artform piece featuring dance, music and spoken word will be presented at Catford’s Mountsfield Park as part of Lewisham Borough of Culture 2022 in partnership with Lewisham Music. 

Dance 

An annual highlight, Dance Legends (Thu 30 Jun – Fri 1 Jul) features a selection of works by choreographers who have made significant contributions to the development of contemporary dance. This year’s programme includes Protima Chatterjee Unfettered Mind, Candoco’s Still by Nigel Charnock and experts from Studio Wayne McGregor Autobiography performed by second year students. 

This season also sees dance students from across our programmes present new work, starting with two programmes of original choreographic work by second-year BA (Hons) Contemporary Dance students Mon 9 May & Tue 10 May).  

Third year students will delight and intrigue audiences with theatre-based and site-specific dance works, films and installations for Dance in Situ (Wed 18 Jun) in a culmination of their artistic exploration and choreographic investigation, before presenting work which has been developed through intensive periods of creative exploration with professional choreographers including Diva Kasturi in the second instalment of Commissioned Works (Tue 14 Jul). 

Across two weeks, the Faculty of Dance presents the annual Graduate Showcase (Mon 18 – Fri 29 Jul), spotlighting new work from artists studying on our masters and research degree programmes. Expect experimental and investigative pieces, drawing on collaborative and interdisciplinary practices that incorporate live performance, film and video, installation, and documentary processes. 

Festivals 

Changemaker Festival at Blackheath Halls (Thu 26 – Fri 27 May) celebrates the diverse and rich work of our BA (Hons) Music Performance and Industry students. 

Curated by Douglas Finch, New Lights Contemporary Festival of Piano and Contemporary Music returns to our King Charles Court campus for a riot of experimental music making (Mon 20 & Tue 21 Jun). The festival has earned a reputation for showcasing a diverse range of composed and improvised contemporary music for keyboard, electronic and multi-media performance. Each day will feature a series of performances from students, alumni, composers and guest artists, and will culminate in an interactive improvisational ‘happening’ across multiple spaces. 

Continuing their successful UK Tour, Nic Pendlebury and Trinity Laban String Ensemble bring A Change of Season to Latitude Festival in Suffolk (Thu 21 & Fri 22 Jul). A response to the climate emergency, the programme reimagines Vivaldi’s iconic masterpiece The Four Seasons and revives Hollie Harding’s immersive and eco-political Melting, Shifting, Liquid World, exploring the seasons as they should be and contemplating what they may become. 

Productions 

In their last shows before transitioning into the profession, third year musical theatre students take to The Albany stage to present two movie-inspired shows: Carrie the Musical (Fri 20 May – Sat 21 May) and Footloose the Musical (Fri 27 – Sat 28 May).  

Based on the Stephen King novel Carrie with music by Michael Gore and Lyrics by dean Pitchford, the show centres on a teenage girl with telekinetic powers whose lonely life is dominated by an oppressive religious fanatic mother. When she is humiliated by her classmates at the high school prom things take a turn and chaos is unleashed on everyone and everything in her path. 

Based on the classic 1980s film, Footloose tells the story of city boy Ren who moves to a rural backwater in America where dancing is banned. He decides to break loose and soon has the whole town up on its feet. 

In June, it’s the turn of second year students who present Andrew Lippa’s heart-warming and magical Big Fish at Blackheath Halls (Mon 20 – Sat 25 Jun).  

Devised by Head of Vocal Studies Jennifer Hamilton, Strozzi! brings to life the intriguing world of seventeenth-century Venetian composer Barbara Strozzi in a collage of words and music (Thu 7 – Sat 9 Jul). 

Concerts and competitions 

Open to student ensembles across our Faculty of Music, the Carne Trust Chamber Competition showcases the technical and creative skill of our musicians. In the final, Beyond the Bell, Bolling Quartet, Meridian Guitar Quartet and Waldstein Quartet will compete at St John Smith Square for a share of the generous prize fund (Wed 22 Jun). 

Continuing our Black Culture 365 programme, composer and recitalist Althea Talbot-Howard presents the British premieres of original compositions and new realisations of music by Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Coleridge-Taylor, and Sancho at St Alfege (Thu 30 Jun). 

Trinity Laban Symphony Orchestra will take Cadogan Hall audiences on a tour of early twentieth century London through the eyes and ears of Vaughan Williams with ‘A London Symphony’ under the direction of Gerry Cornelius, before being joined by Soloists’ Competition 2022 winner Kyle Nash-Baker for Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.3 (Tue 28 Jun). 

Trinity Laban’s Sinfonia Strings and Wind Ensembles come together at Blackheath Halls (Thu 12 May) to perform Handel’s Water Music, directed by Walter Reiter. 

To mark the end of another successful academic year, our junior departments will mount shows and presentations in July. Junior Trinity takes to the stage at Cadogan Hall for a concert and prizegiving ceremony (Sat 9 Jul), while Laban Theatre hosts the Centre for Advanced Training End of Year Show (Sat 9 Jul) and the annual summer show for participants from our Children’s Creative Dance Classes (Sat 2 Jul). 

 

For full listings, ticketing info and booking visit our What’s On page.  

TL Professors named top players by BBC

Leon Bosch and Chi-Chi Nwanoku feature in BBC Classical Music magazine’s list of the 10 best double bass players.

TL Professor Leon Bosch and Visiting Professor and Honorary Fellow Chi-Chi Nwanoku OBE, both feature in BBC Classical Music magazine’s list of the 10 best players who have helped to develop the role of the double bass as a solo and chamber instrument.

Throughout his diverse career as virtuoso player, conductor and broadcaster, Leon has been committed to rediscovering neglected music, as well as expanding and diversifying the double bass repertoire. He commissions chamber arrangements of well-known symphonic classics for his ensemble I Musicanti.

Chi-Chi is the Founder, Artistic and Executive Director of the Chineke! Foundation, which supports, inspires and encourages Black, Asian and ethnically diverse classical musicians working in the UK and Europe. Her range of musical interests have resulted in a broad career performing and recording in a diversity of styles from authentic baroque through to 21st century and new commissions.

The world-renowned performers are part of our exceptional roster of teaching staff inspiring students in our dynamic and innovative Strings Department.

Image: Leon Bosch (credit Juno Snowdon)

Douglas finch sat at open lid grand piano

World premiere of new chamber opera by TL teacher

Take Care by piano professor Douglas Finch celebrates the remarkable work of carers

Trinity Laban piano professor and curator of New Lights Festival Douglas Finch has penned a brand-new chamber opera with librettist Cindy Oswin.

Telling the story of carer Katie’s and her clients, Take Care is based on extensive research into the working lives of those who care for people with dementia and features a chorus of twelve carers from the local community in Nottingham.

The elegant and direct narrative is supported by a complex yet accessible and empathetic score by Finch that has stylistic references ranging from Vaudeville to Wagner.

It premieres at Lakeside Arts Centre in Nottingham 2 April 2022, under the baton of Trinity Laban’s Head of Orchestra Studies Jonathan Tilbrook.

Take Care is supported by Arts Council/National Lottery and the ESRC Impact Accelerator Fund.

Five men and women with pained expressions and fingers in their ears

Anyone Can Sing

TL vocal tutor Sarah Pring mentors would-be singers for new Sky Arts show

International mezzo soprano Sarah Pring has been a part of Trinity Laban’s vibrant vocal department for the last eight years, whilst carving out a flourishing performance career singing with companies such as Scottish Opera and English National Opera.

At Trinity Laban, she brings her knowledge of the profession, practical advice and holistic approach to nurture students and help them develop their individual talents and find their own artistic voice.

Now, she’s turned her expertise to six of the UK and Ireland’s “worst singers”.

Working alongside Nicky Spence and Michael Harper, the world-class vocal coach has spent three intensive months transforming the vocal-stylings of participants from screeching in the shower to performing like a pro in a bid to prove that Anyone Can Sing.

On being part of the series, Sarah comments –

“It has been incredibly rewarding to open up the classical music space and empower our participants to discover their voices. Accessibility in the arts is so important – creativity and expression are for everyone. In three months I’ve seen how life-changing this process has been in terms of improving confidence and positively impacting general wellbeing.”

Before Anyone Can Sing Sarah worked with BBC Comic Relief, training comedians to sing operatically.

Watch the process from Wednesday 30 March on Sky Arts.

At Trinity Laban, we support our students’ personal development as versatile and curious musicians. To find out more, visit our vocal pages.