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Stephen Upshaw returns to TL

This spring, the American violist is set to engage with music and dance students in a series of projects, concerts and workshops

Having held the Trinity Laban Carne Trust Junior Fellowship 2016-17, accomplished violist Stephen Upshaw returns to the conservatoire this spring to inspire the next generation of talented young musicians.

Stephen is a noted interpreter of contemporary music as both a soloist and chamber musician. He is a member of the innovative Solem Quartet and London’s Riot Ensemble and has worked closely with many of today’s leading composers, including John Adams, George Benjamin and Errollyn Wallen.

With a strong interest in synthesizing music with other fields, Stephen’s expertise will be exercised during CoLab, our annual festival of collaboration that sees students and stuff from across our faculties unite for a fortnight of experimental and creative projects.

Alongside fellow Solem Quartet musicians, he will work with students from Trinity Laban’s string, composition and dance departments to co-create Bela Bartok Now: Song & Dance. The project is inspired by the Solem Quartet’s Beethoven Bartok Now concept, which uniquely reimagines classical works with music from composers of today. It will weave existing music from Bartok, Beethoven and living composer Jasmine Morris, culminating in an hour-long performance side-by-side at Blackheath Halls (17 Feb).

In April, the quartet will return to coach chamber groups and give a lunchtime concert.

Stephen will also work with Trinity Laban composition students over four workshops in spring to create new works for viola, cello, mezzo-soprano and soprano, alongside his colleagues from the Riot Ensemble. And he will share his understanding of contemporary music with string students in a masterclass at the end of February.

Reflecting on his relationship with Trinity Laban, Stephen shares –

“My time at Trinity Laban as a Carne Trust Junior Fellow was an invaluable period of discovery with the amazing support and resource that the College had to offer.

“I’m so excited to be returning to Trinity Laban for so many projects this year. My career is now focused on chamber music and contemporary music – both aspects I’ll be exploring through the upcoming projects with Riot Ensemble and The Solem Quartet.

“I can’t wait to work with the wonderful students in string, composition and dance departments across the next few months and am thrilled to once again return to the Trinity Laban community.”


Image credit: Matthew Johnson

Blowing the trumpet for John Blanke

Trinity Laban and Nubian Jak Community Trust unveil Blue Plaque honouring the 16th century court musician.

Royal-court trumpeter John Blanke served two kings and contributed to some of the greatest spectacles of the Tudor age. Playing in the courts of Henry VII and Henry VIII, he was amongst the highest-paid musicians working at Greenwich Palace.

Blanke is believed to be the earliest known Black Briton for whom we have both an image and a record, featuring twice in the Great Tournament Roll of Westminster, a 60ft manuscript depicting the royal procession and tournament to celebrate the birth of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon heir on New Year’s Day 1511.

On Friday 14 January 2022, over 500 years since the sounds of John Blanke’s trumpet filled the air in Greenwich, Trinity Laban and Nubian Jak Community Trust unveiled a commemorative blue plaque to honour the musician.

Speaking at the event to share insight into Blanke’s life and work were historian and National Director of the John Blanke Project, Michael Ohajura, Inspector of Ancient Monuments at Historic England, Jane Sidell, The Reverend Simon Winn of St Alfege Church, Greenwich, and Dr Jak Beula, CEO of Nubian Jak Community Trust.

In a contemporary nod to Blanke’s musicality, Trinity Laban trumpeters played African-American composer Gary Powell Nash’s Enigmatic Fanfare, while writer Mark Thompson shared his poem John Blanke in which he responds to how the musician has and will be remembered.

Four trumpeters with music stands stood holding instruments to lips playing

The blue plaque has been installed at Trinity Laban’s Faculty of Music at the Old Royal Naval College, the site of the former royal residence.

In attendance were local dignitaries, representatives from the College of Arms, The National Archive and Historic England, and Trinity Laban staff.

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

“As the current guardians of King Charles Court, Trinity Laban treasures and celebrates the building’s unique history. It is a privilege for us to host the John Blanke plaque at our Faculty of Music as part of our Black Culture 365 series, our year-round commitment to celebrating Black history and art.”

Dr Jak Beula, CEO of Nubian Jak Community Trust, comments –

“The Trust is delighted to receive the support of Historic England, Trinity Laban, The John Blanke Project and other stakeholders, to celebrate and blow the trumpet of a pioneering 16th-century musician, who just by his very presence has forced us to rethink what it was like to be a Black Briton over 500 years ago and beyond.”

Michael Ohajura, National Director of the John Blanke Project, comments –

“This plaque dedicated to John Blanke marks him out in our history not just as the first Black Briton for whom we have both an image and a record but a sign of how diverse this island was and is, and how we celebrate our diversity today.”

Dr. Miranda Kaufmann, Author of Black Tudors. The Untold Story comments –

“It’s fantastic that the life of John Blanke, about whom scholars including Professor Imtiaz Habib, Dr. Onyeka Nubia, and myself, have discovered so much more over the last fifteen years, is being celebrated in this way, 510 years after John Blanke married in Greenwich in January 1512. I hope he will inspire the students who pass by the plaque every day.”

Image credit Stephen Berkley-White; L-R: Mark Thompson (poet and educator), Michael Ohajura (National Director of the John Blanke Project), Jane Sidell (Inspector of Ancient Monuments at Historic England), David Bahanovich (TL Assistant Director of Music), Jak Beula (CEO of Nubian Jak Community Trust)

Male student playing electric guitar

BandLab supports future hitmakers, songwriters and producers with Instrumental Gift

The social music platform has gifted five Harmony and Heritage guitars to our Music Performance and Industry Students

The first of its kind for a London conservatoire, our BA (Hons) Music Performance and Industry launched this academic year and provides diverse musical artists with a world-class place to be a Changemaker.

And now, students on the programme have access to further enhanced resources, thanks to BandLab’s gift of five Harmony and Heritage guitars.

The gift equips singer-songwriters and instrumentalists with the high-quality tools to match their ambitions, supporting them to be curious, experimental and collaborative in developing their own artistic identity.

Joe Townsend, Head of BA Music Performance and Industry, comments –

“Trinity Laban is a future-focussed and socially engaged destination for young artists in the heart of southeast London’s creative music scene. While studying with us, our talented students deserve the very best equipment so they can succeed in and shape the musical landscape.

“We’re thrilled that this donation creates the opportunity for our students to play on instruments of this quality, giving students from all backgrounds a voice through the expression of music. We are deeply grateful for this support and expression of confidence from BandLab Technlologies.”

With a mission to break down the technical, geographic and creative barriers between creators, collaborators and community, BandLab is a free and unlimited social music platform enabling creators to make music and share the process with musicians and fans.

Meng Ru Kuok, Group CEO of BandLab Technologies, comments –

“Like Trinity Laban, BandLab is committed to supporting the next generation of music makers and empowering music creation through technology. We are very excited about the BA Music Performance and Industry programme launch and hope our gift of Harmony and Heritage guitars offers extra inspiration for the programme in its inaugural year. Best of luck to these students — our future hitmakers, songwriters, producers and performers — as they take this next step in their creative journey.”

BA Music Performance and Industry student Maddie Goode explains how the instruments have provided a new chapter in her song writing –

“This is the first time properly playing electric guitar. I’ve always played acoustic and I like playing electric now because it’s a warmer tone, which really adds to some of my songs.”

Fellow student Taliesin is using this opportunity to better understand the mechanics of guitar improvisation better in order to improve his song writing and stage performance.

Find out more about popular music at Trinty Laban.

Sir George Benjamin and Philip Fowke in graduation robes holding honorary fellowship scrolls

Trinity Laban awards Honorary Fellowships to musical leaders

Composer Sir George Benjamin and pianist Philip Fowke receive the conservatoire’s highest honour

Foremost English composer and conductor Sir George Benjamin CBE, and pianist and Emeritus Fellow of Piano at Trinity Laban Philip Fowke, have both received Honorary Fellowships from Trinity Laban in recognition of their contributions to music.

From his first orchestral piece Ringed by the Flat Horizon, which featured in the BBC Proms when he was only twenty years old to his most recent works, Sir George Benjamin has consistently produced music of outstanding creativity and invention. Notable for his innovative use of percussion and attention to detail, in each of his scores sensuous, alchemical sounds are underpinned with rigorous architecture, never more so than in his series of operas including the ground-breaking Written on Skin.Premiered at the Royal Opera House in 2012, the opera has since been staged by over 20 international houses, winning multiple awards and enjoying in excess of 100 performances.

Recent awards include the 2015 Prince Pierre of Monaco composition prize (for Written on Skin) and the 2019 Golden Lion Award for lifetime achievement from the Venice Biennale.  As a conductor Benjamin regularly works with some of the world’s leading orchestras, and over the years has developed particularly close relationships with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Sinfonietta and Ensemble Modern as well as the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. He was awarded a C.B.E. in 2010, made a Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2015, and was knighted in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

On receiving the award, Sir George Benjamin commented –

“To receive this award – within the spectacular setting of Trinity Laban – was both a huge pleasure and a great privilege.”

Alan Davey, Sir George Benjamin, Wozzy Brewster and Havilland Willshire, standing on steps outside King Charles Court in graduation robes

L-R: Havilland Willshire, Sir George Benjamin, Wozzy Brewster OBE, Alan Davey

Known for his many BBC Proms appearances, numerous recordings and broad range of repertoire, Philip Fowke is amongst Britain’s most outstanding pianists and distinguished musicians. His appearances with leading orchestras together with his many broadcasts and recordings have earned him international respect, admiration and the affection of audiences. Philip is a champion of less-known repertoire including British music by Scott, Bax, Delius, Bliss, Ireland, Hoddinott, Finzi and McCabe.

He has also enjoyed a distinguished teaching career beginning at the Royal Academy of Music where he was a professor from 1984 to 1989 and was awarded the F.R.A.M. After teaching at the Welsh College of Music and Drama he became Head of Keyboard at Trinity College of Music in 1994, and is currently Professor Emeritus at Trinity Laban. He is widely acclaimed for his imaginative teaching in which he explores students’ potential, encouraging them to develop their own individuality and to find ways of practising effectively and economically.

On receiving the award, Philip Fowke commented –

“I was delighted to be awarded a Trinity Laban Honorary Fellowship. As Havilland read out an outline of my career, I did wonder who he was referring to. It all seemed rather unreal, and I felt it was talking about someone else. The evidence of the photographs seems to prove otherwise, and the whole occasion was beautifully organised and presented.”

Philip Fowke standing in front of wrought iron gates and stonework in graduation hat and robe holding honorary fellowship scroll in both hands

Philip Fowke holds Honorary Fellowship scroll

This year’s Honorary Fellowships were presented by Trinity Laban Chair Alan Davey at our recent graduation ceremonies for 2020 and 2021 music students.

Also in attendance at the Old Royal Naval College Chapel, Greenwich were Dr Anthony Bowne (Trinity Laban Principal), Havilland Willshire (Trinity Laban Director of Music) and Sara Matthews (Trinity Laban Director of Dance), alongside guest speakers Rebecca Allen (President of EMI Records) and Wozzy Brewster OBE (Founder & Executive Director of The Midi Music Company).

Image credits: JK Photography

Launching TL’s Spring Season 2022

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

Running from January to March, our spring season celebrates new works and contemporary voices.

Highlights include two world premieres, the return of Melting Shifting Liquid World and new work from final year dance students.

Responding to the climate emergency, Trinity Laban’s String Ensemble presents A Change of Season at the National Maritime Museum (19 & 20 March). Witness a reimagined, choreographed performance of Vivaldi’s iconic masterpiece The Four Seasons performed alongside Hollie Harding’s immersive Melting, Shifting, Liquid World, for electric viola and string ensemble. Looking at the fragility of our modern world, the programme explores the seasons as they should be and contemplates what they may become.

Opening the season, Edward Jessen’s newly commissioned Syllable premieres at the Laban Theatre (14 & 15 Jan). The ambitious and experimental sonic work is no ordinary opera. Inspired by a range of works including Primo Levi’s 1975 collection of short stories The Periodic Table, audiences can expect a drama driven by sounds rather than conventional plot. The project, which is supported by the PRS Foundation’s Open Fund for Music Creators, is a collaboration with musicians, dance artists and composer-performer collective Bastard Assignments.

Also in January, Octandre Ensemble, Trinity Laban and Blackheath Halls present the world premiere of Each one cancels the last (Hector) by the composer-conductor Jack Sheen, featuring movement by dance-artist Eve Stainton (Tue 18 Jan 19.30). Operating along the blurred boundaries between long-form music and sculptural installation, it sees performers dispersed throughout Blackheath Halls, with visitors free to move throughout and settle within the piece as it unfolds.

Our final-year dancers present an exciting programme of new dance works at Laban Theatre in New Choreography Now: BA3 Choreography Mixed Bill (25 Jan) and create new Commissioned Works in with Fubunation, Lizzi Kew-Ross, Amanda Gough & Sonia Rafferty, Matthew Harding and Joel Brown (10 & 11 Feb).

Trinity Laban’s most prestigious prize returns to Kings Place (26 Jan). Witness seven outstanding young artists at the brink of promising careers demonstrate creativity, musicianship and diverse talent as they perform live for the Gold Medal. And enjoy more of this excellence in Trinity Laban Soloists’ Competition Final 2022 (7 Feb), where students perform concertos for the chance to play as a soloist with one of Trinity Laban’s full orchestras.

Enjoy a range of musical styles across this spring: Trinity Laban Strings students perform a programme of Janáček and Felix Mendelssohn Side by Side with the London Mozart Players, conducted by Simon Blendis (3 Feb); conductor Jonathan Tilbrook leads the Trinity Laban Symphony Orchestra in a programme of Mayer, Matthis, Eleanor Alberga and Shostakovich (10 March, 19:30); and Trinity Laban Contemporary Music Group perform new works by emerging TL composers at the Asylum Peckham, conducted by Gregory Rose (25 Mar 18.00).

If jazz is more your thing, join us for a double bill of performances from the Trinity Laban Big Band, led by Winston Rollins, and The Trinity Laban Charlie Parker Project (19 Jan 19.30). The Trinity Laban Charlie Parker Project is a 13-piece ensemble that explores Parker’s music from a contemporary perspective. Hear new arrangements of his music tailor made for this line-up by Hans Koller, Head of Jazz – written during the lockdowns of 2020, the centenary year of Parker’s birth.

Founded in 2007, the Linos Piano Trio are known for their multifaceted and personal performances.
They have been the Carne Ensemble-in-Residence at Trinity Laban Conservatoire since 2017. They will lead a Lecture Workshop on Rebecca Clarke’s Piano Trio before presenting an evening concert programme of Boulanger, Ravel and Clarke (2 March).

At the end of March, our Chamber Music Festival returns (28-30 March) including the semi-final of the Carne Competition and Illuminate Women’s Music, a project curated with TL students.

Choirs from across Junior Trinity’s programmes return for the annual performance at the ORNC Chapel (12 Feb 17.30) and Four Part Choir, Big Band, Wind Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra return to Blackheath Halls for Junior Trinity’s Spring Concert (27 Mar 19.00).

Trinity Laban presents Stage & Screen: U.Dance 2022 London Regional Platform (13 Mar 19.00), an exciting showcase celebrating the variety and diversity of youth dance from across London. Groups perform a range of styles to secure a place at U.Dance 2022 in Glasgow, a national festival that brings together some of the most ambitious and innovative youth dance from across the country.

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

TL to debut at the Palladium

Musical theatre students will sing alongside West End stars and TL alumni in Lerner and Loewe’s Camelot in concert.

Following 2019’s celebrated concert production of Doctor Zhivago at Cadogan Hall, 35 future stars from our vibrant Musical Theatre Department will once again share the stage with West End and Broadway legend Ramin Karimloo.

Our second and third year students to the stage at iconic London Palladium theatre in an exclusive concert production of Camelot on Sunday 6 February 2022.

Also featuring in the performance is 2013 Trinity Laban vocal graduate Georgi Mottram, who will play Nimue.

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.

The one-night-only performance is presented by Lambert Jackson in association with live music and event promoters Cuffe and Taylor.

Lambert Jackson Creative Director Eliza Jackson comments –

“Lerner and Loewe created the most soaring music with wonderfully descriptive lyrics and to be given the opportunity to bring this story to life at the magnificent London Palladium is something we very much look forward to doing.”

Situated in the heart of the UK’s musical theatre capital, Trinity Laban has an outstanding reputation for rigorous and dynamic performance training. Recent graduates have performed in the West End (Wicked, 42nd Street and Fiddler on the Roof) and in UK and international touring productions such as The Lion King, Ghost, and Rock of Ages.

To find out more about studying at Trinity Laban, visit our Musical Theatre pages

Image courtesy of Lambert Jackson Productions

David Cohen with long hair and beard in white top, with arm raised holding bow, playing cello, looking down at fingerboard

Principal Cello Appointment for TL Strings Teacher

David Cohen will join London Symphony Orchestra from September 2022 

Trinity Laban cello and chamber music professor David Cohen has been appointed principal cello of the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO), alongside Rebecca Gilliver. 

The former principal cello of the Philharmonic Orchestra, Cohen is the artistic director of the Melchoir Ensemble and the founder and artistic director of the chamber music festival Les Sons Intensifs in Lessines, Belgium. 

Before he takes up his new role, Cohen will play for two concerts conducted by LSO principal conductor Sir Simon Rattle on 8 and 9 December 2021. 

On the appointment, Cohen comments –  

“I am hugely honoured to be joining the LSO. I feel beyond excited by the prospect of working with an orchestra with such a broad repertoire of work, unflagging energy and topflight musicians. I am also looking forward to continuing my commitment to working with young musicians at all stages of their development and throwing myself into this activity with the team at LSO Discovery.” 

Trinity Laban’s Head of Strings, Nic Pendlebury, comments –  

“David Cohen’s appointment with the LSO is incredibly well-deserved and testament to his skill as a performer.  

“He is one of many inspirational musicians who comprise our diverse teaching roster, including accomplished soloists, eminent chamber musicians, and leaders and principal players of our country’s major orchestras. It is their abilities as performers, and links with the industry, that mean our students benefit from a huge range of support and skills.” 

Discover more about our Strings department 

Two saxophone students playing side by side

Taking Jazz on Tour

Our students are mixing up their performance schedule to help lead change for the future of jazz.

Driven by a desire to “break down barriers” and “bring awareness”, bands from our celebrated Jazz Department are combining their regular gig schedule with touring local schools to connect with grass-roots musicians and inspire the next generation of music makers.

The interactive performances introduce pupils to instruments and music of jazz from 1930s jazz ‘Big Band’ to the present day. They also explore the building blocks of jazz, including improvisation, chord sequences and riffs.

Hans Koller, Trinity Laban’s Head of Jazz comments –

“The emphasis of Jazz on Tour is on performance. To inspire, to bring in our role models, to open ears, to show the quality of jazz and how it all started and still swings.”

After kicking things off at St Dunstan’s College in Lewisham, the Trinity Laban Fletcher Henderson Project is visiting Greenwich’s Middle Park Primary and Tower Hamlets’ William Davis Primary, as well as secondary schools John Roan School (Greenwich) and Pimlico Academy (Westminster). From January, Richard Henry’s Studio Band and the Trinity Laban Jazz Orchestra will take over the tour.

At secondary schools, aspiring musicians are given the opportunity to join the bands and play alongside conservatoire students, offering a taste of big band playing and full immersion in jazz performance.

St Dunstan’s students expressed how welcoming and engaging the session had been –

“I haven’t really improvised before, so it was interesting trying it out, especially in front of an audience. It was scary but fun.”

“It was really nerve-wracking cause everyone was really good, but everyone was really nice and really encouraging. So even if I did something wrong, which I did, I tried!”

Malcolm Earle-Smith, who leads the Trinity Laban Fletcher Henderson Project, explained –

“Every week the band gets great pleasure playing this wonderful music and we wanted to get out there and share it. There are all sorts of things you can learn about melody, harmony and form from earlier types of jazz; and, of course, the importance of rhythm, and how to make music ‘swing’. Being close to the blues, it also teaches us about personal expression. The element of improvisation gives you a chance to put your personal stamp on the music.

“Our undergraduate students have really benefitted from playing music from the 1930s and we want to show other young musicians they can too. This music has great vibrancy and energy. Once you start to understand it, it opens all kinds of doors.”

Other opportunities to see Trinity Laban Fletcher Henderson Project this year will be at the EFG London Jazz Festival (Sun 21 Nov) as part of The London Line-Up at The Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall. Also on the bill is The Jazz Hang @ Trinity Laban with Tomorrow’s Warriors. Now in it’s second year, the programme is a partnership between the conservatoire and Tomorrow’s Warriors, offering a weekly get together for aspiring young musicians focusing on sparking creativity and harnessing a love of jazz.

Alongside visiting local schools, musicians from the Jazz Department have also been celebrating NHS heroes with a series of lunchtime concerts at St George’s hospital in Tooting. The performances form part of the hospital’s initiative to thank staff and show gratitude for their astonishing work over the past 18 months.

To find out more about Jazz at Trinity Laban.

Winter Season Highlights

Winter Events 2021-22

Encounter intriguing and inventive moments of music and dance in our three-month programme of live and digital events.

Running across November, December and January, our winter season includes an operatic world premiere and new work by Alumni Associate Artist Theo TJ Lowe.

Written by Edward Jessen and commissioned by Trinity Laban, Syllable – A Particle Tale will run for three performances at the Laban Theatre (14 & 15 Jan). With a sinfonietta-scale ensemble, auxiliary audio, and visual projection, this artistically ambitious and experimental sonic theatre work is no ordinary opera. Inspired by a range of works including Primo Levi’s 1975 collection of short stories The Periodic Table, audiences can expect a drama driven by sounds rather than conventional plot. The project, which is supported by the PRS Foundation’s The Open Fund for Music Creators, will be a collaboration with musicians, dance artists and composer-performer collective Bastard Assignments.

Also premiering as part of our winter season is the next iteration of Theo TJ Lowe’s Let me move (15 Dec). The improvisation project originated in autumn 2020 as a way for recent graduates to physically engage with how they felt returning to a studio after periods of lockdown. The process resulted in an ephemeral piece of live dance streamed to audiences’ homes. Now Lowe returns to offer 2021 dance graduates an opportunity to continue creating, and to share the moment with a live audience, with Let me move: continued Part 2.

There are vocal delights later in the month as the Trinity Laban Undergraduate Chorus present an eclectic mix of protest music conducted by Sarah Latto (17 Nov). Expect everything from Tippett and Britten to ‘One Day More’ from Les Misérables and Aminita Francis‘ Black Lives Matter. And, to get into the festive spirit, join the Old Royal Naval College Trinity Laban Chapel Choir as they present Handel’s Messiah, conducted by Ralph Allwood MBE (5 Dec).

Musicians from the Trinity Laban community are heading to the Southbank Centre to perform as part of the EFG London Jazz Fest celebrations (21 Nov) including the freshest talent on London’s scene (The Jazz Hang with Tomorrow’s Warriors and Trinity Laban), our Fletcher Henderson Project and a host of alumni.

An evening with Trinity Laban Brass Ensemble (26 Nov) sees critically-acclaimed trumpeter, conductor and Trinity Laban alum Mike Lovatt lead a live rendition of the iconic 1958 Billy May album Big Fat Brass alongside Bizet’s Carmen Suite as you’ve never heard it before.

In December, our final-year Musical Theatre students present Merrily We Roll Along (7-11 Dec) at Laban Theatre. Boasting one of Stephen Sondheim’s most beautiful scores, the story follows the successful career of Broadway composer turned Hollywood producer Franklin as he realises the true cost of fame and fortune.

Conducted by Head of Strings Nic Pendlebury, Trinity Laban String Ensemble (10 Dec) are joined by violinist Joe Townsend and harpist Maria McNamee for a musical tour of the British Isles. The evening features work by Sally Beamish, Elgar and James MacMillan. The performance will be followed by a late lounge performance from BA Music Performance and Industry producers in the Hearn Recital Room.

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

TL Teaching and Supporting Learning Awards

Teaching and Supporting Learning Awards 2021

TL staff honoured in annual scheme recognising outstanding contribution

The Trinity Laban Teaching and Supporting Learning Awards scheme recognises staff members who have made an outstanding contribution to the conservatoire’s innovative and nurturing environment.

Each year our community is invited to nominate any colleague or team who has positively influenced student experience through an activity or initiative over the past three years. This includes innovative teaching, championing collaborative approaches and the enhancement of TL’s learning culture.

The 2021 recipients are:

  • Ann van Allen-Russell for developing online seminars and discussion groups to promote student engagement, using videos to aid students’ understanding of assessments and for progressing the decolonisation of the Music History curriculum.
  • Tessa Gillett for contributing to a culture of inclusion and diversity at the conservatoire through her leadership of its Black Lives Matter (BLM) campaign and contribution to the BLM working group, which enabled Trinity Laban to gather and respond to students’ concerns.
  • Richard Henry for leading contribution to the BLM working group and public action plans and playing a crucial role as Black Lives in Music relationship manager and Black Culture 365 producer.
  • James Hitchins for transforming the learning experience for students with additional needs and supporting teaching staff to design and adapt learning teaching and assessment to be accessible.
  • Richard Metcalfe for creating a safe environment for learning and teaching in the conservatoire’s buildings during the pandemic.
  • Gill Munro for supporting student engagement and wellbeing by providing excellent individual service to those booking space and other resources.
  • Lucy Nicholson for enhancing student progression into professional practice through the development of the Faculty of Music’s Voices from Industry Series, the Innovation Award, and both the GoDigiTL and TL Ignite micro grants.
  • Stephanie Schober for contribution to inclusion and diversity in learning and teaching through leadership of the ‘Asking Queerer Questions’ CoLab 2021 project.
  • Byron Wallen for community building in the Jazz dept during lockdown including contributing to a weekly listening club and using innovative approaches to the digital delivery of Jazz Music History.

The winners received their Awards at a celebratory outdoor event in September.

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees.

Leo Poulton headshot

Junior Trinity Staff Making Waves

Conductors Darren Bloom and Leo Geyer work with top UK music industry players

2021 has been a busy year for staff in our Junior Trinity Department as two composition tutors take big steps in their professional careers by collaborating with iconic British institutions.

Darren Bloom, Lead Tutor for Composition and Musicianship at Junior Trinity, has conducted the London Symphony Orchestra for Six Degrees of Separation. The newly released album showcases new work by emerging composers as part of the orchestra’s Panufnik Scheme.

Recorded live in concert earlier this year, the record has already received a five-star review from BBC Music Magazine, praising the “total assurance” of the orchestra who provide a “welcome introduction to a terrific new wave of composing talent”.

Darren co-directs Junior Trinity’s Composers Ensemble alongside Leo Geyer, who has been selected by the BBC Open Music Programme on the pathway to become a presenter for Radio 3 and the BBC Proms 2022.

With more than 1,000 applicants for 30 places, the programme brings together new creatives and musicians across a range of genres, styles and backgrounds from around the UK in the hope of developing contemporary collaborations and representative, exciting ideas.

Speaking to his alma mater Oxford University, Leo said –

“I’m not planning on hanging up my composing and conducting hats, but I am aspiring to add ‘broadcaster’ to my portfolio career.”

Previously a student at Junior Trinity, Leo returned to teach on TL’s junior programme in 2015. Alongside his teaching, he also conducts for the English National Opera.

Find out more about our Junior Programmes.