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Hilary, Felix and Beth headshots

TL Alumni Soar in Handel Competition

Three vocal graduates are through to the final of major international singing event 

Launched in 2002, the annual International Handel Singing Competition is an established fixture in the musical calendar, drawing competitors from all over the world. Past finalists have included countertenor Iestyn Davies MBE and soprano Lucy Crowewho have both excelled in the opera world. 

This year, Trinity Laban vocal alumni Hilary CroninBethany Horak-Hallett and Felix Kemp have been chosen from over 150 applicants to compete for the coveted first prize of £5000. 

Since completing her Postgraduate Diploma in 2015, experienced ensemble singer and sought-after soprano soloist Hilary has performed with English Touring Opera, Nevil Holt Opera and Grimebourne.  

A year after graduating, mezzo Bethany made her debut at Glyndebourne Festival Opera in 2019. She is currently an Orchestra Age of Enlightenment Rising Star and is set to tour with Holland Baroque as a featured soloist. 

Praised by the Guardian for his “appealing baritone,” Felix completed his masters at Trinity Laban in 2015 before becoming a Britten-Pears Young Artist and working with Grange Festival Opera and Aldeburgh Festival.  

The finalists will perform their final programmes at St George’s, Hanover Square on Wednesday 20 October with the London Handel Orchestra, led by renowned British conductor and harpsichordist Laurence Cummings. 

The winner of the 2021 International Handel Singing Competition will enjoy several performance opportunities in the UK and abroad, including a prestigious recital with the City Music Society and featuring as a soloist in Handel’s Messiah with Huddersfield Choral Society under the direction of Jane Glover. 

As finalists, Hilary, Bethan and Felix will also each have the chance to give individual recitals in the upcoming London Handel Festival 2021. 

Learn more about our vocal department. 

Images illustrative of the autumn season of performances at Trinity Laban

Autumn Events 2021

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

Running across September, October and November, our autumn season includes film and music festivals, concerts and gigs, as well as more from our Black Culture 365 series.

Celebrating the experimental integration of movement, choreography and the moving image on screen, the biennial London International Screen Dance Festival returns to Laban Theatre to open the season (Wed 22 – Fri 23 Sept). The dynamic event will showcase 26 films from across five continents, including four World Premieres from the USA, South Korea and the UK and 11 UK premieres.

Highlights include: Douglas Rosenberg’s Song of Songs, a “deeply personal evocation” of the poetry series from the Old Testament; John Degois’ “life-affirming” one-take short film Birds; and Hadi Moussally’s Bellydance Vogue, an eclectic mix of childhood VHS footage and solo lockdown birthday celebrations.

In collaboration with Screen Dance International, Detroit, the 2021 Festival will also present Second Warning In memory of Marcus White (May 17, 1988 – May 14, 2020). Marcus created the film for the 2017 Moving 24 fps, a week-long festival in Detroit for dance-makers and filmmakers that he co-founded and directed with Carlos Funn.

Alongside the screenings, there will also additional Q&A events and talks, and the announcement of the Festival Award for Best Film.

In October, audiences can journey to new sonic worlds and join a community of experimenters at the Rude Health Composition Festival (Mon 25 – Wed 27 Oct).

Orchestral highlights from the Great Hall at Blackheath include Side by Side with Aurora Orchestra (Thu 7 Oct 18:00), which brings together student talent with professional mentors to perform Schumann’s Symphony no 1 op 38 ‘Spring’, Symphonic Winds & Sinfonia Strings (Fri 15 Oct 19:30), showcasing a new work by Nneka Cummins alongside pieces by Debussy and Grainger, and Trinity Laban Symphony Orchestra (Thu 28 Oct 19:30), featuring 2019 Soloists’ Competition winner, cellist Talia Erdal.

Celebrating creativity from across the Black diaspora, our Black Culture 365 series continues this autumn with a star-studded Mixed Bill (Fri 29 Oct 18:00) and a student-led Lunchtime Concert (Thu 25 Nov 13:00).

Our first cohort of popular music students will get the chance to shine in Life is a Song Worth Singing (Fri 5 Nov 19.30), a night of song writing talent presented in the intimate surroundings of the Hearn Recital Room.

Rounding off the season, Trinity Laban Brass Ensemble presents Big Fat Brass (Fri 26 Nov 19:30). The evening sees critically-acclaimed trumpeter, conductor and Trinity Laban alum Mike Lovatt lead the band in a live rendition of the iconic 1958 Billy May album, alongside Bizet’s Carmen Suite as you’ve never heard it before.

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

Calum Huggan playing marimba with four mallets

Percussion Tutor’s ‘Landmark’ Debut Album

Calum Huggan is set to release ‘American Music for Marimba’ at the end of August on the Delphian label.

Well-known as a leading exponent of new music, award-winning Scottish percussionist Calum Huggan has captivated audiences and critics alike with his musicality and personality.

Through a programme of contemporary repertoire by living composers, his first solo album showcases his affinity with the marimba and explores its full spectrum of expressive colours.

American Music for Marimba includes two premiere recordings of works by Michael Burritt and Ivan Trevino, alongside modern classics including Eric Ewazen’s Northern Lights and Emmanuel Séjourné’s Nancy.

On the upcoming release, Calum comments –

“With this album it has been most important to me share music that makes percussion and marimba as accessible and engaging to an audience as possible. Performing music by living composers, who write with strong and relatable narratives, plays a significant part in my repertoire choices and influences my musical storytelling through the instrument.”

Calum is a Four Mallet Specialist at Trinity Laban Conservatoire. He also holds teaching positions at the Royal College of Music and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Taught by international marimbists Jasmin Kolberg and Eric Sammut, Calum won his first BBC solo broadcast at the age of 18. He has gone on to perform solo and concerto debuts within the major concert houses across the UK, Europe and in the United Arab Emirates. He has also worked alongside some of the most recognised and talented creatives in the arts, co-creating, recording and performing in spectacular spaces across the globe.

A Yamaha Artist and Acoustic Percussion Signature Artist, Calum’s mission is to make percussion as accessible as possible, be a voice for LGBTQ+ musicians and introduce audiences to the truly fascinating and magical world that is percussion.

American Music for Marimba will be available on Delphian from 27 August 2021.

To learn more about the Wind, Brass and Percussion Department, visit our study pages.


Alumni Among Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2021 Winners

Female jazz stars took centre stage at the 16th annual awards.

This year’s Parliamentary Jazz Awards celebrated the increasing number of high-profile women involved in the UK’s jazz scene. These include TL alumni trumpeter Sheila Maurice-Grey and saxophonist Cassie Kinoshi of KOKOROKO (pictured), who won Jazz Ensemble of the Year, and saxophonist Nubya Garcia, who won Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year.

Also honoured was singer and TL Honorary Fellow Norma Winstone MBE who was presented with the prestigious Services to Jazz Award.

Organised by the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group (APPJAG), the annual awards were announced on Monday 26 July at a virtual ceremony supported by PizzaExpress Live.

Chi Onwurah MP, Deputy Chair of APPJAG, commented –

“This has been another really strong year for the Parliamentary Jazz Awards in terms of talent and nominations. The well-deserved recipients are a veritable who’s who of names that have made a real impact on the music and helped make the UK one of the world’s leading jazz territories”.

Find out more about Jazz at Trinity Laban.

TLIA 2021 Winners group

Announcing our TL Innovation Award Winners 2021

The unique award sees final-year students pitch artistic and business projects to an expert panel and win professional development support and seed funding.

Launched in 2019 the Innovation Award forms part of the conservatoire’s strategy to help emerging artists develop their voice and innovate in the cultural industries, particularly important as they continue to navigate the ongoing challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Earlier this year shortlisted applicants pitched their proposals to Nikki Tomlinson, Co-director at Independent Dance, Roger Wilson, Co-founder of Black Lives in Music and former Head of Professional Development at National Youth Jazz Orchestra, and Trinity Laban Principal Anthony Bowne in a bid to win one of six awards.

We are pleased to announce that the 2021 winners are:

  • Myra BrownbridgeBrilliant Corners
  • Laudine DardAlone, Together
  • Emily EdwardsMusical Theatre Masterclasses
  • Anna NichollsDeveloping Dance with HAC
  • Back on The Map Project (Emma Greene and Sunniva Rørvik) – The History of Dance of the African diaspora: A Festival for the young people of Deptford
  • Tough Boys Disco (Sula Castle, Roseann Dendy and Daisy Hingorani-Short) – Open Dancefloor

The diverse and innovative proposals span cultural history, boundary-pushing genre development, and the power of the arts for positive change in the community.

Anthony Bowne comments –

“The panel and I were incredibly impressed by the creativity, ambition and scope shown by applicants across dance, music and musical theatre this year.

“The Innovation Award is one of the many ways in which Trinity Laban are nurturing entrepreneurial and project management skills in early career artists and strengthening our connections with the wider industry.”

Roger Wilson comments –

“This is an important platform for Trinity Laban students to push the envelope and grow as creators.  These are tomorrow’s professionals, encouraged to create and realise their ideas with a significant level of support. The impressive scope of creative and innovative ideas assured me that we can look forward to seeing great things from Trinity Laban students.”

Funded by our Higher Education Innovation Fund allocation, each winning project receives an award of £3,000 to use on development and will benefit from a specially tailored 10-month mentorship programme delivered by acclaimed alumni:

  • Japanese inclusive dance artist, performer, choreographer and dance movement psychotherapist, Takeshi Matsumoto(Transitions 2007)
  • London-based Polish/German interdisciplinary artist, performer, creative producer, activist, and a Purple Lady Dagmara Bilon (BA 2003)
  • Independent Arts and Events Manager and co-founder of Black Artists in Dance Joyce Gyimah (BA 2002)
  • Multi-award-winning saxophonist, conductor and arranger Phil Meadows (BMus jazz sax 2012)
  • Primary School teacher Annabel Langley (BA MT 2012)
  • Experimental composer, artist and performer Caitlin Rowley (MMus composition 2013 / MFA Creative Practice 2014)

Innovation Award Co-founder Lucy Nicholson comments –

“Trinity Laban alumni have hugely successful careers across the creative arts industry and over the past two years have given awardees valuable guidance and support as mentors. We are looking forward to welcoming back six more talented alumni to share their expertise with the 2021 winners. It is important for us to continue to strengthen the connections within our creative community to support the future of the performing arts ecology.”

Since its inception, the Innovation Award has already supported twelve forward-thinking and socially engaged projects conceived by winners who have achieved remarkable things, contributing to the UK’s rich cultural landscape. These include:

  • Composer, musician and artist James Layton who founded Into the Ocean, a London-based recording and concert series showcasing experimental new music including an album of works for solo viola in collaboration with Stephen Upshaw.
  • Multicultural all-female dance collective Mass Hysteria who have created work for Tate Modern, The Place’s Resolution Festival 2020 and V&A’s Friday Late series.
  • Producing Artistic Director Hayley Huggett, who set up Tilley Peacock Productions, creating shows and workshops for children with Special Educational Needs and Disability.

Dance artist and choreographer Hannah Wallace used her 2021 award to create Groundmarks, a site-specific work supported by London Wildlife Trust exploring the experience of the moving, sensing body within a constantly evolving landscape. She comments –

“The TL Innovation Award was an incredible opportunity to receive at this early stage of my career – it gave me the freedom to take creative risks and supported me to gain valuable experience as an artist and a leader.”

Innovation Award Co-founder Joe Townsend comments –

“The award gives graduates more than just money to realise a project, the mentoring is a two-way learning relationship that provides a safe space for mentors and graduates to bring ideas into action and to help shape the bigger picture of music and dance.”

To find out more, visit our Innovation Award webpage.

If you’re interested in studying at Trinity Laban visit our study pages.

Nubya Garcia in profile holding saxophone

Nominations announced for 2021 Parliamentary Jazz Awards

TL staff and alumni dominate this year’s shortlist honouring best of British jazz.

Now in their 16th year, the Parliamentary Jazz Awards champion the vibrancy, diversity, talent and breadth of the UK’s jazz scene.

Trinity Laban staff, alumni and Honorary Fellows have been shortlisted across eight categories, representing the broad cross-section of incredible educators and musicians in our creative community united in their passion and knowledge of jazz.

They are:

  • Kansas Smitty’s, where jazz drummer and alum Will Cleasby features in the hackney venue’s house band (Jazz Venue of the Year)
  • Jazz vocal tutor Brigitte Beraha (Jazz Vocalist of the Year)
  • Jazz saxophonist and alum Nubya Garcia (Jazz Album of the Year for Source, Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year)
  • Jazz pianist, alum and tutor Deschanel Gordon (Jazz Newcomer of the Year)
  • Jazz saxophone tutor Tony Kofi (Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year)
  • Kokoroko led by trumpeter and alum Sheila Maurice Grey and including composition alum Cassie Kinoshi (Jazz Ensemble of the Year)
  • Pianist and jazz ensemble tutor Liam Noble (Lockdown Innovation Award for Saturday Lockdown Live Sessions)
  • Musician and alum Steve Rubie has run 606 Club since 1976 (Jazz Venue of the Year, Service to Jazz)
  • Jazz trumpet and composition tutor Byron Wallen (Jazz Album of the Year for Portrait: Reflections on Belonging)
  • Singer and Honorary Fellow Norma Winstone (Service to Jazz Award)

The awards are organised by the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group (APPJAG), with the support of PizzaExpress Live.

John Spellar MP, Co-Chair of APPJAG comments –

“These awards are a great opportunity to celebrate the talents and energies of the great musicians, educators, promoters, record labels, jazz organisations, blogs, jazz magazines and journalists who kept jazz flourishing, in spite of the challenges they faced in 2020.  In a year of hardship, unparalleled in the last 76 years, these shortlists demonstrate the wealth of talent and commitment that exists in the British jazz scene.”

Winners of the 2021 Parliamentary Jazz Awards will be chosen by judging members of the APPJAG and announced online on Monday 26 July 2021.

Find out more about Jazz at Trinity Laban.

Nardus Williams headshot

Nardus Williams returns to Glyndebourne

The TL alum and soprano will join the cast of The Rake’s Progress this autumn.

Stravinsky and W.H Auden’s opera is set to return for the first time in a decade, with Nardus in the role of Tom Rakewell’s betrothed, Anne Trulove. Directed by John Cox, it will be performed first at Glyndebourne before touring to Canterbury, Milton Keynes, Norwich and Liverpool.

The first singer to win Trinity Laban’s Gold Medal competition, Nardus Williams graduated with a BMus (Hons) Voice in 2014. She has since accumulated numerous opera credits, including Countess Le Nozze di Figaro for Opera Holland Park, Mimi La Boheme for English National Opera’s Drive & Live series, Ciboulette In the Market for Love for the Glyndebourne Tour, and the world premiere of Belinda Dido’s Ghost, a co-commission with the Dunedin Consort, Mahogany Opera & The Barbican.

The Rake’s Progress will be at Glyndebourne 23, 27, 30 October 2021.

Discover more about Vocal Studies at Trinity Laban.

TL Ignite graphic

Announcing the Recipients of TL Ignite 2021

Trinity Laban is supporting 24 emerging local artists to develop their entrepreneurial expertise and establish sustainable careers through one-off grants and bespoke professional support. The scheme strengthens Trinity Laban’s ties with the local creative community, building a vital network to help boost the post-pandemic recovery of performing arts in south east London.

Funded by the Higher Education Innovation Fund, TL Ignite has been specifically designed to reduce the financial barriers for artists entering the industry and help nurture creative innovation and life-long learning.

Selected from over 100 applications, the 2021 TL Ignite awardees are:

  • Cherise Adams-Burnett – jazz vocalist and composer
  • Layla Allen – clarinettist and educator
  • Marcus Alessandrini – dance artist
  • Laure Dubanet – dance artist
  • Ieva Dubova – pianist and composer
  • Chesney Fawkes-Porter – musical theatre podcast creator
  • Olivia Fraser – oboist
  • Greta Gauhe – choreographer and dancer
  • Olivia Graham – singer and composer
  • Linn Johansson – feminist theatre maker and facilitator
  • Nicolas Jones – trombonist and founder of The Reel Folks
  • Rachel Laird – Co-founder of Sliding Doors Collective
  • Megan Linnell – singer, composer and arranger
  • Mikaela Livadiotis – pianist
  • Martha Mitu – violinist and composer
  • Ewan Moore – drummer
  • Laura Marie O’Connor – musical theatre writer
  • Evie Oldham – dance artist
  • Calum Perrin – sound artist
  • Teresa Skamletz – dance artist
  • Shannon Latoyah Simon – classical guitarist, sound healer and multidisciplinary artist
  • Monica Tolia – multidisciplinary choreographer and visual artist
  • Jessica Walker – choreographer, movement director and dance artist
  • Annys Whyatt – theatre-maker

Through seed-funding and a curated programme of knowledge exchange, TL Ignite aims to empower these newly graduated and early-career creatives to identify and realise development opportunities, find new ways to connect with audiences, build their networks and monetise their work.

The recipients, who are all in the first five years of their careers, will use the award for project realisation, digital creation and professional development, enabling engagement with local communities and the creation of new work.

Recipient Jessica Walker comments –

“It means the world to me to know that Trinity Laban truly believes in the work that I want to produce. This award will provide me with the stepping stones to start my own dance company and provide opportunities for other Black contemporary dancers.”

Fellow awardee Annys Whyatt comments –

“Receiving this award is such an exciting opportunity for me and gives me the means to realise a project I have wanted to create for a very long time. I am looking forward to making new creative relationships with other local artists being able to show and share our work with each other.”

Trinity Laban Principal Anthony Bowne comments –

“These 24 early-career artists represent the exceptional wealth of creativity and home-grown talent thriving in south east London. As a world-leading performing arts institution, it is vital that we share our knowledge and expertise with our wider local community to help emerging creative professionals navigate an increasingly challenging arts landscape. TL Ignite provides an opportunity for these emerging artists to enhance their skills, resilience and adaptability so that they can continue to build and contribute to a vibrant post-Covid arts ecology.”

Iyad headshot

YCAT welcomes Iyad Sughayer

For over 35 years, UK-based charity Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) has supported the early careers of over 100 of the world’s most talented musicians, including Ian Bostridge CBE, Alison Balsom OBE and Jess Gillam, allowing them the opportunities to flourish as international performers.

This year, Jordanian-Palestinian concert pianist and TL alum Iyad Sughayer has been selected from 150 applicants to become a YCAT Concordia Artist for 2021.

Chosen as ‘One to Watch’ by International Piano Magazine, Iyad completed his Masters at Trinity Laban in 2018, having won the prestigious Trinity Laban Gold Medal award. His debut album, the Khachaturian Piano Works, was released to critical acclaim in November 2019 with Gramophone describing it as ‘exhilarating and delivered with perfect clarity’.

Iyad comments –

“I’m delighted to have been chosen as a 2021 YCAT Artist and I’m very excited to be working with the wonderful team at YCAT for the next few years! I feel very privileged to have been given this great opportunity to develop my career.”

Supported by the Concordia Foundation, Iyad will work with a dedicated artist management team, enjoy national and international performing opportunities, and receive and digital support.

In YCAT’s recent press release, Chief Executive & Artistic Director Alasdair Tait commented –

“The level of applicants applying for YCAT continues to be astoundingly high. However, I am delighted that the final jury was unanimous in identifying artists of exceptional talent with great potential and personality whom they believe would benefit greatly from YCAT’s support. With the catastrophic disappearance of live performance last year, the overwhelming sense of need for support and advice for these young musicians has never felt more urgent.”

YCAT announced their 2021 selected artists at a private presentation concert at Wigmore Hall on 20 May.

Find out more about our Keyboard Department.

Bo Lya headshot

Bo Lyu wins Soloists’ Competition 2021

Postgraduate pianist claims top Prize with electrifying Shostakovich concerto.

The 2021 Soloists’ Competition saw pianist Bo Lyu, violinist Camille Buitenhuis and pianist Jinah Shim compete in an outstanding final at Blackheath Halls for the chance to perform with Trinity Laban’s Shapeshifter Orchestra.

This year, the competition was adjudicated by Assistant Director of Music and Head of Programmes David Bahanovich, celebrated Romanian pianist Alexandra Dariescu and leading violinist Nathaniel Anderson-Frank, who praised the high standard of all three competitors.

After an incredibly close competition, the expert panel crowned Bo Lyu the winner for his engaging and masterful performance of Shostakovich Piano Concerto No.1 in C minor Op 35 accompanied by Yuchong Wu. Watch in full on TL YouTube.

Alexandra Dariescu comments –

“It was a joy being part of this panel and listening to such talented students. I was incredibly impressed by their technical brilliance and musical understanding. With explosive dynamics and precise articulation, Bo impressed through his vision of the concerto, assurance and utter commitment.”

David Bahanovich comments –

“During these extraordinary times, the opportunity to hear live music performed by such outstanding young artists was a genuine treat and one sensed that they cherished the chance to share their music making with others. Each of the three soloists demonstrated exceptional interpretive insight, skill, and flair.

On winning, Bo comments –

“I am very glad to have been chosen as the winner of the 2021 competition. I enjoyed playing Shostakovich Piano Concerto No.1 in C minor. This piece has always inspired me the power of music, and it is lovely to share the music with the audience and jury in this difficult time. I am looking forward to performing this great music with Trinity Laban’s Shapeshifter Orchestra.”

Bo is currently studying his Postgraduate Advanced Diploma at Trinity Laban with Sergio De Simone and Martino Tirimo. His studies are generously supported by the Trinity College London Scholarship, the Leverhulme Trust Scholarship, the GREAT China Scholarship, the Helen Roll Trust Scholarship, Help Musicians UK, the Sterndale Bennett Scholarship, Pisani Scholarship and Derek Butler London trusts and foundation. Bo is also an Artist in Mousikos Classical Company.

Since winning first prize at the Norah Sande Award Piano Competition in 2018, Bo has gone on to claim several Top prizes in numerous competitions including Jaques Samuel Intercollegiate Piano Competition in Wigmore Hall and Windsor International Piano Competition. Recent performances include a Solo recital in the Oundle International Music Festival, Benjamin Britten Young Apollo, Op.16 with the Dartington Festival Orchestra and Saint-Saëns’s Piano Concerto No.2 with St John’s Chamber Orchestra at Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Maidenhead.

Find out more about Trinity Laban’s Keyboard Department.

Georgi Mottram headshot

Vocal alum and TL tutor tops classical chart

Georgi Mottram secures number one within 24 hours of releasing her debut single.

Since graduating from Trinity Laban’s vocal programme in 2013, Georgi Mottram’s versatility as an artist has flourished. She has performed in Opera Galas alongside Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, made her West End debut in Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Adelphi Theatre and appeared on BBC’s Friday Night is Music Night.

Now, her latest success has defined her as a number-one selling artist, having topped the Official iTunes Classical Chart earlier this month with her first solo project ‘Dream Believe’.

Georgi recorded the original track in her home studio in Jersey after returning to the Channel Island last year. This was due to the cancellation of international tour dates with her classical crossover group Ida Girls London, due to Covid-19.

Georgi told Jersey Evening Post

“All my work had been taken away from me and I had so much time on my hands so I started recording covers and uploading them to YouTube. Shore Records then reached out to me off the back of one of my covers and wanted to sign me. Songwriters Warwick & Young, who wrote my single, also said they wanted to work with me and it evolved from there. Prior to the pandemic I would never have thought of producing a solo single.”

Released on 14 May, the track entered the chart at number two due to a high level of pre-orders before climbing to the top spot the same day.

On making it to number one, Georgi comments –

“I am over the moon at the news about the No.1 in the iTunes Classical Charts. Trinity Laban promotes being a unique artist by finding your authentic voice and being open and receptive to new ideas and new music. This ethos has helped me greatly in the forming of my career. I was especially thrilled to reach No.1 with an original classical crossover song.”

With a successful eight-year career under her belt, Georgi has been inspiring final-year BMus students in her role as a tutor on Trinity Laban’s Artist as Innovator module for the past two years.

Find out more about studying music at Trinity Laban.