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International vocal stars join TL’s masterclass programme

This spring, the Vocal Department welcomed guest artists from around the world.

A broad range of international talent from across the industry shared their expertise with Vocal Studies students in virtual sessions this spring term as part of the conservatoire’s masterclass programme.

Over the course of a month, the department hosted masterclasses with sought-after dramatic soprano Susan Bullock CBE, coloratura soprano Sandra Dugdale, mezzo-sopranos Yvonne Howard and Anna Stéphany, British baritones David Kempster and Roderick Williams and rising-star American countertenor Patrick Terry.

Reflecting on her sessions with TL sopranos, Sandra Dugdale comments –

“I enjoyed working with the students very much. They were all very well-prepared, receptive, keen to learn, and of a high standard.”

On working with our students, David Kempster comments –

“It was a joy to work with such a great group of talented and enthusiastic singers from Trinity Laban. […] We were able to do great work, which I hope all the students found both rewarding and insightful.”

Yvonne Howard says –

“It was really good to meet and work with so many of the next generation of Mezzo Sopranos at Trinity Laban. All were really well prepared musically and that made my job easy and enjoyable and the level of concentration and responsiveness to suggestions made, and the willingness to try new things was highly rewarding. Thank you all.”

Masters’ student Victoria Mulley comments –

“I loved taking part in Susan Bullock’s soprano masterclass. Her practical, insightful and friendly advice was really valuable. It was very exciting to work with a singer who has had such a diverse and successful career. I was particularly glad to work with her on an aria from Peter Grimes, as Ellen Orford is a role she has performed many times.”

Countertenor Alessandro Romano, a third-year undergraduate, comments –

“I really enjoyed working with Patrick Terry. He was very attentive to detail and gave me valuable feedback. He suggested different approaches on technique and how to maintain a good legato. A big thank you to Trinity Laban for giving us this opportunity.”

Garreth Romain, a second year Postgraduate Artist Diploma student, adds –

“I would happily work with Patrick Terry again as he is a lovely man that provides helpful, constructive feedback that I can take forward.”

TL vocalists also benefitted from the expertise of Morag McLaren, who returned to deliver an inspiring session on Emotional Expression in Singing. The versatile performer has worked with Welsh National Opera, Scottish Opera, Opera North and performed the role of Carlotta in West End smash-hit Phantom of the Opera.

Find out more about studying voice at Trinity Laban.

Chrissy Kinsella headshot

London Music Fund named Outstanding Musical Initiative

Led by CEO and TL alum Chrissy Kinsella, the charity wins a Music and Drama Education Award 2021.

Established in 2011, the London Music 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.

The Fund’s positive impact on the creative lives of London’s aspiring young musicians has been recognised at this year’s national Music and Dance Education Awards 2021, where the charity was named Outstanding Musical Initiative in an online ceremony hosted by Alexander Armstrong.

The Fund’s CEO is Trinity Laban vocal graduate Chrissy Kinsella. She has worked with the Fund since 2012, joining as Head of Programmes before being promoted to Chief Executive in January 2016. In this role, she oversees the strategic, financial, fundraising, musical and educational development of the organisation.

On winning the award Chrissy comments –

“I am delighted the London Music Fund received the award for Outstanding Musical Initiative. Since 2011 we have supported nearly 600 young instrumentalists from low-income families with four-year Scholarships and funded a further 50 projects with Music Hubs, schools, professional arts organisations and other education providers including Trinity Laban’s own ‘Animate!’ Orchestra, involving more than 10,000 of London’s children and young people.”

A passionate supporter of music education, Chrissy’s career has included working for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, Morley College, the London Schools’ Symphony Orchestra, the Centre for Young Musicians and the Foundation for Young Musicians.

Reflecting on her training at Trinity Laban, Chrissy says –

“During my time at Trinity Laban I learned a huge amount about the impact that music education can have on children and young people and was lucky enough to have the opportunity to develop these interests, alongside studying as a singer. Since graduating, I have continued to commit to ensuring music education is something that every child has access to, and not just those whose families can afford to pay, something that I know the Trinity Laban family is also committed to ensuring for the future.”

Also recognised at this year’s Music and Drama Education Awards was fellow alum Charlotte Buxton, who received the newly introduced Goldstars Award. The award recognises UK teachers who have shown particular compassion, flair and creativity during the pandemic.

Judges described Charlotte, who is Deputy Head of Service at Services for Education, as “a person who has formidable impact and reach, with a remarkable ambition and vision, who has made an amazing achievement in challenging times”.

Find out more about studying at Trinity Laban.

Theo Jamieson playing keyboard

Alum receives BBC commission for virtual musical

‘U.Me: The Musical’ features lyrics, music and book by Theo Jamieson 

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the BBC have commissioned alum Theo Jamieson to write an original musical for radio and podcast listening that captures the collective experience of an extraordinary year. 

Composer and lyricist Theo studied BMus (hons) in composition at Trinity Laban. Since graduating in 2012 he has worked as the Musical Director for several West End hits including Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (Apollo Theatre) and Funny Girl (The Savoy Theatre). 

His latest show centres on the international love story of two young people on opposite sides of the world who meet online and discover a true connection, finding hope and joy amidst the unfolding crisis. The book is written by Theo in collaboration with Simon Pitts. 

In the BBC press release, Theo commented –  

“The BBC wanted to do a radio musical in response to the Covid pandemic, a romance in this moment we are in that would get the blood pumping and raise goosebumps. When all guns are blazing on a musical, nothing generates that much energy and that much feeling. It’s a big challenge, but actually the feeling of responding and delivering something to the public in a short amount of time is actually really fun. It’s fantastic as an artist.” 

Following a five-month creation and rehearsal process, the show is set to premiere globally at 20.00 BST, 12 May 2021 on BBC World Service and BBC Sounds.  

Discover more about Composition at Trinity Laban. 

Image: Theo Jamieson (courtesy Curtis Brown)