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The Meridian Guitar Quartet with Philip Carne

The Meridian Guitar Quartet named winner of The Carne Trust Chamber Competition 2022

In its first public held event at St John’s Smith Square, the winner of the second Carne Trust Chamber Competition, was announced on Wednesday 22 June. This high-profile chamber music prize is delivered by Trinity Laban with generous support from The Carne Trust.

The live final of the Carne Trust Chamber Competition took place on 22 June 2022, hosted for the first time after its launch was impacted by the pandemic, in front of an audience and adjudicating panel of Trinity Laban experts including Chief Executive of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Crispin Woodhead and prize-winning soprano, Ailish Tynan.

Following the preliminary rounds in March, the final saw four outstanding ensembles – The Bolling Quartet, Beyond the Bell, Meridian Guitar Quartet and Waldstein Quartet – compete for a share of the £4000 prize fund, generously supported by The Carne Trust fund.

The Meridian Guitar Quartet was named as the winner, and the Waldstein Quartet as runners-up.

The Meridian Guitar Quartet with Philip Carne

The Meridian Guitar Quartet with Philip Carne

The Meridian Guitar Quartet are currently Trinity Laban classical guitar students, Antoine Assaf, Kolja Gibbs, Bárbara Matos and Nick Tait. Since the group first formed in 2018, under the tutelage of Graham Devine, professor of guitar at Trinity Laban, they have performed around London in concerts, masterclasses and festivals, and in venues such as Southwark Cathedral, King’s Place, Wigmore Hall and King’s College. They were finalists in the inaugural Carne Trust Chamber Competition in 2020 and in the same year were awarded the John Thompson String Ensemble Prize.

Principal of Trinity Laban Professor Anthony Bowne said –

“The winning ensemble was exceptional and a testament to our students’ creativity and dedication to their art forms. Chamber music is central to a musician’s development, enabling our students to discover and realise their shared artistic ambitions. This competition is a fantastic opportunity for us to recognise the collaborations that take place at Trinity Laban. Everyone who performed was outstanding and should feel immensely proud. The other judges and I enjoyed every minute.”

The competition is generously supported by The Carne Trust. Since its inception in 2006, the Trust has helped numerous talented young artists across the performing arts and supports The Carne Trust Fellowship for an Individual and The Carne Trust Ensembles in Residence at Trinity Laban.

Trustee of The Carne Trust, Philip Carne MBE commented –

“It was a pleasure to see four very different chamber ensembles perform last night showcasing the wealth and variety of talent at Trinity Laban. The Meridian Guitar Quartet are worthy winners against incredibly strong competition, and I am so pleased to support chamber music at Trinity Laban and enable these creative ensembles to come together.”

Chamber music is a central focus of training at Trinity Laban. Music students receive frequent coaching led by the internationally acclaimed staff, many of whom perform in the country’s leading ensembles. Each term instrumentalists also have the chance to work with The Carne Trust Ensembles in Residence: the Carducci Quartet, the Linos Trio and the Smith Quartet.

In addition to structured chamber music, students are also encouraged to create their own opportunities and can showcase their talents in venues such as St Martin-In-The-Fields, Wigmore Hall, St James’s Piccadilly and The Old Royal Naval College Chapel.

The full concert programme for The Carne Trust Chamber Competition is available here

Interested in finding out more about studying Music at Trinity Laban? Find out more about our programmes and departments here 

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.



Four young dancers on lawn lunging forward pleadingly

Over 1000 young people call for action on the climate

As part of the Mayor’s London Borough of Culture 2022 celebrations, over 1,000 young people, including students from 26 local schools, will fill Lewisham’s Mountsfield Park on Saturday 18 June in two mass protest performances about the climate emergency.

Created and produced by Trinity Laban in collaboration with leading artists and local young people, Hope 4 Justice is an urgent and powerful call to action.

Directed by Hannah Gittos, the socially-engaged project uses music, dance and spoken word to highlight issues such as air quality, ‘throw-away’ culture, and housing inequality in the Borough in a bid to make a difference.

A thousand-strong choir of primary school children and musicians from South London Samba will perform a series of newly composed songs by Mercury Prize nominated composer, singer and multi-instrumentalist ESKA, imploring their communities to take action.

100 young dancers, including members of Bellingham Dances and TL ‘s Youth Dance Company, will perform choreography led by Lead Choreographer and Trinity Laban alum, Sarah Golding, and Associate Choreographer Waddah Sinada, exploring their connection to the climate emergency.

Local teenagers will contribute spoken word interludes, mentored by writer and Young Poet Laureate for London (2021/22) Cecilia Knapp, questioning how we want the world to be in the future.

Hope 4 Justice is the culmination of over a year-long engagement by Trinity Laban’s Children and Young People and Public Engagement programmes. For the project, we have been working in partnership with Lewisham Music to deliver in-school music training.

Find out more about the creatives and the project.

Tickets for both 15:00 and 16:30 performances are free, but booking is advised. Tickets can be reserved via The Albany.

Hope 4 Justice is part of a wider programme of climate emergency artworks commissioned for We Are Lewisham, the Mayor’s London Borough of Culture, and is supported by Arts Council England, Open Hand, Trinity Laban, Lewisham Music and the Albany.

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.

Students return to London Palladium Stage

Musical Theatre students will sing alongside Mark Feehily in The Secret Garden

Following February’s exclusive concert production of Camelot, future stars from our vibrant Musical Theatre Department will once again share the Palladium stage with a host of talent West End performers for The Secret Garden.

Based on the classic Victorian novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, the show has been adapted for stage by Pulitzer Prize-winner Marshal Norman with music by Lucy Simon. The duo were also behind Doctor Zhivago, which TL students performed at Cadogan Hall in 2019 alongside Ramin Karimloo.

The Secret Garden will play on Sunday 28 August at iconic central London theatre The Palladium.

The production also features current student Aleyna Mohanraj as Ayah and narration by TL alum Lucy Drever.

In their recent press release, Producers Lambert Jackson Productions commented –

“We are thrilled to finally be bringing this beautiful concert musical to the London Palladium. The Secret Garden has a special place in many people’s hearts. Be it as a musical, a novel, or a film, the enduring story has a way of staying with you with the timely message to live life to the full.”

To book tickets, visit www.lambertjackson.co.uk.

Situated in the heart of the UK’s musical theatre capital, Trinity Laban has an outstanding reputation for its rigorous and dynamic performance training, with recent graduates performing in the West End – including Trevor Nunn’s Fiddler on the Roof at the Playhouse Theatre – and in UK and international touring productions such as The Lion KingGhost, The Rocky Horror Show and Rock of Ages.

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

Image courtesy of Lambert Jackson Productions

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

Matthew Bourne

Multiple nominations for Sir Matthew Bourne OBE at National Dance Awards 2022

The TL alum and his company New Adventures have been shortlisted for a total of seven accolades

The UK’s Critics’ Circle has announced nominations for its annual National Dance Awards, and Matthew Bourne’s The Midnight Bell tops the list of individual productions with five nominations.

The celebrated choreographer completed his BA at Trinity Laban before going on to do the Graduate Diploma in Dance Performance (Transitions Dance Company) graduating in 1986. Matthew launched New Adventures in 2002.

The company has now secured seven nominations at this year’s awards including the Stef Stefanou Award for Outstanding Company.

The Royal Ballet’s The Dante Project, by Trinity Laban Visiting Professor of Choreography Wayne McGregor, has also secured four nominations.

The winners will be announced at a live ceremony in London on 13 June 2022.

Image credit: Hugo Glendinning

TL dancers are finalists for BBC Young Dancer 2022

Two alumni of the conservatoire’s CAT scheme will compete in Saturday’s Grand Final

The ultimate talent show for young UK dancers, BBC Young Dancer showcases some of the best up-and-coming performers from ballet to contemporary, street to tap and South Asian.

The competition is overseen by TL alum and former Chief Executive and Artistic Director of London’s international festival Dance Umbrella, Emma Gladstone OBE.

To adjudicate this year, Emma is joined by some of the industry’s best talent including Hip Hop dance phenomenon Gianna Gi, South Asian choreographer Geetha Sridhar, independent dance artist Annie Hanauer and award-winning multi-disciplinary artist Ivan Blackstock.

They will be judging the talents of 10 dancers, including 19-year-olds Hannah Joseph and Robert Dunkley-Gyimah, who trained as part of Trinity Laban’s Centre for Advance Training.

The innovative scheme offers young people with exceptional talent and potential in dance the opportunity to access high quality dance training. The programme of classes provides intensive and rigorous dance training taught by a highly experienced team of professional dance teachers and artists.

Robert discovered his passion for dance aged 12, and has trained in street dance, ballet and contemporary, while Hannah started in a local ballet school at six before joining the CAT scheme and is now a member of National Youth Dance Company.

They will compete to be crowned BBC Young Dancer 2022 in the Grand Final at London’s Roundhouse, broadcast on Saturday 7 May on BBC TWO and on iPlayer.

BBC Young Dancer 2022 – The Final | Trailer – BBC Trailers – YouTube

Discover more about studying dance at Trinity Laban.