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Professor Emma Redding receives MBE for services to dance

A huge congratulations to Professor Emma Redding, who received her MBE for services to dance at Windsor Castle this Wednesday. Princess Anne bestowed the honour.

Originally trained as a dancer, Emma holds a PhD in Applied Biological Sciences from City University London, UK, an MSc in Sports Science from The University of Essex, UK and a BA (Hons) in Dance Theatre from Trinity Laban.

Emma was Head of Dance Science at Trinity Laban until 2022 and is now Director of the Victorian College of the Arts (University of Melbourne). She wrote the first Master’s degree in Dance Science and has since played a key role in developing dance science as a recognised field of study through her research and teaching internationally, as a founding partner of the National Institute for Dance Medicine and Science and as member of the Board of Directors and Past President of the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science.

She is on the Research Advisory Board of Help Musicians UK, serves on the editorial boards and review committees of national and international research journals and funding councils and is currently Associate Editor for two international academic journals. Emma also serves on advisory and expert panels and offers consultancy to other higher education institutions in Europe, Asia and the United States on curricula development.

BBC Symphony Orchestra at Trinity Laban

Last week, our brass students participated in a fantastic masterclass with principals from the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

Our trumpet and trombone students took part in two exceptional masterclasses with Helen Vollam, Philp Cobb, and Liz Burley (Principal Trombone, Principal Trumpet, and Principal Piano of the BBC Symphony Orchestra respectively). The students were also treated to a wonderful recital by the professional trio.

Helen Vollam, Principal Trombone of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, comments on the event: “It was great to work on some key aspects of brass playing with the enthusiastic Trinity Laban brass students in our trumpet and trombone masterclasses. Also, it was exciting to perform to them some of our brand new trio repertoire for trumpet, trombone and piano.”.

Kevin Ashman, Woodwind, Brass, and Percussion Department Coordinator said: “It’s always a pleasure to welcome guest masterclass leaders to Trinity Laban. The recent visit by BBC Symphony Orchestra principals Philip Cobb (Trumpet), Helen Vollam (Trombone) and Liz Burley (Piano) was a truly memorable event. Philip and Helen spent time with a number of our trumpet and trombone students, with Liz accompanying them. Their insights and observations were so helpful and constructive, giving the students plenty to think about in terms of technical and musical ideas. They also added some valuable comments about working with an accompanist! The two masterclasses were separated by a recital of music for trumpet, trombone and piano that included the UK premiere of a work by composer Julia Simpson (who was present for the recital) along with a wide and varied range of repertoire that showcased the versatility and instrumental mastery that our guests possess!”

Trinity Laban extends its thanks to the BBC Symphony Orchestra musicians for their wonderful help and guidance.

About the BBC Symphony Orchestra

The BBC Symphony Orchestra has been at the heart of British musical life since it was founded in 1930. It plays a central role in the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, performing at the First and Last Nights, as well as throughout each Proms season. The BBC SO performs an annual season of concerts at the Barbican in London, where it is Associate Orchestra. Its commitment to contemporary music is demonstrated by a range of premieres each season, as well as Total Immersion days devoted to specific composers or themes.

Highlights of the 2022–23 season at the Barbican included Total Immersion days exploring the music of George Walker, Kaija Saariaho and Jean Sibelius, the last two led by Chief Conductor Sakari Oramo, who also conducted concerts showcasing the music of Grażyna Bacewicz. Principal Guest Conductor Dalia Stasevska conducted two concerts, one featuring Elgar’s Cello Concerto with cellist Sol Gabetta and a family concert celebrating the work of French animator Grégoire Pont.

A literary theme ran through the season, which included Neil Brand’s new version of Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles and the world premiere of Iain Bell’s Beowulf, with the BBC Symphony Chorus and with soloist Stuart Skelton. Ian McEwan, one of the most admired storytellers of our time, joined the orchestra to read from his own works, with music curated around his readings. The BBC Symphony Chorus also joined the BBC SO for Michael Tippett’s A Child of Our Time, under Conductor Laureate Sir Andrew Davis, with soloists including Pumeza Matshikiza and Dame Sarah Connolly. Among this season’s world and UK premieres were Victoria Borisova-Ollas’s Portrait of a Lady by Swan Lake, Kaija Saariaho’s Saarikoski Songs and Valerie Coleman’s Umoja (Anthem of Unity) conducted by Gemma New, and the season came to a close with the UK premiere of Joby Talbot’s opera Everest.

Blackheath Halls celebrates remarkable venue transformation

Sir Bryn Terfel, the Blackheath Halls Youth Choir and TL Jazz students performed for HRH The Duke of Kent to celebrate the completion of Blackheath Halls’s remarkable renovation.

The enthusiasm and dedication to the arts in the community of Blackheath has meant that this year, Blackheath Halls has completed a project to redevelop and modernise the interior and exterior spaces of its beautiful Grade II listed building.

This work has transformed the venue into a more versatile, accessible and welcoming performance space to serve and inspire the local community who have helped fund the project. In 2018, it had the stage levelled, retractable raked seating bank installed, acoustics improved, and overall décor modernised whilst retaining the original barrel- vaulted ceiling. The Bar, Box Office and communal areas were also modernised, creating light and airy spaces.

During summer 2023, the exterior was transformed with new paving, stone benches and planting, providing an inviting spacious and open area for the local community as well as audiences visiting the venue. The outdated signage was replaced with a backlit pillar and digital totem display.

To improve accessibility, a lift to the more intimate The Hearn Recital Room was fitted, the entry ramp to the building resurfaced, and a bespoke stage lift installed for performers, community participants and students with access requirements. With the arts being one of the hardest hit industries during the pandemic and one still struggling with the cost-of-living crisis, this project is a real triumph of community commitment and passion.

As part of the oldest surviving purpose-built cultural complex in London, Blackheath Halls has a rich history dating back to its construction in 1895, funded by public subscription. Saved from demolition in the 1980s by the local community, this iconic venue has evolved into a vibrant hub for arts and culture. Since becoming part of Trinity College of Music’s estate in 2004, Blackheath Halls has flourished, hosting around a thousand events annually and attracting over 50,000 visitors. From classical music to folk, comedy, talks, literary events, and children’s theatre, the diverse program caters to all tastes. At the heart of their mission is community engagement, exemplified by initiatives like the annual Blackheath Halls Opera, Musical Theatre courses, choirs, and youth programs nurturing young talent from our local boroughs. Their esteemed reputation has also drawn renowned groups like the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and English National Opera, as well as the London International Festival of Early Music, all seeking the unparalleled acoustics of their spaces. Partnerships with parent company Trinity Laban and Greenwich and Lewisham Music Hubs further enrich their offerings, making Blackheath Halls a vital center for artistic collaboration and education.

The transformation has only been made possible by donations from the Friends and Patrons of the venue (the majority of whom are local residents) as well as a major donation from arts charity The Hearn Foundation, Arts Council England, Viridor Credits and others. To celebrate the completion of the project, HRH The Duke of Kent attended a special event on Wednesday 17 April attended by all those who donated to the project as well as local businesses, who enjoyed performances from Sir Bryn Terfel, the Blackheath Halls Youth Choir and jazz students from parent Trinity Laban.

Announcing Trinity Laban’s Summer Season 2024

Trinity Laban presents an inspiring and innovative events programme for the Summer Season, celebrating new works and contemporary voices.

Running from May to July, our summer season takes Trinity Laban talent to venues across the UK to celebrate cutting-edge works and contemporary voices across different artforms. The season features a vibrant variety of performances – from festivals and contemporary operas to commissioned works and musicals – bringing audiences a mix of exciting programmes to look forward to.


The Protecting Veil

Trinity Laban String Ensemble and Dancers present a staged production of John Tavener’s iconic work, featuring celebrated cellist and TL International Chair of Cello and Chamber Music, Raphael Wallfisch.

The Protecting Veil captures the cosmic power of the Mother of God. Her voice and life represented by the cello, which never stops singing throughout the performance. Told in eight continuous chapters depicting various moments of her life, this performance offers a visual representation of the mystic spirituality of Tavener’s work, speaking to the power of motherhood, the giving of life and its subsequent journey.

Songs on the Water

A free exhibition night of new songs written and performed by students on our BA in Music, Performance and Industry.

New Lights Festival

From 18 to 21 June, New Lights Festival will be taking over various venues in Greenwich for a celebration of contemporary piano music. As part of this festival, join us at Cutty Sark to hear new music for harp and ensemble with Trinity Laban.

Trinity Laban Contemporary Music Group presents the final of the Daryl Runswick Composition Competition alongside a new work; Concerto for Kraken harp (Placebo) by Dr Amir Konjani. The unusual and yet beautiful sea monster-like Kraken Harp designed by Konjani will take centre stage at Cutty Sark for the premiere of his new work for Kraken Harp and ensemble, with esteemed harp soloist Gabriella dall’Olio.

“The Kraken Harp was inspired by images of lilies, rib cages and an ancient Persian form of the harp called a Chang. One advantage of this design was that I could make each string/lever separate notes meaning that one could play Bb and B simultaneously in different octaves. The harp projects most of its notes through its wide tentacles, spatialising the field of sound to produce a kind of stereo” – Dr Amir Konjani.


BAMPI Changemaker Festival

Immerse yourself in creativity and originality by watching the annual BAMPI Changemaker Festival (Tue 28 May – Fri 31 May, Sat 1 June – Sun 2 June) at Blackheath Halls featuring students from all three years of the BAMPI Course including graduating students performing their recitals.

Spring Awakening

Showcasing their final performance on BA (Hons) Musical Theatre at Trinity Laban, third-year students perform Spring Awakening. Join a group of late nineteenth-century German students on their passage as they navigate teenage self-discovery and coming of age anxiety in a powerful celebration of youth and rebellion in the daring, remarkable production Spring Awakening (Fri 17 May & Sat 18 May).

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Showcasing their final performance on the BA (Hons) Musical Theatre at Trinity Laban, third-year students perform Spelling Bee (Fri 24 May, Sat 25 May). An eclectic group of six mid-pubescents vie for the spelling championship of a lifetime. A riotous ride complete with audience participation, this bee is a delightful den of comedic genius.


Trinity Laban Chamber Choir: Kaleidoscope

Alex Douglas leads a programme celebrating choral music by Black British composers (Thu 6 June), as part of Trinity Laban’s continuing Kaleidoscope initiative.

Trinity Laban Jazz Orchestra & The Duke Ellington Band: Kaleidoscope

Enjoy music from Trinity Laban Jazz graduates who, over the past decade, have reinvigorated the UK jazz scene and gained worldwide acclaim.

The programme (Mon 10 June), part of Trinity Laban’s Kaleidoscope initiative, includes a performance of Duke Ellington’s Black, Brown and Beige, an extended jazz work divided into three parts, recounting the historical journey of African Americans to the United States.

High School Musical

Disney Channel’s smash hit movie hits the stage live at Blackheath Halls! The ultimate teen musical of its generation about the pressures of first love, fitting in, and being who you want to be. With numbers including We’re All In This Together, Breaking Free and Stick to the Status QuoHigh School Musical (Tues 18 June – Sat 22 June) is a musical for all ages to enjoy!

BA2 Dance Legends

Watch our second-year students perform works by choreographers who have made significant contributions to the development of contemporary dance.

  • Sasha Waltz in C performed live by dance and music students, led by company dancer and alum Sebastian Aberbanell (Tue 25 June)
  • Cunningham Repertoire led by Daniel Squire (Tue 25 June)
  • A study of Rosemary Butcher’s work ‘Scan’ led by Lauren Potter and Henry Montes (Wed 26 June)


Dido’s Ghost

Trinity Laban Opera presents Errollyn Wallen’s Dido’s Ghost (Thu 4 Jul, Fri 5 Jul, Sat 6 Jul). Errollyn Warren takes Dido’s story forward, interweaving a full performance of Purcell’s great tragedy with this imaginative piece. Set several years after the Carthaginian queen’s death, Dido’s Ghost finds Dido’s sister Anna abandoned on the shores of Aeneas’s new kingdom, igniting a murderous jealously in Aeneas’s wife Lavinia – and as events play out, its characters confront a past that refuses to fade.

Errollyn Wallen CBE (Trinity Laban’s Professor of Composition) has been called a “renaissance woman of contemporary British music” (The Observer) and is an inspirational figure to aspiring young musicians and composers.

BA3 Commissioned Works

Immerse yourself in final year performances of new works by graduating students of the BA (Hons) Contemporary Dance! Programme 1: New works by Lizzi Kew-Ross, Stephanie Schober and Patricia Okenwa (Thu 4 July). Programme 2: New work for primary school children created by Takeshi Matsumoto and Makiko Aoyama.

We are delighted to open this performance to Primary Schools. Please contact Katarina Hill at for booking information (subject to availability).

Trinity Laban Symphony Orchestra celebrates the work of Black British composers

This spring, Trinity Laban Symphony Orchestra performed works by Eleanor Alberga and Daniel Kidane, alongside Britten’s orchestral interludes from his best-known opera and a new work by one of Trinity Laban’s talented composition students. The concert, led by emerging conductor Matthew Lynch, forms part of Trinity Laban’s Kaleidoscope initiative, which celebrates the work of Black British composers and musicians.

“Symphony is a loaded word with a long history. It can be programmatic or related to dance. I wrote this symphony because I thought it’s about time I did. It was the perfect opportunity. The title symphony is non-restrictive: it can be a freeing form if one wants it to be.” says composer Eleanor Alberga in the pre-concert talk at Blackheath Halls, in conversation with Dr Emilie Capulet and fellow composer Daniel Kidane. Ahead of the evening performance, the audience gained an exclusive insight into the behind-the-scenes of Eleanor’s Symphony No. 1 Strata and Daniel’s Sun Poem.

Symphony No. 1 Strata was commissioned by the Brandon Hill Chamber Orchestra in memory of David Nash, the orchestra’s principal viola and chairman who died in 2017. It premiered in spring 2022 in Bristol and the co-commissioners, the Meadows Chamber Orchestra, performed the work in Edinburgh a few months later. Named by the BBC as one of the best symphonies by female composers, Symphony No. 1 Strata comprises six movements and revolves around two of David Nash’s interests: geology and sailing. The first movement, ‘Firmament’, is based on the old Hebrew idea of a vast glass dome created by God that divides the ocean into upper and lower sections so that dry land can form. ‘Core’ is the “sonic centre” characterised by “constant vibrations” revolving around the notes F and E and creating a tense atmosphere. The heat and pressure rises to form ‘Mantle’, a movement containing a canon that represents the Earth sending signals in Morse code to the sun to not destroy it. ‘Crust’, ‘Sailing on Tethys’, and ‘Plumes’ complete the second half of the composition: an exploration of the Earth’s surface, a voyage along a pre-historic ocean, and the process of subduction where the ocean’s water bursts through the crust with great energy. “Geology told me where to stop”, explains Eleanor.

When writing, Eleanor uses material that reflects her Jamaican musical heritage, but her Western classical training also plays an important role. Her artistic journey started in Jamaica, where she studied the piano from the age of five, progressing to study music at the Jamaica School of Music. She then attended the Royal Academy of Music, became the company pianist – as well as Music Director  – of the London Contemporary Dance Theatre, and launched a career as a world-renowned composer, with works commissioned for the BBC Proms and the Royal Opera. Her compositions consistently make use of the dichotomy between tonality and atonality, a prominent trait of twentieth-century music. “My world was tilted upon introduction to Béla Bartók’s music.” she states. Eleanor equally emphasises that she “draws on so many composers and different ideas” while putting a unique stamp on her music, meaning it never becomes a pastiche of pieces she has previously heard.

Daniel Kidane’s Sun Poem provides a beautiful contrast to Eleanor’s expansive symphony. A profoundly personal piece, it commemorates the journey of fatherhood and two emotional family milestones: the death of Daniel’s father and the arrival of his first child. Co-commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony, Sun Poem premiered at the Edinburgh International Festival in August 2022, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle. The opening trepidation of the woodwind contrasts with reflective string passages, portraying the “nerves and excitement of being a father”. Daniel explains that he found it more difficult to write fast movements when he was younger. However, the challenge was something that enticed him: an energetic, pulsing rhythmical movement thus became his trademark. The inspiration for this piece came from a poem by Kamau Brathwaite, also called Sun Poem, exploring the idea of heritage and paternal lineage. The composition comes full circle, evoking the excitement and turbulence of the journey of fatherhood up until the point that the newborn comes into the world.

Daniel began his musical education at the age of eight when he started playing the violin. He studied composition at the Royal College of Music Junior Department, before studying in St. Petersburg with Sergey Slonimsky and graduating from the Royal Northern College of Music. In 2018, he was appointed Jerwood Composer+, giving him the opportunity to write for and curate a series of concerts with players from the London Symphony Orchestra. He has written music for the likes of the Chineke! Orchestra and the BBC Proms, and is currently a Visiting Tutor in Composition at both the Royal Northern College of Music and Cambridge University.

Trinity Laban student Sam Pugh’s composition À la Baie dé St. Ouën is a prelude for symphony orchestra, written about Jersey’s largest bay. The beach spans almost five miles along the entire west coast of the Island, and across three of Jersey’s twelve parishes; its soft flat sand stretches far into the sea during low tide, contrasted by the surrounding sheer cliffs and sand dunes. Inspired by many visits to St. Ouën’s Bay, and experiencing its vast and expansive landscape across all seasons, Sam kept returning to it as a place of creative inspiration. He therefore sought to create a descriptive piece that depicted the bay in its entirety. Sam’s compositions showcase a unique style, using intricate harmonies and rhythmic complexity, while drawing inspiration from a range of classical, experimental, and electronic music. He continues to push the boundaries of contemporary classical music through his performances and compositions.

À la Baie dé St. Ouën features a recurring motif representing the bay, used to create continuity throughout. The harmony focuses on consonance, gradually evolving in complexity as the piece develops, and the quality of the harmony continuously shifts, much like the slowly changing tides. To further simulate the ebb and flow of the sea, the woodwind swell in and out softly, with support from the brass who gently interject with bell-like tones. A rainstick and suspended cymbal also create a gentle backdrop to the piece, contrasting with the tempestuous timpani and bass drum, who imitate the sound of a far-away storm over the Atlantic Ocean. The strings play a crucial role, serving as the foundation that permeates the entire piece, creating an atmosphere of tranquillity that mirrors the overall calmness of the bay. This is enhanced by the harp, which punctuates changes in harmony and, at the end of the piece, gradually fades away like distant bells. The composition marks the perfect ending to a magical concert by Trinity Laban’s Symphony Orchestra.

Sir Charles Mackerras scholarship unites with the Allan Tregonning scholarship 2024

We are delighted to announce that a £11,000 scholarship will be available to an Australasian music student for the academic year 2024/25, thanks to combined funding from our Sir Charles Mackerras and Professor Allan Tregonning scholarship funds. All students from the region will automatically be considered for the scholarship based on their audition performance.

About the scholarships

Professor Allan Tregonning arrived at Trinity College of Music in 1939 on an Australasian scholarship to study piano. Age 19, he was the youngest student ever to receive this award. Advised by the New Zealand High Commission to stay put in London when war broke out, Allan lived at the College at Mandeville Place, acting as Fire Warden. He had to cycle around London to sit exams, often in awful weather and on roads damaged by bombing. On one occasion, examiners took pity on him when he arrived soaking wet, allowing him to sit two exams in the same day. However, due to a misunderstanding, he played the wrong piece. The examiners offered him the correct music, but the talented pianist declined, playing the piece from memory. Allan eventually returned to New Zealand to become a Professor of Languages, but the memories of London and Trinity College of Music stayed with him. When he died in 2014, aged 94, he left the residue of his estate to Trinity Laban to provide a scholarship for a student from Australasia.

Sir Charles Mackerras became President of Trinity College of Music in November 2000, a position he held until his death in 2010. At the time of his passing, he was one of the most versatile, adventurous, and generally admired and respected conductors of the past six decades. Mackerras was brought up in Sydney, Australia, and went to Sydney grammar school. At the city’s New South Wales Conservatory (now Sydney Conservatorium of Music), he studied the oboe, piano and composition, and his first job was as principal oboist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. For much of his life, Sir Charles lived and worked in London and Trinity Laban is very proud of its connection to him, as both an Honorary Fellow and later, our President. The Mackerras scholarship can be offered thanks to the generosity of Sir Charles and Lady Mackerras. We are also extremely grateful to their daughter Catherine.

Celebrated pianist Hiroaki Takenouchi visits Trinity Laban

We welcomed acclaimed pianist Hiroaki Takenouchi to Trinity Laban in March for a special event celebrating International Women’s Week.

Hiroaki Takenouchi presented a lecture-recital exploring the work of four female British composers: Doreen Carwithen, Dorothy Howell, Caroline Reinagle and Madeleine Dring. For the final performance piece of the session, Dring’s Sonata for Two Pianos, the celebrated pianist was joined by frequent collaborator Simon Callaghan; their CD Danza Gaya: Music for Two Pianos is now available on Lyrita. Hiroaki complimented the lecture-recital with a morning of 1-to-1 lessons with select piano students.

TL student Lucas Saraiva Cunha (BMus2 Piano) commented on the concert: “I really enjoyed Prof. Takenouchi’s lecture recital, which had a focus on Female British Composers. What made it especially captivating for me was how strongly he felt about shining a light on these underrepresented composers, and how that resonated with his personal experience as a musician. It was a thought-provoking session that brought me to consider my own connections to the music I play, as well as inspiring me to keep bringing rarely played works into the concert space. The performance had a captivating emotional intensity that I think can only come from a strong sense of identification and understanding of both the composer and the music they wrote.”

About Hiroaki Takenouchi

Hiroaki Takenouchi’s curiosity and a natural penchant for integrity makes his playing and vast repertoire unique amongst his generation of pianists. His love for the music of classical masters – particularly Haydn, Beethoven and Chopin – sits side by side with his passion for the music of Medtner, lesser-known British composers such as Sterndale Bennett and Parry, and the contemporary repertoire.

As a soloist, Takenouchi has appeared on many concert platforms including Wigmore Hall, Tokyo Opera City and the South Bank Centre, and has given recitals across Europe and North America. 2022 saw the release of his latest solo disc on French specialist piano label Artalinna, featuring works by Grieg, Medtner and Dupré. Hiroaki is also editor of the published scores of Sherwood’s two-piano works (as recorded for Lyrita), now available from Nimbus Music Publishing. He is frequently invited to make recordings for BBC Radio 3’s Composer of the Week.

Hiroaki Takenouchi is a Blüthner Artist and owns a beautiful 1922 Blüthner piano. He gave a concert in Leipzig’s Weißes Haus as part of the Blüthner Master Series in September 2020. Hiroaki teaches piano at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (Glasgow). He also returns every summer to give masterclasses at the ingenium International Music Academy (UK).

Beijing Dance Academy at Trinity Laban

In late March, Principal Anthony Bowne welcomed the Beijing Dance Academy to Trinity Laban to meet with senior colleagues, view work from our current dance and musical theatre students, and sign a memorandum of understanding between the two institutions.

The Beijing Dance Academy attended our Master’s Dance Performance, featuring a piece by Wayne McGregor which included music from Head of Strings Nic Pendlebury and musician John Marc. They also watched the BA3 Musical Theatre showcase at Laban Theatre and observed a Dance Science Lab demo, where a BSc Dance Science student, Julie (Chung-Yi Lo) ran a presentation on her current project.

The main areas of cooperation between the two institutions include:

  1. Developing joint dance programme collaborations at both Undergraduate and Postgraduate levels.
  2. Developing a mutually beneficial cooperation in teaching and research to further the advancement and dissemination of learning.
  3. Establishing an academic exchange, including short-term educational programmes, student exchanges, and mutual visits of faculty and school members to pursue research and to deliver masterclasses, workshops and lectures.
  4. Trinity Laban will participate in World Dance Education Alliance which organised by BDA and joined by art institutions across the world.

“I am so glad to welcome Beijing Dance Academy to our campus in London. We have known each other for more than 20 years and we both hope to deepen partnership relationships between us. We believe it’s vital for both leading artistic institutions to connect across the globe, to create, collaborate and enhance our teaching, research and performance excellence.” says Li Yu, our Student Recruitment and International Relations Manager.

World-renowned pianist and composer Sir Stephen Hough visits Trinity Laban

We were delighted to welcome Sir Stephen Hough (CBE) to Trinity Laban this March for a set of masterclasses and a brilliant performance of his Song Cycles alongside our students and Head of Keyboard, Dr Ji Liu.

This year’s Keyboard and Voice Festival: Coming Together! celebrated the rich tapestry of vocal and keyboard music, embracing essential works from the core-classical territories as well as dynamic works of contemporary British Composers and those from beyond our shores.

Our final concert featured acclaimed artist Stephen Hough, our Head of Keyboard Dr Ji Liu, and Trinity Laban piano and voice students performing an afternoon concert of Stephen’s song cycles. The concert featured the complete collection: Dappled Things, Herbstlieder, Lady Antonia’s Songs, Songs of Love and Loss, Songs of Isolation, and Other Love Songs, described by Bachtrack as “witty, intricate, intimate and beautifully arresting art songs”.

Discussing his visit, Stephen commented: “It’s been a wonderful couple of days. We’ve had 31 students in all working on these song cycles, so more or less a different student for each song. There’s a huge variety, but everyone really did their best and performed beautifully. There were a few performances that were really spectacular in the way that the students got inside the text and the song, and absolutely lived that song whilst they were singing, and that is what you are ultimately looking for. The songs are brief. The longest one is maybe five minutes, but in this time, a whole world can be uncovered and I think they got that and it was thrilling.”

“I don’t play with singers very much, so putting words and music together is a whole different level of emotional involvement. I’m very moved by songs. Many of the texts that I chose are very deep human emotions – as deep as it gets – about what life means, what love means. To have that and to work with the students with that is very touching and I actually had to hold back a tear or two during the concert.”

Our Head of Keyboard, Dr Ji Liu, stated: “It’s been a wonderful journey and Stephen has been such a wonderful motivator and role model to all of us. Every time I work with Stephen, he’s very generous with his comments and time, and he’s also very encouraging and very open with performing his work. It’s quite nerve-wracking for performers to play a composer’s work in front of a composer. This time, for me, it’s like that when playing together with Stephen! But it’s been wonderful, it’s been a memorable experience for me and all of our students.”

About Stephen Hough

One of the most distinctive artists of his generation, Sir Stephen Hough (CBE) combines a distinguished career as a pianist with those of composer and writer.

Named by The Economist as one of Twenty Living Polymaths, Hough was the first classical performer to be awarded a MacArthur Fellowship (2001). He has been awarded a multitude of awards and prizes, including the Royal Philharmonic Society Instrumentalist Award and first prize at the Naumburg Competition in New York. Sir Stephen has appeared with most of the major European, Asian and American orchestras and plays recitals regularly in major halls and concert series around the world from London’s Royal Festival Hall to New York’s Carnegie Hall. He has been a regular guest at festivals, including Tanglewood, Verbier, and the BBC Proms, where he has made 29 concerto appearances.

Many of his catalogue of over 60 albums have garnered international prizes including eight Gramophone Magazine Awards including ‘Record of the Year’, several Grammy nominations, and the Gramophone ‘Gold Disc’ Award in 2008, which named his complete Saint-Saens Piano Concertos as the best recording of the past 30 years. His 2012 recording of the complete Chopin Waltzes received the Diapason d’Or de l’Annee, France’s most prestigious recording award. His 2005 live recording of the Rachmaninoff Piano Concertos was the fastest selling recording in Hyperion’s history, while his 1987 recording of the Hummel concertos remains Chandos’ best-selling disc to date.

Published by Josef Weinberger, Sir Stephen has composed works for orchestra, choir, chamber ensemble, organ, harpsichord and solo piano. He has been commissioned by the prestigious organisations including the Cliburn, the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet, and Wigmore Hall, among others. A noted writer, Sir Stephen has contributed articles for The New York Times, the Guardian, The Times, Gramophone and BBC Music Magazine, and he wrote a blog for The Telegraph for seven years which became one of the most popular and influential forums for cultural discussion and for which he wrote over six hundred articles. He has published four books: The Bible as Prayer, a novel The Final Retreat, a book of essays Rough Ideas: Reflections on Music and More, a memoir Enough: Scenes from Childhood.

Sir Stephen is an Honorary Fellow of Cambridge University’s Girton College, an honorary member of the RPS, and holds the International Chair of Piano Studies at his alma mater, the Royal Northern College in Manchester. He is also a member of the faculty at The Juilliard School.

Junior Trinity perform at the Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey

Junior Trinity were invited by Commonwealth Resounds to perform at the Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey this year. JT students Adrianna Forbes-Dorant and Ben Atherton had their arrangements chosen to be performed.

This year marks 75 years since the signing of the London Declaration in 1949 that established the Commonwealth as a network of equals united by values and a shared aspiration for a better future. Organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Commonwealth Day Service is the world’s premier, public event to celebrate the Commonwealth of Nations and provides an opportunity to focus attention on this voluntary association of 56 countries and their commitment to promoting democracy, human rights, the rule of law and equality for its 2.5 billion citizens.

The theme of this year’s Heads of Government Meeting and Commonwealth Day Service was resilience – 2024 is also the second year of the Year of Youth in recognition of the tremendous contributions of young people to society. This annual event, held at Westminster Abbey, celebrates the unity, diversity, and linkages of the modern Commonwealth and seeks to foster greater understanding of the Commonwealth’s achievements and role, particularly amongst its young people.

The service was filmed by the BBC and streamed across the world. Junior Trinity’s Vocal Consort performed in the pre-service concert as the dignitaries arrived and members of Composers’ Ensemble performed a forty minute programme of folk songs from across the Commonwealth, as well as new works written by two JT students, Adrianna Forbes-Dorant and Ben Atherton.

Trinity Laban Conservatoire Junior Department is well known for celebrating musical, cultural and creative diversity. Singing is particularly important to life in the Junior Department, and every single student sings in at least one of their many choirs. The Vocal Consort is made up of some of their most talented and promising students. This performance represented the collaborative spirit often at the heart of Junior Trinity’s music and involved music from across the Commonwealth, including a number of small island states such as Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

Adrianna Forbes-Dorant is a full bursary recipient and has attended Junior Trinity for five years. She is a first study pianist, second study voice, and third study violin, which have become interchangeable for her over time. She has recently discovered a love and talent for composing, and is a key member of Composers’ Ensemble. For the past three years, she has sung the role of Flora for Garsington Opera to high acclaim. She holds an offer from the University of Cambridge, as well as scholarships from several conservatoires.

The programme was as follows:

  • A Jamaican Celebration – composed by Adrianna Forbes-Dorant (Junior Trinity student)
  • Meguru – arranged by Russel Robertson
  • The Jones Boys – arranged by Ben Atherton (Junior Trinity student)
  • Pokarekare Ana – arranged by Andrew Carter
  • Nani and Nana – composed by Sundar Popo, arranged by Cole Lam
  • Thank you for the music – arranged by Jerry Estes
  • Keel Row – arranged by John Rutter
  • Sing from The Song Sound True – composed by Judith Weir
  • Somebody to love – arranged by Roger Emerson
  • Kenek Kenek Lah Udang – arranged by Dan Miller (Junior Trinity Vocal Tutor)
  • A Commonwealth Music Relay – arranged by Cole Lam, Siri Hedge,
    Jahfari Hazelwood, James Brew, Jacob Abela, and Ajiri Ikede

Remembering Paul Strang (1933-2024)

Trinity Laban Honorary Companion and former chair Paul Strang has died, at age 91. Paul had been unwell for some time. Jeanne Strang, his wife, died in August of last year.

Paul was always interested in music and supporting young musicians to fulfil their potential. He joined the board of Governors at Trinity College of Music back in 1974, and became chair in 1992. He was instrumental in the creation of the Trinity College of Music Trust in 1984, and guided the establishment of Trinity College London in 1992. In 2001, he helped to develop the plans to move Trinity College of Music to Greenwich, and Paul’s support was crucial to the merger of Trinity College of Music and Laban Dance Centre to create Trinity Laban in 2005. During his time, Paul was instrumental in the appointment of three Principals: Meredith Davies in 1979; Philip Jones in 1988; and Gavin Henderson in 1994. In his role as trustee of the Helen Roll Charity and the Tillet Trust, Paul was also instrumental in providing vital financial support to dozens of our students over the years.

One former TCM staff member, Roger Pope, recalls an act of kindness from Paul and Jeanne. When TCM was at Mandeville Place, one day Roger was summoned to the front door to greet a Russian student who was joining for a year as a bassoonist. He was standing at the door with his bassoon case and a large suitcase, and his first question was “Where is my accommodation?”. It was about 4.30pm on the Friday afternoon before Enrolment Day. Having gleaned from this brief introduction that he had no idea of the British system – that accommodation was the student’s responsibility and should in any case be arranged in advance – Roger hurried to the Principal’s room with the vague idea of seeing if the College would foot the bill for a small hotel for the weekend while Roger endeavoured to sort out something permanent. Paul Strang was in with the Principal, simply lifted up the phone, rang Jeanne and asked if their basement flat could be made available to this student for the weekend. Roger took him up to the Strangs’ home in St. John’s Wood in a taxi, with his bassoon and suitcase, and they all had a very convivial half hour with a large glass of wine. Paul and Jeanne were very kind to the student over what turned out to be a rather extended weekend before he was settled.

Paul Strang was born in 1933 in Marlborough Hill, London. He attended the Montessori school, before his family moved to Hampstead Garden Suburb where his mother started doing air-raid precaution work. From 1940, his mother and adopted aunt ran a mobile canteen for the benefit of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. They toured the bomb-sites of London, ministering tea and refreshment to the firefighters – when not at school, Paul would join these expeditions. He attended a boarding school in Shropshire while being a day boy at Arnold House, and his family members soon evacuated into the country for many years.

Paul finished his schooling in 1951 and was articled to the solicitor Arthur Underwood. While his family lived on the south coast, he lodged in London during the week with his mother’s old fried, Emmie Tillett, a renowned concert agent. Paul spent the next six years here while finishing his articles. Emmie Tillett worked with many celebrated musicians, and Paul was able to connect with the likes of Kathleen Ferrier, Myra Hess, Clifford Curzon, Solomon, Janet Baker, Lotte Lehmann, Zoltán Kodály, Shura Cherkassy, and Benjamin Britten. His father, Sir Thomas Beecham, was also based in the area. Paul qualified and bought a flat in London in 1962. He married his wife Jeanne in 1965, and together they moved to a house in London that they lived in for the rest of their lives. They were neighbours to Maggie Teyte, Gerald Moore, Jessie Wood, Sir Charles and Lady Mackerras during the period in which Charles attained his pre-eminence as a conductor, and Philip and Ursula Jones.

Paul will be greatly missed by us. His extraordinary contribution to Trinity Laban and the future of music in the UK leave a magnificent legacy. We will always be incredibly grateful for his unwavering support for our music community and will be forever grateful to have been part of his life.