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Hope 4 Justice EP calls for urgent action on the climate emergency

“The pollution is getting worse every day, every minute, every second. Aren’t you ashamed that the first person to die of pollution was a little girl from Lewisham, who was just like me? The songs that we sing show we care; we care about Lewisham.” – Zahra, Brindishe Manor student

Today, on the eleventh anniversary of the death of Lewisham resident Ella Roberta Adoo Kissi Debrah who died aged nine after a fatal asthma attack, Air from the forthcoming Hope 4 Justice EP is released on all major streaming platforms. Ella was the first person in the world to have air pollution listed as a cause of death on their death certificate. Air is a powerful dedication to Ella, with lyrics written by Mercury Prize nominee ESKA and Young People’s Poet Laureate for London Cecilia Knapp, the children’s voices boldly asserting “I’ve got the right to breathe in my own city’s streets.”

In 2022 over 1,000 young people, including students from 27 South London schools took part in Hope 4 Justice, an urgent call to action on the climate emergency highlighting issues such as air quality, ‘throw-away’ culture and housing inequality through compelling performances of music, dance and spoken word. Created and produced by Trinity Laban in collaboration with leading artists and local young people, the socially engaged project was a key part of the Mayor’s London Borough of Culture 2022 celebrations and was performed in Mountsfield Park on Saturday 18 June 2022.

Now, to commemorate the project, five songs composed by Mercury Prize nominated artist ESKA have been recorded at Trinity Laban with John Stainer Community Primary School Choir and students from the TL Jazz Department and will be shared as an EP on 8 March.

The Hope 4 Justice EP also features tracks Building (Foundations), Future Culture, New Legacy and Waste.

Listen to Air here.

Pre-order the Hope 4 Justice EP (including a limited edition CD version here).

Hope 4 Justice was created and produced by Trinity Laban for We Are Lewisham and was co-commissioned with The Albany. It was part of a wider programme of climate emergency artworks commissioned for We Are Lewisham, the Mayor’s London Borough of Culture for 2022. Special thanks to ESKA, choreographer Sarah Golding, writer Cecilia Knapp and all the wonderful students, musicians and dancers involved.

Melissa Walker features in Channel 4’s ‘The Piano at Christmas’

TL BAMPI student, pianist and composer Melissa Monique Walker featured in the dazzling festive edition of Channel 4’s The Piano programme. Hosted by Claudia Winkleman and judged by international pianist Lang Lang and pop star Mika, The Piano is a heart-warming TV series that puts the best amateur pianists in the limelight.

Airing for the first time last year, The Piano is a show focusing on the “street piano” phenomenon by inviting gifted amateurs to play at train stations all over the country. Having featured in the debut series, Melissa returns to wow audiences at King’s Cross station in the latest Christmas special.

Melissa’s love for the piano stems from anime and game music. When she was younger, the soundtrack to the Nintendo game Animal Crossing Wild World and an anime featuring Chopin’s Minute Waltz sparked her interest in the instrument. In December 2017, Melissa was gifted a piano from her dad for Christmas. After teaching herself to play from YouTube videos for a year, she took up lessons and got to Grade 8 in just four years. Describing herself as shy in secondary school, Melissa states that the piano has helped her grow in strength and confidence.

The Piano at Christmas invites pianists from the first series to return to the station stage. A few surprises also lie in store: notably, a festive feature of comics Jo Brand and Tom Allen, and a performance from the wonderful winner Lucy in a duet with Gregory Porter. At the start of the special, Lang Lang tells the host that he is looking for a “really cool arrangement” featuring some sort of classical music and “delicate technique”. Meanwhile, Mika wants the musicians to “take a song and give it personality”. Melissa brilliantly fulfils the judges’ wishes, being the only guest to perform her own original work. Hailed by The Guardian as “her own wintry composition, which has soul flowing through its fingers”, Reflections is a lyrical, expressive piece. It evokes snow, blizzards, and ice – an auditory depiction of the winter season through music.

Written in a neoclassical style, a delicate melody emerges in the piano’s high register, supported by a whirlwind of rapid semiquavers. It provides a beautiful contrast to her first composition, Hope, that was aired in the debut episode of the series – a wonderful piece filled with open chords and poetic variation. Mika describes Reflections as “life and nature on pause”, commenting on her development as a pianist and remarking on her creative, interesting use of dissonant harmony. Lang Lang hails it as a “really wonderful” and thoughtful composition, with both judges labelling it as an emotional and “most touching” moment. Melissa cites her main reason for composing as a wish to impact her audience and convey her emotions – her performance does this perfectly.

Commenting on her time on The Piano, Melissa says – “It was an incredible thrill to be asked to appear on The Piano Christmas Special. I appeared on The Piano, London’s first season and was invited to return, as I was one of the six pianists selected for the Christmas special episode out of 80 who auditioned to be on the original series one show. Meeting Lang Lang and Claudia Winkleman again was a pleasure – it was lovely to get positive feedback from such a brilliant pianist that I look up to as a pianist myself. I’m happy that I was able to perform another composition of mine called Reflections on the show, linking to the theme of winter. I’m a student at Trinity Laban right now, doing the BA in Music Performance and Industry. I decided to study popular music in order to broaden my improvisational skills and discover new genres. After graduating from Trinity Laban, I hope to work as a successful neoclassical composer, playing in various London locations, putting my music on streaming services, and perhaps even writing soundtracks for motion pictures.”

Remembering Emma Gladstone OBE

Trinity Laban is extremely sad to learn of the death of alum and honorary fellow Emma Gladstone OBE.

Emma was a cherished member of the Trinity Laban community. Graduating from the inaugural Transitions Dance Company class in 1986, she went on to co-found Adventures in Motion Pictures with her friends and TL classmates Sir Matthew Bourne and David Massingham. She was an extraordinary dancer, also dancing with Lea Anderson’s company The Colmondeleys.

Emma moved into producing, presenting performances for many partners including the Southbank Centre, The Place, Latitude Festival, Tate Modern and the Young Vic. She was Associate Director at The Place Theatre and then Artistic Producer and Programmer at Sadler’s Wells and for over seven years Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Dance Umbrella.

Emma was Chair at Siobhan Davies Studios, and in Trustee positions at Aesop and Dartington Hall Trust. She remained closely linked to Trinity Laban throughout her career, and will be sorely missed by us all.

Gold Medal 2024 competitors stand on stage with winner, Cameron Scott, centre

Cameron Scott wins Trinity Laban Gold Medal 2024

Yesterday, the concert hall of Kings Place, London lit up with Trinity Laban’s annual Gold Medal Showcase, celebrating seven outstanding musicians. The finalists were nominated by Heads of Department for their exceptional musical flair and professionalism, and all received a Director’s Prize for Achievement in recognition of this. Congratulations to all the performers, who exhibited the extraordinary talent from across the Faculty of Music.

A huge congratulations to Cameron Scott, who amazed adjudicators and audience members alike with euphonium and trombone performances of his original jazz compositions for brass band, and took home this year’s Gold Medal and Audience Prize. Cameron is in the final year of his BMus (Hons) in the Jazz Department, studying trombone, euphonium, and composition. As our first performer, he kicked off the evening with We All Live in a Luminferous Aether, featuring several virtuosic euphonium solos, and continued with Windfield Mercury, showcasing his exceptional mastery of the trombone.

The adjudicators, YolanDa Brown OBE DL (musician, broadcaster, and entrepreneur) and Dr Amir Konjani (composer, situation maker, and performance designer), chaired by TL’s Director of Music Dr Aleksander Szram, commented on Cameron’s formidable technique, inventive orchestration, and exuberant tone.

All of our talented finalists Alina Pritulenko, Cameron Scott, Chiara McDougall, Jamie Elless, Nivanthi Karunaratne, Chung-Kwan Salome Siu, and Virág Hévízi performed to perfection and captivated the audience by presenting an eclectic blend of musical theatre, jazz, classical, original compositions and contemporary music.

A big thank you to our adjudication panel, to the Artistic Director of Gold Medal 2024 and host Dominic Murcott, to Chair of Governors Alan Davey CBE for his inspiring speech, and to all the staff who helped make the event a success.

Previous Gold Medal winners include: Lewis Chinn, Olivia Bell and Carolina Curry. You can find out more about the Gold Medal and past winners here.

Kirsty Purnell joins Moving Stories as Dance Artist

2020 Community Dance alum Kirsty Purnell will be one of four Dance Artists working with us for Moving Stories: embedding dance and drama in SEND teacher practice.

Recent alum Kirsty Purnell has joined Moving Stories, a two-year Paul Hamlyn Teacher Development Fund project, as a Dance Artist. Trinity Laban and its partners were successful in a bid of support from the PHF Teacher Development Fund – Moving Stories was one of eight UK-wide projects chosen for support.

Kirsty will be working with two of the six Lewisham-based schools involved in the project: Watergate and the Resource Base at Athelney Primary. In her role as a Dance Artist, she will collaborate with Drama Practitioners from Peoplescape Theatre, and School Teachers to develop and embed drama and dance in their setting, with the goal to improve the communication skills of young people facing high levels of disadvantage. Communication skills are the key to unlocking young peoples’ ability to thrive as active, engaged and connected members of their communities. Teachers and Artists will learn from each other, developing new pedagogical approaches, and spread good practice to colleagues, ensuring disabled young people have access to a rich and exciting arts curriculum which supports their life skills.

On being appointed the role of Dance Artist, Kirsty Purnell comments: “I am really excited to be one of the Dance Artists on the Moving Stories project in collaboration with Trinity Laban and Peoplescape Theatre. It feels particularly special to be on a project that is two years long and will allow time and space to build relationships and see the longer term impact of creative practices in SEND settings. I’m really looking forward to working on a project that’s so collaborative in nature and excited to see how working closely with drama practitioners and SEND teachers impacts and expands my own community dance practice. The learning and connections I made during my time at Trinity Laban on the Community Dance Postgrad have been invaluable in shaping my work in different dancing communities and Moving Stories is a wonderful example of this!”

More about Kirsty

An experienced facilitator, Kirsty works in a variety of settings including primary, secondary, SEN schools and community centres. She is particularly interested in how movement can be used to create, communicate and collaborate in the spirit of collective joy.

​She regularly leads projects for Rambert, The Royal Academy of Dance, Trinity Laban and Sadler’s Wells Learning and Engagement Programme with sharings at Sadler’s Wells Theatre and The Yard Theatre, Hackney Wick. She has also worked for SLiDE, Hackney Children’s Theatre, Trinity Laban and run workshops for F.A.T Studio and London College of Communication.

​Initially studying English Literature and Philosophy at Glasgow University and then completing her PGCE, she went on to receive a scholarship to study Community Dance at Trinity Laban. Kirsty is a professional member of People Dancing and an accredited teacher of Rambert Grades Creative Dance for Early Years and Grade 1-4 contemporary technique.

Resolution 2024

This year, Resolution 2024 returns to The Place between 17 January and 9 February. Across 18 nights, 54 artists and companies from London and beyond perform bold new contemporary dance work. We are incredibly proud to have many alumni and students taking part in Resolution 2024.

Several Desperate Attempts explores the concept of fame, questioning the lengths that people are willing to go to for the rich and successful life. This contemporary dance-theatre has been inspired by pop culture controversiality and phenomena, such as Lady Gaga’s meat dress and Britney Spears shaving her head, to name a few. Several Desperate Attempts was choreographed by Jack Trotter and features TL Alum Ben Yorke-Griffiths. (Thu 18 Jan)

Sylvie Holder’s Sweet England delves into the undocumented realities of peasantry within Western Europe in the Middle Ages. It explores the untold history of the people of serfdom and unfolds on stage as an organic anthology of happenings, a series of proposed experiences and features TL Alumni Ben Yorke-Griffiths and Lucy Rutter. (Fri 19 Jan)

Trinity Laban Alum Francesca Matthys performs a new solo work, Stap (St-AH-p), which is informed by her South African lineage, spiritual and artistic practice. Known as the ‘Stepping in Situ’ practice, Francesca is in conversation with original adaptations of the Nama Stap Rite of Passage Dance. This practice acknowledges the pelvis as a site of wisdom, intuition and identity of ancestral significance. (Wed 24 Jan)

Choreographed by Trinity Laban alum and Innovation Award Winner Chiara Halter, 33 RPM combines set design, contemporary movement language and opera, as a response to the ongoing growth in socio-economic segregation. Chiara and fellow alum Alessia Tomassi Marinangeli, work to embrace the evolution of cultural heritage, and serve the reminder that we are nothing but the product of our environment. Chiara and Alessia will be joined by singer Paula Günther. (Thu 25 Jan)

On The Other Side, choreographed by TL Alum Yee Kei Yuki Chung, has been through 5 stages of research and development. It explores the emotional impact on people who have experienced the death of others, imaginary death, and the imaginary contact between the dead and the living. This project features TL Alumni Mac Daniel Villanueva Palima and composer Mikey Parsons. This project is generously supported by the Thea Barnes Legacy. (Tue 30 Jan)

Choreographed by Trinity Alum Innovation Award winner Aimee Ruhinda, A Good Scare is a Wonderful Aphrodisiac explores the witch archetype as a reborn feminist symbol. This piece explores the Butoh ideology, saturating the raw real to become surreal. ‘The coven’ portrays your deepest fears as a method to better understand them, reclaiming your true self. It will be performed by six Trinity Laban alumni dancers Alessia Tomassi Marinangeli, Ana Noakes, Chiara Halter, Ellie Broom, Kiera O’Reilly and Zuzanna Wasiak. (Wed 31 Jan)

TL Alum Emma Skyum has choreographed LEUCA, a dance dedicated to the passing of time, self-realisation and acceptance. Stimulated by the nature of personal growth this work evolves cohesively with the dancer as she develops her own movement language. LEUCA is an abstract portrayal of ‘relive, retrieve, recover’ from lived experiences of the self in which the stimulus is solely one’s own truth. (Wed 31 Jan)

Resurrection is a dance that explores how one might rebuild their sense of self and purpose when a major part of their life falls apart. Themes of internalised relationships are explored and contrasted with colourful, psychedelic visuals and set to an eclectic soundtrack. Trinity Alum Antonia Latz is one of four dancers in this piece by Samantha Harding. (Thur 1 Feb)

In his solo performance Souvenir, dance artist Fabio Pronesti reconsiders what we kept close. A body seeks procedures of pouring memories in the space whilst getting confused by what is familiar: the smell of a smoke, a way of capturing each other’s hands, some desires rooted out yesterday. Within the landscape crafted in collaboration with sound engineer Beatrice Balagna, Fabio brings to light lived spaces, currents in which he immersed himself and some precious relics: other beliefs that were real. (Sat 3 Feb)

There are few bodies as impressive in its range of movement and ability to navigate space than the octopus. In fact, in the nineteenth century the octopus was the most demonised creature for this very reason and was coined the ‘devil fish’. Devil Fish, by Silver-Tongue Studios, questions what it means to be called ‘a monster’ and features TL Alum Antonia Latz. (Wed 7 Feb)

I Am. Am I is a human story that questions labelling theory and raises awareness of social inequality using a multitude of different means. This is a work in progress and TL Alum Louiseanne Pui Chi Wong investigates their struggle with social norms, displacement, and unlearning how they were ‘conditioned’ in Hong Kong. (Thur 8 Feb)

Magnetoreception is a dance of passion and pain, narrated by the mesmerising choreography of magnets in motion. TL Alum Sarah Hirsch and her colleague Phillip McDermott established Odyl Creations in 2023, which recently culminated in a forty-minute production at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. (Fri 9 Feb)

Image Credit: Production image from A Good Scare is a Wonderful Aphrodisiac by Aimee Ruhinda / The Place

The Gold Medal Showcase 2024

Join us to celebrate Trinity Laban musical performance at its finest, with seven student representatives from TL’s music departments competing for the Gold Medal 2024.

The Gold Medal is an annual showcase where seven finalists are nominated by the Heads of Department for their high level of creativity and musicianship, receiving a Director’s Prize for Excellence and giving them the opportunity to compete for the renowned award.

The evening is an exclusive chance to listen to Trinity Laban’s extraordinary students on the brink of promising careers from the departments of Strings, Jazz, Composition, Piano & Keyboard, Wind, Brass & Percussion, Vocal Studies and Musical Theatre, showcasing diverse professionalism from across the conservatoire’s Faculty of Music. The winner is announced later that evening, with audience members having a chance to vote too.

This year, the Gold Medal celebrates a diversity of musical language, and music as a unifying force and expression of what makes us human. Our global creative community brings a multitude of voices and ideas to our home in South East London. Expect music as a theatrical experience as the seven nominees bring their personal language to the stage.

The seven finalists are:

Alina Pritulenko Piano (Keyboard)

Cameron Scott Trombone (Jazz)

Chiara McDougall Musical Theatre

Jamie Elless Composition

Nivanthi Karunaratne Natural Horn (Wind, Brass & Percussion)

Chung-Kwan Salome Siu Voice

Virag Hevizi Violin (Strings)

The competition is judged by a panel of Trinity Laban staff and industry experts, which in previous years has included President of EMI Rebecca Allen and Founder, Artistic and Executive Director of the Chineke! Foundation and Honorary Fellow and Visiting Professor of Double Bass at Trinity Laban Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE.

This year’s competition will be chaired by Dr Aleksander Szram, our Director of Music, and judged by:

YolanDa Brown OBE DL: musician, broadcaster and entrepreneur

Dr Amir Konjani: composer, Situation maker, and performance designer

Last year’s Gold Medal was won by Lewis Chinn, who wowed adjudicators and audience members with his magnificent tuba performance, showcasing impressive technical abilities while giving an emotive and exuberant performance.

Join us next month and witness seven exceptional young artists performing a mix of jazz, classical and contemporary music as they compete for Trinity Laban’s most prestigious prize.

When: Monday 22 January 2024, 19:00

Where: Hall One, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG

Book early to avoid disappointment.

BOOK HERE

Welcoming TL’s newest Honorary Fellows

During our graduation ceremonies last week, we were delighted to award a number of Honorary Fellowships to outstanding industry professionals and members of the TL community: celebrated Artistic Director Shobana Jeyasingh CBE, TCM alum and President of EMI Records, Rebecca Allen, and Julian Joseph OBE, one of the finest musicians in contemporary British Jazz. TL’s Vice Chair, Dr Geoffrey Copland CBE, was awarded an Honorary Companionship, and a moving posthumous award was made to our former Director of Dance, Mirella Bartrip OBE, received by her husband.

The Honorary Fellows were nominated for outstanding achievements and contributions to the arts throughout their careers. Shobana Jeyasingh CBE founded her dance company in 1989 and has created over 60 critically acclaimed works for stage, screen, and outside and indoor sites, ranging from Palladian monasteries in Venice to contemporary fountains in London. Her works are noted for both their intellectual rigour and visceral physicality, remaining rooted in her experience as a female postcolonial citizen of the world. Many of them form part of the National Curriculum for Dance in the UK. A multi-award winning creative, Shobana was named Asian Woman of Achievement in Art and Culture in 2008 and was awarded the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the WOW Women in Creative Industries Awards in 2017. Serving on panels such as Arts Council England and the Royal Opera House, she is also patron of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. Her distinguished artistic career extends to working as a researcher and scriptwriter for two pioneering programmes on British Asian Arts for Channel Four. A founding member and research fellow of ResCen at Middlesex University, she was invited to take on the role of Knowledge Producer by the Cultural Institute at Kings College London in 2014 which led to Translocations, a series of films where choreographic narratives met a range of academic disciplines. More recently, Shobana was a judge for BBC Young Dancer in both 2017 and 2019.

Rebecca Allen is one of the most powerful and influential executives in the British music industry today. As President of EMI Records, Rebecca oversees a roster of artists that comprises home-grown talent signed directly to the label, and international superstars who have chosen to make EMI their UK home, ranging from Taylor Swift to Paul McCartney and Metallica. A former student at Trinity College of Music, Rebecca began her career with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and then the BBC Proms. Her tenacity, warmth and eye for a great story quickly saw her get snapped up by Universal Music Group, where she enjoyed a meteoric rise through the legendary Decca label. She started as a press assistant in the Classics and Jazz Division, then as Director of Media, rising to General Manager, then Managing Director, before becoming President of Decca in 2017: the youngest person – and the first woman in its long and distinguished 90-year history – ever to hold this role. Rebecca put UK country music in the spotlight, helped bring jazz to a much wider audience, championed young classical stars, and collaborated with artists including Nicola Benedetti and Rod Stewart. A multi-award winning executive, she was recognised as Businesswoman of the Year at Music Week’s Women in Music Awards in 2017 in addition to being named as one of US Publication Billboard’s Women in Music Awards Power Players. In the same year, she became a board member at Trinity Laban. As Co-Chair of the Classic BRIT Awards, she led the award show to be nominated for a BAFTA for the first time in its history in 2021.

Reflecting on her time at Trinity Laban, Rebecca stated: “I look back at the years I spent studying at Trinity as some of the most important and formative years of my life. It was an incredibly fulfilling experience and helped me discover the characteristics about myself that I could then utilise to start a career within music. Being a professional musician wasn’t something I ever wanted to do but fortunately Trinity understood the bigger picture and helped me focus on other incredibly important areas with music and arts management. Their ethos was so refreshing!”.

Acclaimed as one of today’s finest jazz musicians, Julian Joseph OBE has dedicated his career to championing jazz across the UK and worldwide. He has forged a reputation beyond his formidable skills as a composer and performer, and is universally recognised as a highly knowledgeable and engaging broadcaster, musical ambassador, educator, and cultural advocate. Over the past 35 years, Julian has made ground-breaking advances for jazz in the UK. He was the first Black British jazz musician to host a series at London’s Wigmore Hall, and the first to headline a late-night concert at the BBC Proms with his All Star Big Band. As a composer, Julian has written original works for symphony orchestra, big band and chamber ensemble, and received major commissions from the BBC, the Hackney Music Development Trust, the City of London Festival and the London Jazz Festival. His operas and dance works – Bridgetower, Shadowball, The Brown Bomber, Othello21  – have not only brought key moments in Black history into sharp focus, but given children a rare opportunity to perform in and discover both classical and jazz music. Founding his own Jazz Academy in 2013, it stands as the single most important player for TL’s jazz practice and vision, alongside Tomorrow’s Warriors. Joseph has six albums, one single, and one soundtrack to his credit, and his work has been recognised by multiple major cultural organisations. He published his debut jazz book, Music of Initiative, in 2018.

TL’s Vice Chair, Dr Geoffrey Copland CBE, served as Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the University of Westminster until 2007, following a series of university posts engaged in research, lecturing in physics, and as a senior manager. He has held several positions in prestigious higher education organisations, including Vice-President of Universities UK and Chair of its England and Northern Ireland Council, as well as Chair of the Universities and Colleges Employers Association. Geoffrey has been a TL governor since 2008, becoming Vice-Chair in 2013, and Chair since September 2019. He has also been a trustee of Trinity College London since 2012, vice-chair from 2016 and chair in 2019-2020. Other notable positions include chairman of Thomas Wall Trust, president of ASET (the Work Based and Placement Learning Association) and a trustee of the Quintin Hogg Trust and Quintin Hogg Memorial Fund. He has a strong interest in helping young people to achieve to their full potential, by overcoming barriers to progression wherever possible. Since retirement, he has undertaken a number of consultancy projects for higher education including some on university governance.

Mirella Bartrip OBE started her distinguished career at Trinity Laban as a lecturer, teaching classical ballet, dance technique theory, and teaching studies. In 1984, she became Programme Leader for the undergraduate dance programme. Over a period of 20 years, she led a series of reviews that refined and shaped the programme into what is recognised internationally as one of the world’s most prestigious dance degrees. As the first Vice Principal (Academic) and then Deputy Director & Dean of Studies, she oversaw the creation and development of a series of flagship Masters programmes, including the UK’s first Masters programme in Dance Science. She was also an important figure in the merger with Trinity College of Music, leading to the formation of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. In 2010, Mirella became Director of Dance at Trinity Laban. Her numerous achievements have included being part of the team that saw Trinity Laban gain its own Taught Degree Awarding Powers, and successfully enter the Research Excellence Framework for the first time. Mirella gained an international reputation as a dance educator, and was regularly invited to judge competitions and assess dance work across the globe. Having passed away in 2021, she leaves a magnificent creative legacy behind her and her posthumous award in honour of her exceptional service to Trinity Laban was received by her husband.

Sinfonia Strings perform at a school

TL Sinfonia Strings and schools side-by-side in recent tour

Trinity Laban’s Sinfonia Strings recently visited four partner secondary schools to explore the strings family. Young people aged 11 to 18 enjoyed a varied programme by Mendelssohn, Philip Herbert, and Holst as part of our interactive concert.

During the concert, school students also joined our Sinfonia Strings side-by-side to perform Górecki’s Three Pieces in Old Style. This composition was written for string orchestra in response to a comment by publishing director Tadeusz Ochlewski that Górecki‘s music lacked melody. First performed in 1964, the work combines elements of folk with contemporary musical techniques. The performance was led by our String Department Head, Professor Nic Pendlebury.

The tour marks the launch of an exciting project for Trinity Laban, the Side by Side Strings initiative, which continues throughout this year and beyond. It is one of many chances for local schools to experience live music through our Public Engagement programmes. The project also presents a wonderful opportunity for our musicians to join forces with school string players and gain education skills, while spreading a love for collective musicianship.

To find out more about our teaching staff and programmes, visit the Strings Department page.

Professor Penelope Roskell photographed holding her ‘Essential Piano Technique’ series.

Penelope Roskell becomes Chair of EPTA UK and wins Presto Music Award

Piano professor Penelope Roskell has been appointed as the new Chair of EPTA UK (European Piano Teachers Association). She has also won the Presto Music Award for Best Educational Publication 2023 for her new children’s books, the Essential Piano Technique series, which were first launched at Trinity Laban.

Our professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy Penelope Roskell has recently been appointed Chair of EPTA UK. Having actively participated in conferences, webinars, and the EPTA competition, she has been a member of the EPTA for over 40 years and was previously Director of the EPTA Piano Pedagogy course. Penelope is also a renowned author, having released the award-winning book The Complete Pianist: from healthy technique to natural artistry, published by Peters Edition. This December, her series Essential Piano Technique has been awarded Education Publication of the Year in the Presto Music awards. Providing a strong foundation of healthy technique, her series helps young pianists to progress rapidly and confidently through the early stages of piano playing. Presto music were impressed with “its fresh, unique style, as well as its appealing and original content”, thus affirming Penelope’s status as one of the world’s leading authorities in natural and healthy piano technique.

Penelope Roskell is an extremely dedicated, inspiring teacher, who aims to guide each individual student to reach their full potential as a pianist – both musically and technically – and as an artist in the broadest sense. She is extremely experienced in all aspects of advanced teaching, having taught at undergraduate and postgraduate level for thirty years. She was a professor of Piano at the London College of Music from 1982 until 1999, when she moved to Trinity College of Music. Alongside her piano teaching, she is involved in examining and auditioning, while running regular classes on piano pedagogy. She frequently gives masterclasses at UK and conservatories abroad, and has taught regular postgraduate classes at the Royal Academy of Music. A resident at many summer schools including Chetham’s and Dartington International Summer School, she has been on the jury for major competitions, including BBC Young Musician of the Year. Her London Advanced Piano Courses, run under the Roskell Academy, attract students from all over the world. Penelope also works as piano advisor to the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine, where she holds a clinic for pianists experiencing tension or injuries.

Penelope combines an international performing career with her professorship at Trinity Laban and her role as visiting artist at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. She has performed as soloist at major concert halls through Britain, including the Barbican Concert Hall and Wigmore Hall, but has also toured worldwide. Her first prize at the British Contemporary Piano Competition resulted in numerous invitations to festivals of contemporary music, including eight recitals in Hans Werner Henze’s festivals in Montepulciano and Munich. She has played Mozart Concertos with numerous orchestras, including the London Mozart Players at the Barbican Concert Hall and on tour with Sir Simon Rattle. A committed chamber musician, she regularly plays piano quintets with the Fitzwilliam String Quartet and the Roskell Piano Trio. At Trinity Laban, she founded Meridian – a piano and wind ensemble featuring TL professors. Her work with dance companies has included a season of solo performances with Twyla Tharp Dance Company at Sadlers Wells.

Xiaodi Zhao, the new recipient of the Bagri Foundation Scholarship stands holding her cello in front of a large staircase.

Introducing TL’s Bagri Foundation Scholar 2023-2024

Congratulations to Xiaodi Zhao, the new recipient of the Bagri Foundation Scholarship. The cellist joined Trinity Laban’s Faculty of Music on the one-year Artist Diploma Programme this September. 

Supported by the Bagri Foundation, talented young musician Xiaodi Zhao will study with Trinity Laban’s internationally celebrated Cello Department. Her musical journey began at the age of six under the guidance of her first cello teacher, Zhang Yiming. This pivotal introduction led to admission to the Affiliated Middle School of Sichuan Conservatory of Music, laying the foundation for her passion for the cello. Driven by a commitment to continuous improvement, Xiaodi aims to delve into the nuances of music performance, refining her craft and bringing even more captivating music to audiences.

The Artist Diploma is an ideal window into the music profession for advanced students who have already completed a postgraduate programme. Having graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music with a BMus (Hons) and the Royal College of Music with a Master of Music in Performance, Xiaodi will further develop her musical skills and collaborate with fellow artists at Trinity Laban this year.

The Bagri Foundation Scholarship

The Scholarship is part of the Foundation’s mission to encourage emerging artists from Asia to develop their work, especially those in need of additional financial support. Established in 1990, the Bagri Foundation is committed to individual excellence in the arts. It works collaboratively across artistic disciplines to engage and inspire, raising the visibility of artists and experts from across Asia and the Diaspora.

As a Bagri Foundation Scholar at Trinity Laban, Xiaodi Zhao will continue to cultivate her distinct and individual artistic voice through performance, mentoring and collaboration to confidently enter the music world with a highly evolved professional profile and portfolio.

Alka Bagri, Trustee of the Bagri Foundation says – “In our pursuit of nurturing learning, creativity, and artistic excellence, the Bagri Foundation is delighted to offer cellist Xiaodi Zhao the opportunity to advance her education with Trinity Laban.”

On being awarded the scholarship, Xiaodi Zhao comments – “I am very honoured to receive the Bargi Scholarship – this will really help me with studying for my Artist Diploma. I’m very much looking forward to collaborating with other professional artists at Trinity Laban, including dancers as well as musicians. It will be a great experience!”