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Kaleidoscope: Celebrating Black British Music

Thu 2 November 2023

Introducing Kaleidoscope, a groundbreaking new initiative celebrating the work of Black British composers and Black musical artists in Britain. The repertoire presented ranges across all genres, featuring solo, small and large ensemble, and staged performances, with selected works set in the context of music by composers from other backgrounds whose work is also frequently overlooked in mainstream programming.  

Kaleidoscope not only provides an opportunity for audiences to experience Black British music from across history and the current moment, but also ensures that our students are exposed to work that reaches beyond the established classical music canon taught in conservatoires, in which Black British composers and artists are routinely overlooked. 

Roger Wilson, Trinity Laban Governor and Founder of Black Lives in Music said: “Kaleidoscope is a bold new initiative. It’s typical of the work that Trinity Laban does in acknowledging and connecting a wider community in terms of students, performers, creators and audiences. There is a rich cornucopia of music to hear as part of the programme, while allowing us to celebrate their creators whose voices are traditionally underrepresented. Don’t Stop the Carnival on 26 October at Blackheath Halls embodied the very spirit of this initiative. It featured the collaborative, creative magic of Kevin Le Gendre and Camilla George and, in turn, heralded much more to come from this programme through to the end of this year and beyond.”

Dr. Aleksander Szram, Director of Music said: “As part of our commitment to amplify the music by hitherto under-represented composers, the Faculty of Music’s public performance programme over the next two academic years will seek to highlight and celebrate the work of Black British composers and Black musical artists in Britain. This ambitious initiative demonstrates Trinity Laban’s determination to make space for more voices, an aspect of our community that is quite unique in the sector and one that holds a very deep personal resonance with me.”

Some performance highlights in the 2023/24 season include:

Trinity Laban Symphony Orchestra
Great Hall, Blackheath Halls
Thursday 2 November, 19:30 

Conducted by Alpesh Chauhan and Vicente Chavarria, Trinity Laban Symphony Orchestra will perform Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Touissant L’Ouverture op. 46 and award-winning contemporary composer James B. Wilson’s Remnants for Poet and Orchestra.

Coleridge-Taylor was an 19th-century composer and conductor and is an iconic figure in Black British history. Toussaint Louverture was inspired by the eponymous black General, who was born enslaved, and led Haiti to independence from the French. 

James B. Wilson’s Remnants, featuring a poem by Yomi Sode, re-opened the Southbank Centre in 2022. In this work the words and music respond to 2020’s most viral image, depicting Patrick Hutchinson saving a counter protestor at a Black Lives Matter protest. 

Trinity Laban Jazz Orchestra & Big Band
Great Hall, Blackheath Halls
Wednesday 24 January 2024, 19:30 

Trinity Laban Jazz Orchestra will perform works by TL professor, composer and trumpeter Byron Wallen. Byron is a seminal figure in the Jazz world, and has performed with the likes of Chaka Khan, George Benson, Mulatu Astatke, and many others. Wallen is an acclaimed writer and producer whose original scores have been commissioned by the Science Museum; PRS, the BBC, Jerwood Foundation, Southbank Centre, National Theatre, Arts Council, FIFA and Sage Gateshead. 

Trinity Laban Big Band will play alongside Trinity College of Music alum, and acclaimed trombonist Winston Rollins. His background is steeped in music, having been in bands such as The Brand New Heavies, Incognito, Aswad, Jamiroquai, Courtney Pine. Currently he is a member of Jool Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, since 1994 he has been one of four trombonists in the Brass section of the Orchestra. 

Trinity Laban Symphony Orchestra
Great Hall, Blackheath Halls
Thursday 28 March 2024, 19:30 

Conducted by Matthew Lynch, Trinity Laban Symphony Orchestra will perform Daniel Kidane’s Sun Poem alongside Eleanor Alberga’s First Symphony. 

Matthew Lynch is a regular collaborator of the composers Max Richter and Devonté Hynes, and has performed their music with ensembles internationally. In the 2023/24 season he will be returning to London’s Southbank Centre to perform Beethoven’s Eroica with the Chineke! Orchestra and making debuts with, the Philharmonia, the London Mozart Players, Sinfonia Viva, and the French chamber orchestra, Le Balcon. 

Trinity Laban Chamber Choir with Alexander Douglas
St Alfege Church, Greenwich
Thursday 6 June 2024, 13:05 

Conductor, composer and multi-genre musician, Alexander Douglas, conducts Trinity Laban’s Chamber Choir in a programme that features classical works alongside gospel music.  

Trinity Laban Opera: Dido’s Ghost
Great Hall, Blackheath Halls
Thursday 4 – Saturday 6 July 2024 

As its annual Summer opera, Trinity Laban presents Errollyn Wallen’s continuation of the story of Dido and Aeneas, which frames the original Purcell opera within Wallen’s new drama.