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Alumni round-up September & October 2019

Thu 31 October 2019

Our round-up of some of the successes for Trinity Laban alumni.

This autumn, several alumni won awards. Tenor and vocal graduate Guy Elliott made it to the finals of Wigmore Hall Independent Opera International Song Competition and won the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme Prize, while mezzo-soprano Bethany Horak Hallett won first prize at the 2019 Normandy International Baroque Music Competition Concours Corneille. Jazz alum Sahra Gure was announced as the 2019 winner of The Musicians Company Young Jazz Musician Competition following a final that feature two fellow alumni Ellie Bignall and Jessica Radcliffe.

Singer-songwriter and guitarist Elliott Morris has won the ‘Best Music’ prize at Italy’s premier world music festival. Now in its twelfth year, the Andrea Parodi World Music Festival hosts the only Italian World Music Contest. Elliott was shortlisted as one of just ten finalists, before being awarded the ‘Best Music’ accolade.

Dance alum Shelley Maxwell was named Best Choreographer at the inaugural Black British Theatre Awards for her work on English Touring Theatre’s Equus at Theatre Royal Stratford East, and our 2017/18 Fulbright Scholar Roman Baca received the Fulbright Program’s 2019 Selma Jeane Cohen Dance Lecture Award.

Shelley’s work on Equus has also picked up a nomination for Best Choreography of a New Production of a Play or Musical at this year’s Broadway World UK Awards. Another alum nominated this year was Matthew Bourne (Romeo & Juliet), shortlisted for Outstanding Achievement in a New Dance Production.  Four Quartets, choreographed by Pam Tanowitz, was also nominated for this award. The performance of Four Guartets at the Barbican featured alum Dylan Crossman.

This month we awarded Honorary Fellowships to alumni Gavin Greenaway, Paul Mounsey, John Powell, Emlyn Singleton and John Ashton Thomas in recognition of their professional accomplishments and collective contributions to film music. John Powell has also been awarded the World Soundtrack Awards 2019 – Public Choice Award for his score for How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.

Alumni and current staff Laura Jurd and Mark Lockheart have both been nominated for Ivors Composer Awards for Jazz Composition for Large Ensemble. Trumpeter Laura is shortlisted for her work Jumping In, while saxophonist Mark’s work This Much I Know Is True has earned his nomination. Also shortlisted is alum Dai Fujikura, whose Flute Concerto has been nominated for the Chamber Ensemble award.

The Hermes Experiment, featuring alum Héloïse Werner, were shortlisted for 2019 Royal Philharmonic Society Awards.

Congratulations to all our alumni nominated for One Dance UK Awards including Liv Lorent, Sanjoy Roy, Imogen Aujla, Professor Emma Redding, Khyle Eccles and Katy Chambers.

In September and October several alumni joined new companies, with vocal graduate Nardus Williams announced as a Harewood Artist 2019/20 at English National Opera, dance alum Hannah Connor joining Phoenix Dance Company as an Apprentice Dancer, and fellow alum Sophie Page joining Motionhouse as an Apprentice Dancer.

Giordana Patumi, who graduated in June 2018, is currently undertaking a master in Performing Arts Management with Accademia Teatro Alla Scala in Milan and has been invited to be an intern in the Production department of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York. As part of his American Adventure he is collaborating with a UK based platform Dance Art Journal writing reviews about stateside performances.

In October 2017 dance graduate Olly Bell started at the Royal Opera House as a dancer in their new production of Death in Venice. In the new year Olly will be be joining Rosie Kay for the US tour of 5 Soldiers, following his involvement in the creation and pilot tour of 10 Soldiers this summer).

In the last couple of months, alumni have been showing work and performing in new places. Janine Harrington brought her performance and research work Screensavers to Nottdance 2019 on 10 October, a festival co-curated by fellow alum Matthias Sperling.

In a Proms premiere, Peter Edwards conducted the Nu Civilisation Orchestra in a an evening of jazz, gospel and Broadway-style music inspired by Duke Ellington’s three sacred concerts. Watch again.

Alum Ian Pope was busy singing Mozart this October, taking on the role of The Voice of Neptune in Rose Opera’s performance of Idomeneo, and Sarastro in a reduced version of The Magic Flute for Carshalton Opera.

Sadler’s Wells announced a fabulous spring 2020 season, which includes many alumni: Eleanor Perry (Thick & Tight), Alexandrina Hemsley, Chris Tandy (Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch), Matthew Sandiford (BalletBoyz), Aaron Chaplin (Phoenix Dance Theatre), Ching Chun Lee (Associate Artistic Director Cloud Gate Dance Theatre), Elly Braund (Richard Alston Dance Company), Liv Lorent, Mertixell Pan Cabo, Adam Russell, Caroline Reece, Virginia Scudeletti (all Ballet Lorent) and Eva Recacha.

Also at Sadler’s, James Pett presented new choreographic work at the Lilian Baylis Theatre on 8 October as part of Fabula Collective.

It was announced that Theo Arran will be performing with Möbius Dance. Fellow alumni Wilhelmina Ojanen and Amy Voris will be choreographing for the 2019-20 season.

Several dance alumni featured at Dance Umbrella this year. Described by The Guardian as a ‘massive talent and a hugely original voice’, Oona Doherty has been the featured artist, while Theo Lowe presented a new solo, and Sivan Rubenstein and Alexandrina Hemsley were selected to show work at Studio Sessions, designed to connect industry professionals with UK dance artists sharing work in progress

Baritone James Newby performed as part of the Wigmore Hall’s Britten Gala. Watch the full performance on the gramophone website.

Dance alum Monika Blaszczak was invited to perform her work Soliloquy at the Art House Eindhoven at the end of September as part of Seasoning – a curated quarterly event which introduces new works by local and international artists.

September and October saw a flurry of new albums released by alumni. After touring around the globe with Björk, Anoushka Shankar and Ólafur Arnalds, Grammy-nominated composer and percussionist Manu Delago presented his new album with a 9-piece ensemble at the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall on Thurs 3 October.

Pianist Nafis Umerkulova celebrated the launch of her debut album, Darkness Illuminated, at St John’s Smith Square with an evening that included a solo recital and symphonic performances of work by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Alexander Scriabin and the rarely heard Alexei Stanchinsky.

Stjepan Hauser released his first official single this month, performing Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake Theme with London Symphony Orchestra. Have a listen on YouTube.

Mark Kavuma launched his new album with band The Banger Factory on 18 Sept at The Jazz Café, and Serafina Steer released her new album The Mind Is A Trap on 27 Sep and played a launch show at Folklore in London on 2 Oct. Listen to the title track on YouTube.

Alumni were also featured in the media:

Olie Brice was interviewed by London Jazz News about the launch of his new album with Somersaults Trio, whilst PYJÆN received a brilliant review in Clash Magazine for their eponymous debut album.

Alum Mandeep Raikhy spoke to The India Express about his new work Anatomy of Belief which premiered in Delhi at the beginning of October, and Fabiana & Paula Chávez, who were nominated to take part in The Women of the Year award, spoke to ITV news about their project Piano without bars.

Luca Silvestrini’s Protein Dance announced a celebratory programme to mark the company’s 21st birthday including film, a large-scale engagement project and a tour of The Little Prince.


  • Greta Gauhe presenting her work Nowhere at Chisenhale Dance on 30 November as part of a thought- provoking double bill of exciting dance works:
  • Tom Dale Company has announced dates for tour of new work Step Sonic
  • John Savournin currently appearing as Fotis in Opera North‘s production of The Greek Passion until 16 November
  • Jazz FM’s Vocalist of the Year, Cherise Adams-Burnett at the grand opening gala concert of the EFG London Jazz festival, which will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

Other alumi involved in this year’s festival include: Oscar Jerome, Samuel eagles, Peter Edwards, Camilla George, Rosie turton, Elliot galvin, Sheila Maurice grey, Laura jurd, Cherise Adams Burnett, Emilia martensson, Shame Forbes, Mark Kavuma, Cassie Kinoshi, and Daniel Casimir.