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Alumni Roundup May 2018

Fri 1 June 2018

Our monthly roundup of some of the successes for Trinity Laban alumni.

This month, three alumni featured on the BBC: pianist Christina McMaster performed live on BBC Radio 3 In Tune on 23 May; Transitions alumnus Osian Meilir featured in the wonderful BBC documentary Prejudice and Passions about the work of Carlos Pons Guerra; and Bastard Assignments were challenged to make some new material with electronic artist Swan Meaon BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction.

During May, two alumni enjoyed unique performance opportunities. Alumnus Stjepan Hauser performed as part of 2CELLOS at the 2018 UEFA Champions League final in Kyiv on 26 May, playing a special rendition of the iconic UEFA Champions League anthem. Sally Potterton performed Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending in the gold-medal Wedgwood garden designed by Jo Thompson Garden Design at the press day of the Chelsea Flower Show.

It’s been another busy month for our jazz alumni with gigs, new releases, and brilliant reviews.

Simon Lasky spoke to London Live about the release of his second album About the Moment, described as ‘thrilling’ by London Jazz News. Laura Jurd’s ensemble Dinosaur launched their new album Wonder Trail at Kings Place on 3 May, ahead of their UK tour, and the Evening Standard called the gig a mesmerising display of world-class musicianship.

Joe Armon-Jones’ solo debut album Starting Today was released this month and picked up great reviews in Pitchfork and Clash Music, while NÉRIJA’s performance at PizzaExpress Live was reviewed by The Financial Times. The ensemble includes alumni Sheila Maurice-Grey, Cassie Kinoshi, Nubya Garcia, Lizy Exell and Rosie Turton). Jazz vocalist Taylor Louise Notcutt has released single ‘Breathe With Me’ as part of a campaign to bring a drug to treat the disease to the UK.

Nubya Garcia released new album When We Are, and was also nominated for best breakthrough artist at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards 2018. The nomination is another in the fast growing list of accolades for the young saxophonist who won Breakthrough Act of the Year at the Jazz FM Award 2018.

Fellow alumni Ezra Collective also picked up prizes at this year’s Jazz FM Awards, winning UK Jazz Act of the Year and Live Experience of the Year in public votes. This month the ensemble released new track ‘Mace Windu Riddim’ which was Clash Music’s track of the day 17 May.

Manu Delago enjoyed a succession of performances this month, playing his own work at The Jazz Café, with Bjork at All Points East Festival, and on Jools Holland.

Alumni were also involved in this year’s ‘Breakin’ Convention’ at Sadler’s Wells as part of the festival’s 15th anniversary celebrations. Collaborating with Jazz re:freshed, Sadler’s Wells introduced live music to the hip hop dance festival in the form of a 15 piece orchestra. Alumnus Ayanna Witter-Johnson was praised by The Independent for ‘a gorgeous duet’ with French artist Mufasa that is ‘a sensuous meeting of minds, creating something both intimate and grand in scale’.

May also saw competition success for our music alumni, with composer Nicholas Morrish named as one of two recipients of the Mendelssohn Scholarship 2018, singer Erika Mädi Jones is through to the second round of the Elizabeth Connell Prize 2018 for aspiring dramatic sopranos and soprano Farah Ghadiali won Joint-First prize in an All India Western Classical Vocal Competition in New Delhi.

Catriona Cooper played viola in the band for a new and re-imagined production of Sondheim’s darkly comic classic musical Into the Woods directed by Tim McArthur. The production continues at The Cockpit until 24 June.

In May it was announced that vocal alumnus and bass Simon Dyer is continuing his residency on the highly competitive Florida Grand Opera Studio programme for the 2018-19 season where he will perform as Colline in Puccini’s La bohème, Antonio in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, and, unusually, the countertenor role of Calavera #3 in Robert Xavier Rodríguez’s contemporary opera Frida.

In further vocal news, graduate Samuel Boden received brilliant reviews for his performance as Boy / Young King in the world premiere of George Benjamin’s Lessons in Love & Violence at the Royal Opera House this month. The Independent praised his “pure-toned” singing, The Guardian admired the delivery of “lustrous honeyed lines”, The Stage called his portrayal “sympathetically realised”, and The Telegraph noted how “Sam Boden makes his mark as the boy king with a nasty surprise up his royal sleeve”.

In dance news, Oona Doherty performed her four-part dance work Hard To Be Soft – A Belfast Prayer at Dublin Dance Festival this May. The ‘ thought provoking and often mesmerising production’ received four-stars from The Arts Review.

It was announced that Katye Coe is a Tourchlight Artist 2018/19 supported by Siobhan Davies Dance.

Dance alumnus Helga Deasy was invited by the Laban Bartentieff Institute of Movement Studies to present her latest work Helica at their 40th anniversary celebration ECOPOETIC, a site-specific performing arts event showcasing the work of 13 choreographers in Washington Square Park in New York. The trip was enabled via an award from Culture Ireland, Ireland’s State Agency which promotes and advances Irish art internationally.

Jean Abreu’s new work Solo for Two, commissioned by the South Bank Centre & the Horniman Museum and Gardens, was premiered in London at the newly opened Purcell Room at the Southbank Centre 23 & 24 May. Ahead of the performance, Jean discussed his work in an interview with the Southbank Centre

Also at the Southbank Centre was alumnus Songhay Toldon, performing in the premier of Gary Clarke’s dance work The Troth as part of Alchemy (a festival of UK and South Asian arts). The Independent called the work ‘a highlight’ of the festival.

On 7 May, alumnus Shobna Gulati debuted as Ray in the hit West End musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. Shobna commented that she is ‘so proud and so pleased to become a part of this incredible production.’

Don’t Miss

  • Panayiotis Tofi presenting Never been missed as part of DANCE FEST akropoditi in Syros, Greece in July
  • Fiona Kelly playing in ‘Brandenburg Concertos Project’ on 5th August as part of the BBC Proms