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Awards for Trinity Laban Alumni and Staff at the 2018 British Composer Awards

Thu 6 December 2018

Three Trinity Laban alumni and staff won awards in the 2018 BASCA (British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors) British Composer Awards. The awards were announced on 4 December at the British Museum in a ceremony presented by BBC Radio 3’s Andrew McGregor and Sara Mohr-Pietsch.

Dominic Murcott, Simon Lasky and Cassie Kinoshi were honoured with awards alongside such esteemed composers in the British new music scene as Harrison Birtwistle and Master of the Queen’s Music Judith Weir.

Head of Trinity Laban Composition Department Dominic Murcott won in the Solo or Duo category with his piece The Harmonic Canon, written for US-based percussionists arx duo. Murcott commented:

“There were over sixty entrants in this category, many of whom are among the country’s best-known composers. I am ecstatic to have won under such circumstances.”

The Harmonic Canon features an array of exotic metal percussion including almglocken (a set of tuned cowbells) and aluphone (tuned aluminium bells), as well as a half-ton double bell designed by sculptor and musician Marcus Vergette. The twin bells are tuned a semitone apart to encourage the sonic interference – or “beating” effect – of two pitches close together.

The double bell is currently in residence in the courtyard of Trinity Laban’s Faculty of Music at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich. Murcott considers the bell both an instrument that anyone can play and a piece of public art which he ran community workshops with during the piece’s creation.

Alumnus and former Junior Trinity tutor Simon Lasky won in the Jazz Composition for Small Ensemble category with his piece for jazz quartet, Close to Ecstasy. The piece, which uses gentle changes of meter and key to maintain its exultant melody’s forward momentum, was released as part of The Simon Lasky Group’s album About the Moment earlier this year on the 33 Records label.

Cassie Kinoshi, who graduated in 2015, won in the Jazz Composition for Large Ensemble category with her piece Afronaut. It was written for Kinoshi’s group SEED Ensemble, in which she plays alto saxophone, combining jazz with inner-city London, West African and Caribbean influenced groove. It features a spoken word contribution from poet and sound designer XANA and will be released on an album this winter on the new jazzre:freshed label.

Cassie will be taking up a position as composer in residence at Dundee Rep Theatre in 2019 as part of the Cameron Mackintosh Scheme, run jointly by Mercury Musical Developments and the Musical Theatre Network.