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June Alumni Roundup

Tue 7 July 2020

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

In the month of June, several alumni took on exciting new roles and projects. Alum and governor Rebecca Allen was appointed the new president of EMI Records. Rebecca’s move to the rebranded Virgin EMI comes after three years as president of Decca Records, where she worked with some of the biggest names in the music industry.

Adam Moore was awarded a prestigious Jerwood Bursary to create new work, Lewis Sharp and Patrick Webster were offered places on Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures’ Overture professional development programme and fellow dance alum Gloria Trolla announced that she will be joining choreographer Sarah Mck Fife Cie in her next production HAEAR.

Birmingham Living magazine featured an interview with dance alum Jessica Wheeler, discussing her training at Trinity Laban and her journey to becoming Principal of Elmhurst Ballet School.

Jazz alum Reuben James was announced as one of three black artists from Birmingham commissioned by Town Hall and Symphony Hall to compose musical responses on the themes of individual and systemic racism. Reuben was also featured in this article by London Jazz News, breaking down the genre-spanning tracks on new EP ‘Slow Down’ and celebrating Reuben’s host of collaborators.

Other new releases in June included Oscar Jerome’s single ‘Give Back What U Stole From Me‘, described by Earmilk as a “standout track from what promises to be a defining LP in Jerome’s journey”.

Sahra Gure collaborated with producer Neue Grafik to create a remix of her song ‘Leave Me’, while composition alum Anna Stereopoulou re-released her solo albums from 2008-2020, including her debut Dance With Me  which features pieces written during her studies.

Natalia Wierzbicka released her original track ‘Part of Me’ performed live in lockdown, Elliot Galvin released number 8 in his series of electronic compositions, ‘Modular 2’, and Shaun Thompson released Inhale, Exhale, Repeat, a new album of contemporary clarinet music, featuring work by alum Adrian Revell.

Many of our alumni continued to be celebrated and honoured for their work this month. Cherise Adams-Burnett was announced as ‘Jazz vocalist of the Year’ at the Parliamentary Jazz Awards, while Moses Boyd, Joe Armon-Jones and jazz eight-piece KOKOROKO were nominated in the AIM Independent Music Awards 2020.

New release To The Earth from Laura Jurd’s Dinosaur was featured on Jazzwise’s list of best new jazz albums and John Powell was awarded ‘Film Score of the Year’ by the American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP) for his work on How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.

June saw many alumni continuing to respond to and overcome the challenges that lockdown has brought.

Iyad Sughayer featuredin and performed music for BBC Arabic documentary film ‘London Lockdown’, following the lives of key workers from the Arab community in London during the pandemic.

Piano alum Simon Lasky started interview series ‘At Home With…’ where he talks to leading jazz musicians in lockdown. Watch this episode where Simon speaks to Grammy-winning jazz saxophonist and composer Tim Garland.

Stjepan Hauser released a second ‘Alone Together’ concert, this time filmed in the beautiful surroundings of Krka National Park.

Julia Testas set up online platform ‘What Is Good’, offering a variety of classes from movement practitioners around the world. Classes take place from Monday to Friday, with money raised going to all teachers on the platform as well as the Kuikuro Indigenous community in Brazil.

Leila McMillan began a new virtual residency with Dance4, where she will undertake her new project ‘Curl of Hair’. Suitable for both children and adults to participate in, find out more about Leila’s project and research aims.

Emily Jenkins moved her Move Dance Feel sessions online. The virtual sessions bring women together from all over the UK and Europe and aim to support women living with cancer, helping them reconnect with themselves and their bodies in a positive and creative dance experience.

Visual artist, choreographer and alum Anna Nykyri, premiered short film In-Between. A montage of photography and moving image, Anna collaborated with photographers in different cities around the world to capture city-scapes during the pandemic to show the effect of social distancing.

Composition alum Basil Athanasiadis released two new music videos from his time in Japan. ‘Circles’ was created from footage of downtown Tokyo and ‘Aura’ captures Hokkaido’s “overwhelming feeling of impermanence and sparseness of human presence.” Read more about Basil’s experience in his blog.

Composer and producer Richard Edwards hosted a webinar on composing music for film and art installation ‘Black Men’s Minds’, which was created to explore the voices of black men who are often missing in the conversations surrounding mental health.

Darren Royston’s Nonsuch History and Dance Company hosted the Midsummer Early Dance and Music Online Festival, consisting of two days of live music, technique classes and family friendly workshops, while Oona Doherty discussed plans for her work in the postponed Art Night festival.

Alumni who lent their musical talents to a wide range of projects this month included Serafina Steer, Emma Smith and Adam Betts in Jarvis Cocker’s new track ‘Save The Whale’, and double bass alum Conor Chaplin in Dave Story’s new album ‘Jouska’.

Jesse Kovarsky starred in the socially distanced drive-through theatrical experience American Dream Study, which was staged throughout Columbia County, New York, with audience members receiving instructions on when and where to drive and park throughout the performance.

Founded by alumni Alice Usher, Charlotte Osborn and Beatrice de Larragoiti, Gothic Opera virtually recorded and released THE GOTH CHAPTERS, composed by Stacy Garrop. The monodrama, which features piano from alum Laurence Panter, tells the tale of a torrid love affair and was shot completely in isolation.

Audiences were spoilt for choice with an array of online concerts and livestreams this month. The cast of Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures’ The Red Shoes reconnected with each other and their audiences “to say one final farewell, with a flourish”. Watch The Red Shoes, From Home, celebrating the production after the tour was cut short by lockdown.

To mark the occasion of National Windrush Day, Vortex Jazz presented a new body of work by composer and arranger Renell Shaw, featuring alum Ayanna Witter-Johnson on cello.

Million Square performed in the Serious Livestream Sessions. The duo, featuring alum Duncan Eagles, performed their newest release Spirit Bloom as well as material from previous album Between Suns.

2018 Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition-winner Gen Li performed a programme of Chopin and Brahms in Hastings International Piano’s weekly live-stream concert series.

Award-winning composer and harpist Ailie Robertson presented the world premiere of her new commission The Bells Are All Silent to fundraise against injustice. One of 10 premieres commissioned for the event, Ailie’s piece featured in a six-hour online concert of “non-conformist, boundary-smashing music from all over the globe”.

Utah Symphony premiered alum Dai Fujikura’s new work ‘Longing From Afar’ in an online performance recorded on Zoom.

Current masters student Thibault Blanchard-Dubois launched the Europik Music Online Festival, a series of music concerts live-streamed from the UK and France, with The Carducci Quartet opening the festival on 26 June.

Violin alum Natalia Wierzbicka gave an online concert with proceeds going to War Child and the chance for the audience to choose the programme.

James Layton, one of six winners of the inaugural Innovation Award, launched ‘Into the Ocean’ with a virtual concert streamed on the TL YouTube channel. The programme included specially commissioned work by alumni Georgina Bowden and Heather Stephenson performed by American violist Stephen Upshaw.


Coming Up

ANNE Point (alum Anne Verheij) takes dance short film event ‘Moving the Image’ online in collaboration with InShort film festival. Tune in on 7 July 19.00 BST to see the films and take part in a Q&A with the filmmakers, including Cassie Kinoshi and Miku Tsuchiya.

Later this month, Europik Music Festival will see alum and faculty staff Irina Lyakhovskaya perform on 20 July followed by piano-viola duo Ana Šinkovec and Samuel Burstin on 27 July.

City Music Foundation artist Iyad Sughayer will, circumstances permitting, perform a concert at the Wallace Collection in Manchester on 22 July.