Skip to main content

Revisiting Salamanca 1936

Tue 1 December 2020

Trinity Laban’s Joe Townsend joins John Tomlinson, Michael Portillo and Brighton Youth Orchestra to reflect on the collaborative project that saw Peter Copley‘s epic work premiered in February 2020.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2021, CoLab is Trinity Laban’s annual festival celebrating TL culture, creativity and innovation which has gained internationally recognition. As part of CoLab 2020, TL joined forces with Brighton Youth Orchestra and renowned English bass Sir John Tomlinson to present Salamanca 1936 by Brighton composer, Peter Copley.

The oratorio focusses on an incident during the Spanish Civil War when Rector of the University of Salamanca, Miguel de Unamuno, stood up against the fascist General, Millán Astray. It contrasts impassioned solo passages with chorus sections to depict Unamuno’s personal conflict and the surrounding civil unrest. It concludes with an English setting of the Rector’s poem La Nevada es silenciosa.

The world premiere took place at Old Royal Naval College Chapel, Greenwich in February.

Ten months on, the main collaborators will reunite in a special online event on 6 December 2020 at 17.00 to delve into the intricate history of Salamanca 1936 and its emotive and musical impact.

Hosted by Trinity Laban’s Head of CoLab, Joe Townsend and Brighton Youth Orchestra’s conductor, Andrew Sherwood, the evening will include a Q&A and discussion around the collaborative process and show excerpts of the documentary made during the project.

Trinity Laban’s Head of CoLab Joe Townsend comments –

“At Trinity Laban we believe that every individual should have the opportunity to collaborate, to inspire and to be inspired. It was great to see leading professional artists working together with our students from across the conservatoire, Junior Trinity and Brighton Youth Orchestra. Without exception, we all learned so much in the realisation of this epic piece. Working at the edge of what we can achieve in CoLab is exhilarating and, as an artist, the most exciting place to be.”

Reflecting on the project Sir John Tomlinson says –

“It’s always invigorating to sing with the young players, and Salamanca 1936 was no exception.”

Jess Yuen, a singer with the Junior Trinity Four Part Choir who participated in the premiere, comments –

“Working with such inspirational musicians was a truly amazing experience – I have never learnt so much in two days, whether it was about singing or Spanish history!”

Find out more about CoLab and stay tuned for 2021 plans on our CoLab page.

Join the livestream event on Facebook.

Image: Premiere of Salamanca 1936 at Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich (credit Trinity Laban)