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Silence and Joy

Tue 15 December 2020

TL alum Elliott DeVivo is musical director for new drama about Beethoven’s turbulent relationship with virtuoso violinist George Bridgetower.

To celebrate 250 years since Beethoven’s birth, Trinity Laban graduate and clarinettist Elliott DeVivo has created new musical play Silence and Joy with playwright Sue Blundell.

The pair have worked together before on autobiographical musical dramas about Benjamin Britten (Tell Me the Truth About Love, 2017) and artist Auguste Rodin (Feet of Clay, 2018).

Wanting to find a new story to tell about Beethoven’s life, Elliot and Sue’s latest venture shines a light on the mercurial German composer’s short-lived yet creative friendship with George Bridgetower, a young virtuoso violinist, which led to the creation of Violin Sonata No. 9, now commonly known as the ‘Kreutzer Sonata’.

As Musical Director, Elliott was tasked with intertwining Beethoven’s great works as ambient music and recital features throughout the play to bring the sonic world to life.

Originally, Silence and Joy was due to be staged as a three-act play that would tour the UK in the autumn of 2020.  The creative team held initial workshops in November 2019, but sadly further rehearsals were halted, and all performances cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite these setbacks, Elliott was determined to find a way to bring the show to the public. They pivoted to rehearsals via Zoom, led by director Kat Medithis, culminating in a self-filmed version of Act One, edited together by Elliot and Kat. The first act received its YouTube premiere at the end of October, celebrating the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth and Black History Month.

Speaking about Silence and Joy, Elliott says –

“I hope this project will inspire other students to be creative and to realise that even with simple everyday technology you can create anything if you put your mind to it.”

Elliott studied his Master of Music (MMus) at Trinity Laban as an Ann Driver Trust scholar, graduating in 2016. He founded the Waldegrave Ensemble, a flexible ensemble of winds, strings and piano which sets out to bring a wide range of works to communities outside of London. He also plays regularly with London Firebird Orchestra and Notting Hill Orchestra for Film Music.

Elliot and the team are now fundraising to help cover filming and editing costs, and fund future live performances of Silence and Joy in spring 2021:

Find out more about postgraduate training at Trinity Laban on our Music pages.