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Trinity Laban April Alumni Round-Up

Tue 7 May 2019

Our monthly round-up of some of the successes for Trinity Laban alumni.

International Jazz Day 2019 saw the Jazz FM Awards annual ceremony at Shoreditch Town Hall in London. Trinity Laban alumni were at the heart of the accolades: composer and saxophonist Cassie Kinoshi won Breakthrough Act of the Year; rising star Cherise Adams-Burnett was named Vocalist of the Year; saxophonist Nubya Garcia won UK Jazz Act of the Year by public vote; South London collective Steam Down, founded by alumnus Wayne Francis, were double winners, receiving both The Innovation Award and the Live Experience of the Year Award for their residency show featuring US jazz giant Kamasi Washington.

Cherise Adams-Burnett was also awarded a new music prize, the Drake YolanDa Award, receiving £3,000 towards touring, marketing and recording. The award was established this year to help redress the balance between emerging acts and mainstream domination. Adams-Burnett was selected from 200 entries as one of 10 recipients of the inaugural award by a star-studded panel of industry judges including choirmaster Gareth Malone and Music Editor of The Independent Roisin O’Connor.

Our alumni have been at the forefront of some of the most prestigious events in their fields. Dance alumnus Emily May was one of ten participants in the illustrious Aerowaves Springback Academy 2019, a course for emerging dance writers that ran alongside Spring Forward Festival in Paris. Mentored by leading dance critics, she wrote reviews of performances from the festival which are available to read online. Read more about her experience in an interview she gave for Trinity Laban.

The BBC’s 2019 Proms have been announced and will include a concert presented by ENO conductor Martyn Brabbins featuring variations on an anonymously written theme by fourteen living composers including alumnus Dai Fujikura. His work will be played alongside that of some of Britain’s best known composers including Judith Weir, Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Sally Beamish.

Violin alumnus Eder Paolozzi joined Brazilian producer Fabio Tabach as co-artistic director of Funk Orchestra at the world-renowned Rock in Rio festival. Funk Orchestra is a group formed of 28 young musicians from Rio de Janeiro’s orchestras alongside DJ duo 2FAb.

Alumni from our Faculty of Dance have been making their mark internationally. Sebastian Abarbanella presented his work Parasites at the Gdansk Dance Festival in Poland. The piece, performed by César Brodermann and Leal Zielinska, deals with the parasitic relationship between humans and the Earth. Also in Poland, choreographer Maciej Kuźmiński’s project un-becoming was premiered at the Vuk Karadzic Cultural Centre. un-becoming explores the themes of developing technologies and socio-cultural transformations. Kuźmiński is the artistic director of the Maciej Kuźmiński Company and founding director of the Polish Dance Network.

Dance alumnus Taylor Han, who has toured the world from Belgium to India with the National Youth Dance Company of Scotland, returned to her home town of Dundee to perform at The Space in Dundee & Angus Dance College. She performed with members of EDGE, the postgraduate performance company of London Contemporary Dance School.

Alumni from our faculty of music have also been busy performing around the world. Mezzo-soprano Zandra McMaster was guest soloist with the South-West German Philharmonia in a performance of Berlioz’s dramatic cantata The Death of Cleopatra at the Stadthalle Singen in Konstanz, Germany.

Trinity Laban music alumni are also embarking upon successful careers closer to home. Alumnus percussionist and Trinity Laban Honorary Fellow Tim Wright has been appointed the new Head of Guernsey Music Service. He commented, –

“I am looking forward to working closely with teams responsible for the development of secondary education as well as the primary sector and independent colleges to ensure that students in Guernsey continue to have the opportunity to access the inclusive and excellent work of the Music Service … which plays such an important part in Island culture.”

Soprano Héloïse Werner was featured by Rhinegold in an interview about her recent work. She is co-director of The Hermes Experiment, a group with the unusual line-up of soprano, clarinet, harp and double bass, which has steadily gained acclaim over its five year tenure. Also discussed in the interview is her solo opera project about her French-English dual nationality, The Other Side of the Sea, performed as part of the Venus Unwrapped season at Kings Place.

A large-scale transatlantic celebration of the life and work of American dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham took place simultaneously at London’s Barbican Centre, Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York and Centre for the Art of Performance at UCLA, Los Angeles. The London leg of Night of 100 Solos: A Centennial Event, directed by Trinity Laban lecturer Daniel Squire, featured a performance by alumnus Elly Braund, while alumnus and former member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company Dylan Crossman was assistant stager at the Los Angeles event.

Our Musical Theatre alumni having been going from strength to strength. James Darch was cast in the lead role of Patrick Casey for the London revival of hit musical Maggie May at the Finborough Theatre. Meanwhile, 2018 graduate Laura Barnard is female understudy with the cast of the UK premiere of hit musical Amour, a tale of Parisian romance and the supernatural. The show runs from THU 2 MAY to SAT 20 JUL at the Charing Cross Theatre.

Ella Jane Thomas won Best Newcomer at The Great British Pantomime Awards 2019 for her role of La Fool in Loughborough’s 2018 Christmas pantomime Beauty and the Beast. Her triumph was announced at The New Wimbledon Theatre, London at an event hosted by Christopher Biggins.



Composition alumnus Heather Stephenson will be presenting a new 21 minute work for handheld percussion alongside Trinity Laban Head of Composition Dominic Murcott‘s The Harmonic Canon at Love Classical Festival as part of a UK tour. The tour has already seen five performances across the UK.

Royal Albert Hall and Nonclassical presents:
Love Classical Festival
Royal Albert Hall Gallery