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Trinity Laban December Alumni Round-Up

Fri 4 January 2019

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

Alumni Cassie Kinoshi and Simon Lasky received awards in the BASCA (British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors) British Composer Awards 2018 alongside Trinity Laban’s Head of Composition Dominic Murcott. The awards were presented at the British Museum in early December at a ceremony hosted by BBC Radio 3’s Andrew McGregor and Sara Mohr-Pietsch.

Cassie Kinoshi’s piece Afronaut for SEED Ensemble won in the Jazz Composition for Large Ensemble category. The piece 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.

Simon Lasky’s piece Close To Ecstasy won in the Jazz Composition for Small Ensemble  category. 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.

Meanwhile, alumnus John Powell has been twice nominated in the 61st Grammy Awards. Mine Mission from the soundtrack for Solo: A Star Wars Story was nominated in the Best Instrumental Composition category, while Madrid Finale from the soundtrack for Ferdinand was nominated in the Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella category. The winners will be announced on 10 February 2019 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Jazz trumpeter and alumnus Sheila Maurice-Grey was one of three winners of the Peter Whittingham Jazz Award 2018, receiving £2,000 prize money which she intends to use for artwork, rehearsal, recording and production fees for a new album. She is bandleader Afrobeat group Kokoroko and is a core member of the up-and-coming Parliamentary Jazz Award winning collective Nérija.

Having graduated in 2018, composition alumnus Made Kuti has since joined his father Femi Kuti’s Positive Force Band on several tours, playing beside him at the recently concluded Global Citizen Festival in South Africa. Made Kuti is the grandson of Nigerian Afrobeat icon and alumnus Fela Kuti.

Zineb Douchin Lazraq graduated in 2018 and returned to Morocco where she founded DanceUp Studio near Casablanca. Lazraq commented –

“My professional training at Trinity Laban taught me how much dance is a discipline of sharing and exchange. There is no greater pleasure than sharing this passion and it is this desire to transmit my love for dance that prompted me to create DanceUp Studio.”

The school already has over 70 pupils and offers classes in Creative Dance, Ballet Fusion, Modern Jazz and Contemporary.

Alumnus Simone Sistarelli’s project Popping For Parkinson’s offers regular free classes in the Hip-Hop dance style Popping for sufferers of Parkinson’s disease in both the UK and Italy. The classes are intended to make students feel more comfortable with themselves, ultimately aiming at a better quality of life. Popping For Parkinson’s is now officially in the Universal Hip Hop Museum Hall of Fame, the most prestigious award in Hip Hop culture.

Scapino Ballet Rotterdam toured the Netherlands with a production featuring choreography from Trinity Laban alumnus Maciej Kuźmiński. The show, TWOOLS, offers a colourful sample of contemporary dance choreographed by a range of socially engaged young talents.

Leading pop-opera girl group Ida, formed by vocal alumnus Georgi Mottram and three other sopranos who met working on the West End production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Princess Ida, have released their first Christmas album, Believe.

The album was fully funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign and includes epic cinematic tracks including When a Child is Born, Happy Xmas (War is Over), Believe (from The Polar Express) and Carol of the Bells. Believe also features backing vocals on selected tracks from the combined voices of 150 young people from Jersey and Guernsey.

Ida have performed on the West End and in Sydney and Jersey Opera Houses, supported G4, Russell Watson and Vox Fortura (Britain’s Got Talent), sung with Katherine Jenkins and Alfie Boe on Classic FM’s charity single, and performed on BBC1’s This Week: Christmas Special. Believe is available on iTunes and Amazon.

Croatian instrumental fusion duo 2CELLOS, featuring alumnus Stjepan Hauser, have announced a 2019 US Tour to promote their October 2018 release, Let There Be Cello. The tour will begin on 5 February 2019 in Seattle, WA.

The new album features a range of pop and rock hits including Ed Sheeran’s Perfect, Luis Fonsi’s Despacito (over 30 million views on 2CELLOS’ YouTube channel alone), Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger, The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army (performed on-field in May 2018 at the UEFA Champions League final in Ukraine), John Lennon’s Imagine and Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. Let There Be Cello also includes a rendition of the Summer Storm movement from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons which 2CELLOS released a music video for in August 2018.

Finally, alumnus Madeleine Dahm is Director and Production Designer for the Wallis Studio Ensemble’s new production, S.O.S., an original multi-media physical theatre work about love and resilience in times of crisis. The production uses little known love letters by great writers and activists such as Vita Sackville West, Maya Angelou, Tchaikovsky, Frida Kahlo, and Virginia Woolf. Dahm commented –

S.O.S. explores how political opportunists and economic systems have fed off and taken advantage of a rise in our sense of personal isolation and how we might find a way back to belonging to each other and the world we inhabit.”

S.O.S. will run from 31 January to 10 February 2019 at the Circle X Theatre in Los Angeles, CA.



Sound Alive 2019: Music of the Century
Young Artists Concerts – The Hermes Experiment
WED 16 JAN 18.00h
Purcell Room, Queen Elizabeth Hall
Southbank Centre

Comprising four young professional musicians with a passion for contemporary and experimental music, including soprano alumnus Héloïse Werner, The Hermes Experiment has so far commissioned over 40 composers at various stages of their careers. The group were winners of the Tunnell Trust Awards 2017, Park Lane Group Young Artists 2015/16 and winners of Nonclassical’s Battle of the Bands 2014. They bring their unique ensemble of voice, clarinet, harp and double bass to the Southbank Centre to perform a programme of recent works.

Jeremy Thurlow: Quiet Songs (2014)
Ben Graves (LSO/Panufnik Composer): PLG Commission (2018)
Eloise Glynn: Good Morning Mr Blackbird (2018)


Sound Alive 2019: Music of the Century
Young Artists Concerts – Phillip Leslie
FRI 18 JAN 18.00h
Purcell Room, Queen Elizabeth Hall
Southbank Centre

Piano alumnus Phillip Leslie, recipient of Trinity Laban’s Silver Medal Keyboard Award and described as a musician who plays with “vigour and excitement”, will perform a programme of 21st Century works for solo piano at the Southbank.

Oliver Knussen: Ophelia’s Last Dance (2010)
Gonçalo Gato (LSO/Panufnik Composer): PLG Commission (2018)
Boulez: Incises (2001)