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Trinity Laban September Alumni Round-Up

Fri 28 September 2018

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

The Trinity Laban Jazz Department has cause for celebration with the announcement of this year’s Parliamentary Jazz Awards nominees. Continuing a pattern of success for alumni and staff in recent years, three out of the four groups nominated for Jazz Ensemble of the Year have Trinity Laban connections:

Ezra Collective – Femi Koleoso, Joe Armon Jones and current student Dylan Jones

Dinosaur – Laura Jurd, Elliott Galvin, Corrie Dick and Conor Chaplin

Bits & Pieces – Nick Walters and Richard Jones

Also appearing at the Awards will be newly-appointed Professor of Jazz History Kevin LeGendre, nominated for the Jazz Media Award, and jazz tutors Pete Churchill and Jean Toussaint, nominated for the Jazz Education Award.

September has also seen a healthy crop of new music releases from our alumni.

Grammy nominee, Hang player and Composition alumnus Manu Delago has just released Parasol Peak, a unique new album and film project in which he leads a group of seven musicians into the Alps, pausing at various altitudes to record tracks. With a gripping narrative, stunning cinematography and a host of unexpected objects as instruments, including ropes, helmets and ice-picks, Parasol Peak has been lauded as ‘the best long-form music docu-drama in over a decade’. Extracts from the film can be seen here.

Composition alumnus Soumik Datta’s narrative music video, Riyaz, featuring dancer Saloni Saraf, was unveiled in early September on Youtube, Apple Music and Amazon Prime. The piece speaks to the wide population of struggling artists in urban London, championing a nuanced and modern take on British-Indian dance forms and identities. Underpinned by the compelling rhythms of Datta’s lively and varied score, it celebrates the classical Indian traditions of Kathak, an under-represented discipline in recent dance filmography. Watch Riyaz here.

Cellist and alumnus Hannah Thomas’ folk trio Solasta has received praise in the mainstream press for their new Kickstarter-funded album, A Cure for the Curious. The album received a 4-star review and was named The Guardian’s Folk Album of the Month. It is ‘arresting, involving and inventive, fizzing with ideas about folk music’s instrumental past and future. The compositions are inspired by folk originals or early music, or are inventive twists on new songs.’ Read the full review on Solasta’s website. Listen to a teaser of the album here.

Our dance alumni are touring in various companies all over the UK.

Medusa is the new production by the Jasmin Vardimon Company, a reflection on the powerful feminine symbol of Medusa, created on the coast of Barcelona and inspired by its marine life. The piece, now on tour in the UK, premiered in September and features dance alumni Andre Rebelo, Jasmine Orr and Joshua Smith.

The Troth by Akademi, featuring alumnus Songhay Toldon, was hotly tipped at the Edinburgh Fringe this Summer and will begin touring the UK in November. It is a gripping story of love and loss set during World War One, moving from rural Punjab to the Belgian trenches where young Indian men were brought to fight for the Allies. Inspired by the classic Hindi short story Usne Kaha Tha, the piece is choreographed by Gary Clarke.

Award-winning Barrowland Ballet, under the artistic direction of alumnus Natasha Gilmour, are touring three works throughout September and October in Scotland. Tiger, Tiger Tale and Playful Tiger are three adaptations of the piece for adults, young people and children with severe autism. Company performers include alumni Vince Virr and KJ Clarke-Davis.

Trinity Laban is also well-represented in the Mediterranean. Transitions Dance Company graduate (2018), Gabriele Farinacci, joined Moveo Dance Company in Malta and the first Cyprus Dance Science Symposium, brainchild of alumnus Nefeli Tsiouti, took place in September. It included masterclasses and lecture presentations including Healing Through Movement by fellow alumnus Anna Eleftheraki.

The 40th edition of Dance Umbrella Festival, which Trinity Laban has had a long association with, got underway in September under current Artistic Director and alumnus Emma Gladstone. Fellow alumnus Janine Harrington is showing her work, Screensaver Series, a kaleidoscopic dance and sound installation involving four dancers and musician Jamie Forth who, through music and perpetual motion, represent the algorithms and complexities of symmetry and geometry used to create screensavers. Three other alumni, Laura Blackley, Georgia Heighway and Bethan Peters are also currently working on the festival.

Alumnus Robbie Synge had an open residency 28th August – 7th September at Siobhan Davies Dance with visual artist Julie Cleves. They devised and presented collaborative work experimenting with the possibilities of their physically very different bodies.

Trinity Laban has also been making its mark in the world of Musical Theatre. Alumnus Jochebel Ohene MacCarthy has been cast as Louise/Oda Mae Brown in the international tour of BKL Productions’ Ghost – The Musical which opens at the Dubai Opera on 9 October. In London, David McNair will be assistant director of Bromance: The Dudesical, playing at The Other Palace between 16—24 October. The musical follows a group of drinking buddies as they teach their new friend the art of ‘Brotocol’ through a series of progressively crazier and more dangerous comic misadventures.

The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s new ensemble, BSO Resound, were the first ensemble of disabled musicians to perform at BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall on 27 August. Percussionist Philip Howells graduated from Trinity Laban in 2015 with a BMus (Hons) in Orchestral Percussion & Timpani. BSO Resound’s goosebump-inducing 2nd movement of a new work by Alexander Campkin was conducted by James Rose who joined BSO last summer on an 18-month traineeship certified by Trinity Laban. Rose, who has cerebral palsy, has ‘always ignored people who tell him he can’t do something’ and recently told BBC News that to ‘fulfil his dream of conducting one of the major orchestras is unbelievable.’

As musical education in schools faces ever-increasing cuts, alumnus Laura Reineke is campaigning to keep the subject alive. She has just successfully registered the non-profit organisation Henley Music School, which she founded a decade ago, as a charity. This will allow her to apply for funding from national arts organisations and claim Gift Aid on all donations.

Alumnus Amir Konjani, who composed the score for the Oscar-winning short film The Silent Child, has been chosen to join the LSO Jerwood Composer+ programme for the 2018/19 season beginning this month. He will plan and deliver two chamber-scale concerts from conception to performance. Konjani is noted for his work with prepared and newly-invented instruments utilising tubes and springs. Listen to some of his ‘tube spacialisation’ music here.

And finally, we are very proud to announce that alumnus, Trinity Laban board member and Decca Records President Rebecca Allen was presented with an Honorary Doctorate from Buckinghamshire New University in recognition of her ‘outstanding contribution to the UK’s music industry, and her international reputation’. Allen works closely with many high-profile artists including Rod Stewart, Andrea Bocelli, The Lumineers and Ludovico Einaudi.

Don’t miss:

The Equator Women of the World Festival takes place on 20 October at Kings Place with a concert of music by Thea Musgrave and Elisabeth Lutyens alongside new commissions for viola and violin duo by composition alumni Litha and Effy Efthymiou. More information available here.

An updated version of Verdi’s classic opera La Traviata opened on 27 September at the King’s Head Theatre under the musical direction of piano alumnus Panaretos Kyriatzidis, featuring performances by fellow alumni Alex Haigh and Becca MarriottRead a review here and find tickets and information here.

Junior Trinity alumnus and Classic FM composer in residence Debbie Wiseman is presenting Sounds and Sweet Airs, a new radio series celebrating the unsung female heroes of composition, their music and their lives. Airing on Saturdays at 9pm, the forthcoming edition on 6 October will feature divas and virtuosos including the brilliant pianist and Paris Conservatoire professor Cecile Chaminade and 17th Century Medici court composer Francesca Caccini, who was the highest-paid composer of her day.