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Trinity Laban students in celebration of Bernstein’s centenary

Mon 9 April 2018

Musical Theatre and Junior Trinity students joined almost 500 young performers in Bernstein’s MASS, conducted by Marin Alsop.

Across two evenings at the Royal Festival Hall 6 & 7 April, the massed cast of dancers, instrumentalists and singers from across London performed Leonard Bernstein’s epic theatrical masterpiece MASS under the baton of world-leading conductor – and former pupil of Bernstein – Marin Alsop.

The production, directed by Jude Kelly CBE, formed part of a weekend of celebrations at London’s Southbank Centre marking the American composer, conductor and educator’s centenary year, and was praised by The Guardian for its “utterly engaged playing and singing”.

The large-scale work, premiered in 1971, bridges the gap between classical and popular music genres and combines the traditional Roman Catholic liturgical text with a tense English dialogue dramatising the crisis of faith in anguished times.

As part of the Children’s Choir, Junior Trinity Equal Voices Choir sang the Latin ceremony and accompanied Tony Award-winning Brazilian baritone Paulo Szot’s Celebrant.

Woven through the traditional Mass were episodic solo and group moments from the Street Chorus, a collection of male and female singers – formed mainly from Trinity Laban’s musical theatre students – who act as a congregation of disaffected youth, questioning authority and advocating peace. 

On being involved, first-year musical theatre student and ‘Hurry’ soloist Sophie Clarke commented –

“It is an honour to be a soloist in a work written by one of the most respected composers of his time. The whole process has been a wonderful experience.”

The cast were accompanied on stage by full-sized classical orchestra – formed of musicians from the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and Chineke! Junior Orchestra – as well as a brass band and a rock band.

Not only did students gain experience of working with fellow talented young musicians but had the opportunity to experience a professional production and work with top industry specialists, as fellow musical theatre student Bobby Harding explained – 

“Bernstein’s MASS is one of the most moving and revolutionary works of theatre I have encountered. Being led by truly incredible professional women like Mary King, Jude Kelly CBE, and Marin Alsop has given me invaluable training and a real experience of what is required to work in this industry.”

Tabby Estell, Head of Children’s’ and Young Peoples’ Programmes at Trinity Laban, concluded –

“Trinity Laban is so proud to have been involved in this extraordinary multi-layered participatory production, with professionals, children, young musicians, amateur adult singers – including those that have experienced homelessness – all rubbing shoulders on the same stage, and all given equal importance and involvement. A truly memorable, extraordinary and (most importantly) excellent artistic experience for performers and audience alike.”

To find out more about studying at Trinity Laban, visit our pages.


Image credit © Mark Allan / Southbank Centre