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Stephen Upshaw returns to TL

Mon 14 February 2022

This spring, the American violist is set to engage with music and dance students in a series of projects, concerts and workshops

Having held the Trinity Laban Carne Trust Junior Fellowship 2016-17, accomplished violist Stephen Upshaw returns to the conservatoire this spring to inspire the next generation of talented young musicians.

Stephen is a noted interpreter of contemporary music as both a soloist and chamber musician. He is a member of the innovative Solem Quartet and London’s Riot Ensemble and has worked closely with many of today’s leading composers, including John Adams, George Benjamin and Errollyn Wallen.

With a strong interest in synthesizing music with other fields, Stephen’s expertise will be exercised during CoLab, our annual festival of collaboration that sees students and stuff from across our faculties unite for a fortnight of experimental and creative projects.

Alongside fellow Solem Quartet musicians, he will work with students from Trinity Laban’s string, composition and dance departments to co-create Bela Bartok Now: Song & Dance. The project is inspired by the Solem Quartet’s Beethoven Bartok Now concept, which uniquely reimagines classical works with music from composers of today. It will weave existing music from Bartok, Beethoven and living composer Jasmine Morris, culminating in an hour-long performance side-by-side at Blackheath Halls (17 Feb).

In April, the quartet will return to coach chamber groups and give a lunchtime concert.

Stephen will also work with Trinity Laban composition students over four workshops in spring to create new works for viola, cello, mezzo-soprano and soprano, alongside his colleagues from the Riot Ensemble. And he will share his understanding of contemporary music with string students in a masterclass at the end of February.

Reflecting on his relationship with Trinity Laban, Stephen shares –

“My time at Trinity Laban as a Carne Trust Junior Fellow was an invaluable period of discovery with the amazing support and resource that the College had to offer.

“I’m so excited to be returning to Trinity Laban for so many projects this year. My career is now focused on chamber music and contemporary music – both aspects I’ll be exploring through the upcoming projects with Riot Ensemble and The Solem Quartet.

“I can’t wait to work with the wonderful students in string, composition and dance departments across the next few months and am thrilled to once again return to the Trinity Laban community.”


Image credit: Matthew Johnson