Director of Music
Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
Faculty of Music
King Charles Court
Old Royal Naval College
Tel: +44 (0)20 8305 4444
Dr Aleksander Szram joined Trinity Laban’s teaching staff 15 years ago and was appointed Director of Music in January 2023. Aleks is currently Programme Leader of the BMus and Foundation programmes, a Reader in Performance Studies and a Senior Teaching Fellow, where he supervises creative practice PhDs.
As a council member of MusicHE, Aleks has been involved in recent cross-institutional campaigns to safeguard the future of music at UK conservatoires and universities. He is a QAA performing arts subject specialist assessor. He has written several articles and a book chapter on blended learning and critical pedagogy and is an external specialist at BIMM.
As a performer, Aleks specialises in performing music of the 20th and 21st Centuries and has released several albums of contemporary repertoire on the Prima Facie record label, including the Piano Concerto by Daryl Runswick, Inner Landscapes (Douglas Finch), A Land so Luminous (Kenneth Hesketh), and the album Aztec Dances with the recorder player Jill Kemp. He has recorded for Nimbus with the flautist Wissam Boustany, and given premieres of works by Frederic Rzewski, Dai Fujikura, Haris Kittos, Edward Gregson, Nicola LeFanu, Sam Hayden and David Bedford, among others.
As pianist in the ensemble Gemini, he has recorded three albums with Métier, including works by Jonathan Harvey, Sadie Harrison, Huw Watkins, Philip Grange, and the first recording of Mandala 3 by David Lumsdaine. As well as Gemini, Aleks works with Lontano, rarescale and the Continuum Ensemble. He has performed in more than forty countries over six continents, on BBC Radio 3, Classic FM, Channel 4, and Colombian and Lebanese television.
Qualifications/ Educational Background
Aleksander was born in Southampton and studied locally with Olivia Lee, Kathleen Borland and Gwilym Stacey before being awarded the Wilner Scholarship to study at the former Trinity College of Music with Anthony Green and Douglas Finch, where he won prizes for piano, chamber music and composition. Upon graduation, Aleks was awarded several scholarships to fund his study for a MMus degree which he passed with distinction. He was subsequently awarded the Worshipful Company of Musicians’ Silver Medal for Excellence in Performance and the 2004 Vlado Perlemuter Award. He gained his DMA at the University of British Columbia, where he studied piano with Jane Coop and composition with Keith Hamel and William Benjamin. His doctoral thesis examined performance traditions relating to the music of Cornelius Cardew, and was supervised by David Metzer. Aleks is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
In addition to his work at Trinity Laban, Aleks has guest lectured at the Royal Academy of Music, the Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, Australian National Academy of Music, Monash University Zelwen School of Music, and York and Bristol universities. He has been external examiner at a number of higher education institutions.
Conference Presentations and Publications:
Forthcoming‘Digitally Enhanced Arts Education’ (book) co-authored with Dr Dario van Gammeren and Professor Louise Jackson. Expected publication 2020, Palgrave-Macmillan.
Sep 2018 – Association of Learning Technologists Conference 2018. Presentation: “The Digital Conservatoire: Harnessing Technology to Engage New Demographics”.
Jul 2018 – HEA Annual Conference 2018 ‘Teaching in the spotlight: Learning from global communities’. Presentation: ‘Diversification and excellence: embracing new learner types in HE arts education”.
March 2018 – INTED 2018. Presentation and article: “The Inclusive Conservatoire: the role of educational technologies in widening access to Higher Education music programmes”. ISBN:978-84-697-9480- 7/ISSN:2340-1079
Feb 2018 – InterMusic Conference, Milan. Presentation: “Distance Learning in Higher Music education: teaching technologies and methodologies”.
Oct 2017 – DEL17 Conference, London. Presentation: “Fostering understanding: building a musical community through asynchronous online learning”.
Sep 2017 – International Paulo Freire Conference, Larnaca, Cyprus. Presentation: “Breaking musical barriers – using online learning to bring musicians together.” This article was published in SPARK Journal, Vol.3 No.2, 2018 ISSN 2397-6594
Apr 2014 – Transforming Communities – Paulo Freire, University of Lancashire Presentation: ‘Nurturing Musical Creativity: a Freirean approach’
This was published (May 2018) as a chapter in: Paulo Freire and Transformative Education: Changing Lives and Transforming Communities, Melling, A. and Pilkington, R. (eds) Palgrave Macmillan, London. ISBN-10: 1137542497, ISBN-13:978-1137542496
Oct 2011 – Arnold Dolmetsch Conference, Birmingham Conservatoire. Premieres of compositions by David Bedford and George King
Jul 2007 – Fifth Biennial International Conference on Music since 1900, York University Lecture-Recital: ‘Guiding the Performer: Use of Improvisation in the Octet ’61 by Cornelius Cardew and in the Third Sonata by Daryl Runswick.’
Oct 2005 – Pacific Northwest Music Graduate Students’ Conference, University of British Columbia. Lecture-Recital: ‘The Evolution of Michael Tippett’s Piano-writing’
Homage: chamber music by Philip Grange. First recording, with Gemini Ensemble. Métier 2019 MSV28591
North East Hauntings – piano music by Janet Graham. First recording, Prima Facie 2019 PFCD103 (Funded by the Ambache Trust and the RVW Trust)
The Eternal Song – Piano Concerto by Daryl Runswick. First recording, conducted by the composer. Prima Facie 2018 PFCD090
Bass Clarinet and Friends: a miscellany. Ian Mitchell with Gemini and friends.First recordings of works by Huw Watkins and Sadie Harrison, and recording of The Riot by Jonathan Harvey. Métier 2018 MSV28579
Mandala 3 by David Lumsdaine, with Gemini ensemble. First recording. Métier 2017 MSV28565
Aztec Dances- new works for recorder and piano Works by Bedford, Gregson, King, Rose and Runswick; with Jill Kemp (recorders). First recordings. Prima Facie 2016 PFCD052
Inner Landscapes Works by Douglas Finch; with Mieko Kanno (violin) and Lisa Nelsen (flute). First recordings. Prima Facie 2016 PFCD040
A Land So Luminous Works by Hesketh and Causton; with Tamsin Waley-Cohen (violin) and The Continuum Ensemble. First recordings. Prima Facie 2016 PFCD05
isn’t this a time? ‘Sleep’ by Peter Warlock recorded with Lyton Atkinson (tenor) as part of this concept album created by Ian Mitchell. Métier 2015 MSV28553
Viola Sonata by Daryl Runswick Recorded with Caleb Sibley (viola). Internet only release – http://www.darylrunswick.net/violasonata.html
English Recorder Sonatas Works by Arnold, Bowen, L. Berkeley and Jacob; with Jill Kemp (recorders). MMC 2012 LC20737
Third Sonata by Daryl Runswick Supervised by the composer. First recording. Dazzle Records 2012 DZ6009
This Invisible World Works by Carl Witt, Yevhen Stankovych, Jongen, Hindemith, Mel Bonis, and Houtaf Khoury; with Wissam Boustany (flute). Nimbus 2011 LC5871
Scafra Preludes by Daryl Runswick Supervised by the composer. First recording. Dazzle Records 2010 DZ6006
Piano Trio by Frederic Rzewski Recorded with the Lycydas Piano Trio. First recording. Released on itunes only. Fonorum 2010 LC13487
Into the 21st Century Works by Dai Fujikura, Harris Kittos, Basil Athanasiades, Michael Spencer. First Recordings. Fonorum 2006 LC13473