Sep 26

All the fun of the Freshers’ Fair

Well done to the new Music Society team for their hard work both yesterday and today; today the society stall was awash with people signing up amidst a thronging hubbub in the Eliot marquee.

Last year’s President, Emma, cheerfully serenaded passers-by with her accordion – one expected to see spontaneous Morris dancing break out or riotous shanty-ing – whilst the string-players were out in force, with Amy gainfully sporting the sandwich-board whilst Chantelle and Leilan press-ganged – sorry, encouraged – potential Camerata and Orchestra players to sign up.

Elsewhere, the rest of the society team were manning – and womaning! – the society stall amongst the surging hoardes. Well done, team; it all starts next week…!

 

Sep 26

Purple patch: Music Theatre Society on the foyer-stage

Live music on the foyer-stage began yesterday, as members of the University Music Theatre Society treated a lunchtime audience to songs from the shows.

After a brief welcome from this year’s Music Theatre Society President, Chloe Newton, the society launched into an array of solo and ensemble pieces, including Let The Sun Shine and The Colour Purple.

The new Music Society executive were also on hand to welcome freshers throughout the afternoon; they’ll all be at the Freshers’ Fair today (Friday), so make sure you go along and find out how to get involved in music-making at Kent this year.

Sep 24

Reach new heights with the University of Kent: the KentEye opens

Well, ok, it’s not directly about music on this, the music blog, but it’s pretty exciting, so I’m going to write about it anyway!

The KentEye opened this afternoon on the University campus, a talisman to draw the gaze from afar as it will stand tall on the greensward between Eliot and Rutherford Colleges over the next three weeks. The ferris-wheel is here as part of the beginning of a year-long celebration of the University’s fiftieth year, which will celebrate the University’s history, its ever-growing alumni community, the achievements of its staff and students, as well as its place as a part of the local community.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Keith Mander gave a short speech reflecting on the many changes in the political and cultural landscape over the past fifty years, before wielding the scissors to cut the ribbon and declare the KentEye open.

A team of specially-invited guests then took the opportunity for the first ride. The views across the region promise to be quite spectacular.

We’re planning a music team trip on the KentEye very soon; pictures will follow…

Sep 01

Reimagining the concert-hall: Yingqi Lin

See the concert-hall differently; Masters student Kiki Lin makes marvellous things happen virtually in the Colyer-Fergusson Building


 

Digital FX whizz: Kiki Lin

Digital FX whizz: Kiki Lin

My name is Yingqi Lin, a Digital Visual Effects MSc student in 2014, and I’ve just finished my year.

This showreel is the best work of mine when studying in Kent this year. I chose the concert-hall and staircase because I love the warm orange lighting in the music building and the wooden texture is perfectly meet what I need for the flower-growing scene.

A long time ago I wished I could do the plant growing, and the staircase was just the right place and when I saw flowers growing, it did give me a vibrant feeling!

I love vfx, and love this university. Thanks for everything and everyone that I met in the UK this year.

Aug 26

Our Autumn music series now online

Hold onto your hats: the new What’s On for September to December has now been published online.

Embracing everything from ancient instruments to contemporary chamber opera, the Colyer-Fergusson Hall will be abuzz this Autumn, bringing some of the very best music across the next four months.

Strange and Ancient Instruments

Strange and Ancient Instruments

The Lunchtime Concert series begins with Rags to Riches, as pianist Helen Crawford brings her period-costume-bedecked performance of ragtime music on Weds 8 October; we’re delighted to be launching the new ensemble-in-residence, CantiaQuorum, who open their residency with Bach and Copland on Weds 5 November, as a curtain-raiser to their first formal concert later in the month with Stravinsky and Walton. December’s lunchtime concert involves the Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments exploring the common ground between Renaissance, Baroque and traditional Norwegian music.

We’re also participating in the University’s fiftieth-year celebration through 2014-15, including featuring alumni and Honorary Doctorate recipients; and as the latter, we are delighted to welcome acclaimed harpsichordist and conductor, Trevor Pinnock, in October in a recital of music by Bach.

Chorus and Orchestra perform music by Mozart and Beethoven, and the term concludes with the usual Big Band seasonal cracker in December (see what I did there…).

A warm welcome, too, to all those visiting performers coming to the Colyer-Fergusson Hall, including Nova Music Ensemble who come in October as part of the Canterbury Festival, bringing contemporary chamber operas by Cecilia McDowall and Stephen McNeff.

There’s plenty to look forward to: check all that’s coming up online here.

Aug 22

Fugal force

Exciting to have had harpsichordist and conductor Trevor Pinnock recording in the Colyer-Fergusson Hall this week. The founder of the English Concert and exponent of works for harpsichord has been in the building to record his forthcoming disc.

We’re delighted that Trevor will be giving a recital here in October, details of which will be published soon when our concert diary goes live online next week – a sure sign that term cannot be far away…

Aug 06

bOing festival is coming: an interview with Liz Moran

Excitement courses through the corridors of the Gulbenkian Theatre at the moment, in anticipation of the bOing! festival happening at the end of the month. I tripped down the corridor to talk with the dizzying whirlwind of creativity that is the Director of the Gulbenkian, Liz Moran, to find out what’s in store.


Tell me about the festival.

bOing! is a new international festival for children to share with their families. This year, it’s over a weekend and over the next few years it will grow to be an even bigger event.

Family events lie close to the heart of Gulbenkian programming; why is that ?

bOing_imageI believe there is an imbalance in the quality and investment in work for younger audiences in the UK and I believe that is unfair. Children and young people should be considered as audiences now, not as future audiences with access to inspiring, imaginative work.

There don’t seem to be many other events, particularly locally, quite like it; what’s unique about bOing ?

I think what’s unique about bOing! is that although we are targeting younger audiences, the programme is not all ‘children’s’ work. I think it important children and their parents share seeing amazing artists together, so we have included a range of work and workshops that can be shared and enjoyed by all ages We are also taking bOing! off campus with a fantastic dance piece to be performed in the playground on the sea front in Herne Bay; that will become an important part of bOing! In the future, taking it all over Kent in unexpected places !

Image: Kent Online

Familes valued: Liz Moran

Children and young people should be considered as audiences now, not as future audiences, with access to inspiring, imaginative work

What were the challenges of programming the festival ?

A new festival is a challenge in persuading world-class companies to come and present their work. Having companies such as TPO from Italy who are coming with Bleu! is a major coup; they’re in demand all over the world, and that is exactly the kind of inspirational, awe-inspiring work we want to share with our audiences. Money and resources are always an issue; big ambitions often need major investment, but we have been fortunate this year to have secure additional financial support from Arts Council England and Kent County Council.

Sharp lookout…

Family Concert: A Wonderland is an interesting project; tell me more…

A Wonderland is a family concert put together by cellist, singer and producer Matthew Sharp; it forms the centrepiece of the opening day. Everyone who comes to the concert will be invited to stay at the end and learn a new piece of music that they themselves will perform later in the day. The choir is for all ages, not just children, and the idea is to give families the opportunity to sing and perform together in a magical musical wonderland that Matthew is creating.

Is there anything that you are looking forward to especially ?

I can honestly say there is no one thing; all of the companies and artists involved are inspirational

And you’ve made the festival appealing and family-friendly in terms of cost, too.

Yes. Many of the events are free (details here) but I would urge people to book now  for the paid events which have been priced very low, between £4 and £5 for the festival; it’s a unique opportunity to see international work such as Bleu! and award-winning Paperbelle, but please book as soon as possible to avoid disappointment on the day!


Thanks to Liz for her time. bOing! takes place Saturday 30th – Sunday 31st August; more information about the festival here, and see full listings here.

Jul 12

Open Day today

It’s Open Day today, and we’re here in the Colyer-Fergusson Building until 3pm; if you want to come and look around the concert-hall and practice facilities, find out about all the music-making that takes place at the University, or want to know more about our Music Scholarships – come and say hi!

Cathedral

In-spiring future students…

11am; we’ve seen visitors from Canterbury, Buckinghamshire, Vienna and Munich so far this morning, testament to both the local and international appeal of the University!

12pm; midday, and there’s been a flurry of visitors to the music building; bassoon, string-players, pianists, singers, a drummer, a flautist – not to mention oud and sitar! 2015 is shaping up to be an eclectic musical year if they all come to the University next year…exciting…

12.30pm ; the record for the Visitor-from-the-Farthest-Flung-Shore award appears to be going to the most recent visitor to the music building, who has come from Singapore: welcome!

Jul 09

Big Band fundraiser: a thank-you from Porchlight

From Porchlight’s Community Fundraising Officer, Kate Lumley.


Kate Lumley

Kate Lumley

Thank you so much to Dan Harding, Ian Swatman, the University Big Band and the Music Department for supporting Porchlight with the first concert of Summer Music Week and wishing us a Happy Birthday! The charity’s 40th Anniversary has certainly got off to a great start and we couldn’t be more grateful for the support we’ve received so far. It really is fantastic when local groups and businesses decide to fundraise for the charity (especially when that’s combined with brilliant music-making at the seaside!) because their efforts really help change people’s lives in their community and across Kent and Croydon.

01Last year, Porchlight managed to help over 4,000 homeless and vulnerable people turn their lives around, and this would not have been possible without the generosity of the general public, local businesses and groups like the UKC Big Band. However, the charity is still in need of your help! More people are needing our help while funds are being cut and this is having a direct impact on our services and in turn, how many people we can reach out to. This is best illustrated through the situation with our Rough Sleeper team, who go out and find rough sleepers early in the morning or in the evening to offer them help, which has been reduced from over twenty workers to just six over the space of two years. This means that more people will be facing the dangers of rough sleeping for longer before we can find and help them. The money raised by the UKC Big Band concert could pay for two Rough Sleeper team workers for a day plus two welcome packs for someone moving into one of our supported accommodation projects with nothing of their own.

If you’d like to support the charity and help our services to continue, please check out our website and read about the many ways you can get involved

Jun 24

Music prizes recognise outstanding contributions to the musical life at Kent

The annual Music Prizes were awarded last week to a selection of students who have made an outstanding contribution to the musical life of the University this year; and what a year it has been!

Marina receiving her award from Rosie Turner

Marina receiving her award from Rosie Turner

The Canterbury Festival Music Prize, awarded to a final-year student who has made an outstanding contribution to music was awarded to Marina Ivanova, in her final year reading Economics. Since coming to Kent as a Music Scholar, Marina has participated in Chorus, Chamber Choir, Cecilian Choir, Lost Consort, as well as being a soloist in the Colyer-Fergusson Cathedral Concert, Vivaldi Gloria; she also  took part in the Dame Anne Evans masterclass in the autumn, and many other recitals. The prize was presented by the Director of the Canterbury Festival, Rosie Turner.

Alex Turner receives her award from Jonathan Monckton

Alex Turner receives her award from Jonathan Monckton

The Colyer-Fergusson Music Prize, which is awarded each year to a student who has made a major contribution to organising music at the University, was presented to Alex Turner, a second-year student reading Biomedical Science. The prize recognises her exceptional all-round behind-the-scenes organising and admin skills as Concert Band/Big Band assistant (and flautist, and sax player), and in other music activities including the Symphony Orchestra (flute and piccolo), Dance Orchestra,  the flute ensemble, as well as playing in the pit-band for this year’s Musical Theatre Society’s production of Hair. Alex received her prize from Jonathan Monckton, Chair of the Colyer-Fergusson Charitable Trust.

John Craven presents Gordon Wood with his award

John Craven presents Gordon Wood with his award

The John Craven Music Prize, which goes to a returning student who has made a major contribution to music at Kent, this year went to Gordon Wood, in his second year reading Philosophy. A Music Scholar, Gordon plays double bass in Symphony Orchestra, Camerata, String Sinfonia, Dance Orchestra, tuba in Concert Band, Double bass/bass guitar in Big Band, and at various Watch This Space and jazz gigs. John Craven himself was there in person to make the presentation.

Matthew Bamford receives his award from Dan Lloyd

Matthew Bamford receives his award from Dan Lloyd

The University Music Awards Committee Prize, for a student who has made a special contribution to music, was awarded jointly to two final-years students;  Matthew Bamford, reading International Business, and Carina Evans, reading Accounting and Finance. Matthew’s award was for his all-round contribution to music-making this year. Student conductor of Chamber Choir, MD for Musical Theatre Society’s production of Hair, sings in Chorus, Chamber Choir, Cecilian Choir and Treasurer of the Music Society.

 

Dan Lloyd presents Carina Evans with her prize

Dan Lloyd presents Carina Evans with her prize

Carina’s prize recognises her contribution, as a University Music Scholar, to music over three years as timpanist and percussionist with the Symphony Orchestra, Concert Band, Camerata and many recitals on marimba. Both students received their award from committee-member, Dr Dan Lloyd.

Finally, the First-Year Prize, awarded if appropriate to a student who has made a significant contribution to music-making during their first year of study, went to Joe Prescott. Reading English Language and Linguistics, Joe has made a significant impact on music as a University Music Scholar since arriving in September, playing jazz trumpet in Big Band and Dance Orchestra, Trumpet in Symphony Orchestra, Concert Band, as well as singing tenor in Chorus, Chamber Choir, Cecilian Choir.

First-year Joe Prescott receives his award from Keith Mander

First-year Joe Prescott receives his award from Keith Mander

The musical life of the University is nothing without the commitment, enthusiasm and participation of its student community – our thanks and congratulations to all the prize winners for their outstanding involvement in, and contributions to, what has been a memorable year. Here’s looking forward to the next!

The assembled prize-winning students and guests

The assembled prize-winning students and guests

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