Feb 08

Scholars’ Spotlight: Jasper Rose

Continuing the series profiling Music Scholars at the University. This week, former BBC Young Jazz Musician semi-finalist , first-year trombonist reading Criminology, Jasper Rose.

I started playing the trombone ten years ago with the Richmond Music Trust, playing in their brass ensembles, concert band and jazz bands.  After a few years, I went to the Royal College of Music Junior Department which had an extremely exciting variety of ensembles.  Here, my passion for jazz grew under the tutorship of Mornington Lockett and I performed with their Symphony Orchestra, brass groups, choir and jazz groups (at Ronnie Scott’s and the 606 Club).  The brass group were lucky to be asked to play on one of the music boats for the Queen’s Jubilee Pageant which was fantastic, despite the torrential rain!  While at RCM some friends and I formed our own jazz combo and played private gigs in many places including the TUC Conference and the Albert Hall café.

Jasper_RoseAt my secondary school I was given the opportunity to perform the Davide Trombone Concertino with the orchestra which was exhilarating.

In 2013 I was extremely fortunate to win the British Trombone Society Carol Jarvis Scholarship to study in the USA that summer on the Centrum Jazz Course which turned out to be an unforgettable and life-changing experience.  My tutors included Jiggs Wigham and Wycliffe Gordon and it really built my confidence in jazz improvisation.

After reaching the semi-finals of the BBC Young Jazz Musician 2014 I went on to record (alongside Alex Bone, winner of the BBCYJM), with Nile Rodgers and Rudimental, a remix of the Chic single Le Freak.  Then last summer, I was very happy to go on tour to Malta with the Stoneleigh Youth Orchestra as a guest player.

I now play with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra and have performed with them across the country in places like the Hull Jazz Festival, Oxford Playhouse, Portsmouth Guildhall, Southwark Cathedral and the Rose Theatre in Kingston.  I was also thrilled to record on their latest album “NYJO 50”.

Since starting at Kent I have been overwhelmed by the musical opportunities both as a performer and an audience member.  I have joined the Orchestra and the Big Band as well as the student-formed Bavarian oom-pah band which are all extremely exciting and filled with possibilities for the next three years.  I am hugely looking forward to all the concerts in the future, particularly playing in Canterbury Cathedral.

Read more in the series here.

Feb 05

Two lunchtime concerts next week

A brace of lunchtime concerts to enliven your working day next week; on Wednesday (10th Feb), the award-winning quintet, Total Brass, comes to Colyer-Fergusson Hall at 1.10pm; and then on Friday (12th Feb), Minerva Voices – the new upper-voices chamber choir – explores the dialogue between choral music and art in the new exhibition at Studio 3 Gallery over in the Jarman building as the #EarBox series returns.

More details about both events online here.

Feb 04

Don’t rain on my ‘Parade’

Toi toi toi to all the cast and crew involved in the Music Theatre Society’s production of Parade, which is currently on at the Marlowe Studio Theatre; today is the double-whammy of matinee and evening performance, and here are the pit-band (well, wing-band might be more appropriate!) at the dress rehearsal yesterday, conducted by recent graduate, Michael Sosinski.


Break a leg, guys!

Feb 02

Sound thinking: new experimental festival in Folkestone next week

There’s a feast of experimental sounds, live music, spoken word performances and more coming to Folkestone next weekend, as the seaside town presents a brand new two-day festival, Profound Sound, across a variety of venues.

Friday 12 February sees a collection of premieres from the Montrose Composers’ Club, led by local composer Anna Braithwaite, whilst Asda – yes, you read that correctly! – will play host to LIFTED, an installation for choir and beat-boxer by Emily Peasgood which premiered at the Turner Contemporary recently.

The festival also offers site-specific sound-installations, spoken word performances and live music; the Quarterhouse will also welcome a Panel Discussion addressing the future of DIY spaces and how they can foster new creative ideas. Folkestone will be buzzing. Probably quite literally.

Find out more about the festival online here.

Feb 02

Waking once again; choral music to bring a new poignancy to Studio 3 exhibition

The latest exhibition in Studio 3 Gallery – After the Break; Grete Marks and Laure Provost looks anew at the work of two artists who were forced to become refugees, who had to flee Nazi Germany and begin their creative pursuits in a new land.

WP_20160130_011Fleeing the country and re-locating to England, the Bauhaus-trained Grete Marks had to sacrifice her successful pottery factory – all her pottery and paintings that were left behind were either lost or destroyed. Kurt Schwitters, a leading figure of the German avant-garde, fled to Norway prior to being interviewed by the Gestapo, eventually also travelling to England where, selling small paintings for small fees, he eventually died in obscurity in London in 1948.

WP_20160130_009 The works on display in the gallery, predominantly pictures and some surviving pottery by Marks, include stark portraiture of friends made in England, as well as landscape views created in the Lake District and Spain. The images speak of loss, the post-emigration portraits looking out at the viewer with a sense of isolation. The floating colours of Two Boys from 1930 have a life and movement absent from stark portraits made after her arrival in England, whilst the landscapes seem to show a desire to engage with and to find a new home – they speak of new efforts to build a connection, a need to continue to create.

WP_20160130_012Amidst the mute testimony the exhibition provides, there is a particular poignancy about some of the music in the programme which Minerva Voices will perform at the #EarBox event next week. Gounod’s intimate motet, Da Pacem Domine, ‘Give peace, Lord,’ acquires a greater profundity in the context of the upheaval and terror implicit in the paintings. The medieval Kyrie setting, written by Hildegard von Bingen, sees two creative women looking at one another across the intervening centuries. There is also something especially moving about Brahms’ famous lullaby, Wiegenlied, which bids a moving, poignant farewell;’ Lullaby, good night…Tomorrow morning, if God wills, you will wake once again.’


Studio 3 logo smallThe new exhibition reawakens the importance of Marks and Schwitters; come and experience the dialogue between art and music for yourself on Friday 12 February; admission free, more details here.

Feb 01

Minerva Voices weekend rehearsal: gallery

Minerva Voices was busy rehearsing all day on Saturday, in preparation for two concerts this month. The day also included rehearsing over in Studio 3 Gallery.

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Read more about the weekend here, including the pressure of baking a cake…

The first event is Friday 12 February, in Studio 3 Gallery; find out more here.

Jan 26

Scholars’ Spotlight: Natanya Freedman

Continuing the series profiling some of the University Music Scholars. This week, first-year flautist reading History, Natanya Freedman.

FreedmanI have been very lucky in terms of my musical experiences before I arrived at the University of Kent. I have been playing the flute now for 12 years and during these years I have been playing in many ensembles, bands and orchestras at both my Secondary School, Bullers Wood School for Girls and my music school The Bromley Youth Music Trust (BYMT). BYMT played a significant role in my life before leaving for University. Once I had started secondary school I played in the wind bands on a Saturday morning, starting in Training Band and working my way up to Symphonic Winds and the Concert Orchestra playing both the flute and piccolo. Prior to this I had played in the Junior Band when I first started playing the flute. Playing in these wind bands gave me wonderful opportunities such as playing at the Fairfield Halls in the Bromley Schools Proms. In my final year at BYMT I played with the touring Youth Band (Bromley Youth Concert Band), and we toured to the South of Spain playing 6 concerts, two of which were a part of the Granada Music Festival. As well as the Wind Bands and Orchestras, I was lucky enough to play with the award winning group ‘40 Flutes’. As a part of Music for Youth, we played at the Royal Albert Hall, twice, which were extremely memorable and rewarding experiences.

Since arriving at the University of Kent I have thrown myself into all the possible musical opportunities, playing in the Flute Choir, Concert Band and Orchestra. My experiences so far have been incredible and I am thoroughly looking forward to what is to come this term!

The musical opportunities at Kent are, in my opinion, invaluable. Even being at the University for one term has allowed me to progress massively. The range of groups, events and types of music played allow for players of all abilities and are an amazing way of meeting new people and forming groups of friends across all years that are separate to those in your accommodation or course.

See more in the series here.



Jan 21

Smoke and mirrors

Creating windows where there are none in the concert-hall this morning, in preparation for the Invitation to the Dance concert celebrating the music of Lully next month.

Projections_02 Projections_01 Projections_03 Projections_04

The conceit is to turn the concert-hall into the Palace of Mirrors in Versailles as a backdrop to the secular and sacred pieces in the programme, complete with a picture of the famed Hall on the projector-screen behind the performers.

WP_20160121_008Now all I have to do is persuade all the instrumentalists and singers to don period costume…

The concert is on Weds 17 February at 1.10pm; details here.

Jan 20

Scholars’ Spotlight: Edward Styles

Continuing the series profiling Music Scholarship students at the University of Kent; this week, first-year Physics student and tuba player, Edward Styles.

In the past I have had many musical opportunities in bands and orchestras in an around my county including the Devon Youth Wind Orchestra, Devon County Youth Brass Band and the School band at Ivybridge Community College. These bands have helped me progress in music throughout my school years with their challenging and exciting repertoire. The bands have toured in many different countries including France, Italy and Spain. I have also attended a work experience with HM Royal Marine Band Service where I got to perform in a concert with them.

Edward Styles With TubaI have also been a member of the Royal Navy Volunteer Band in HMS Drake situated in Plymouth for three years, which holds many concerts throughout the year. I was the soloist playing bass in the Ballroom for Volunteer Band in their annual competition against the other Military Volunteer bands across the country. The band was awarded runner-up for that year. The volunteer band also trains for marching and I have learnt many marching routines throughout the time I have been there.

I have also performed Øystein Baadsvik’s Fnugg Blue for solo tuba which is a very technical piece of music as it requires the performer to sing at the same time as play their instrument. The pieces also includes beat-boxing. If you have not heard of it you definitely should look it up! [Here’s a brilliant introduction to the piece, in which the composer himself takes you through the piece’s inception. And talks about skiing, hunting and moose…]

At the University of Kent, I am a member of the Orchestra which is a great opportunity for me to enjoy classical music as until now I have not been in any full orchestras. I am very proud to have been accepted in the Orchestra as it produces such a great sound and the members are all at such a high level in performance. I am also a member of the University Concert Band which has a exquisite supply of fantastic pieces that we play! All of which give me great pleasure when performing with them.

This year I have started a new, small ensemble which concentrates on Bavarian oom pah music; however the band is also very fluid and we are planning to extend our repertoire to anything the members wish to perform. This is to allow the members to perform great pieces in a band without having the hassle of tracking down a full band sheet music score. The band consists of two clarinets, two trumpets, one trombone and a tuba. We have not had any concerts yet as we only started practicing in December 2015!

See other profiles in the series here.

Jan 18

In profile: Lydia Cheng

First-year Law student, violinist, and Music Performance Scholar, Lydia Cheng, reflects on coming to the University.

Lydia_Cheng_webWhere do you come from?
Toronto, Canada

How did you first get into playing the violin?
I first started on the piano at the age of 5. About a year later, I joined a violin group class and I loved it and it’s been with me ever since.

What’s your musical background?
Apart from playing as a soloist, I love chamber music. The collaboration with other musicians and friends is a completely different type of performance and is something I enjoy doing as much as possible. Back home, I am a member of a piano trio – Radiance Trio – and we perform and compete together. Last year, we were national finalists of the Canadian Music Competition.

What made you choose Kent as a place to study?
The UK is well-known for its multitude of great schools and with cousins having studied here as well, it was always a dream for me to study in the UK. I’ve had a long-time interest in studying law and as direct entry law is not an option in North America, I knew England was the right place for me. When it came to choosing a school, I knew I wanted a place where I could continue with music. Kent’s Symphony Orchestra and String Sinfonia drew me in.

Lydia_Cheng02_webWhat music-making are you involved in?
I am currently playing in the Symphony Orchestra and String Sinfonia.

What have you enjoyed most about your first term?
I loved the Baroque Christmas Concert. It was my first concert in Colyer-Fergusson and was an exhilarating experience. The atmosphere was warm and festive and all our rehearsals coming up to the concert just fit together like the final piece of a puzzle. It is not often that I get to perform with harpsichord or with choir, so to have this performance opportunity in a such a beautiful hall was a wonderful way to start my musical journey through Kent.


The String Sinfonia ahead of the Baroque Christmas concert in December


The String Sinfonia and Cecilian Choir: A Baroque Christmas

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