Oct 28

What is it good for ? Oh What A Lovely War coming soon

Continuing the commemoration of the centenary of World War I, the Music Theatre and T:24 Drama Societies come together for a production of Oh, What A Lovely War! from 19th-21st November.

Click to view

Click to view

Kat Edmonds

Kat Edmonds

‘I’m particularly looking forward to seeing the new spin that UKC MTS and T24 Drama Society will bring to this classic production!’ enthuses Katharine Edmonds, Publicity Officer for the Music Theatre Society, almost beside herself with excitement about the project. ‘The collaboration between the two societies is very exciting in itself and I can’t wait for the song and dance numbers! People should come and see the show simply because it’s going to be a lot of fun, and if that’s not enough reason then it’s also extremely topical right now, it being the centenary of WW1. It’s a great opportunity to reconsider our history and get to experience a show that will make the audience feel just as involved in the action!’

The production comes to the Gulbenkian Theatre, tickets and further details can be found online here, and you can follow the production on Twitter @OWALW.

Join up quick: it’ll be all over by Christmas…

Oct 22

New ensemble-in-residence set to launch: interview with Alex Caldon

This year, we are very excited to be launching our ensemble-in-residence, the exotically-named CantiaQuorum under the auspices of trumpeter and musician extraordinaire, Alex Caldon. With two concerts looming as part of the launch, I forced the frenetically-busy Alex into a small corner of the Gulbenkian Cafe at the sharp end of a croissant, and asked him about what’s in store…


Tell me about the name!
CantiaQuorum – The ensemble has its roots in Canterbury. I was keen that the tag for our ensemble should reflect the gravitas inspired by the city’s immense historical importance. From the late 2nd Century, Durovernum Cantiacorum was the civitas capital of Kent. The Roman settlement developed around AD43. A twist on the original Roman name for the city brought me to CantiaQuorum.

What’s the idea behind setting up the ensemble?
I have lived in East Kent for 10 years and worked as a professional musician in London throughout. As much as I love the commute (!?) and London (in some ways) I was desperate to show the denizens of Canterbury that, well, most of the wonderful musicians they travel to see in London orchestras, actually live in Kent! I am very proud to say that we have the very best of the capital’s musicians in our Canterbury ensemble. All of our members are orchestral players and soloists of the highest order. But not at the Proms, playing Rule Britannia, or on Saturday night telly backing Strictly hopefuls, but here, in the astonishing concert-hall right next door playing fantastic and fun programmes of great music. And they are yours to get to know and enjoy!

Conductor Alex Caldon with leader of CantiaQuorum, Alexandra Reid

Conductor Alex Caldon with leader of CantiaQuorum, Alexandra Reid

What makes this ensemble distinctive?
CQ has a unique make-up. They are all my friends. That’s essentially it. But, luckily for you I’m terribly choosey. And very lucky.

You’re launching your residency with Walton and Stravinsky, which looks exciting! Why that programme?
When I was 16, and at the Junior department of the Royal Academy of Music, a few friends and I decided to put on a concert! Facade with Posy Walton in fact. This concert, a sell-out at Lauderdale House in Highgate, London was formative in my outlook as a musician. We had a ball basically!..and lots of rehearsals. It’s a seriously tough piece! We were so intent on nailing Facade that it was literally an hour before the concert that we realised we needed another piece for the programme. Dan Bates, another friend of ours was doing a short programme of oboe pieces in the first half but there was definitely something lacking. Backstage with little time to discuss we decided to play an improvised work for the Facade ensemble. Infant became a 3-movement improvised work. We did it. And Facade was greatly appreciated!
As for the Stravinsky. I was lucky enough to play the Soldier’s Tale in a unique production at the Old Vic in 2006. The production was a joint effort between the Old Vic and the National Theatre of Bagdad!? And the text of the piece was presented in both Farsi and English. Hence, lots of rehearsal. And that before the director had decided that the musicians should play the entire work from memory! Totally incredibly. The conductor, Robin O’Neill, was thankfully fantastic, and extremely patient throughout.
It’s a wonderful piece, and I feel extremely qualified to say that. So do come along and be blown away by one of the great composers of all time.


50th-ribbon-smlCantiaQuorum bursts into life with a free lunchtime concert on Wednesday 5 November at 1.10pm, with the formal evening concert launching the ensemble on Friday 14 November; more details about both events here.

Oct 17

Forthcoming concerts round-up: Trevor Pinnock and Nova Music Ensemble

A busy few weeks ahead; tonight’s concert sees period-instrument pioneer and Honorary Graduate Trevor Pinnock bringing an all-Bach recital to Colyer-Fergusson as part of our fiftieth-anniversary celebrations; next weekend, we are delighted to be welcoming Nova Music Opera to the hall for their concert as part of this year’s Canterbury Festival in a double-bill of contemporary chamber opera by Stephen McNeff and Cecilia McDowall.

And as October ends with a flourish, the start of November also marks the launch of our ensemble-in-residence, CantiaQuorum, in a pair of concerts featuring music by Stravinsky, Walton, Bach and Copland.

Plenty to console us as the clocks go back next weekend; for tickets and further details, see all that’s happening on our What’s On guide here.

Here’s composer Stephen McNeff talking about his chamber opera Prometheus Drowned, coming to us next weekend.

50th-ribbon-sml

Oct 13

Wheel keep a welcome: aboard the Kent Wheel

Here at Music Matters, your loyal correspondent is of course utterly dedicated to bringing you all the latest news from Colyer-Fergusson, heading fearlessly off in pursuit of the hottest gossip and most recent events.

In this spirit of dashing journalism, your loyal correspondent bravely set foot aboard the Kent Wheel yesterday, and was lofted into the skies over the University campus, armed with only a smartphone and an indomitable spirit, ready to undergo the most testing of physical hardships just to bring you, gentle Reader, another exciting, white-knuckle experience courtesy of the Music department.

50th-ribbon-smlOn to the next one…

Oct 09

Bach banquet with acclaimed pioneer next week

Internationally-acclaimed harpsichordist Trevor Pinnock brings an all-Bach programme to Colyer-Fergusson Hall next Friday, 17th October, at 7.30pm.

Image: Peer Lindgreen

Image: Peer Lindgreen

A former choirboy at Canterbury Cathedral and pupil at Simon Langton School, Trevor was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Music by the University in 1995, and comes to Kent next week as part of its year-long fiftieth anniversary celebrations including honorary music graduates. As a harpsichordist and conductor, he is renowned for his pioneering performances on historical instruments with The English Concert, the orchestra which he founded in 1972 and led for the next thirty years.

50th-ribbon-smlNext week’s concert includes the Toccata in E minor, the Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue in D minor and the French Suite No 6 in E major, and promises to be a real treat for Bach devotees. More details here.

To whet your appetite, here he is in the flamboyantly-opening Toccata in C minor, BWV 911.

Oct 02

Lunchtime concert series begins on Wednesday: from Rags to Riches!

The new Lunchtime Concert series bursts into life next Wednesday, as pianist Helen Crayford explores the world of ragtime piano music, with pieces by Scott Joplin, Fats Waller and George Gerswhin – all in period costume!

Helen CrayfordOur usual Wednesday series opens its doors next week – admission is free, with donations in support of the series always very welcome! Our thanks to Furley Page Solicitors, whose generous support continues to allow us to develop our programme of lunchtime concerts again this year.

The concert starts at 1.10pm, and will finish at 1.50pm, to allow you to get to 2pm commitments. Full details on our What’s On page here.

Prepare to step back in time next week…

Furley Page logo

Sponsors of the Lunchtime Concert series

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 Kent Wheel 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 Kent Wheel 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 Kent Wheel 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 Kent Whel 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.

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