Sep 05

Commemmorating the 150th anniversary of Amy Beach

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of the American composer, concert-pianist and educator, Amy Beach. She achieved widespread recognition not only for her compositions but also for her career as a concert-pianist, performing in both America and Europe. Known as the ‘Dean of American Composers’ after the premiere of her Gaelic Symphony in 1896, she became a major figure representing women working in the arts at a time when – as still – it was dominated by men, and establishing an identity for herself was a struggle. On concert-stages throughout Europe, she flourished as a performer of both her own works as well as the usual bastions of piano repertoire. Her legacy includes a wealth of choral and orchestral music, songs, a piano concerto (written to demonstrate her own capabilities) and chamber music.

To celebrate her anniversary, here are two pieces from her delightful Children’s Album, Op.36 – a collection which displays her lyrical creativity, a boisterous sense of fun matched with a highly expressive harmonic ear, and also, in the ‘Waltz,’ a wonderful melodic sense tinged ever so slightly with a hint of melancholy. Both pieces are played in the concert-hall by Your Loyal Correspondent.

Amy Beach: Waltz

Amy Beach: March

And here is the charming Columbine from her Op.25 set, Children’s Carnival.

Jul 10

Brewing up a storm: Canterbury International Festival to set city ringing in October

The annual Canterbury International Festival launched this year’s programme a few days ago, and there’s much to which to look forward.

The St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra presents an all-Russian programme including Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto no.2 with cellist Tim Hugh on Saturday 21 October. Violinist Tasmin Little joins Canterbury Choral Society and the English Chamber Orchestra for Vaughan Williams’ popular The Lark Ascending and Dona Nobis Pacem in the Cathedral on Saturday 4 November. Elsewhere, soul singer Ruby Turner will fill the Spiegeltent on Saturday 21 October, and there’s a day-long celebration of progressive rock and the ‘Canterbury Sound’ on Saturday 28 October.

Renowned choir Tenebrae celebrates its fifteenth anniversary with the newly-commissioned Path of Miracles by Joby Talbot (best-known for his addition of ‘Pluto’ to Holst’s Planets Suite and the ballet-score to the Royal Ballet’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) filling the Cathedral Nave on Saturday 28 October.

Among the literary events is a one-man celebration of poets Philip Larkin and John Betjeman, alongside essays by Alan Bennett, A Meeting of Minds on Sunday 29 October. The festival’s comedy programme includes the laconic Rich Hall on Friday 3 November, and a series of talks welcomes travel writer Nicholas Crane and radio presenter Jenni Murray.

There are also plenty of activities for families, including a ‘Canterbury Throwdown’ pottery project and Baby Loves Disco, adventurous puppetry in Curious Creatures on Thursday 26 October and free events in Whitefriars including live music and dance throughout the day on Sunday 14 October.

The University again has a presence as part of the Festival this year; Your Loyal Correspondent teams up with Dr Dan Lloyd from the School of Biosciences for Cellular Dynamics, exploring the links between music and science in a combination of music for one and two pianos with image-projection from cutting-edge research. The School of Biosciences also sponsors the Festival’s Science Strand again this year, which builds on the success of last year’s Cocktail Laboratory with The Beer Lab exploring science and the art of brewing.

Festival logoThe full programme is now online here, with brochures now popping up all around Canterbury; October will see the historic city abuzz with events and visitors as the Festival bursts into life once more.

Jun 20

Final-year Music Scholar exhibiting in We Are Human-ish next week

Final-year Music Performance Scholar, Megan Boyle, is one of seven graduating BA Fine Art students from the School of Music and Fine Art exhibiting in next week’s show in Studio 3 Gallery, We Are Human-ish.

Megan Boyle

Megan has just completed her Fine Art degree, and will be familiar to those who have attended concerts given by the Symphony Orchestra and the Concert Band, with which groups Megan has played clarinet, having also been Co-Principal clarinettist in the orchestra. Her work featured in the Fine Art Degree Show, Reverberate, which took place at Chatham Historic Dockyard last month.

“My work in the exhibition is an investigation into the influence of technology, particularly the Internet, on everyday speech” she enthuses, “including written language and published dialogue, realised through the construction of a new, physical language which questions the nature of interaction and communication methods adopted by human and machine.”

We are Humanish showcases a number of works that explore what it means to be human, questioning ideas associated with gender, culture, language, disability and technology. All the participants are united by their drive to examine human nature and the assumptions, purpose and essence of humanity.

Click to view

The exhibition takes place from 26 June until 1st July, with site-specific performances arranged for the 1 July, in Studio 3 Gallery in the Jarman Building on the Canterbury campus.

 

Jun 14

Music prizes recognise outstanding students during Summer Music Week

At the end of the academic year, it’s always a pleasure and a privilege to be able to recognise particular students for their outstanding contributions to music-making. During Summer Music Week, a public presentation takes place in which to acknowledge their participation and involvement in music with a number of prizes, and the occasion on Tuesday 6 June followed the Scholars’ Lunchtime Recital as part of the week’s event.

Music Prize winners 2017

Jenn Morgan

The Canterbury Festival Prize, presented by Festival Director Rosie Turner, awarded to to a final-year student who has made an outstanding contribution to music at the University, went to Jennifer Morgan, who has just finished reading French and Spanish. Jenn has been Principle double bass in Symphony Orchestra, bassist in Concert Band, star electric bassist for the Big Band, and our 1930s dance orchestra, General Harding’s Tomfoolery. Throughout her final two years, Jenn was a Music Performance Award holder, and was Social Media Representative on the Music Society Committee this year.

The Colyer-Fergusson Music Prize, awarded to a student who has made a major contribution to the organisation of music at the University, was presented jointly to Amy Poulter and Inger Kviseth.

Amy (right) with Tomfoolery

Amy is a final-year student reading Philosophy and English Language & Linguistics, and has been awarded the prize for her exceptional all-round behind-the-scenes organising and admin skills as Concert Band and Big Band Assistant, in which she plays alto saxophone. This involved liaising with the conductor, Ian Swatman, helping to set-up rehearsals and co-ordinating, circulating and collecting all the many sheets of music which go into the instruments folders (a somewhat arduous and thankless task – especially when they go missing!) She also had the mammoth task of running this year’s student battle-of-the bands event, Keynestock, in her capacity as College President.

Inger (left) rehearsing with the Chamber Choir

A final-year student reading Conflict, Peace and Security, Inger’s award recognised her role as Chamber Choir Assistant and Minerva Voices Assistant. She managed the running and the choral library for both choirs during this year, liaised with the choir members about rehearsals and performances and organised the catering during workshop days (which, as anyone who has ever worked with musicians will know, was very important!). She also organised a fund-raising carol-singing afternoon in aid of Cancer Research UK on a very cold December day. Her quiet, proactive efficiency has been a crucial part of the success of both choirs this year. Both students received their awards from the former Chair of the Colyer-Fergusson Charitable Trust, the Honourable Jonathan Monckton.

The John Craven Music Prize, awarded to a returning student who has a made a major contribution to music at the University this year,  was awarded jointly to Lydia Cheng and Jasper Rose.

Lydia Cheng

In her second year reading Law, Lydia is a wonderfully talented violinist – indeed, she turned down music scholarships to both Berkeley and McGill in order to come to Kent. Such is her commitment and talent that she was given the sole responsibility as leader of the Symphony Orchestra in the cathedral concert this year. She also plays in the String Sinfonia and gave a public lunchtime concert last term as part of a piano trio exploring the world of the tango. She is a Music Performance Scholar and is one of the Symphony Orchestra Assistants.

Jasper Rose (back centre)

Jasper is a second-year reading Criminal Justice and Criminology on our Medway campus, and trombonist who features prominently in both the Concert and Big Bands, as well as the Symphony Orchestra. Jasper also plays in the National Youth Jazz Orchestra and is a Music Performance Scholar. The students received their prizes from Patron of the Music Scholarships, Dame Anne Evans.

Where appropriate, the Music Awards Committee can also award the First-Year Prize,  to a student who has made a significant contribution to music-making during their first year of study. This year, the award went to Tom Wust, reading Business and Management on our Medway campus. Tom is Co-principal clarinet in the Symphony Orchestra  and in Concert Band, and tenor sax in Big Band and General Harding’s Tomfoolery. Tom is a Music Performance Scholar, and demonstrated his prowess in the Music Scholars’ concert with two movements from the fiendish Clarinet Sonata by Joseph Horovitz. Tom’s award was presented by Professor April McMahon.

Jonathan Butten (right)

This year, we were pleased to be able to award the cumbersomely-titled yet no less important Music Awards Committee Prize renamed as the David Humphreys Music Prize, in memory of David who was a terrific supporter of music at the University, and whose fund in memory of his wife, Julia, continues to support the annual Crypt Concert by the University Chamber Choir. The award recognises students who have made a special contribution to music at Kent, and this was awarded to three students jointly: Jonathan Butten, Faith Chan and Cory Adams.

Jonathan is a final -year student, reading Biomedical Sciences, and the prize was awarded for his outstanding contribution as Principal oboe and cor anglais in the Symphony Orchestra. Jonathan has been a remarkable woodwind player, performing in lunchtime concerts, and has been a University Music Performance Scholar, and this year acting as one of the Symphony Orchestra Assistants.

Faith Chan

In her final year reading Law,  Faith received her prize for her special contribution to University Music as a cellist. She is principal cellist in the Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonia and gave a public lunchtime concert last term with the Piazzolla piano trio. Her versatility meant she has also been a very fine continuo player, featuring in Baroque concerts and lunchtime performances over the course of her time at Kent. She is a Music Performance Scholar, and has also been one of the Symphony Orchestra Assistants.

Cory is Masters student reading Hispanic and Comparative Literature; he has been Principal timpanist and percussionist in Symphony Orchestra, and kit and percussion in Concert Band, Big Band and General Harding’s Tomfoolery. He is a University Music Performance Scholar and has just finished impressively organising (and exhausting!) everyone in his capacity as President of the Music Society. The three students received their prize from Chair of the Music Awards Committee and Reader in Biosciences, Dr Dan Lloyd.

Music-making at Kent, as an extra-curricular activity, really does rely on the participation, commitment and enthusiasm of all the many students (and staff) who take part in rehearsals and performances on top of their studies during the academic year. The awards ceremony during Summer Music Week is an opportunity publically to recognise and to thank a few individuals for all that they contributed during their time at the University; our congratulations to everyone on their awards, and our gratitude for the part they have played in making the musical year at the University such a success.

Jun 06

Summer Music Week: Days One and Two

Our annual Summer Music Week festival launched in fine style over the weekend, as the Big Band headed to the seaside to perform on the Memorial Bandstand at Deal.

Big Band at the Beach!

Blue skies, clear weather and a great crowd greeted the players under the baton of Ian Swatman, with audience scattered on the greensward around the bandstand in deck-chairs and sun-hats.

Summertime and the livin’ is easy…

Day Two yesterday carried on the jazz theme, as General Harding’s Tomfoolery filled Colyer-Fergusson Hall with swing music from the 30s, 40s and 50s in Five O’Clock Stomp. The thirteen-piece dance orchestra were joined by The Minervettes, and unveiled an energy-filled programme of popular favourites including The Charleston, Puttin’ On The Ritz and classic Glenn Miller tunes.

Today, Day Three, sees a Lunchtime Recital by University Music Scholars in music by Piazzolla, Joseph Horovitz and Sonny Rollins at 1.10pm, followed by the presentation of the annual Music Prizes. Summer Music Week continues until Saturday; details here.

Jun 01

Music in the archives: Summer Music Week ancillary exhibition

With Summer Music Week set to launch this Sunday, we’re delighted to reveal that our colleagues over in Special Collections and Archives will be holding an open afternoon of music-related archive and rare materials as part of the festival on Wednesday 7 June in the Templeman Library.

To complement Summer Music Week, Special Collections & Archives invites you  to learn more about how music is represented, recorded and explored through its collections between 2-4pm that day. Visitors will be able to view a wide range of material including items from the John Crow Ballad and Song Collection, rare books from the Pre-1700 Collection, artwork held in the British Cartoon Archive, and alternative cabaret performances found in the British Stand-Up Comedy Archive, and much more.

You don’t need to book, just drop in on the day; we are hugely grateful to Joanna Baines, Senior Assistant in Special Collections and Archives, for putting this all together, a terrific enhancement as Summer Music Week unfurls next week.

Explore music in archive materials on Weds 7 June…

 

May 25

Tomfoolery play for Sibson launch

Yesterday afternoon saw the launch of the Sibson Building, the University’s newest addition to the Canterbury campus, and the joint new home shared by Kent Business School and the School of Maths and Actuarial Sciences. The musicians of General Harding’s Tomfoolery were in action for the second time in less than a week, entertaining the guests at the reception held before the unveiling of the plaque formally to open the new facility.

A great afternoon for everyone involved; the players particularly enjoyed themselves, channeling their inner Blues Brothers whilst playing some vintage jazz for the assembled guests. Tomfoolery will be back in action on Monday 5 June in Five O’Clock Stomp in Colyer-Fergusson Hall as part of Summer Music Week; admission is free, details here.

May 09

Well-met by Moonlight: vintage jazz next week

Fresh from the success of its lunchtime concert last term which had people on their feet dancing in Colyer-Fergusson Hall, General Harding’s Tomfoolery, the vintage jazz orchestra, is back in action next Friday night.

The 1930’s style dance band will unveil a whole new repertoire on Friday 19 May, as well as favourites from its previous gigs; together with the close-harmony singers, The Minervettes, the players will unveil an evening of vintage swing classics alongside forgotten gems from the Golden Age of Dance Bands in Moonlight Serenade: an evening with GHT.

The ensemble has continued to delve deeply into the treasure-trove of archive repertoire that was bequeathed to the music department back in 2005 by the Ken Lewis Dance Orchestra, a dance band active throughout the South East from the 1950s to the 1970s. Original band-parts crackle with renewed vigour as tunes such as The ContinentalOn The Street Where You Live and Pennsylvania 6-5000 dance off the music-stand in rehearsals, alongside tunes from slightly off the beaten path, such as Button Up Your Overcoat and Zambezi. And of course, Glenn Miller’s signature tune, Moonlight Serenade, will be a part of the programme that night too…

Tickets are only £5 a pop for what promises to be an energetic trip to a bygone era – dancing-shoes are essential, cloche hats optional! Find out more here.

May 08

New term, new exhibition: A Canterbury Soundscape in Colyer-Fergusson Gallery

With the start of the summer term, we are delighted to launch our new exhibition here in Colyer-Fergusson Gallery.

A Canterbury Soundscape is the work of photographer and musician, Molly Hollman, and captures the life of the Music department in rehearsal and performance over the past year, combined with stunning images of the local landscape.

The images capture fleeting human moments at the heart of music-making – a shared joke during rehearsals, the opportunity to take a selfie in the Cathedral Crypt, a quick chance to tune an instrument before walking out to perform – as well as magical instances amidst the region’s wildlife and sumptuous scenery.


A Canterbury Soundscape is on display in Colyer-Fergusson Gallery until August, and admission is free; gallery open during normal building hours (including weekends), and there is disabled access. Find out more about Molly’s work on her website here.

Apr 28

A Canterbury Soundscape: new photography exhibition coming to Colyer-Fergusson Gallery

Our new exhibition in Colyer-Fergusson Gallery, A Canterbury Soundscape, which opens in ten days’ time, features the work of local prize-winning photographer and musician, Molly Hollman. Combining her passion for landscapes and wildlife with being a professional musician and music teacher, Molly has spent the past year capturing the life of the Music department here at Kent.

With an eye for a dramatic moment and an imaginative sense of space, Molly’s photography breathtakingly captures the spirit of people and of place. Her work turns a fleeting moment into a universal truth, responding to the beauty in landscapes, in venues and the people within them, in the way they interact with each other.  Whether in the intimacy of a single flower within a landscape or the intensity of a musician concentrating in rehearsal, her work transcends the temporary moment, turning it into a timeless statement that skilfully captures the dynamic at the heart of what she sees through the lens.

Ahead of her exhibition launch, I caught up with Molly and asked her about her work.


How did you become interested in photography ?

Molly Hollman

I’ve always been an artist (my parents are both artists and potters) and have enjoyed painting throughout my life, although when my children were born time somehow seemed to disappear…. So I turned to photography, something I’d always enjoyed but never fully immersed myself in until then.

What attracts you most about working with images ?

I love to capture the world around me and have always had a love of nature; with photography I can capture the image as I see it, for posterity. Photographing the candid and everyday is as important to me as the grand and splendid.

What were you looking for in taking the pictures in this exhibition ?

I always try to capture a moment – many of the best photographs have a narrative, making the viewer reflect and be drawn into the scene. Posed photographs are often very staged and reveal no story or emotion.


Are there any photographers you particularly admire, or whose work has influenced you in some way ?

I have many influences, looking at as many photographs as possible is the best way of improving your craft. Aside from the classics, such as Ansel Adams and Henri Cartier Bresson, I like many contemporary photographers, such as Julie Blackmon, Henrik Kerstens and David Chancellor.


What’s been your best/most fortuitous moment taking pictures ?

Any time where the light has been amazing! Be as observant as you can – I won a prize in an international competition with a photograph of birds feeding, they were on a white fence with a white wall behind which then lent a touch of minimalism to the image and made the photograph more powerful.

What’s been your worst ?!

Grey, flat skies (as opposed to stormy skies which I love) are hard to do anything with, as are sobbing toddlers!

People or places ?

I like both, capturing a person’s character in one image is a real challenge that I relish, but my love of nature pulls me outdoors as much as possible. When I do portrait shoots, I try to do them on location if possible, thus combining the two.


A Canterbury Soundscape opens in Colyer-Fergusson Gallery on Monday 8 May, and runs until September; admission is free, the gallery is open during normal working hours, and there is disabled access. Find out more about Molly on her website here.

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