Jun 16

Image Gallery: Summer Music Week 2015

Images from some of the various events that took place from Sunday 7 to Saturday 13 June, as the Music department bid farewell to another year at the University of Kent. Photos from the Scholars’ Lunchtime Recital on Day Two; jazz on the foyer-stage on Day Three; the String Sinfonia on Day Four; the Chamber and Cecilian Choirs in rehearsal on Day 6; and the marquee reception on the final day.

Other photos from throughout the week on our Pinterest board here.

Images © Matt Wilson / University of Kent

Jun 15

Summer Music Week: Days Six and Seven

Summer Music Week came to a flourishing finale on Saturday, as the last two days of our week-long end-of-year celebration seemed to go in a flash.

Friday afternoon saw the Music Theatre Society previewing their ‘Send in the Showtunes’ showcase on the foyer-stage at lunchtime, with some characterful renditions of parts of Little Shop of Horrors and Cabaret. The evening concert featured the Chamber and Cecilian Choirs in choral music from the Renaissance to the present-day – another opportunity to feature the new departmental harpsichord, in Monteverdi’s Beatus Vir – including the premiere of Ringing Changes by composer Matthew King, blending choral music with electronics.

The foyer and concert-hall were in their decorative best on Saturday for Music for a Summer’s Day, the traditional finale featuring the Chorus, Orchestra and Chamber Choir bidding a final farewell to the musical year. There were tears, too, as final-year sopranos Kathryn Cox and Rowena Murrell stepped out from the Chorus’s bustling West Side Story medley to sing You’ll Never Walk Alone, and also as all those performing with the department for the final time stood for their applause. The Chamber Choir moved from the atmospheric landscape of Chydenius’ Autumn under final-year Emma Murton to lively pop and close-harmony jazz; Michael Sosinski handled his cork-popping solo in the Champagne Polka with regal dignity; and the concluding chorus of ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ was conducted with great aplomb by Pro Vice-Chancellor, Keith Mander, a terrific champion of music at the University, for whom this was the last concert.

The sunshine was also on hand as performers, parents and guests mingled on the Registry lawn for post-performance cream teas, and the opportunity to say goodbye.

You can see photos from throughout the week over on our Pinterest board. Formal photographs from the week will be appearing shortly; stay tuned…

Jun 11

Summer Music Week: Day Five

Some sunny music from the String Sinfonia on Day Five of Summer Music, led by Elina Hakanen.

 

Jun 11

Summer Music Week: days Three and Four

The music continues unabated this week as Summer Music Week rings around the building; days Three and Four saw a lunchtime recital by some of the University Music Scholars, followed by the annual awarding of the Music Prizes; performers Jonathan Butten, Anne Engels, Rianna Carr and John Gabriel together with guest Benedict Preece performed two movements from Ravel’s magical Mother Goose Suite; Emily Farrell demonstrated the euphonium’s light-footed side in an arrangements of Mozart’s Rondo alla turca; cellist Faith Chan and mezzo-soprano Charley Tench performed Purcell’s Dido’s Lament; and harpist Emma Murton gave a dazzling rendition of Debussy’s first Arabesque and Salzedo’s shimmering Chanson dans la nuit. The concert was also the first formal outing for the department’s newly-commissioned harpsichord, a stunning instrument built by Andrew Wooderson, and a generous donation by Dr James and Jenny Bird, for which we are immeasurably grateful.

Day Four featured the Sax Ensemble on the foyer-stage at lunchtime, with Hannah Wiffen, Felicity Langford and Patrick Eves joined by Chris Murrell on drums, led by Peter Cook. In the afternoon, the hall rang to the sound of the Concert Band and Big Band in rehearsal under the baton of conductor Ian Swatman, and the evening saw the bands, together with vocalist and alumna Steph Richardson, bring their musical year to a rousing conclusion.

Thanks to Phoebe Hopwood for this splendid panoramic shot of the Big Band preparing to play in the evening!

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Click to view

Events continue until Saturday; find out more here.

Jun 09

Summer Music Week: the first two days

Like a phoenix from the flames, Summer Music Week burst into life anew on Sunday; conductor Ian Swatman led the charge as the Big Band took to the Memorial Bandstand at Deal for a day filled with sunshine and swing, for which the band welcomed back vocalist and alumna, Steph Richardson.

Yesterday, Day Two, saw the inaugural use of the department’s commissioned harpsichord in a feast of arias from several of the singing Scholars in Operatic Heroines in Love; from Mozart to Gluck, Saint-Saens, and Dvorak, a delighted audience was led on an exploration of love, lust and desire by Charley Tench, Charlotte Webb, Rowena Murrell, Ruth Webster, Kathi Kirschbaum, Livy Potter and Kathryn Cox, which included Purcell’s Dido’s Lament with Faith Chan on cello and the Chamber Choir performing the dolorous ‘With drooping wings’ chorus which follows the aria.

Summer Music continues all this week; details online here.

Jun 08

Modern-day digital pilgrim: an interview with Phil Ward

As part of the Ringing Changes project commissioned by the Music Department for the University’s 50th anniversary celebrations – the premiere of which takes place on Friday 12 June (read more here) – photographs by Phil Ward (Deputy Director of Research Services) are being exhibited in the new Colyer-Fergusson Gallery, to coincide with the performance. Several of Phil’s images will be projected above the stage during the concert, to which the text for the piece (by Patricia Debney from the School of Creative Writing) was written in response. I caught up with Phil, and asked about the inspiration for his photography, and the experience of collaborative working as part of the project.


How did your passion for photographing the landscape come about ?

Phil Ward

Phil Ward

When I was younger I used to take and develop my own black and white photographs. However, that fell by the wayside somewhat with moving houses, changing jobs, starting a family. Two things got me back in to it. The first was the technology. With modern smart phones the quality is so good that you essentially always have a decent camera with you. Sure, it’s not perfect, but it does mean that you don’t have to take a lot of equipment with you, so you’ll always be ready to capture that fleeting moment, the changing of the light, that sudden stillness. And the second was starting to cycling to work, and passing through such beautiful and ever changing landscapes. It was irresistible!

There must be something about the Kentish landscape in particular that attracts you; is there ? Are you a modern-day digital pilgrim ?!

As I say, it came about when I started cycling between Wye and Canterbury to work. As part of the route follows the pilgrim trail, I guess I am a ‘modern day digital pilgrim’! We are incredibly spoilt in this part of the world, both for the myriad back roads and tracks that make cycling a joy, but also the beauty and variety of the countryside, from the bucolic, quintessentially English charm of the rolling Downs, to the flat wildness of Romney Marsh, the bleakness of Dungeness, or the dozens of varied beaches. But I also like the less picturesque, the things that others might find ugly, from corrugated iron barns, to greasy spoon cafes, to the detritus next to the Stour river.

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Image: Phil Ward

Your images are used in the choral commission being performed on the 12 June; what’s it been like to collaborate with Matthew and Patricia ?

It’s been an immense honour and privilege, but it does make me feel like a fraud! For me, I had already produced the work; for them, they are having to create new pieces. I imagine being inspired and creative to order is incredibly difficult. I hope the photographs have helped them in this. Both of them have been very open to suggestion, and it has felt like an ongoing conversation as it has developed.

Phil's images on display in the Colyer-Fergusson gallery

Phil’s images on display in the gallery

What can visitors to your exhibition expect ?

Given the number of images that I’ve got on my blog, it was challenging to cut them down to the selection I’m going to show. I wanted them to be somehow representative, but ultimately went with the ones that I liked best. There will be everything there, from a broken blackbird’s egg found on the Chartham cycle path, to winter mists and summer haze, from the stark beauty of Dungeness to the lush farmland of the Stour Valley. I hope they reflect my journey, my ‘digital pilgrimage’!


The exhibition of Phil’s photographs is now open at the Colyer-Fergusson Gallery, admission free, gallery open during normal working hours. Ringing Changes will be performed by the University Chamber and Cecilian Choirs on Friday 12 June as part of Summer Music Week: details here.

Jun 04

Summer Music Week is coming: teaser-trailer

Get ready for Summer Music Week: it all starts this Sunday…!

See all the details online here.

Jun 02

Music to the Max: exchange student Max Mergenbaum on music at Kent

Students from across the world come to the University of Kent, and this is certainly true of the thronging community which also takes part in the musical life of the University each year.

MergenbaumThis year, Max Mergenbaum came to Kent to study Politics and International Relations for two terms as an exchange student at the Freie Universität in Berlin. Max played bassoon in the Symphony Orchestra and the Wind Ensemble, and had this to say as he departed these shores to return to Germany.

“Playing in the University of Kent Orchestra was both an honour and a pleasure for me. As a visiting exchange student from Germany, I received a lot of support from the start. Being able to play Verdi’s Requiem in the Canterbury Cathedral was definitely one of the highlights of my year abroad which I will never forget. It was amazing to play together with so many talented young musicians. Following the motto of the music department ‘Whatever you do, do music’ I can only recommend every student coming to Kent to join this fantastic orchestra!”

Wind Ensemble plays in the foyer

Wind Ensemble plays in the foyer

We wish Max well.

Jun 01

Singing the Ringing Changes: new commission celebrates Summer Music Week

With Summer Music Week set to begin this Sunday, we’ve a week-long series of musical events celebrating the end of the musical year here at Kent; one of the highlights will be a performance on Friday 12 June of Ringing Changes, a Music department commission written especially for the University’s fiftieth-anniversary celebrations this year.

Part of the celebrations focus on the creativity of members of the University community, and Ringing Changes is a genre-busting, multi-media experience written for the University Chamber and Cecilian Choirs, piano, harp and electronics by composer Matthew King, to words by Patricia Debney from the School of Creative Writing, inspired by landscape photography by Deputy Director of Research Services, Phil Ward. The piece combines live performers with a shimmering electronic tapestry that will pick up and re-imagine live sounds captured during the performance, creating a sonic stained-glass window that responds to and refracts the music as the piece unfolds; during each electronic interlude. each photograph that has inspired a response from both poet and composer will be projected above the heads of the performers

iterating_kent_commission

Image: Phil Ward

The first half of the concert includes choral music by Tallis, Lassus, Schütz and Monteverdi’s joyous Beatus Vir, and it’s very exciting to be combining great figures of the choral tradition with a piece that brings that same tradition right up to date. It’s what universities are about – exploring new territory, creative collaboration, new directions; the piece promises to be a landmark addition to the University’s fiftieth-year celebrations and to Summer Music Week itself.

From image to poem: Patricia Debney's working process

From image to poem: Patricia Debney’s working process

Read more about the Ringing Changes project on the blog here; details and tickets for the concert on Friday 12 June here.

May 28

Summer Music Week is nearly here

In a completely spontaneous, unpremeditated and not-at-all contrived moment earlier, lots of students were found to have completely independently flocked to the Summer Music Week banner in order to share their excitement at all the events, which kick off next weekend. Fancy that…

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You too can share in their excitement; see all that’s coming up between Sunday 7 – Saturday 13 June online here. Who knows, next time we might find YOU spontaneously mobbing the banner…(tweet @UKCSummerMusic if you do…).

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