Access to history originally hidden from public view as SMFA Fine Art students present Lost in Storage at the Guildhall Museum, Rochester, 1st-5th April


School of Music and Fine Art students celebrate the unseen, the past and future through items usually hidden from public view at the Guildhall Museum, Rochester.

The 2nd year BA (Hons) Fine Art students’ vivid practices include textile work, community collaboration, painting, print, sculpture, wall paper design, installation, soundscape and interactive pieces. This exciting exhibition uncovers truth and tells new stories. New life has been given to archived objects; they are Lost in Storage no more.

Open Sat 1 – Tues 4 April, 10am-5pm and Weds 5th April 10am-3pm. (Closed Monday 3rd April). Free entry – all welcome! Private view: 31st of March 6-8pm.

SMFA’s Foundry Studios releases debut solo album from singer Sarah Dacey featuring new works by British composers


Calliope, the debut solo album from Sarah Dacey (soprano) and Belinda Jones (piano), featuring new works by British composers, will be released on the 26th March by the School of Music and Fine Art’s Foundry Studios.

Says Phil Marsh, Studio Manager, “We are delighted to sign this contract with such acclaimed performers.”

Singer, arranger and composer Sarah Dacey, is best known for being a member of one of the UK’s most groundbreaking groups, Juice Vocal Ensemble. She is Assistant Lecturer in Music Performance and freelance classical singer at SMFA.  Since her studies at York University and the RAM (where she met Belinda), Sarah has worked at the forefront of the contemporary music scene, premiering works at the ROH and Tête à Tête Opera Festival and singing with contemporary music groups such as The Riot Ensemble. This CD is her debut solo album and features songs by some of the UK’s finest composers – Kerry Andrew, Roger Marsh, Bushra El-Turk, Cecilia McDowall, Rob Fokkens, Duncan MacLeod and Geoffrey Hannan.

The subject matter of the songs is eclectic, including a song from a chipmunk who’s upset about having their stash of nuts stolen, poems about fruit, an absurd nursery tale of naughty children being turned into donkeys, a japanese ghost story and the diary entries of a schizophrenia sufferer. This showcase of Sarah and Belinda’s performance partnership is a wonderful example of the breadth of 21st century vocal repertoire available that’s seldom published or recorded.

“A strong, perky soprano…colourful, challenging and witty….There’s a talent there for the irreverent.” – Classical Source

“Gorgeous, soaring voice” – ***** Jerry Springer:The Opera, London Theatre 1

“The irrepressible Juice Vocal Ensemble – an all-female trio of astonishing variety, spark and brilliance – is proof that the sap is still rising in classical music.” – The Guardian

Sarah and Belinda are available for radio performances and interviews. For more information and contact details, please visit


More info about Sarah here:

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SMFA’s Foundry Studios signs recording contract with Ashford based rapper/singer songwriter Fennie Dizzle

Fennie Dizzle, 2017


Ashford based rapper/singer songwriter Fennie Dizzle has recently signed a recording contract with SMFA’s Foundry Studios. Says Phil Marsh, Studio Manager, “We are excited to be working with Fennie. Recording will commence at the end of April looking towards an early summer release date.”

Of the project, Fennie says:  “This is a Rap and Alternative R&B project  from my EP Open With Caution (OWC). It’s a live instrumentation version of a select few songs from the EP. With the Band exploring different rhythms and arrangements compared to the software instruments version of the EP.

The Message behind Open With Caution is pretty straight forward. I come from a place where I’ve always had to keep up a certain persona and appearance because of my religious background, family and social surroundings like many people do, so OWC is just me being free to talk about some of the things other people may not have thought I do, feel or see, hence the term ‘Open With Caution’.”


You can follow Fennie via @FendizzleTNC and  and

Shona Illingworth’s work featured in The Lancet Neurology

Time Present, 2016. Image by Shona Illingworth

No past, no future: studies in the art and science of memory is a fascinating article by Jules Morgan in The Lancet Neurology which explores artist and SMFA Fine Art Reader Shona Illingworth’s interdisciplinary research. It is out shortly in print but available to view online here:

Director of Graduate Studies in the School of Music and Fine Art, Shona Illingworth was shortlisted for the prestigious 2016 Jarman Award, and her widely exhibited work across sound, film, video, photography, drawing and painting combines interdisciplinary research (particularly with emerging neuropsychological models of memory and critical approaches to memory studies) with publicly engaged practice.


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Adam Chodzko speaks at the British Academy and exhibits in Hull

Adam Chodzko, 2017. Photo by Clay Barnard Chodzko


On March 13th, SMFA Senior Lecturer in Fine Art and acclaimed award-wining contemporary visual artist, Adam Chodzko, joins Cornelia Parker OBE, RA and Bob and Roberta Smith, RA for a panel discussion of former British School at Rome artist award-holders as they reflect on the impact of their time in Rome on their subsequent careers. Chaired by celebrated art historian, writer and curator Dawn Ades, the event Inspiring visual art: a view from Rome takes place from 6.00pm-7.30pm in London – more info here

From April 1st, Adam Chodzko also has work in group exhibition Offshore: Artists Explore the Sea at Ferens Art Gallery and Hull Maritime Museum, until 28th August and Sounding the Sea Symposium 15 – 16 June. This major new exhibition, part of Hull UK City of Culture 2017, is curated by Invisible Dust and will include new and existing works by internationally-renowned artists. It examines people’s relationship to the oceans as a source of food and energy, a dumping ground for waste and the reference point for many of our most haunting and significant myths.  Through a range of media these artists pose questions about our connection to and use of the sea. Invisible Dust has developed relationships between some of the artists with marine biologists and ecologists from OxfordSouthampton and Hull Universities. Being informed and influenced by the science is providing new stimulus to the artists’ ideas.  More info at

Exhibiting internationally since 1991, Adam Chodzko works across media, from video installation to subtle interventions, with a practice that is situated both within the gallery and the wider public realm.

New work from SMFA Music Technology student to be premiered in Kent

Jeriah Nadesan, MA student in Music Technology, 2017.


On 13 May at 7.30pm, the City of Rochester Symphony Orchestra (CRSO) premieres a new work by SMFA MA Music Technology student Jeriah Nadesan. The programme, conducted by director Peter Bassano also includes music by Brahms, Rodrigo, and Saint-Saens and takes place at The Central Theatre Chatham.

Says Jeriah, “My piece is called Glorious Streams and I have aimed to convey this in the flowing rhythms and rich harmonies the orchestra plays. When writing this piece I attempted to be less strict in keeping my composition traditionally classical, but allowed for the nuances of my musical influences such as Jazz, Gospel and Pop. I have also added some live electronics to this piece, using different types of synths, to accentuate the music the orchestra plays.”

Jeriah was born in South Africa, his family moving to England when he was 6 years old.  Comments the composer, who also achieved his BSc in Music Technology in the School of Music and Fine Art, “I grew up in a home that was always filled with all types of music as both my parents are singers and accomplished musicians.  I developed an interest in classical music as a result of studying classical piano. After completing my studies, I hope to pursue a career in Music Arrangement, Film Composition and Music Production.”

SMFA’s partnership with the CRSO has already resulted in 5 world premieres of music by student composers from the School of Music and Fine Art.

Formed in 1969, the CRSO has approximately 60 playing members, both amateur and professional musicians, who perform concerts at The Central Theatre, Chatham, and other venues in Kent. Rehearsals take place at the Pilkington Building, University of Kent at Medway, on Mondays, 7.45-9.45pm.


Tickets for the concert on 13 May are available from

For more details go to

SoundImageSound International Festival of New Music at SMFA


On Tuesday 7th March at 5pm in the Clock Tower Lecture Theatre, School of Music and Fine Art, there will be a screening of pieces from the SoundImageSound International Festival of New Music. Robert Coburn, Conservatory of Music, University of the Pacific, will present the works and give a short pre-concert talk.  This event is FREE to attend!

From 2003 to 2014, the SoundImageSound International Festival of New Music and Visual Image presented annual performances of new works by composers and visual artists who merged sound and image in a form of inter/multi-media. Curated from an open call for works, SIS featured a widely diverse collection of styles and media from artists across all continents. 

Robert Coburn 
Influenced by minimal visual art and traditional Japanese music and theatre, composer, performer, and sound artist Robert Coburn merges minimal sound and silence in a perceptual experience of time and personal memory.  His compositions often integrate field recordings with live performance and video. He was a founding member of the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology and has created gallery installations and permanent soundworks as public art throughout the US.

Works to be presented:
Polis (2003 – 04),  Joseph Harchanko/John Fillwalk,  9′
Lines (2006),  Stephanie Loveless,  9′ 30″
Boreales (2008-09),  Jean Piche,  10′ 30″
Juicy (2009),  Jaroslaw Kapuscinski,  10′ 44″
The Mechanism of Spring (2010),  Atsushi Wada,  4′ 20″
Kaze no Yume Part 1 (2012),  Robert Coburn,  10′

Haydn’s Nelson Mass performed in Royal Dockyard Church

The Royal Dockyard Church, Historic Dockyard Chatham


Haydn’s popular Nelson Mass will be performed in the Royal Dockyard Church, Chatham on Wednesday 29 March by the University of Kent Choir and Orchestra (Medway).

The Mass will be conducted by Dr Stelios Chatziiosifidis and the soprano will be School of Music and Fine Art alumna Philippa Hardiman. It will be preceded by a talk from Richard Holdsworth MBE about Nelson and the Historic Dockyard Chatham

In 1771, a 12 year-old Horatio Nelson arrived in Chatham to begin one of the most celebrated careers of all time.  In a unique collaboration to celebrate these historic connections between Britain’s most celebrated naval figure and the award winning Historic Dockyard Chatham, the School of Music and Fine Art (whose Medway campus is located on the Dockyard) and the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust present a performance of the present a performance of the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei of Haydn’s popular Nelson Mass.

The Nelson Mass is Haydn’s largest – and his only minor-key mass, set in D minor at the opening, but leading to a victorious D major finale.  It is also one of his most well-known and beloved choral works, and notable for the demands on the soprano soloist. Haydn later catalogued the Nelson Mass as Missa in Angustiis (mass for troubled times).

Comments Dr Ben Curry, Lecturer & Director of Music Programmes,  School of Music & Fine Art:

“The Nelson Mass is widely regarded as one of Haydn’s greatest works.  It’s performance in the Royal Dockyard Church, built around the time that the mass was composed, provides a unique opportunity to reflect upon and celebrate the drama and beauty of Haydn’s music and the extraordinary naval history of Chatham.”

The first half of the concert will feature items from the School of Music and Fine Art World Percussion Ensemble, Pop, Rock and Soul Choir, and Chamber Music Forum, and includes Bach Keyboard Concerto in F minor, 1st movement; Khachaturian trio for clarinet, violin and piano, 1st movement; Message Ground for two violins and bass guitar by Robert Davidson, Guitar Ensemble and Advanced Improvisation Group.

The concert starts at 7.30pm. Tickets, priced £10, are available for purchase from the Gulbenkian webpages and the Historic Dockyard.

Simon May, composer of East Enders theme, gives talk in School of Music and Fine Art


Simon May, one of the most successful and celebrated composers for television the UK has ever produced, will be giving a talk on Monday, 27th February from 10:30am – 12:30pm in the Clock Tower Lecture Theatre at the Historic Dockyard Chatham, together with music lecturer Richard Lightman, the School of Music & Fine Art’s Director of Employability Placement Coordinator and Admissions Officer.

Best known for writing the EastEnders theme, Simon’s long and impressive list of TV themes includes the 1980s smash-hit drama series Howards’ Way, as well as such perennial favourites as Holiday and Animal Park. In his book, Doof Doof: My Life in Music, Simon describes the creation of these works, and the success they brought, with self-deprecating humour and the sharp eye of the true professional.

Simon was a Choral Scholar at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, where he gained an MA (Hons) in French & German. He taught modern languages at Kingston Grammar School before signing to ATV Music as a professional songwriter. He is currently visiting Professor at the Faculty of Media, Arts and Society, Southampton Solent University who in 2015 conferred on him the degree of Honorary Doctor of Music. He is also Patron of the Devizes Junior Eisteddfod, Vice President  of the British Federation of Festivals and  Patron of the Swindon 105.5 Community Radio Station.  He currently teaches music therapy part time at his local school for Asperger students, Unsted Park near Godalming, Surrey.

Simon has received numerous awards and nominations for his music, including winning an Ivor Novello for Every Loser Wins and three TRIC Awards for Best TV Theme for EastEnders, Howard’s Way and Trainer. 


More info:

Please book for the talk via SMFA Reception – 01634 888980.

SMFA composer and lecturer in Amazon top 100

Tear Me Apart, 2015


A film for which composer and music lecturer Richard Lightman, the School of Music & Fine Art’s Director of Employability Placement Coordinator and Admissions Officer, wrote the music score features in the top 100 choice for Amazon Prime. Directed by Alex Lightman, Tear Me Apart , a dystopian cannibal love story, received its European premiere at the International Ravenna Nightmare Horror Film Festival, Italy and had its world premiere at the annual Austin Film Festival in Texas on 31 October 2015. It was also selected for the Bronx International Film Festival and Newport Beach Film Festival, USA in 2016. You can find more about the film here and

Hailing from Montreal, Canada, Richard is a composer, producer, sound design practitioner, lecturer and researcher  who has composed for a many artists, films and television series including Eldorado, America’s Most Wanted and The Big Miracle, news and current affairs programmes, TV and radio commercials, and contributed to the sound design of a number of Hollywood films including An American Werewolf in London, Herbie Goes Bananas, Superman II, III & IV, Flash Gordon and Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

As the Chief Executive Officer of the Music Producers Guild, he has produced over 35 albums, covering a wide spectrum of music including Heavy Metal, Reggae, Blues, Bollywood, Bhangra, Rock and Roll, New Age, Jazz, Pop and Garage, and played on over 170 recordings and performed in 28 countries on 5 continents.


More info here

And here