A musical tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II: Farewell to Stromness

As a reflective tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II, Head of Music Performance, Dan Harding, plays the gently meditative Farewell to Stromness, written by a former Master of the Queen’s Music, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.

The piece was written by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies CH CBE (1934 – 2016), who from 2004 to 2014 was Master of the Queen’s Music, a position previously held by composers including Sir Edward Elgar and Arnold Bax, and most recently by Dame Judith Weir. The piece was premiered in 1980, and rose to particular popularity after being performed at the marriage of the then Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall in 2005 in an arrangement for strings.

The village of Stromness lies on the largest of the Orkney Islands, off the coast of Scotland, where the composer lived and worked.The piece was also performed at the service of thanksgiving for the life of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 12 September, 2022 at St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh.

Filmed in the Colyer-Fergusson Building on the University of Kent’s Canterbury campus.

Was It Good For You: international student Charlotte Jeanneret reflects

Charlotte Jeanneret, who studied at Kent last year in the School of English as an exchange student and played the flute in Concert Band and sang in Chorus in the Music department, looks back on her experience.


Music has been the highlight of my experience as an exchange student at the University of Kent.

Charlotte Jeanet (centre) and other musicians before the spring concert in Canterbury Cathedral

I must say the many extracurricular opportunities are what made me choose Canterbury in the first place, but I never thought it would bring me so much joy and discoveries. Indeed, for example, I used to be stuck with the idea that I could not sing… But the openness of the University Chorus convinced me to take it up and I loved it so much that I am now considering joining the choir of my home university, here in Switzerland!

First-year Music Performance Scholar, Yuyu, and Charlotte pictured backstage during Summer Music Week

Although I still have nightmares about Goodwin’s Freefall [who chose that ?! Ed] Wednesday evenings with the Concert Band were always very entertaining and spurred me on musically more than any other ensemble I have ever been part of.  I left for England with just one flute and came back with a piccolo also!

University Concert Band performing in Summer Music Week, conducted by Ian Swatman
University Chorus rehearsing in Canterbury Cathedral ahead of the Spring concert

Finally, music at Kent has allowed me to meet beautiful people with whom I have loved practising, sharing stands and scores, and who have become awesome friends.

I already look forward to coming back.

Was It Good For You: Felicity Bourdillon reflects

Recent graduate from the School of Psychology and Music Award holder, soprano Felicity Bourdillon, President of the Music Society 2021-22,reflects on being involved in extra-curricular music as part of her experience at the University.


When I joined Kent, joining the Music Society, and getting involved with the music department was one of the best decisions I made.

Felicity (front row, middle) with the Chamber Choir performing in the Crypt of Canterbury Cathedral.

During my time at the university, I sang in multiple choirs and was able to experience many different opportunities by singing in a number of unique and historical venues; singing in Canterbury Cathedral is always such an amazing experience! The Colyer-Fergusson building is such a special place for many members of the  Music Department as it is where we came together for our rehearsals, concerts and where we share many student memories.

Minerva Voices, the upper voices chamber choir, singing at the University Carol Service in Canterbury Cathedral

During my time in the music department, I gained so much confidence not only as a musician but as an individual. I was able to develop so many skills and found my singing abilities to improve greatly over the years I was at Kent as a result of the opportunities within the Music Department. This is due to being surrounded by so many other young musicians and the amazing music department staff that always encourage and support you to challenge yourself musically.

Filming a Scholars’ Spotlight in Colyer-Fergusson Hall during the pandemic 

By being part of the music department and the Kent Music Society, I was able to meet so many lovely people; joining in first year as a fresher can be so daunting but the members of the music society were so welcoming. Meeting so many people who share the same passion and love for music making is such a lovely experience and working with them towards concerts is very rewarding. The music department is where I met many of my closest friends and to have all these shared music experiences, makes the friendships even stronger.

Felicity making her valedictory speech as the outgoing President of the Music Society at the Gala concert marking the end of Summer Music Week 

University Music Prizes recognise outstanding contributions to music-making

One of the highlights of Summer Music Week is the Music Prizes ceremony, an occasion to recognise the outstanding contributions made by some of those taking part in extra-curricular music over the course of the academic year.  This year, we were especially delighted to return to the in-person ceremony, which follows the annual Music Scholars’ Lunchtime Recital, and to welcome supporters, benefactors and guests for the first time since 2019.

Charlotte Cane receives her prize from Rosie Turner, Director of the Canterbury Festival

Director of the Canterbury Festival, Rosie Turner, was present to award the Canterbury Festival Prize, awarded annually to a  final-year student who has made an outstanding contribution to music at the University. This year’s winner was second-year postgraduate Architecture student, Charlotte Cane;  a Music Performance Scholar, leading the second violin section in the Symphony Orchestra as well as playing viola in the autumn term, and a viola player in the String Sinfonia, Charlotte also performed the solo viola part in Ulysses Awakes by John Woolrich in the Composer in Focus event with both the composer and her teacher present. 

Professor Keith Mander presents the Colyer-Fergusson Prize to third-year Holly Porton

Former Pro Vice Chancellor and current Chair of the Board of Canterbury Festival, Professor Keith Mander, presented the  Colyer-Fergusson Music Prize: awarded to a student who has made a major contribution to the organisation of music at the University. This year’s winner was second-year Architecture student, Holly Porton;   Secretary to the Music Society, Holly has been particularly helpful in dealing with administrative connections between the Music department and the Music Society. Holly also played clarinet in the Symphony Orchestra and Concert Band, violin in the String Sinfonia, and played piano in the pit band for the spring production by the Musical Theatre Society. 

Second-year postgraduate Biomedical Science student, Kammy Pike, receives her prize from Head of Music Performance, Dan Harding

The John Craven Music Prize: awarded to a returning student who has made a major contribution to music at the University, and this year was awarded jointly to Kammy Pike and Michael Lam. Second-year postgraduate in Biosciences and a Music Performance  Scholar, Kammy Pike has led the Symphony Orchestra this year including in the annual Cathedral Concert, and also plays in the String Sinfonia, with whom she played the final solo movement of Vivaldi’s Spring in a recent performance. 

KMMS Music Performance Scholar, Michael Lam, performing in Colyer-Fergusson Hall in April 2022

Second-year undergraduate and a Music Performance Scholar in the Kent and Medway Medical School, Michael Lam gave an outstanding recital as part of the spring term’s Lunchtime Concert series, the first student to be invited to do so, delivering a highly-accomplished programme entirely from memory. He also played the celeste part in the December concert in Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite. The John Craven prizes were presented by Head of Music Performance, Dan Harding (awarded to Michael in absentia, as Michael was on placement throughout the week).

Joanna Adaran (l) and Felicity Bourdillon and Nathan Sharp (r) with David Humphreys’ daughters

The David Humphreys Music Prize is warded to a student who has made a particularly special contribution to music-making; this year, it was awarded jointly to Joanna Adaran, Felicity Bourdillon and Nathan Sharp , and presented by David’s daughters, Belinda and Jo, who spoke briefly about their father’s enjoyment of, and support for, music.

Final-year Comparative Literature and Drama student, Joanna Adaran is a Music Performance Scholar and has been a major participant in this year’s activities by the Musical Theatre Society in showcases and events, and also had a principal role in the society’s production of The Hunchback of Notre-Dame performed in the Great Hall of Kent College in March. She also sings with the Cecilian Choir. 

Final-year Drama and Comparative Literature student, Joanna Adaran, receiving her prize

Final-year Psychology student Felicity Bourdillon holds a Music Performance Award; she has really grown in her abilities this year, taking a lead role in the Chamber Choir, Cecilian Choir and Chorus; she sang the opening solo verse in the University Carol Service at the Cathedral in December, and will be singing the solo Pie Jesu movement of Faure’s Requiem in the chamber choir Crypt concert in June. Her singing has really developed this year, and she has led the soprano section in chamber choir particularly with authority. 

Final-year Psychology student, Felicity Bourdillon (r), receives her prize

Second-year Music and Audio Production student and Music Performance Scholar, drummer Nathan Sharp has been a major force behind the weekly live music nights and Open Mic nights at the Deep End venue in Medway with the Medway Music Society, playing in numerous bands and also being partly responsible for organising the events. He also performed in the Pop Platform event in the Gulbenkian Café in December. 

Second-year Music and Audio Technology student, Nathan Sharp, collects his prize

The final prize, presented by the Director of  Engagement, Philip Pothen, was the University of Kent First-Year Music Prize, which is occasionally awarded to a student who has made a major contribution to music in their first year , and which was awarded to to Yuyu Hosokawa.  Yuyu is a highly accomplished flautist, a Music Performance Scholar and a vital member of the woodwind section in the Symphony Orchestra, playing with poise in both the December and the March Cathedral concerts, as well as taking part in a Music Scholars’ masterclass with the London Conchord Ensemble in March.

Together with the Music Scholars’ Lunchtime Recital which precedes the award ceremony, the two events are an excellent opportunity to highlight some of our outstanding performers and participants who have made such a vital contribution through participating in extra-curricular music alongside their studies, taking the opportunity to engage in rehearsals and performances as part of their cultural life whilst at Kent.

Some of the recital performers, prize winners and prize-givers together after the event

Congratulations to all the prize-winners, and our thanks to all the guests, supporters, and those presenting the prizes, as well as to the performers and all those who came along to support the event.

Images © Chris Wenham / University of Kent

Image Gallery: Summer Music Week: Part Five: Saturday Gala

The closing rehearsals and concert to bring both Summer Music Week and the musical year at the University to a rousing conclusion, featuring the Symphony Orchestra, Chorus, Minerva Voices, and soloists Will Morgan (Economics) and Ridima Sur (Physics), together with a closing speech from the outgoing President of this year’s Music Society, final-year Psychology student Felicity Bourdillon.

Images © Chris Wenham / University of Kent

Image Gallery: Summer Music Week: Part Three: String Sinfonia

The University String Sinfonia celebrate music for string orchestra on Day Three of Summer Music Week, directed by Flo Peycelon. The programme included final-year Economics student Jenny Pang in Massenet’s Meditation and second-year Architecture student, Kammy Pike, in Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending, as well as the premiere of a work by Canterbury-based composer, Matthew Brown.

Images © Chris Wenham / University of Kent