It’s not Christmas without a performance in the Music Department of Santa Baby, and we’re delighted to bring that annual tradition round again this month, albeit in a slightly different format.
Although we can’t bring you the traditional Christmas Swingalong, we hope you enjoy this short jazz session, featuring third-year singers Elle Soo (reading Social Anthropology) and Robbie Frederick (Comparative Literature and Drama) in a handful of festive favourites, concluding with the evergreen seasonal duet, Baby It’s Cold Outside.
A little festive cheer for us all…
Filmed in Colyer-Fergusson Hall; with thanks to Thomas Connor, Luke McCann and George Morris.
A remarkable event next week, in our first ‘virtual’ Lunchtime Concert – first-year international pianist from Canada and Music Performance Scholar at Kent and Medway Medical School, Michael Lam, will mark the occasion of the 250th anniversary of the birth of Beethoven next week with a filmed performance of the mammoth Piano Sonata in A major, Op.101.
A keen enthusiast of Beethoven’s rich repertoire for piano, the performance, which was filmed in Colyer-Fergusson Hall earlier today on the University’s Steinway piano, will be Premiered on the Music Department’s YouTube channel as part of this year’s Beethoven anniversary celebrations.
Michael’s performance will be a continuous, unedited take, of the first of Beethoven’s Late Period piano sonatas, rich in complexity and a formidable challenge to pianists everywhere.
The Premiere is free to watch online on YouTube on the Music department’s channel here: to whet your appetites, you can watch Michael performing three pieces from Bach’s Anna Magdalena Notebook, filmed earlier this term, online here.
Former Erasmus student and musician, Laura Osswald, recently spoke about her experience at Kent, and her involvement in extra-curricular music during her time at the University, in an interview with the Dean of Internationalisation, Anthony Manning.
Laura’s interview is part of a series, My Journey to Kent, in which students share their experience; Laura highlights the value of the threated Erasmus programme, and how being involved in music helped form friendships which still endure.
Erasmus-student, cellist and singer, Laura Osswald, looks back on her time as part of extra-curricular music-making, and how she continues to be involved all the way from her home Germany during lockdown.
More than two months have passed since I have left the University of Kent. But the connection with the Music Department is still strong and will continue to be.
Looking back on my Erasmus semester in Canterbury, music and the amazing people I got to know through it were a huge part of what turned this time into a great, enriching experience. Music allowed me to develop friendships not just based on the common fate of going to the same lecture or living in the same flat, but based on the shared passion of making music, especially making music together with others.
Within the music department, I never felt like a stranger – instead, going into the Colyer-Fergusson building more and more felt like coming home.
Being part of the Symphony Orchestra, the Cecilian Choir and the String Sinfonia and several small groups, I was very involved in the Music Department from the start. In my blogpost from November, I could only look back on the first concerts, but many more have followed. Christmas time had started wonderfully with the Advent Breathing Space with the Cecilian Choir in the medieval St Michael’s Church in Hernhill. My first term then ended with the fantastic concert with the Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. 2020 continued to be full of various musical activities. For Alice in Wonderland, I got the chance of not only singing in a choir, but also dancing as a playing-card which I enjoyed very much!
With the amazing University Camerata, we had a nice family concert of Peter and the Wolf where I was leading the cello section – so exciting and a great experience! I also continued to make chamber music: I joined a string quartet that performed at the Law Ball and a piano trio. With the Symphony Orchestra and String Sinfonia, we worked hard on our repertoire for the concerts in the end of March and I loved our rehearsals – but unfortunately, Covid-19 came in the way. Particularly the cancellation of the Cathedral Concert was very sad for me as it would have offered the unique opportunity to play in the impressive Canterbury Cathedral – I even would have had a small solo in Duruflé’s Requiem. It would have been a great finale for my musical time in Kent.
But then, we found an alternative ending: a Facebook livestream concert with a piano quintet playing the beautiful music of Ólafur Arnalds. This was actually a dream of mine coming true, since I have loved his music for years and always wanted to play it myself – and now I could, together with four amazing musicians. I am very thankful that this happened, giving me a perfect ending to my Erasmus semester and bringing a bit of calm and peace into a troubled world.
When I think of all the music-making and concerts I have been part of, I am incredibly grateful that I had this opportunity and I am so happy I could experience all of this before the coronavirus started to change our lives so much. However, a positive side-effect is the emergence of the virtual music projects! Thanks to the great commitment of Dan Harding and the wonders of technology, I can continue playing with the people I love and miss. Of course, this is very different from making music together face-to-face and it can’t quite replace it, but nevertheless it is a beautiful opportunity to maintain my connection to Canterbury, the Music Department and joint music-making in general.
The music, the memories and the people will stay in my heart. Thank you for welcoming me in Canterbury with open arms, I hope I can come back one day.
The Virtual Music Project (see previous post here) is in full swing – adjective applicable if you’re thinking about the Duke Ellington, perhaps not quite so if you’re aware of the Vivaldi Gloria performance which we’re building…then again…!
We’re delighted to share the first fruits of the collaboration which brings together University students, staff, alumni and their families in a virtual rendition of the first movement of Vivaldi’s glowing choral work. Each track has been recorded individually by participants during the current lockdown period, ranging right across the country from Canterbury through London to Somerset, Bristol, Northamptonshire and even across Europe to Germany, Luxembourg and reaching even as far as Japan, proving the universality of music as a means of coming together.
The first movement is also available to listen in a project Playlist on SoundCloud, alongside some of the early mixes of instruments and strings only, and a brief excerpt from an early mix of the virtual Dance Orchestra’s building Duke Ellington’s Dont Get Around Much Anymore.
I’m hugely grateful to everyone involved in bringing this project to digital life, for their enthusiasm, commitment and for taking the time to learn and record their individual contributions; it really is a wonderful example of the University community doing what it is good at – coming together, supporting one another, and making remarkable things happen.
Now onto the second movement and a piece by Mozart…!
Because it does. Doesn't it ? Blogging about extra-curricular musical life at the University of Kent.