Category Archives: Keeping It Real: reviews.

Concerts and events reviews.

Hannah’s American Diary: Part Two

Reporting in from the French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts as part of Camp America, the second entry in the diary of Music Scholar Hannah Ost


So the first of my three, three-week sessions at camp has come to an end. I can’t believe it but I’m now halfway through the second! Each day seems to pass by so slowly but looking back I can’t believe how fast it has actually gone.

Both of the shows for which I am Musical Director have opened and closed and went down very well with each audience. The little kids in Snow White were very cute and even though some of them are only eight, we still managed some two-part harmony with them! James and the Giant Peach was fantastic – I played Keyboard in the pit orchestra for that as well which was tough since I didn’t have much time to learn the score. It all came together in the end though and we had a fabulous three-night run during the festival weekend at camp.

Moving onto this session, I am the Musical Director for a show called Junie B Jones and along with my other MD, we have taught just over half the show in twelve one-hour rehearsals! Our dress rehearsal is next week; I am busy learning the piano score for the show as I will be playing in the pit for that show too.

That’s about all I have for now. I will bring another update after this session ends!


Read the first entry in Hannah’s American Diary here.

Strings on tour: String Sinfonia performing in CAST Gala concert

If you missed the String Sinfonia’s trip to Canada last month then fear not; here is the group performing Elgar’s Serenade for Strings as part of the Chinese Artists Society of Toronto’s Gala concert, directed by Floriane Peycelon.

The performance was the culmination of the ensemble’s five-day visit to Canada, which also saw them give a  Classical Connections concert at Toronto’s Varley Art Gallery, as part of the gallery’s recent exhibition.

With thanks to CAST Administrator, Lily Cheng, for the footage.

Fiercely committed playing: Tasmin Little opens StEdsFest

The newly-refurbished hall at St Edmund’s School bore witness last night to a bravura concert from violinist Tasmin Little and pianist Martin Roscoe, on the opening night of the school’s second summer festival.

The programme opened with a fiercely committed reading of Brahms’ Sonatensatz, alive to the drama of the turbulent opening, followed by a finely-crafted performance of Beethoven’s Sonata no.10 Op 96, in which both violinist and pianist were alert to every nuance. An exquisite rendition of Ravel’s Pièce en forme de Habanera opened the second half, which concluded with Franck’s epic Violin Sonata, an impassioned delivery, emotionally generous and brilliantly executed.

A riotous ovation from a packed, enthusiastic audience drew the performers back for two encores; a crafty Brahms Hungarian Dance full of wit and gypsy sass, and Salut d’amour by Elgar that brought a towering recital to a beautifully lyrical close. A terrific way to open this year’s St Edmund’s festival, which continues until 3 July.

Concert photos © Peter Cook / St Edmund’s School

Beach antics: Cellular Dynamics engages audiences at Beach Creative

The Herne Bay community is currently enjoying the evolving Cellular Dynamics project, as scientific research and live music combine in a two-week residency at Beach Creative, the community’s thriving arts centre

Saturday night saw a performance of music combined with live image- and video-projections by Deputy Head of the School of Biosciences, Dr Dan Lloyd, and Your Loyal Correspondent, set amidst the photographic exhibition accompanying the project, which has been on show since Tuesday and lasts until 1 July. The live piano works performed included John Cage’s hypnotic In A Landscape, the mesmerising Opening by Philip Glass, and pieces by Debussy and Tarik O’Regan, alongside hi-resolution spectroscopy and images drawn from the scientific environment.

The audience enjoyed pre-performance refreshments and a short introductory talk about the project at the University, before the performance. Uniquely amongst the various incarnations of the project which have previously taken place, this one saw both performers sat surrounded by the audience, creating a highly intimate atmosphere, with each piece prefaced by an informal Q&A session.

A display cabinet also presented functional peripherals from the research laboratory as objets d’art; another aspect of looking at the scientific landscape in a creative way.

The exhibition continues at Beach Creative until 1 July, and admission is free; Cellular Dynamics next appears as part of the Norwich Science Festival in October.

Image Gallery: Chamber Choir #EarBox and Breathing Space events

Many congratulations to the University Chamber Choir, which Friday performed at two very different events on the same day.

The lunchtime concert in Studio 3 Gallery saw the Choir fill the resonant space against the backdrop of the gallery’s latest exhibition, ‘The Ash Archive,’ to an audience that just kept on arriving – never have so many chairs been called for! Thanks to Rose Thompson, the gallery’s co-ordinator, for helping to bring the event together.

Later that evening, the Choir travelled out to the village of Hernhill, to sing at the church’s Breathing Space event, a sequence of music and silence by candlelight that afforded an hour-long period of tranquility, calm and reflection. Our thanks to Reverend Paulette Stubbings for making the Choir so welcome, we hope to return to St Michael’s in May – watch this space…

The Chamber Choir is back in action this Friday when it performs in the Eastern Crypt of Canterbury Cathedral, in a programme including Pergolesi’s vivid Stabat Mater.

The most wonderful time of the year…

And so our music-making this term came to a festive conclusion last night, in the company of the University Big Band, directed by Ian Swatman.The annual Christmas Swingalong always draws a packed crowd, and last night was no exception, audience spilling out onto the balcony around the hall to enjoy a lively seasonal programme with jazz-infused takes on traditional repertoire. Third-year singer Dottie Grenfell joined the band for renditions including The Man With The Bag and Santa Baby; the Brass Band provided the accompaniment for communal carols to the give the Big Band a breather, and the event came to a conclusion with Dottie leading everyone in White Christmas.

The enthusiastic audience flooded out into the foyer afterwards to the strains of a jazz trio with pianist and alumnus Chris Manley (a neat touch). Congratulations to everyone involved, the foyer was buzzing afterwards (nothing to do with the mulled wine and mince pies, of course…) and Colyer-Fergusson was brimful of Christmas cheer.