Category Archives: Keeping It Real: reviews.

Concerts and events reviews.

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: Composer in Focus: John Woolrich

Many thanks to everyone involved in Saturday’s Composer in Focus event; a great opportunity to hear from John Woolrich, a major figure on the British compositional landscape, about his approach to composition, relationship to music from the past, and ideas behind the pieces performed by the University Symphony Orchestra, String Sinfonia and Music Scholar pianists.

John is currently Associate Artist, and has been in attendance at rehearsals and a recent performance by the String Sinfonia in Folkestone as we prepared for Saturday.

The event was an opportunity to bring University musicians and John together to explore two of his works; Ulysses Awakes and Gesänge der Frühe, pieces with two distinct relationships to music of the past. As part of the event, John also talked about his approach to composing, the context surrounding the music performed, and learning from models of the past – musical ‘echoes’ being a particular, fascinating aspect of John’s music.

Composer John Woolrich pays close heed to the rehearsal

Thanks to Flo Peycelon for directing the String Sinfonia, to second-year postgraduate Architecture student and Music Scholar Charlotte Cane for playing the solo viola in John’s Ulysses Wakes; and also to second-year Chemistry postgrad and Music Scholar, Kira Hilton, who played the solo viola in performances of the same piece at Folkestone’s Cafe Eleto and at Studio 3 Gallery on the University campus recently.

The University Sypmhony Orchestra

Thanks to all the musicians, including Scholar pianists Will Morgan (Economics), Michael Lam (Kent and Medway Medical School) and Hana Faizuramira (Politics and International Relations).

Pianist and KMMS Music Scholar, Michael Lam
Third-year Economics student and Music Scholar, Will Morgan
Postgraduate in Politics and International Relations and Music Scholar, Hana Faizuramira

Contemporary music really is the lifeblood of our times; it writes in the urgent language of Now, addressing today’s concerns, and as we heard, is often mindful of its relationship to the past; how fantastic to have brought one of its exponents in to work with the Music department this week. Thank you to John for his support, and for being a wonderfully generous and insightful ‘In Conversation’ guest.

John Woolrich with director of the String Sinfonia, Flo Peycelon
Second-year Architecture postgrad and Music Scholar, Charlotte Cane, with composer John Woolrich before performing his ‘Ulysses Awakes’
John Woolrich in conversation with Head of Music Performance, Dan Harding
Second-year Chemistry postgrad and Music Scholar, Kira Hilton, with John Woolrich

Images © Nathan Eaton-Baudains / University of Kent

Image Gallery: Colyer-Fergusson Cathedral Concert: in rehearsal

Congratulations to all the members of the University Chorus and Symphony Orchestra on Saturday’s electrifying return to Canterbury Cathedral. For the first time since 2019, the annual Colyer-Fergusson concert resounded in the Cathedral Nave, and we were delighted to welcome back several alumni to take part.

Thank you also to our fantastic soloists: soprano Rachel Nicholls, mezzo Emma Stannard, and two Kent alumni, tenor Andrew Macnair and bass-baritone Piran Legg.

Images © Chris Wenham / University of Kent

In pictures: Music Scholars’ masterclass with London Conchord Ensemble

It’s never easy to take part in an instrumental masterclass; it’s like having a very public lesson, with someone you’ve only just met, who’s asking you to produce instant results in the way you play.

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So it’s many congratulations to flautists Rena Ward, Yuyu Hosokawa and Kiran Dehal, and pianists Will Morgan and Hana Fairuzamira, on this afternoon’s masterclass with members of London Conchord Ensemble, working on the three movements of the Poulenc Flute Sonata. The session followed on from the ensemble’s Lunchtime Concert, and was a great opportunity for some of this year’s Music Performance Scholars and Music Award Holders to work on Poulenc’s challenging work.

Cecilian Choir sings Choral Evensong: watch on demand

Students, staff and alumni of the University sang at Canterbury Cathedral yesterday, taking part in the centuries-old tradition of Choral Evensong in the heart of the city as the University Cecilian Choir; as well as welcoming an in-person congregation, the event was also livestreamed.

The University of Kent Cecilian Choir lining up ready to process

Congratulations to everyone who took part, including visiting organist, John Wyatt, who played for the service, and to the Cathedral for welcoming the Choir. It’s a wonderful opportunity to sing in that richly-resonant acoustic as part of a lineage of worship across the centuries, and the performers enjoyed the service immensely.

The service remains online to watch on the Cathedral’s YouTube channel below.

Tidings of Comfort and Joy:Chorus and Orchestra back for the first time since December 2019

Congratulations to the University Chorus and Symphony Orchestra, together again for the first time in two years on Saturday for a sparklingly seasonal concert.

Photo: Charlotte Allioux

A sold-out house and an enthusiastic audience greeted the combined musical forces, embracing students, staff, alumni, and members of the local community in a programme including Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Christmas Carols with baritone Simon Thorpe, and Tchaikovsky’s glittering Nutcracker Suite.

Members of the Symphony Orchestra backstage before the performance

Thank you to everyone involved; a delight to be back making music together! We’re back next term with Haydn and Mendelssohn in Canterbury Cathedral…

The Symphony Orchestra rehearsing before the concert, conducted by Dan Harding. Photo: Jeni Martin

Different risks for the New Normal: a concert by Anne Müller

In an era when musicians (and in fact artists generally) are adapting to the current climate by presenting and performing online, I had the fortune recently to watch a streamed Wohnzimmer performance by cellist, composer and music-and-electronics exponent, Anne Müller.

Continue reading Different risks for the New Normal: a concert by Anne Müller

Lockdown Lunchtime Concert with University Music Scholars

In these unusual times, we’re pleased to present a ‘virtual’ Music Scholars’ Lunchtime Concert as part of a re-imagined Summer Music Week.

The concert featured several Music Performance Scholars and Award Holders, who had each filmed themselves performing in isolation from their homes around the country. From Scottish piping to French art-song, nimble woodwind pieces and a song from Disney’s Prince of Egypt, a novel way of highlighting just some of the musicians that take part in our extra-curricular music-making.

With thanks to all the performers (and their accompanists!) who took part.