Category Archives: Notes on Music

The philosophy of music: or the music of philosophy ?

Standing ovation for this year’s Cathedral performance

Many congratulations to everyone in the University Chorus and Orchestra, who received a standing ovation at the end of Saturday’s epic performance in Canterbury Cathedral.

This year’s annual Colyer-Fergusson concert, in honour of Sir James Colyer-Fergusson, saw the combined ranks of students, staff, alumni and members of the local community coming together to present Brahms’ inventive Symphony no.4, alongside Fauré’s Requiem, performed to the mark the centenary this year of the composer’s death.

Photo by Hilary Edridge

Conducted by Your Local Correspondent, and joined by soprano soloist Julie Bale and baritone soloist Ben Bevan, the concert was a resounding success, greeted with an enthusiastic ovation from the audience who stood and applauded as the final notes of the Requiem receded down the Nave.

Plenty of happy faces in the Chapter House, which functioned as the dressing-room on the night, as evidenced in these images of some of the choir and orchestra.

Formal photographs to follow; thank you to everyone who took part.

Scholars’ Spotlight: a profile of Rachel Fung

In her second year studying Law, Rachel Fung is a University Music Performance Scholar, singing in the Chamber Choir, Cecilian Choir, Minerva Voices, playing the violin in String Sinfonia, and also singing in scholar lunchtime concerts. Here, Rachel reflects on her experience being involved in extra-curricular music, and the possibilities offered by the Music Scholarship she holds.

I entered the University when I was in Clearing, realising that the music-related Scholarship excited my vision to come to Kent. I’ve always been dreaming of being a lawyer, to uphold justice; I was born and raised in Hong King, where the social movements in 2014 and 2019 have been a major point for me to pursue a legal career.

I’ve been studying three music instruments since I was 3; being eligible for the Music Scholarship has definitely persuaded me to continue making music alongside my academic life. As I am a singing scholar, I’m involved in the choirs at Kent, and a singing lesson every two weeks. My uni life has been made more fruitful as I’ve got the opportunity to meet like-minded friends.

I like how the staff have been so supportive throughout the year, and very responsive. The facilities are very accessible and I really enjoyed myself coming to the Colyer-Fergusson Building! I enjoy music activities and was really grateful when I made many like-minded friends. The staff are really friendly and really hope for the best from you; I’ve definitely improved in terms of my singing abilities. The performance at the end of last year which I performed in is one of my fondest memories so far, it was also streamed online!

I’m hoping to enter the legal field, but apart from that, I’ve love to be a donor for the Music Performance Scholarship in the future, to continue this kind act. People really benefit from the scholarship, and I do think the scholarship improves the uni as a whole.

Dive into Moonbeam Theatre with Drama graduate Maddie Rigby

Currently on tour, and having recently performed at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Moonbeam Theatre features former Music Society Secretary and clarinettist in Orchestra and Concert Band, Madeleine Rigby (pictured below).  Maddie studied Drama and Theatre Studies at Kent, graduating in 2021 having been Music Society Secretary (as well as Social Secretary in her second year). Moonbeam Theatre is part of the Graduate Artist programme in the School of Arts’ Drama department; here, Maddie reflects on the purpose of the theatre company, being part of the Edinburgh Fringe festival, and their recently launched DIVE playlist on Spotify.

Moonbeam Theatre are a non-profit company who create multi-sensory theatre for children with profound and multiple learning disabilities and special educational needs. We’ve been a graduate theatre company at the University of Kent since 2020 and have been facilitating workshops and shows ever since. We’ve had a busy year this year, taking our show DIVE on tour. DIVE is a multi-sensory under-the-sea adventure which encourages our participants to get involved in exploring the ocean setting of the performance. We’ve visited over 50 SEN schools, charities and community groups and this summer made our Edinburgh Fringe Festival debut.

Being a part of EdFringe was a real bucket list achievement, and having sold out shows was amazing! The reviews we’ve received from all our audiences have been incredible and we are already planning our next show, which is all about  The Garden, to tour for 2024. As a University of Kent music department alumna, I am very pleased to say I even play my clarinet in the show! [Well done, Maddie: keep playing!]

But even more exciting is that we have just released the DIVE soundtrack on Spotify; as a company we wanted to make sure our audiences had access to the music so they could continue to experience DIVE in their own spaces or simply keep listening to the relaxing sounds of our ocean setting. To create the music we worked with our music producer, Adam Pattrick, who helped us put all our ideas together. The tracks were created to be ambient and calming, but watch out for the The Chatty Clam’s Hideout as that’s the exception!

You can find the album on Spotify here. ‘Ocean Waves’ is gently hypnotic, very relaxing, and perfect for listeners young and maybe not-so-young too…! There’s the lulling, echoing ‘The Seaweed Forest,’ or the joyous ‘Coral Cove,’ sure to get young toes wriggling. Moonbeam Theatre’s website is here, or see what they’re currently up to on Facebook here.

Celebrating student success: Music Prizes 2023

One of the many pleasures during Summer Music Week is the opportunity it affords to recognise particular outstanding contributions to extra-curricular music-making over the year in the annual Music Prize ceremony.

Following hard upon the Music Scholars’ Lunchtime Recital which took place on the Tuesday of this year’s music festival, the ceremony, hosted by Professor Dan Lloyd, Director of Education in the School of Natural Sciences, gives us the opportunity to celebrate particular talent amongst our community of student musicians at the University.

The Canterbury Festival Prize is awarded annually to a  final-year student who has made an outstanding contribution to music at the University. This year’s winner was Biomedical Science student and Music Performance Scholar, Ellie Gould. Ellie has performed numerous times throughout her time at Kent, including singing the solo verse in front of a massed congregation to open the University Carol Service in Canterbury Cathedral; a larger-than-life performance as the Queen of Hearts in a production of Alice in Wonderland: a Musical Dream-Play; singing solos in Faure’s Requiem and Handel’s Messiah; she has been a committed member of University Chorus, Chamber Choir, Cecilian Choir and Minerva Voices, and also sang a particularly challenging song-cycle by John Woolrich as part of a Music Scholars’ Lunchtime Recital. A relentlessly enthusiastic member of the music community, Ellie is also the outgoing President of this year’s Music Society; she received her prize from the Chair of the Canterbury Festival, Professor Keith Mander.

The Colyer-Fergusson Prize is awarded to a student who has made a major contribution to the organisation of music at the University; this year, the prize was awarded jointly to Music Performance Scholars Emily Toman and Nathan Sharp, both of whom are on the Music Audio and Production course in Medway. Together they have been the driving force behind this year’s Medway Music Society, energising activities in Medway by organising the weekly Tuesday night gigs at The Deep End, and also playing as the house hand, regularly learning around ten to fifteen songs each week to allow other students to take the spotlight. Their prize was awarded on behalf of the Colyer-Fergusson Charitable Trust by Professor Keith Mander.

The John Craven Music Prize is awarded to a returning student who has made a major contribution to music at the University, and this year was awarded jointly to Yuyu Hosokawa and Oliver McGinnes. Hailing from Tokyo and in her second year studying Law and Politics, Yuyu has been an outstanding member of the orchestral woodwind section and Concert Band, also playing as part of the Scholars’ Lunchtime Recital, the Crypt Concert in Canterbury Cathedral, and as part of a lecture exploring science and creativity involving Sir Paul Nurse, Director of the Crick Institute.

In his second year reading History, trombonist Oliver has been a stalwart of the brass section in both Orchestra and Concert Band, as well as playing in the Scholars’ Lunchtime Recital and the same lecture with Sir Paul Nurse, as well as in a workshop with the renowned Delta Sax Quartet. Their prizes were awarded by Professor Dan Lloyd.

The David Humphreys Music Prize is awarded to a student who has made a particularly special contribution to music-making; on this occasion, it was awarded not to a single student, but to the combined forces of Kent Gospel Choir, in recognition of their competition-winning performance in Croydon which led to their winning the University Gospel Choir of the Year competition. To receive prize on behalf of the choir were two Psychology students, Elizabeth Oyebola (President) and Simon Greaves (Choir leader), who received the prize from two of David Humphrey’s daughters, Josephine and Sophie, who came especially for the occasion.

Finally, the University First-Year Music Prize, which is occasionally awarded to a student who has made a major contribution to music in their first year, was this year awarded jointly to Masters students Sarah Strike and Teerapat Jerawattanakaset. Hailing from Florida and studying Social Psychology, Sarah has been an outstanding member of the Orchestral woodwind section, playing both flute and piccolo, and also as part of the Scholar’s Baroque Lunchtime Concert.

Teerapat, a Business Analytics Masters student from Bangkok, has similarly made an outstanding contribution playing both oboe and cor anglais in the Orchestra woodwind section as well as in Concert Band this year, and also played in the Scholars’ Baroque Lunchtime Concert, as well as with the String Sinfonia on both oboe and double-bass.

It’s a real measure of their commitment to (and enthusiasm for) fitting rehearsals and performances around their academic studies, making time during afternoons, evenings and weekends to participate in all that the Music department offers as part of the students experience at the University; their ability to manage their time effectively and still be able to practice and perform to such a high standard is a credit to them, and we’re hugely grateful for all their involvement throughout the year.

Congratulations to them all!

In pictures: Summer Music Week 2023

Another year of extra-curricular music-making has come to a close with this year’s Summer Music Week. Taking place across eight days, the series of concerts ranged from the evocative Crypt of Canterbury Cathedral to a sun-drenched trip to the seaside and Deal Bandstand, two Scholars’ Lunchtime Concerts, the ceremony for this year’s Music Prize Winners (about which more shortly…) and more, all coming to a rousing finale with the closing Saturday gala.

Here are some of the images capturing this year’s series of events; as always, our enormous thanks to everyone who took part – students and staff at a particularly busy time in the academic year, alumni, and members of the local community – in a splendid festival. There’s always a wonderful community feeling to the week, as musicians come together for the last time, some for the final performance before graduating.  To those who are leaving: ave atque vale; to those who are returning in September, see you then!




View the full album of photos from throughout the week on our Facebook Page here.

Same again next year, then ?!

Images (c): Chris Wenham / University of Kent

Additional images by Laurence Leung / Dan Harding

Image Gallery part II; Chorus and Orchestra by Molly Hollman

Huge gratitude to percussionist and award-winning photographer Molly Hollman, who, went not diligently playing percussion in the orchestra on Saturday, took time during the rehearsal at Canterbury Cathedral to capture the atmosphere of the moment in these fabulous photographs.

Pictured here are University Chorus and Orchestra in action, rehearsing Requiem for the Living by Dan Forrest, ahead of a marvellous performance later that night.

Our thanks to Molly for permission to share these fantastic shots; all this and playing percussion too…!

Image Gallery: Chorus and Orchestra at the Cathedral

Last weekend saw the University Chorus and Orchestra come together for a blazing concert of Shostakovich’s Ninth Symphony and Dan Forrest’s epic Requiem for the Living, for the annual Colyer-Fergusson Cathedral Concert.

Here are photos of the combined forces in action rehearsing on the morning of the concert.

Images © Chris Wenham / University of Kent

You know someone great has gone: in memoriam Wayne Shorter

Tremendously sad to hear of the passing of Jazz Giant, legendary saxophonist Wayne Shorter, at the age of 89. whether as side-man in the Second Great Miles Davis Quintet, co-founder of  fusion giants Weather Report, working with Joni Mitchell, or forging his own solo albums such as Speak No Evil and Maiden Voyage, Shorter’s unique sound has been creating new paths in jazz since the 60s. Songs like ‘Footprints’ have become popular jazz standards, or another Shorter original,  the achingly lyrical ‘Infant Eyes’ from Speak No Evil;

Here’s Shorter weaving his unique magic alongside Joni Mitchell on the latter’s Mingus in Mingus’ own ‘Goodbye Pork Pie Hat:’

Listen to his heart-breakingly beautiful, lyrical playing on Miles’ timeless album In a Silent Way:

or his fiercely inventive sound on ‘Havona’ from Heavy Weather this weekend to commemorate a true Jazz Giant.

As Joni said, ‘You know someone great has gone…’