Tag Archives: Colyer-Fergusson

Gone Clubbing: Scholars at the Canterbury Festival

Another packed house last Friday greeted several of the University’s Music Scholars, in their annual lunchtime recital at the Festival Club, accompanied by Deputy Director of Music, Dan Harding.

Heart and Sole: Paris Noble and Sarah Davies display their concert footwear

A rare opportunity to hear not one, but two tubas, with third-year Architecture student Chris Gray, accompanied by his teacher, Steve Wassall, giving a deft reading of a Bach Two-Part Invention and the Minuet and Ecossaise from Catelinet’s ‘Suite in Miniature.’ Not only is Chris a member of the Symphony Orchestra, Concert Band and Chorus, he’s also President of the Music Society this year: as he said to me in rehearsal, ”It’s like I’m doing Music with some Architecture on the side.’ A busy man indeed…

Soprano and second-year Drama student Paris Noble swept on-stage to portray three different damsels in distress: O mio babbino caro from Puccini’s ‘Gianni Schicchi,’ Granados’ coquettish El majo discreto, and finishing with Loewe’s dizzying I Could Have Danced All Night from ‘My Fair Lady.’

Second-year Historian, Kathryn Redgers, principal flautist with the Symphony Orchestra and section leader in Concert Band, then gave a dazzling reading of Chaminade’s Concertino, the piece for which Chaminade is chiefly remembered; a child-prodigy, Chaminade once played some of her compositions to Bizet. Kathryn gave an accomplished performance, showing great skill in matching the challenge of the piece’s virtuosic demands, including a finely-crafted cadenza.

Top brass: Steve Wassall and Chris Gray

Final-year English Literature student Sarah Davies, also in Orchestra and Concert Band and Treasurer of the Music Society this year, gave a suitably poised performance of the second movement of  Saint-Saëns’ neo-Classical Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, followed by Gershwin’s jazzy Walkin’ the Dog, which had a swggering,  sassy swing.

Chris and Steve then showed the tuba can be as fleet of foot as both the flute and clarinet, in the March and Fugue for two tubas by the prolific Derek Bourgeois.

To end the concert, Paris was joined by soprano Marina Ivanova, in her second year and reading Economics, for two operatic duets, the lyrical Flower Duet from Delibes’ ‘Lakmé’ and the lulling barcarolle, Belle Nuit from the ‘Tales of Hoffmann’ by Offenbach.

As the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Keith Mander observed in his closing remarks, the University has a fine crop of musicians and a vibrant musical life, with the Music Scholars at the heart of all its music-making. With the new Marlowe Theatre having just opened, and the  Colyer-Fergusson centre for Music Performanc opening next year to house all the University’s music-making, together with the Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate, it really is an exciting time for the cultural life of East Kent and the wider community.

Sarah Davies and Kathryn Redgers

Congratulations to all the performers, and thanks to Sarah Passfield from the Festival team who made us all so welcome.

Festival logo

Can you dig it ? Work starts on new music building

Brass students
Top brass: University Brass Ensemble heralds building launch: image credit Mick Norman

To the heraldic sound of a brass fanfare from some of the University’s musicians, the first hole was symbolically dug for the new Colyer-Fergusson centre for Music Performance on May 27th, and last week work began on this exciting new venture.

After the process of planning, things are finally (if you’ll pardon the pun) taking concrete form, and the wheels are turning to bring the dedicated performance and rehearsal space from off the page and into reality.  The ceremonial digging of the first hole marked the first real moment where the project begins to develop a tangible reality: from here onwards, there will be visible signs of the new building’s ascent as it becomes a landmark on the University campus.

Present at the ceremony were the Honourable Jonathan Monckton, Chairman of the Colyer-Fergusson Charitable Trust, seen here wielding the spade, as well as supporters of the project including members of R Durtnell and Son, the construction company, fresh from their recent success in building the new Turner Contemporary Gallery at Margate.

Digging the first hole
The Honourable Jonathan Monckton and Director of Music, Susan Wanless: image credit Mick Norman

The building will be completed in the summer of 2012, and will house the ever-growing range of music-making opportunities for students, staff and the local community and beyond.

More details on the event can be found on-line here.

The last photo here (taken earlier this week), captures the very first excavations: for all those who have wallowed in the soupy acoustics of Eliot College Hall, or traversed the Stygian depths of the main colleges to find the College practice rooms, this is a sign of better things to come!

Building begins
Concrete evidence: work starts on the new building

New building: exciting news ahead…

After a lull of nearly a year whilst all the project details and infrastructure were put in place, finally there’s some exciting news about the new Colyer-Fergusson centre for Music Performance from over the past two weeks: keep an eye on this column early next week for news about the start of the project, and pictures of various people wielding a silver spade and some brass players performing (those two details are not directly connected, you understand…!).

Full steam ahead for tomorrow’s Cathedral extravaganza

With less than thirty-six hours to go before the Chorus and Orchestra storm the Cathedral (musically, that is) for the annual Colyer-Fergusson Concert, all systems are powering ahead.

Chorus of approval: photo credit Robert Berry

Final rehearsals this week, including tonight, before rehearsing in situ tomorrow, when the Chorus are reminded of the literal heights to which they can ascend on the tiered choral seating, and the Orchestra remember just how close they will be sitting to the audience. With a battery of percussion required for the Stravinsky ‘Firebird Suite,’ there’ll be an even bigger orchestra than usual.

Combined with the mighty Meistersingers Overture by Wagner and Mozart’s sublime Requiem, it promises to be a titanic occasion: see you there!

The new building: are you listening ?

Last Friday, we heard the interior of the proposed Colyer-Fergusson centre for Music Performance.

At Arup Acoustics
Immersed in the sound... listening at Arup Acoustics

Not literally, alas: but virtually. Rising with the lark (actually, before the lark: I had to shoo him out of bed), and then up to London to meet with project members from the University and representatives of Tim Ronalds Architects and Carr and Angier Theatre Consultants at the London offices of Arup Acoustics, where acousticians were modelling the sonic interior of the building.

Sitting in the centre of a small sound-booth, we were presented with various ensembles – orchestra, choir, string quartet, brass ensemble, solo singer and continuo – recorded anechoically, and then heard their performances realised in a virtual sonic model of the new building’s interior.

The great strength of the proposed building is that it is a flexible performance space. It will be able to change in order to accommodate a diverse range of performing ensembles, from full symphony orchestra and chorus to chamber choirs, big bands, string and brass ensembles., We explored the various permutations of the variable acoustics – fully reverberant, then with varying degrees of the acoustic drapes being set to render the acoustic gradually less reverberant – with different ensemble set-ups, and assessed the differening impacts of the acoustic settings on each.

Potentially, the sonic space created by the hall, and the varying acoustic properties offered by the variable acoustics, are fantastic, and afford a wide array of opportunities for ensemble music-making, ranging from the large scale to the intimate, each with a suitable (almost bespoke) acoustic environment. The nature of the reverberation within the hall will be able to be altered to suit the different types of rehearsing and performing, tailored to meet the demands of the varying ensembles using the space.

It is unquestionably a fantastic space for music-making, and we are highly excited. We’ll keep you posted as further developments unfold: keep your ear to the ground.

Building the future: music at Kent.

Exciting times for music at the University: in more ways than one.

Artist's impression of the new building hall
Artist's impression of the proposed building hall: courtesy Tim Ronalds Architects

The project for the new Colyer-Fergusson Centre for Music Performance is developing apace, in conjunction with the award-winning firm of Tim Ronalds Architects: we’ll be keeping you posted (literally) as to how the project is unfolding right here on ‘Music Matters,’ from clod to concert-hall.

The brochure for the new building is also now available, and I’m delighted to be able to present it here in what is a first for the Music Department: literature in an e-zine format.

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You’ve seen the future for music at Kent: in more ways than one…

Click here to download a copy of the brochure, or here to find out how to become involved in the project.