It’s been a busy period for third-year Music Performance Scholar and drummer, Nathan Sharp. Alongside studying Music and Audio Production, Nathan has been in action gigging in London recently, including an EP release with Adam Kelly, and two gigs with singer/songwriter Nate Francis.
Fourth-year Astrophysics student and Music Performance Scholar, David Curtiss, reflects on his recent sandwich year abroad.
Over the past four years I have had the honour of being able to say that, alongside my degree in Astronomy, Space Science and Astrophysics, I am a music scholar here at the University of Kent. I was awarded the Music Performance Scholarship in 2018 on the saxophone and have loved developing my playing through the various ensembles that are on offer as well as under the fantastic tutelage of Peter Cook. All of this progress led to me being fortunate enough on my year abroad last year (2021/22) to have been accepted into the Tom Walsh Jazz Ensemble at the Jacobs School of Music in Indiana University, Bloomington.
I do also have a particularly large ‘thank you’ to make to the University of Kent Music department and donors to the scholarship programme. Unfortunately, due to several Visa issues I was unable to attend the auditions at Bloomington at the start of term and instead had to submit the YouTube video made by the Music department for the Scholar’s Spotlight series in 2021, which fortunately led to my acceptance into one of the music school’s big bands, without which I would not have had such an incredible opportunity!
I spent my year in Bloomington playing with some phenomenal young musicians in an extremely professional atmosphere under the tutillage of Dr Tom Walsh, whose direction has taught me so much about playing in an ensemble and developed my technique on the saxophone much further than I was at when I arrived.
Over the year we played a huge range of music for big band, from our opening concert in remembrance of the great Sammy Nestico to some contemporary arrangements of Radiohead and other works from young composer emerging on the scene in the USA.
Alongside playing awesome repertoire we were accompanied by guest artists who came to the department and worked some of the ensembles either through jam sessions or in concert including the Emmy nominated Melissa Aldana and the Emmet Cohen trio lead by the “#1 Rising Star Pianist and #4 Rising Star Jazz Artist” as voted by Downbeat (2022).
Both of whom inspired me hugely and their knowledge and passion is something that I hope to take with me as I continue to play, both here at the University of Kent and forwards in my career.
The second in our new Scholars’ Spotlight series of filmed recitals is now on our YouTube channel, featuring second-year soprano reading Biomedical Science, Ellie Gould, in songs by Mozart and Copland.
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.
In the final film of the short series featuring Kent and Medway Medical School’s first Music Performance Scholarship student, Michael Lam, the Canadian first-year student plays the Musette in D from the Anna Magdalena Notebook.