With an heraldic fanfare, we’re delighted to say that our new What’s On season is now available to view online, with a mouth-watering programme of events to see you through to July.
As usual, we’ve performances in the majestic surroundings of Canterbury Cathedral with the Chorus and Symphony Orchestra in Tchaikovsky and Puccini for the annual Colyer-Fergusson concert, and the Chamber Choir and Ensemble will fill the Crypt with Fauré’s evocative Requiem in a new chamber edition. The Concert and Big Bands return in March with a dazzling evening of concert band classics and big band swing, and the Musical Theatre Society is back in action too. CantiaQuorum brings its usual eclectic and innovative approach to programming with a new series of concerts, and our popular Lunchtime Concert series ranges from the shores of Scotland to the heady sensuality of Argentinian tango.
A new collaboration with the School of Biosciences forms the backdrop to a concert bringing together live music with beautiful images from its cutting-edge research, which will also be exhibiting in the Colyer-Fergusson gallery throughout the spring term; and there’s a look ahead to warmer weather and seaside pleasures with events to come during our annual Summer Music Week festival in June.
Take a look at all these events and more on our online page here, and download the new season brochure here. We look forward to welcoming you through the doors of Colyer-Fergusson and to our performances elsewhere over the coming months!
Exploring the intersection between science and music this morning, in preparation for a project which will take place next spring.
A combination of music and images from cutting-edge research in the School of Biosciences will aim to highlight moments of beauty in in the mundane, or more functional, aspects of the scientific environment. Bringing together piano works including pieces by John Cage, Tarik O’Regan and Philip Glass, the experience involves drawing out the aesthetics of the laboratory environment and the scientific process, aspects which are often overlooked or ignored.
The project, in collaboration with Dr Dan Lloyd in Biosciences, will be unfurled next spring.
Words, music, poetry and song will echo around the stones of the historic cathedral city next week, at the opening weekend of Wise Words, Canterbury’s literary festival which blossoms anew each spring and autumn.
The festival encourages wonder and curiosity through new encounters with literature, the written, spoken and sung word, and this year features poet and Radio 3 presenter Ian McMillan, Olympic Poet Lemn Sissay, former Canterbury Laureate Patience Agbabi, current Canterbury Laureate John Siddique, and a host of writers, poets and spoken word performers.
The festival has a strong musical thread running throughout its nine days, which sees all manner of performers take to the stage in the yurt in Greyfriars’ Garden, including cellist and baritone Matthew Sharp’s voyage from Bach to Tavener by way of Piazzolla; there’s a return visit from rapper and musician Dizraeli,
bluegrass with Gentlemen of Few, and even Your Loyal Correspondent in a lunchtime performance on the opening day, Saturday 30 April, at 12.30pm, as accompanist in a recital with mezzo-soprano Michelle Harris, in a programme of operatic arias and musical theatre songs ranging from Handel and Bizet to Cole Porter and Rodgers and Hammerstein. The opening musical weekend is a partnership with City Sound Project, Canterbury’s metropolitan music festival taking place in venues across the Bank Holiday.
Poetry on the river; writing workshops and retreats; midday music each day; magic lantern parades and events for children and families expect the unexpected when Wise Words bursts to life in the city next week. The festival runs from Saturday 30 April to Sunday 8 May, find out more online here, or browse the digital programme online:
and keep an eye out for printed programmes around Canterbury. It all starts next weekend…
As a curtain-raiser to the performance of Tokaido Road, which comes to the Gulbenkian Theatre on 23 May, the lunchtime concert the day before is an exploration of the meeting-point between poetry and music for two pianos, set against a backdrop of some of the Hiroshige prints which inspired both poetry and opera.
Pianists Matthew King and myself, together with poet Nancy Gaffield, part of the Creative Writing team in the School of English and author of the original Tokaido Road cycle of poems, spent yesterday exploring the programme which we have put together, which intersperses music by Debussy, Ravel and Matthew himself with poems from the cycle, which Nancy will be reading. There is some wonderful connectedness between the words and the music – a phrase in a poem is echoed by a rising melodic shape; the opening arc of a poem emerges out of a slowly-dying piano chord; a cluster-sonority echoes the tone of one of the Hiroshige prints which is projected above the performers. We spent several hours immersed in floating words and chords in the darkened concert-hall, playing with moving between music and poem.
The concert will take place on Friday 22 May at 1.10pm, admission is free, more details here: come and immerse yourself in time-out-of-place with music, poetry and print.
We are very excited to be launching #EarBox, a new collaboration between the School of Arts’ Studio 3 Gallery and the Music Department next Wednesday, 28 January, at 1pm.
#EarBox is a series of events exploring the meeting-point between visual art and music, where visitors can experience the latest Studio 3 exhibition, or listen to the unfolding musical performance – or wander the new emotional landscape mapped by the intersection of art and music, where the experience of one medium informs and influences a response to the other.
The event next Wednesday will feature piano works by Debussy, John Cage, Chick Corea and Philip Glass; visitors can explore the paintings during the performance, or sit and listen to the music – admission is free.
This term’s exhibitions features an exploration of colour and form in paintings by Brian Rice, and sculpture by Richard Rome, and the music includes piano works performed by Deputy Director of Music, Daniel Harding, as well as performances later in the term by University ensembles including the Chamber and Cecilian Choirs and the Wind Ensemble.
Admission to all these events is free; make sure you’re following @Unikent_music or @Studio3Gallery for event details, or visit the Music department’s What’s On or the Studio 3 blog page.
The annual Music Prizes were awarded last week to a selection of students who have made an outstanding contribution to the musical life of the University this year; and what a year it has been!
The Canterbury Festival Music Prize, awarded to a final-year student who has made an outstanding contribution to music was awarded to Marina Ivanova, in her final year reading Economics. Since coming to Kent as a Music Scholar, Marina has participated in Chorus, Chamber Choir, Cecilian Choir, Lost Consort, as well as being a soloist in the Colyer-Fergusson Cathedral Concert, Vivaldi Gloria; she also took part in the Dame Anne Evans masterclass in the autumn, and many other recitals. The prize was presented by the Director of the Canterbury Festival, Rosie Turner.
The Colyer-Fergusson Music Prize, which is awarded each year to a student who has made a major contribution to organising music at the University, was presented to Alex Turner, a second-year student reading Biomedical Science. The prize recognises her exceptional all-round behind-the-scenes organising and admin skills as Concert Band/Big Band assistant (and flautist, and sax player), and in other music activities including the Symphony Orchestra (flute and piccolo), Dance Orchestra, the flute ensemble, as well as playing in the pit-band for this year’s Musical Theatre Society’s production of Hair. Alex received her prize from Jonathan Monckton, Chair of the Colyer-Fergusson Charitable Trust.
The John Craven Music Prize, which goes to a returning student who has made a major contribution to music at Kent, this year went to Gordon Wood, in his second year reading Philosophy. A Music Scholar, Gordon plays double bass in Symphony Orchestra, Camerata, String Sinfonia, Dance Orchestra, tuba in Concert Band, Double bass/bass guitar in Big Band, and at various Watch This Space and jazz gigs. John Craven himself was there in person to make the presentation.
The University Music Awards Committee Prize, for a student who has made a special contribution to music, was awarded jointly to two final-years students; Matthew Bamford, reading International Business, and Carina Evans, reading Accounting and Finance. Matthew’s award was for his all-round contribution to music-making this year. Student conductor of Chamber Choir, MD for Musical Theatre Society’s production of Hair, sings in Chorus, Chamber Choir, Cecilian Choir and Treasurer of the Music Society.
Carina’s prize recognises her contribution, as a University Music Scholar, to music over three years as timpanist and percussionist with the Symphony Orchestra, Concert Band, Camerata and many recitals on marimba. Both students received their award from committee-member, Dr Dan Lloyd.
Finally, the First-Year Prize, awarded if appropriate to a student who has made a significant contribution to music-making during their first year of study, went to Joe Prescott. Reading English Language and Linguistics, Joe has made a significant impact on music as a University Music Scholar since arriving in September, playing jazz trumpet in Big Band and Dance Orchestra, Trumpet in Symphony Orchestra, Concert Band, as well as singing tenor in Chorus, Chamber Choir, Cecilian Choir.
The musical life of the University is nothing without the commitment, enthusiasm and participation of its student community – our thanks and congratulations to all the prize winners for their outstanding involvement in, and contributions to, what has been a memorable year. Here’s looking forward to the next!
As I’ve written about several times previously,the employability of our students in Life After Kent is important, both to us as an extra-curricular department – the range of disciplines being studied in combination with musical pursuits at the university is extraordinary – and to the University itself, with its Employability Points Scheme and the Careers and Employability Service.
With this in mind (and with only a slight changing of ‘music students’ to ‘musical students’), here’s a useful article in The Guardian recently, focusing on the employability of music graduates and the range of skills they can offer that make them highly desirable in the employment sector.
The experience of organising, hosting, and performing in events that are open to the public provides them with skills beyond those on other degree programmes.