Bon voyage to the members of the University String Sinfonia, whose members left Heathrow Airport early this morning on their way to Canada.
Comprising undergraduate students from across the university, including the Schools of Law, Psychology, Politics and International Relations and European and Culture and Languages, the group will be performing in a special event at the Varley Art Gallery (read more about that in a previous article here), and as part of the Chinese Artists Society of Toronoto’s annual Gala concert, alongside the CAST Philomusica and various soloists, in a packed gala programme.
We wish them well; follow all their adventures on #sinfoniaontour on Instagram at unikent_music and on Twitter; it promises to be an exciting trip!
The performance on Thursday 14 June is one of two concerts in which the group will be playing, and takes place against the backdrop of the gallery’s new exhibition, which explores the physical and psychological effect of nature for humans and animals, and the intersection of human and arboreal timelines. The exhibition includes two- and three-dimensional works and installations; Refuge by Karen Miranda Abel, Anna Williams’ Canada House and Mother Trees of Future Forests by Lisa Hirmer.
Classical Connections will illuminate the exhibition’s central themes of water, surface, liminal spaces and spatial relationships, and the passage from nature to culture with a pastorally-themed musical programme, complete with birdsong, including works by Elgar, Holst, Warlock, Dvořák and John Williams. The programme, like the players, crosses continents to animate the gallery and resonate amongst the various media on display, setting them amidst an aural backdrop that invites the audience to experience both the art-work and the music in a new way.
The Director of the ensemble, Floriane Peycelon (pictured) – a freelance violinist, performer and teacher who also leads the Folkestone Symphony Orchestra – is particularly looking forward to the event; “It’s a terrific thing for the students,” she enthuses, “giving them the wonderful opportunity to take their music-making abroad and showcase the prolific talent amongst the string-players at Kent – and they are not even reading Music as a degree! The chance to play at an art gallery is very exciting – I love finding unusual spaces in which to perform.’’
The ten players will perform in the evening concert in the gallery followed by a reception and a tour of the exhibition; the group then travels to Scarborough Citadel on the Saturday to play as part of the closing Gala Concert of the Chinese Artists of the Society of Toronto, alongside the CAST Philomusica Orchestra and soloists.
The String Sinfonia is part of the vibrant extra-curricular musical life of the University of Kent, and brings together students from a range of degree programmes including Law, Psychology, Mathematics, Politics and International Relations and Economics to rehearse and perform throughout the year. The ensemble regularly performs in Colyer-Fergusson Hall, in Studio 3 Gallery and in concerts off-campus.
The Varley Art Gallery opened in 1997, and welcomes around 45,000 visitors annually, a preeminent cultural institution reaching audiences both nationally and internationally. This is the first time that the University Music department will travel to perform in Canada, and we’re very much looking forward to beginning our trip with a special event at the gallery. We are also very grateful to the gallery’s Public Programs Coordinator, Rachel D’Oliveira Fell, for the invitation to perform.
Find out more about the Classical Connections event online here – and if you’re in the area, book yourself a ticket!
Congratulations to all the performers in the University String Sinfonia on a lunchtime concert today, delivered with fierce energy and some ravishing colours.
Directed from the violin by Floriane Peycelon, the programme included ebullient dance-rhythms in Warlock’s Capriol Suite, movements from Parry’s An English Suite redolent of the English countryside, and Holst’s St Paul’s Suite, concluding with John Williams’ depiction of Dartmoor before the FIrst World War in an excerpt from War Horse.
The players are back in action next week, when they team up with the University Cecilian Choir in Ola Gjeilo’s popular Sunrise Mass; details here.
Photos from last month’s concert given by the String Sinfonia in Studio 3 Gallery as part of the #EarBox series exploring live music and visual art. The concert included third-year Music Scholar, violinist Lydia Cheng, as soloist in Vivaldi’s ‘Winter’ from The Four Seasons.
As usual, there’s a steady crescendo of events leading up to the end of the Christmas term; on Monday night, the University Chamber Choir performed amidst the candle-lit hush of Canterbury Cathedral as part of the University Carol Service.
Second-year Matthew Cooke made his conducting debut with In Dulci Jubilo, and other carols the Choir sang included Russell Hepplewhite’s Star of the East, fresh from having performed it live on BBC Radio 4 last week.
On Tuesday, the String Sinfonia gave a seasonal concert amidst the current exhibition in Studio 3 Gallery as part of the continuing #EarBox series, in a programme that included Corelli’s Christmas Concerto.
Final-year student Lydia Cheng was the featured soloist in a dynamic, energy-filled performance of ‘Winter’ from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.
And there’s no respite, as the Big Band prepares for its annual Christmas Swingalong in a few hours’ time, the final event in our Christmas hamper…
The University Cecilian Choir, String Sinfonia and soloists were busy rehearsing for the first in our series of Christmas concerts, which takes place on Friday 1 December. A feast of seasonal music and words reflecting the start of the Christmas period, A Christmas Corncuopia brings together carols, popular seasonal favourites and readings to create a magical atmosphere.
For the event, the Music Department will be joined by Will Wollen, (pictured right), Senior Lecturer in Drama and Theatre Studies, who brings life to characters including Scrooge, Adrian Mole, Elizabeth David grumbling about cooking at Christmastime, Nancy Mitford bewailing traditional customs which frighten the house-guests and evocative poems by Edward Thomas and Thomas Hardy.
The music includes Vivaldi’s ‘Winter’ from ‘The Four Seasons,’ featuring third-year Music Scholar, Lydia Cheng, (pictured below) as soloist, and carols with the Cecilian Choir including Warlock’s beautiful Bethlehem Down and the traditional Ukrainian Carol of the Bells.
Come and launch the department’s Christmas season this Friday evening, and enjoy a glass of Smoking Bishop punch afterwards (included in the ticket-price); further concerts including the Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments, the Chorus and Symphony Orchestra, a seasonal #EarBox in Studio 3 Gallery from the String Sinfonia, and the Big Band’s enduringly popular A Christmas Swingalong – details about all these online here. ‘Tis the season…
The #EarBox series exploring the meeting point of visual art and music returns to Studio 3 Gallery in December, as the String Sinfonia performs amidst the gallery’s current exhibition, Capturing Movement.Curated by MA Curating students, Capturing Movement explores how artists have transformed contemporary dance into inspiring representations in sculpture, painting and photography. For the #EarBox event on Tuesday 12 December, the musicians of the String Sinfonia, directed by Floriane Peycelon, will bring a programme including music by Vivaldi, Corelli and Peter Warlock. With dance rhythms lying at the heart of much of the music from the Baroque, as well as Warlock’s Renaissance-dance inspired Capriol Suite, it will be fascinating to explore the synergy between the live music and the exhibited moments of dance frozen in time…
The concert starts at 5.15pm and will last approximately 45 minutes; admission is free, the audience is welcome to sit among the exhibits or view the exhibition whilst the performance is underway, and leave as they wish. More details online here.
Continuing the series profiling Music Scholarship students at the University of Kent. This week, first-year violinist reading Psychology with Forensic Psychology, Melody Brooks.
Being part of a musical family and having such a musical name, it seems only natural that would be drawn to music. My parents have fostered in me a love of all genres of music, and waited for me to decide which instruments I wanted to play.
The first instrument I chose was the violin, after seeing an orchestra perform at my primary school. Flute and piano soon followed. After gaining entrance to my secondary school (Parmiter’s School) because of my music, I was encouraged to participate in a number of musical groups including Orchestra, Junior and Senior Flute Choir (in which I took the opportunity to play piccolo, alto flute and bass flute), Senior String Ensemble and Concert Band.
I also studied Music at GCSE and AS-Level, which widened my exposure to different genres of music and allowed me to truly appreciate composers and performers alike. I also participated in the school play, Lady Windermere’s Fan, as part of the musical ensemble.
Outside of school, I participated in the CAN Music Academy (Children Achieving Now) in both the orchestra and the choir. I also participated in the Kuyumba Youth Music (KYM) String Orchestra. The KYM experience was one of growth, as it was an extremely competitive environment based on merit and fostered in me the spirit of hard work and practice.
Singing was always encouraged in my church, and my church is well-known for its lively, inviting music. Often, I would participate in a string ensemble or play violin to accompany a meditational song. From the age of 11, I was encouraged to lead Praise and Worship with my friends, singing gospel music. We then formed a singing group called ‘Amplified Praise’ and sang in venues such as the ExCel London Centre and Pontins in Wales.
Here at Kent, I currently play in the Symphony Orchestra and String Sinfonia. I have enjoyed being a member of both groups. The Orchestra is amazing and is exposing me to different composers. String Sinfonia is smaller, but just as much fun. I love being able to develop my skills alongside those more able than me and to enjoy music once again.
Because it does. Doesn't it ? Blogging about extra-curricular musical life at the University of Kent.