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Experience Durham

A Musical Review



2013/14 - A Musical Review

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President’s Welcome The Music Society has had a whirlwind of a year, without a doubt their most active, as the image of music in Durham has been relaunched – extremely successfully! It is clear that the role of music within the University is expanding rapidly and we are privileged to be involved with these advancements, which are truly exciting. The Music Society is the ‘umbrella’ society for all music students, societies and chapel choirs around Durham and we work to effectively coordinate the numerous concerts and events that happen around the University. DUMS have overseen weekly lunchtime concerts, masterclasses with top professional musicians, performed world premieres in London and, to conclude the year, presented some of the core music ensembles together in concert; all of this with the fundamental aim to be the voice of student musicians and to really raise the standard of music and opportunities for everyone in Durham. Whilst DUMS has been active for many years, this year saw a season

2013/14 - A Musical Review

of substantial development, with new ideas and plans for the growth of the musical scene. All of the individual societies within DUMS have been just as proactive and this review offers various reports from our wealth of ensembles. Many thanks must go to all who have been involved in music this year, an extremely successful year as is only too clear!

Jessica Lawrence Durham University Music Society President

The on-going support from Experience Durham has been invaluable in the progression. The continued development of the Music Society and the individual ensembles has been fantastic to witness and it is great to have so many people involved; all of this happening in and around Durham’s thriving College music scene. It’s a creative environment that is truly unique in UK higher education.


Comments from the Dean Music in Durham is flourishing and I am delighted to look over this outstanding year we have had. Congratulations are due to all the students who have made it all possible and have worked so hard. Reflecting on the year so far, the highlight for music saw forty of our singers perform with Sir Thomas Allen, several alumni soloists, the London Chorus and the New London Symphony Orchestra at St John’s Smith Square. The performance featured the first ever performance of Sir George Dyson’s ‘Choral Symphony’. This world premiere, and the experience with professional musicians in such a prestigious venue, really raised the standard of music here at Durham. Among the many performers in the University, Durham University Big Band

Dr Peter Warburton OBE Dean of Experience Durham

and Brass Band have both performed to award-winning levels this year. The Big Band recently won the Great North Big Band Jazz festival for the third time and went on to perform as the opening band at the highly prestigious Manchester Jazz Festival. Durham University Brass Band took part in the UniBrass competition held at the University of Warwick earlier in the year and received the ‘Most Improved Band Award’ and the ‘Best Original Composition’ for their commissioned piece, ‘The Lambton Worm’, by former member, alumnus Dave Collins, Grey College, which was performed again in Durham in the Music Society concert on 6th June.

commitment to their area of expertise on a year round basis. University music, balanced by our chapel choirs and College musical groups, helps make Durham a very special place. I would like to particularly thank all those who lead the musical groups throughout the year and to specifically thank Jonathan Clinch, our music officer responsible for the co-ordination of extra-curricular music across the University, and Jessica Lawrence, the student President of Durham University Music Society, who have both gone way beyond the call of duty this year.

I would like to offer a personal thanks to all the students, who show huge

Dean of Experience Durham

Dr Peter Warburton OBE

2013/14 - A Musical Review


2013/14 - A Musical Review


A Musical Review 2013/14

2013/14 - A Musical Review


DUMS: Masterclasses Students and ensembles have benefitted from a wide array of masterclasses this year. There were masterclasses for choral singers, orchestras, jazz musicians, arrangers, composers and opera singers. These have enabled students to receive teaching from some of the best musicians in their respective fields, gain valuable insights into the world of professional music making and establish professional contacts. The year began with a masterclass from Ralph Allwood, alumnus of Durham University and an Honorary Fellow at University College. Ralph is one of the finest freelance choral conductors in the UK and worked with a choir made up of singers from across the University on ways to sing as a ‘choir’, rather than as a group of singers.

Durham University Big Band employed the talents of Ben Cottrell, Musical Director of Beats and Pieces Big Band - the UK’s most exciting new contemporary Big Band - to workshop three pieces ahead of the Great North Big Band Jazz Festival. While at Durham, Ben - who is also a composer and arranger in demand- delivered a masterclass to composition students about writing in a jazz idiom, using students’ own compositions as inspiration. Here at Durham, we are privileged to have Sir Thomas Allen as our esteemed Chancellor. Sir Thomas is extremely generous with his time and provided an inspiring afternoon of masterclasses for the singers this year. He worked them very hard, focusing on diction and poetry especially, stressing the importance of words for singers. To sing and learn from such an established musician was undoubtedly the highlight of the year for all those involved and it was just as worthwhile for those able to watch. We are incredibly fortunate to have two grand pianos in the Concert Room

2013/14 - A Musical Review

of the Music Department on Palace Green but very rarely do we hear these two instruments played together. The Parnassius Piano Duo, made up of Simon Callaghan and Hiro Takenouchi, visited Durham to work with piano students ahead of their recitals. That evening, we were treated to a concert from the duo featuring works by Mozart, Copland and Rachmaninov, as well as Sherwood’s Sonata for Two Pianos in C Minor - only the second time that piece had been performed in the UK. A highlight of this year for the Orchestra was undoubtedly the wonderful experience of rehearsing with professional conductor Richard Dickins, Head of Music and Resident Conductor of Imperial College, London. Richard also shared his expertise with our student conductors during individual master classes. This experience played a vital role in raising the orchestra’s standard this year, and our new relationship with the notable conducting pedagogue promises to be one that continues for many years.


Professional Profiles Richard Dickins

Richard Dickins is well known for his work with young musicians. He became conductor of the Symphony Orchestra at Imperial College London whilst still a student and was later appointed the College’s first Musician-in-Residence. A graduate of the Royal College of Music, he maintains his links with the RCM, where he is principal conductor at the Royal College of Music Junior Department. He was recently elected to honorary membership of the RCM and was presented with this honour by the Prince of Wales. The University Orchestral Society have had the privilege of working with Richard each term over the past year, as he has given one-to-one coaching with the two conductors, Harry Castle and Alexander Robertson, and then led the orchestra rehearsal in the evening. The response from both conductors and the orchestra was fantastic, and

the opportunity to work with such an experienced professional was extremely beneficial. “It has been an absolute privilege to have had three masterclasses with Richard Dickins. His knowledge and love of orchestral music and conducting has been really helpful in my role as Symphony Orchestra conductor and he is very well appreciated by every orchestra member. I believe that this has been reflected in the very high standards of each DUOS concert of the past academic year.” Harry Castle, Hatfield College. “Having Richard come every term was fantastic both for me as a conductor and for the orchestra. The rehearsal he took was always huge productive and the lessons we received were always extremely helpful!” Alexander Robertson, Josephine Butler College.

Ralph Allwood As an Honorary Fellow of University College, Ralph has strong ties to Durham, having graduated from the University in 1972. He is a wellknown choral director and extremely experienced at coaching students. Eton Choral Course, of which Ralph is the primary founder, has been coaching young singers for thirty four years. Ralph joined DUMS at the beginning of the year to open the Masterclass series, working closely with the singers to really develop ensemble technique. As the prime guest speaker at the DUMS annual dinner in October, Ralph was key in encouraging and inspiring the Durham musicians at the start of the year.

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DUMS: Lunchtime Concerts DUMS lunchtime concert series has had an excellent year, with a vast amount of talent being presented each week. This informal concert setting in the Music Department concert room has been a brilliant platform for students to perform and has reliably delighted both locals and students. The lunchtime concert series is a wonderful way to enjoy some fantastic performances from Durham University’s top musicians, all admission free. Every Thursday lunchtime in term time there has been a diverse range of music. This year has seen jazz singers, two-piano duets, singing recitals and quartets, amongst other things, all to an exceptional standard. These lunchtime concerts add to the constant activity of the Music Society and give accomplished individuals and smaller ensembles the opportunity to perform as often as they would like. It has had a notable impact not just on the developing relationship between students and locals, with many of the audience members not connected with the University, but also those who come to enjoy the consistently high standard of performance each week. A number of performance finalists made use of the lunchtime concert series as a practicing opportunity before their final recital or diplomas.

The year commenced with the annual Freshers’ Concert at the beginning of October. This saw a number of new students perform who set the standard tremendously high, with a lot of potential and talent being displayed. Highlights included a magnificent

performance of Bruch’s Violin concerto by Rebecca Howell, as well as a number of exceptional singers – displaying once more the strength of Durham’s choral tradition. These concerts have run in conjunction with the organ recital series every Friday in Hatfield Chapel. These have included performances from Jonathan Clinch, Michael Haynes, John Hosking, Tom Coxhead and James Lancelot, who has just been awarded an Honorary PhD for his incredible contribution to music at Durham. It is clear that Durham is alive with music. It may well be that there is no other university that has such a vibrant musical scene with so much going on!

2013/14 - A Musical Review


DUMS: London Concert Earlier, in March, we took a trip to London’s St John’s Smith Square with forty singers to be involved in a concert supported by the Sir George Dyson Trust, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the composer’s death. This was a hugely prestigious event, with the London Chorus and New London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Ronald Corp. It also provided yet another opportunity to sing with our esteemed Chancellor and opera singer, Sir Thomas Allen, after the success of last June’s Cathedral concert!

lasts around 40 minutes, having been only recently discovered. The four soloists in the Dyson Symphony were all Durham alumni, Katy Thomson (soprano), Nicola Semple (alto), Pierre-Philippe Dechant (tenor) and Daniel Tate (bass). This forgotten major score was Dyson’s Oxford DMus submission, composed in 1910, and

it had remained unheard for a century, so it was an extremely significant contribution to music history in which the DUMS Chorus were privileged to be involved. The opportunity and professional experience was invaluable to all who took part and will certainly be a lasting memory for all involved.

The concert was a huge success, with St John’s Smith Square completely full of alumni and concert-goers alike. The Stanford: ‘Concert Piece for Organ and Orchestra’, which commenced the concert, had been premiered two years before by the University Symphony Orchestra in Durham Cathedral, alongside a newly orchestrated violin concerto by Professor Jeremy Dibble, and so it was particularly exciting to hear it performed again by a professional orchestra. Vaughan Williams’ ‘Five Mystical Songs’ concluded the first half, with soloist Sir Thomas Allen singing with the DUMS chorus for the second time that year. To sing with such an exceptional and amenable professional was the highlight for many of the students and it is always such a pleasure to work with Sir Thomas, who is clearly dedicated to supporting music at Durham. The second half featured the world premiere of Sir George Dyson’s ‘Choral Symphony’, which was also of particular significance for the students and a magnificent work to perform. A large scale four-movement setting of Psalm 107, O Give Thanks unto the Lord, Dyson’s work is written for SATB soli, double chorus and orchestra and

2013/14 - A Musical Review


DUMS: Last Night of the Proms The highlight for DUMS was undoubtedly the final concert of the year. It was an enormous event in Durham Cathedral, with over 200 students involved, from across a wide variety of the music ensembles – the Big Band, Chamber Choir, Opera Ensemble, Brass Band, Symphony Orchestra and the full DUMS Chorus to conclude the evening. This was the first time that all these ensembles have performed together in a joint concert and the excitement, sense of collaboration and unity was particularly brilliant. Everyone had been working towards 6th June throughout a packed term of revision and exams, and we knew it would be a success – a culmination of a very successful year! The theme of the evening – The Last Night of The Proms – created a really positive sense of festivity, with all the girls dressed in floor length coloured dresses, rather than the usual sombre all black, and the boys had palatinate purple silk pocket squares to add to the occasion! Even the lighting was

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purple, decorating the magnificent building beautifully. The Cathedral was packed, with audience members at the back able to watch the concert on the TV screens. The film crew and lighting all added to the professionalism of the event. The performances themselves were fantastic. We all felt fully prepared and

part of something much grander than just another student concert – this was one of the largest events performed throughout the year in Durham and so the atmosphere was incredible. It was a wonderfully enjoyable event with so many other students, such a variety of music and so much support from the University. A brilliant way to conclude a great musical year!


Chamber Choir Annual Review

Marnie Blair University College

Founded amongst the city’s rich and ancient choral heritage, Durham University Chamber Choir is formed of the twenty best choral singers in Durham and is often referred to as the city’s leading student choir and music society. This close-knit chamber group, re-auditioned every year during Fresher’s Week, works mostly unaccompanied and is renowned for its ability to captivate the audience with its consonant ensemble sound and finesse. The choir has produced recordings, toured internationally and performed in many prestigious venues locally and across the UK. This year the concerts included ‘Soir de neige’, an advent selection in the Cathedral’s Chapter House, featuring Poulenc’s haunting choral cycle. In the Epiphany term, the choir performed Bach’s ‘St John’s Passion’ in the Castle’s Great Hall with period orchestra to much acclaim. We were also lucky enough to perform alongside the esteemed baritone Roderick Williams, who featured as a soloist and whom you may have seen this summer in the BBC Proms. Our summer term concert was ‘THE NEW WORLD: Music of the Americas’, which included a diverse array of compositions, from the

unusual baroque South American piece ‘Salga el torillo hosquillo’ by Salazar, to the stunning ‘Agnus Dei’ by Samuel Barber. The music was further accentuated by the fact this was all under the monumental roof of the Durham Cathedral nave. The choir were lucky enough to perform there twice, due to the fact we were a part of the DUMS Showcase Concert, which we thoroughly enjoyed. It is also a tradition that, in the summer term, the choirs delve into the lighter

end of their repertoire, with Music on the River proving an opportunity for the choir to get incredibly soggy in black tie rowing to Prebends Bridge, whilst the audience on the bank enjoys a complimentary serenade of barbershop and popular arrangements. We also appreciated our chance to revive this repertoire in the form of the Vice Chancellor’s garden party. This proved a memorable end to the choir’s year in Durham. However, this was not the end for the choir of 2013/14. Every year the choir embarks on an international tour during the summer holidays. This year we jetted off to Poland. We divided our time between Wroclaw and Krakow, and found the trip to be a chance to be utterly spoilt by 4* hotel spas, dumplings, brilliant audiences for our three concerts and fabulous tour guides in the salt mines. The tour was the perfect end to a perfect year, and gave the leavers a chance to say one last goodbye.

2013/14 - A Musical Review


Choral Society Annual Review

Daniel Waite Hatfield College

Durham University Choral Society, known to members as DUCS, is one of the largest and oldest musical societies in Durham University. We’re committed to performing large scale choral works to a high standard, as we have been doing for nearly seventy years. We typically hold two concerts each year, one in Michaelmas term and one in Epiphany term, and this year has been no different. The year started with auditions for new members and, after two nights auditioning some very strong applicants, we boosted our ranks with some exceptional singers. Our first task was to welcome our new conductor, Michael Summers, for his first year as conductor of the society. It’s been a year of change for the society after James Lancelot, our conductor of twenty-five years, stepped down due

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to his increasing duties at Durham Cathedral. Consequently, it was a great pleasure in Michaelmas term to work with Michael towards a performance of excerpts of Handel’s ‘Messiah’, a piece that everyone knows so well. After a demanding term of rehearsals, it was a great pleasure to get to Elvet Methodist Church on a wet and windy November evening for the night of the performance. Accompanied by a small number of strings from Durham University Orchestral Society, the Choral Society gave a well-received concert, aided ably by soloists who were Durham students and alumni. The Choral Society was asked again this year to lead the Christian Union’s annual carol service, a highlight of Michaelmas term for many in the society. Certainly it was an occasion to remember for members new and old

and it was a wonderful round off to the term. In Epiphany term, the Choral Society prepared for one of its most ambitious concerts to date. The Society had commissioned a piece by Ben Rowarth, a Durham Alumnus, entitled ‘Christus: A Passiontide Sequence’. Collaborating with Durham University Chamber Choir and Durham University Orchestral Society to perform this work and Mozart’s ‘Requiem’, DUCS stepped out of its comfort zone with this commission. However, the efforts of all three societies did not go unrewarded. There have been many very favourable reviews of the concert and our thanks go to the soloists, Charlotte La Thrope, Polly Leech, Hugo Hymas, Peter Coulson, and everyone who helped us to produce such an outstanding concert.


Chapel Choirs Annual Review Tom Coxhead Hatfield College

One of the many of benefits of Durham’s collegiate system is the number of choirs it supports. This means Durham fosters a very high standard of choral music. Eight of the colleges have their own chapel choir and these cater for all abilities, from small, select auditioned groups that sing up to two services a week, to those which are non-auditioned and have a more relaxed schedule. It does not matter which college you are from, as the vast majority of choirs are made up of students from across the university, and you can join as many as you would like to – providing their timetables do not compete! Joining a chapel choir whilst studying at Durham affords you the opportunities of singing in the Cathedral and other further-flung venues, including summer tours, and even to participate in CD recordings. There are plenty of exciting opportunities in Durham for choral

conductors and organists too. Whilst some chapel choirs are directed by professional musicians, most are led and conducted by undergraduate

or postgraduate students and there are numerous organ scholarships available, both in the University and locally.

versatile instrument and is particularly good for accompanying Victorian and Edwardian English music (which is the focus of the repertoire at Hatfield). In Epiphany Term, the Chapel plays host to an organ recital series and, in 2014, these were based on the sonatas of Felix Mendelssohn.

music by contemporary composers like Jonathan Dove.

Hatfield Chapel Choir The Chapel Choir at Hatfield College is made up of eighteen or so auditioned singers not only from Hatfield but from students across the University. The Choir at Hatfield sings for the weekly service of Choral Evensong, held on Tuesdays at 5:30pm, as well as for numerous extra services and regular visits to surrounding cathedrals and churches. Hatfield is known for its active social life, as well as being a choir of high-quality music making. The Chapel at Hatfield is an intimate but good space for singing (the chapel is in constant demand as a rehearsal, recital and masterclass venue) and houses a fine two manual Harrison and Harrison organ built in 1883. Despite the organ’s size, it is an extremely

This year, the Choir has sung at least one service in Durham Cathedral each term and has undertaken trips to sing at Ripon and Chester Cathedrals, as well as a week’s residency at Sherborne Abbey in the summer. The repertoire tackled at Hatfield is both diverse and challenging, ranging from plainchant and renaissance music to the larger works by Stanford and Elgar, as well as

Plans for next year include returning to sing at Ripon, as well as visits to York Minster, Hexham Abbey and to tour abroad in the summer. Hatfield offers eight choral scholarships each year (worth £100 each), and two organ scholarships (up to £250). For more information about scholarships, choral or organ, please contact the Chaplain, Dr Anthony Bash (hatfield. You can follow the choir’s activities by following them on twitter @hatfieldchoir12

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Orchestral Society Annual Review

Lucy Newton University College

Composed of just under 100 passionate musicians, DUOS stands as a highly successful platform for the best instrumentalists to perform orchestral repertoire to their finest ability. This past year saw the society flourish under the leadership of Jessica Lawrence and our two conductors – Harry Castle and Alexander Robertson. Michaelmas Term is packed with concerts for both the Chamber and Symphony Orchestras. The Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of secondyear music student Harry Castle, performed a rich programme of late 19th Century and early 20th Century

Romantic works. The well-attended concert contained the ferociously challenging ‘Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ by Dukas, Tchaikovsky’s ever-popular seasonal ‘Nutcracker Suite’, Vaughan Williams’ ‘Wasps Overture’ and luxurious ‘Fifth Symphony’. The following week, again at Elvet Methodist Church, Economics finalist student Alexander Robertson conducted our Chamber Orchestra with a selection of short works from 20th Century England, France and Denmark that stunned the audience. The repertoire was Nielsen’s ‘Concerto for Flute and Orchestra’, with our

exceptionally talented flautist Rebecca Durose. Rebecca had recently returned to Durham, after having completed her year abroad spending time studying flute at the Paris Conservatoire. Tour to Berlin Our Berlin tour began bright and early on the first morning of the Easter holidays. The orchestra bundled onto the coach which carried us to where we were staying in Neuköln on the East side of the city. We enjoyed a boat tour along the River Spree, before heading back to our modern and spacious hostel for an early night. The next day everyone explored the sites, such as the Berlin Wall and a musical instrument museum, before regrouping for a rehearsal and concert at the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtnis Kirche. The concert itself was spectacular, with a much larger and enthusiastic audience than we had anticipated! Chamber Orchestra opened the evening with Saint-Saëns’ ‘B minor Violin Concerto’, performed exquisitely by orchestra member Lucy Twine. Following a short interval, Symphony Orchestra performed, amongst other things, a rousing rendition of Tchaikovsky’s ‘1812 Overture’. From a balcony behind the audience, our percussion section were able to surprise the audience with tremendous ‘explosions’ (being originally scored for cannons) on bass drums. The audience met this with a standing ovation at the end, leaving us with fantastic memories of our first Berlin concert. The orchestra headed for the spa in Bad Saarow, which provided a contrast to the high energy levels of most of the tour. The spa was a tour highlight for many people, and left everyone feeling refreshed for afternoon rehearsals,

2013/14 - A Musical Review

15 before a second evening concert in a nearby village. Our final full day included group sightseeing, as we travelled together to the Reichstag building, with a roof terrace and dome that offers spectacular views across Berlin. We then spent time around the Brandenburg Gate and Jewish Memorial, before heading to our last and most memorable concert in the small church of Charlottenburg. The audience was not large, but was by far the most appreciative of any we’ve played to all year! The rich acoustic demanded extra levels of focus within such a large ensemble in order to maintain the precision and unanimity of rhythms required in the Borodin symphony, but it was the Tchaikovsky that really stood out. As the final piece of a week-long tour, everyone poured all their energy into making this the best moment so far, and the result was undeniably fantastic! By the time the percussion reached their ‘explosions’, members of the audience were fist-pumping the air (with the exception of one woman, who had her

hands over her ears in response to the unrestrained racket, and another who was seen crying). The end of the overture resulted in a standing ovation and calls for an encore, at which point we repeated the final section of the Tchaikovsky, with even more vigour than before. By the end of the concert, everyone was exhausted, but ecstatic with the atmosphere that the performance had created.

again. Preparations began one week in advance, spanning around seven hours of intensive rehearsals every day, a feat that consistently ceases to amaze those of us that take part at the end of the mammoth week. We were performing highly challenging repertoire such as Gustav Holst’s ‘Planets Suite’, Shostakovich’s ferocious ‘Chamber Symphony’ and Britten’s ‘Variations on a Theme by Frank Bridge’.

The whole tour was an excellent success, and a thank you must be passed on to the organiser, Lucy Newton, for all of the hard work she put in leading up to and during the trip.

The orchestra were lucky to yet again receive a morning of expert guidance from Richard Dickins, in addition to two days of concentrated sectionals led by professional musicians from prestigious orchestras, such as the Royal Northern Sinfonia; an incredible opportunity that is supported directly by our incredibly generous Patrons.

Summer term provided two monumental occasions in Durham Cathedral – one our own, and the other a celebration of all music in Durham in Durham University Music Society’s ‘Last Night of the Proms’. Just three weeks after the DUMS Concert, we put together our own summer concert for a rapturous audience that filled the Cathedral once

The evening was undoubtedly an excellent culmination of everything DUOS successfully achieved throughout the year. We now look forward to our exciting next season and building on all achievements of the year!

2013/14 - A Musical Review


Palatinate Orchestra Annual Review

Suzie Capps Grey College

Over the last year, the Durham University Palatinate Orchestra (DUPO) has gone from strength to strength, continuing its combination of intensive rehearsals and a strong emphasis on social activities, which is fundamental to the ethos of the orchestra. Under their new conductor Joe Schultz, a PhD candidate specialising in Russian music, DUPO has performed an extremely wide range of repertoire over the past year. Highlights have included the rarely-performed original 1867 version of Mussorgsky’s ‘Night on Bare Mountain’, Vaughan Williams’ sumptuous ‘Five Variants on Dives and Lazarus’ for string orchestra and harp, Gershwin’s famous ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ with soloist John Reddel, and Shostakovich’s frenetic ‘Festive Overture’. The orchestra has also embarked on the new endeavour of bringing music to the wider community, inviting several primary schools to a concert in the Gala Theatre earlier

this year, and introducing them to orchestral music.

DUPO’s recent tour to Belgium saw the orchestra tackle Vaughan Williams’ song cycle ‘Songs of Travel’ with soloist Ben Craw and Rimsky-Korsakov’s ‘Scheherazade’, in two of the country’s most magnificent cathedrals. Next year will see the orchestra expand its activities further with a number of exciting projects planned, including an extra concert of film music, a Sunday afternoon concert of chamber ensembles from within the orchestra, a concerto with a professional violinist and the world premiere of Richard Rijnvos’ (Head of Composition in the Music Department) evocative orchestrations of Albeniz’s ‘Chants d’Espagne’. DUPO welcomes all applicants nearing Grade 8 and above standard. We pride ourselves in giving musical opportunities to all those who have a strong enthusiasm and love for creating orchestral music.

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Brass Band Annual Review

Eleanor Marsh St John’s College

Durham University Brass Band is a vibrant, friendly group. The band is non-auditioning and we are committed to welcoming players of all abilities, whilst still putting on a fantastic show. This year’s band was led by president Eleanor Marsh, a second year English Literature and History student from St John’s College, and conductor Andrew Forsythe, a third-year music student from Trevelyan College. One of our annual traditions is participation in a local Remembrance Sunday service in the village of Meadowfield, County Durham, an event to which we are always extremely proud to contribute. We are also keen to bring some Christmas spirit into the city centre, including playing carols in Market Square, which raises funding for the year’s events! This year was particularly successful, with an incredible amount of over £1000 raised during the final two weeks of term.

Early 2014 was an extremely busy period for DUBB. Once again we performed at our annual Massed Bands concert, performing with Warwick University Brass Society and Leeds University Brass Band. This year was the tenth anniversary of this event, and so we welcomed back many alumni to reach a total of ninety brass band players! The concert culminated with all three bands playing together and the weekend of music demonstrated that brass banding can form a real connection between complete strangers. It was only two weeks later that DUBB participated in UniBrass, a national contest for university brass bands. It was an extremely intense two weeks, but we were awarded 7th place, winning awards for ‘Most Improved Band’ and ‘Best Original Student Composition’. We are completely indebted to a DUBB alumnus Dave Collins and our recently-appointed conductor Lewis Wilkinson, for the truly stunning work, ‘The Lambton Worm’; which was an

absolute pleasure to premiere and most definitely stole the show! Due to the huge level of success we achieved this year, we were honoured to join the DUMS Last Night of the Proms concert in the Cathedral, a real celebration of music at Durham. This was an opportunity many of our members have never experienced before and proudly represented the band at the event. A fun evening was had by all members. To finish off the summer term, DUBB were also asked to play at the Collingwood Proms and at a charity Vintage Garden Party organised by the local Finchale Training College. These events were key to maintaining the links we have with college music and the local community. Finally, to end the year in a traditional fashion, we again held the DUBBBBQ, a barbeque to say thank you to all the members for the hard work and commitment they have shown to the band all year.

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Concert Band Annual Review

Luke Bentley St Mary’s College

We are a non-auditioned, student run, sixty-strong wind band, founded in 1977, which aims to combine high standards of musicianship with a relaxed and sociable atmosphere. We play a wide variety of musical styles, including classical, jazz, film scores and wind band repertoire. As well as this, we are heavily involved with the wider community, both in Durham and further afield. This has been recognised by our nomination this year for the Durham Students’ Union ‘Involvement in the Community’ Award, which is a fantastic achievement for any student society. The Durham University Concert Band is run by eight members of the University. Each member has a different role in running the society; these include two conductors, a president, librarian, secretary, treasurer, social secretary and publicity officer.

2013/14 - A Musical Review

Conductors - Eliot McGuire and Mary Petty The band is comprised of two conductors (Principal and Associate). Together, we choose the music that shall be performed at the end of each academic term, as well as running all of the rehearsals and motivating the band to perform to their highest standard. We have both really enjoyed conducting the band this year, and shall be sad to be handing the band over to their new conductors, Sarah Hopkinson and Emma Maslin. Secretary – Chloe Nash In Michaelmas Term, I was the project-leader for our Outreach Event, which involved a lot of organisation, especially when working alongside local primary schools. The resulting event was extremely successful and, for me, the highlight of the year. I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of

the band exec this year and hope to continue being involved when I return from my year abroad in 2015. Outreach Event In November, we organised an afternoon workshop for around twenty local primary school children, who had just started learning a musical instrument. We arranged several musical games and activities for them, giving them the experience of playing a Christmas piece as part of our band. Not only was this type of event a first for the children but also for Concert Band and, thanks to its success, we hope to make this an established feature of the DUCB calendar. Our members also volunteered to give a concert at a local mental health support centre. This was a free-to-attend, smallensemble concert to get members in the Christmas spirit, which was much


appreciated and thoroughly enjoyed by those at the centre. Edinburgh Tour At the end of the summer term, we had a joint tour with Hill Orchestra to Edinburgh for three days. The highlight of the tour was the concert in Ross Bandstand, West Princes Street Gardens, which had an impressive

backdrop of Edinburgh Castle. We played a selection of music from throughout the year, such as ‘Les Miserables’, ‘Waltz in Ab’ and ‘Instant Concert’, as well as two joint pieces with Hill Orchestra. Prior to going to Edinburgh, we voted Mind, a registered mental health charity, as the charity that we would support. Whilst playing, we collected donations

for Mind, raising an impressive total of £125. We also had the chance to get to know other band members whilst looking round the city, going for group meals and a night out at a nightclub. Overall, the tour was really successful and allowed us all to get to know each other much better. We look forward to hopefully going on tour again next year.

2013/14 - A Musical Review


Opera Ensemble Annual Review

Ben Craw College of St Hild and St Bede

Last year arguably saw one of the most successful years in the Durham Opera Ensemble’s still relatively young history. Throughout the course of the year, we staged three full-scale productions, as well as a patrons’ concert, and participated in the DUMS Last Night of the Proms concert. Our second term show, Mozart’s ‘The Magic Flute’ was an absolute triumph. It was the largest DOE production ever. Over 100 students were involved in different aspects of the production, with 50 students in the cast. Over 1000 people saw the show and it received some brilliant reviews. ‘The Magic Flute’ also helped the society to win a number of Durham University Music Society Awards, including ‘Best Performance’ for the production and ‘Best Musical Director’, which went to Michael Ash for his role in conducting the production. DOE also won the ‘Society Which Offered The Best Opportunities’ award, ‘The Most Improved Society’, and ‘Best Society President’. The haul of awards demonstrates what a successful year DOE has had. Looking to the future, ‘The Magic Flute’ was also instrumental in showing the need

2013/14 - A Musical Review

for a more suitable venue. The society have therefore decided to hire the Gala Theatre with its 500 person capacity next year, with the financial help of Experience Durham, and it is set to be our biggest production yet. Despite our move to the Gala for the second term show, we shall still be utilising the wonderful space that is Castle’s Great Hall, using it for our first term showcase production and hopefully in smaller concerts throughout the year. A further highlight of our year was being invited to take part in the DUMS Last Night of the Proms concert. The concert itself was a great success and it gave us as a society a chance to show off the wealth of talent we have within our members. Last year’s buzzword was accessibility and the society held true to this as evidenced by the sheer number of audience members who came to see our shows and the versatility of repertoire that we explored. From Monteverdi and Mozart to Gershwin, no stone was left unturned in offering the chance for members of the society to explore a full range of operatic styles and shows. Whilst our buzzword may change,

accessibility will still be of paramount importance going into the next year. Of great importance to the survival of the society is our Patrons Scheme, which also grew in size last year. Excitingly for the society, we have managed to secure the renowned British baritone Roderick Williams as Chairman of the Patrons. We were fortunate enough that Roderick offered master-classes on both our second and third term productions last year. Further master-classes were offered throughout the year, including those led by the world-renowned soprano Teresa Cahill and director Kirsten Cairns.


Big Band Annual Review

Charles Price Grey College

Durham University Big Band is now in its 15th year, providing a platform for University students to perform and develop as jazz musicians. This has been one of the busiest and most successful years to date. In November, the band played three critically acclaimed sets at Matt and Phreds, Manchester’s finest jazz club, and possibly one of the best outside London. As well as selling out the venue, the band were so well received that they were invited back to perform at the Manchester Jazz Festival! December saw the first of the band’s public concerts in Durham. “A Jazzy Christmas” was a lovely opportunity to perform in front of friends and family. The concert, which featured Christmas carols and songs arranged for Big Band, raised over £300 for Durham Foodbank.

In Epiphany term the band’s attention turned to the Great North Big Band Jazz Festival. The Festival, now in its 11th year, was held at the University of Sunderland. The Big Band played Buddy Rich’s arrangement of ‘Love for Sale’, the Gershwin standard ‘It Ain’t Necessarily So’, and a special arrangement of Radiohead’s ‘15 Step’. The band were overall winners in 2011 and 2012. In 2013, the band picked up awards for ‘Best Soloist’ and ‘Best Vocalist’, and, this year, they are the only band in the Festival’s history to become triple champions. Laura Paul, one of the band’s vocalists, also scooped up ‘Best Vocalist’ for her sultry performance of ‘It Ain’t Necessarily So’. The band’s playing prompted one adjudicator to “put his pen down and just listen”, with another remarking that “it is so obvious that these guys love playing”. As well as being expertly led by Musical Director Duncan Walker, the band also benefitted

from a workshop with Ben Cottrell, the arranger of 15 Step and Musical Director of Beats and Pieces Big Bandone of the UK’s most exciting young professional jazz ensembles. The band also played at Pizza Express Jazz Club, on Dean Street, in the heart of London’s Soho. This club is probably one of the most famous in London and it was a privilege for the band to play on the same stage that has been graced by countless jazz stars. The atmosphere inside the sold out club was incredible and it was a pleasure to perform to such an appreciative audience. However, the year was not quite complete! We opened the Manchester Jazz Festival in July, our second performance at Matt and Phreds Jazz Club this year. After an intensive day of rehearsals, the band performed to a standing room only audience. Three sets and two encores later, the band made their way off the stage for wellearned drinks! It was an incredible experience for all involved and an amazing way to end the year.

2013/14 - A Musical Review


Music Department Music Department Durham is one of the leading university music departments in the UK, which not only offers innovative undergraduate, taught and research postgraduate courses, but also carries out world-leading research in musicology, ethnomusicology, composition and performance. The University Music Department was ranked No1 in the Sunday Times University Guide 2013! This is testament to its dedication to student experience and learning, which is key to the department’s teaching ethos. New Facilities This year has seen great improvement to the facilities of the music department, with a new suite of practice rooms and recording studios. The Department is fortunate to have a beautiful performance space in its main building on Palace Green, serving as an ideal venue for performances

by students and visiting musicians. On top of this, the new facilities on the Bailey are sound proofed and acoustically treated- a truly excellent practice space! The four studios situated in the main buildings are used by staff and by students working on course work or research projects, and include a diverse range of equipment for the recording and editing of music and the creation of electroacoustic music. These new facilities have greatly added to the musical atmosphere in the University, not to mention the numerous college facilities with three more recording studios situated in colleges across the City. Alumni Our alumni go on to do a vast amount, due to the diverse transferable skills: analysis, critical thinking, innovative thinking, team-work, presentation

skills, editing (text, sound and image) and working with diverse sources. Students are deeply involved in musical activities and leave with impressive CVs, demonstrating extensive experience in admin, production, performance, arranging, composing and more. There are a number of extremely successful alumni, such as James MacMillan (composer and conductor), David Gorton (composer), Stuart MacRae (composer), Rumon Gamba (conductor Icelandic Symphony Orchestra), Sarah Alexander (NYO director) and Ralph Allwood, Ensemble 7 Bridges Ensemble 7Bridges (E7B) is the NorthEast’s brand new contemporary music group and Durham University’s cuttingedge new ensemble in residence. The group brings together central figures in contemporary music in the region. Richard Rijnvos (artistic director) is a composer and conductor with extensive international experience. He is currently composer in residence with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (Amsterdam) and Head of Composition at Durham University.

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Musicon Richard Rijnvos Chair of Musicon

Musicon, the Music Department’s professional concert series, offers concerts with a wide variety of genres, including early and world music, as well as concerts with classical, romantic, and contemporary repertoire. For years Musicon has been fortunate to star outstanding musicians from all over the UK, Europe and beyond, and this season was no exception. Following the tremendously successful formula introduced in the previous season, Musicon continues to cluster its concerts into “mini-festivals”. Our audiences have responded with enormous enthusiasm to events with a concentrated focus that offer rich and in-depth musical experiences. Not surprisingly, last year’s impressive two-day tribute to Olivier Messiaen, the Festival of East Asian Music, and the ten thunderclaps celebrating John

Cage’s 100th birthday are still fresh in mind. This season, Musicon was thrilled to present a three-day festival dedicated to new music from Ireland: Ceol Nua. The programme featured leading contemporary composers, such as Gerald Barry and Kevin Volans, alongside music from the up-andcoming generation, and included several world première performances. As if that were not enough, Musicon throws in some additional crispy ingredients, amongst which are a unique programme from The Clerks, intertwining early and new music, a performance by the celebrated Hindustani classical vocalist Manjiri Asanare-Kelkar, and a dazzling world première of Trevor Wishart’s new electro-acoustic magnum opus. The latter work is presented in collaboration

with the Institute of Advanced Study and explores “the secret resonance of things”. A particular highlight of the concert series was our visit from the Brodsky Quartet in March. Since its formation in 1972, the Brodsky Quartet has performed over 2000 concerts on the major stages of the world and released more than 50 recordings. A natural curiosity and insatiable desire to explore has propelled the group in many artistic directions and continues to ensure them not only a place at the very forefront of the international chamber music scene, but also a rich and varied musical existence. Musicon is delighted to welcome the Brodsky Quartet to Durham each year, as they perform a diverse selection of exquisite quartets from the early and late 19th century.

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Looking Ahead Lewis Wilkinson Durham University Music Society President 2014/15 Durham University Music Society has gone from strength to strength over the past few years, thanks, in no small part, to the student body here, who care about the future of the musical activities. The next academic year will prove to be even more exciting, with a huge amount of opportunities for students currently being planned. Durham University Orchestral Society, Choral Society and Chamber Choir will come together in the Cathedral to perform music by Patrick Hawes, a British composer who is an alumnus of the university. The Leyland Band,

2013/14 - A Musical Review

currently the tenth best band in the world, will give a masterclass to our Brass Band and perform a collaboration concert in Durham’s historic Town Hall. Our critically acclaimed end of year collaboration concert will be repeated, this time with more students getting involved and a new theme, which will be released in due course. Our masterclass series will continue, with professionals from across the globe coming to work with students in many musical disciplines. It truly is an exciting time to be a musician in Durham!

Experience Durham

Durham University Music Society wish to acknowledge and thank Official Photographers: Jed Wee (Essence of Light) T: 07968 064001 E:

Contact Details: Jessica Lawrence Head of Music Development Experience Durham Maiden Castle Durham University DH1 3SE E:

Visit our website: Every effort has been made to ensure that all information is accurate at the time of going to press in November 2014. However, changes may occur and Durham University reserves the right to amend or change any information contained in this review at any time. Copyright Š Durham University 2014 Durham University and the Durham University Logo are registered trade marks of the University of Durham trading as Durham University. All rights reserved. Ž

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Music review complete  

Durham University Music Society Review 2013 - 2014

Music review complete  

Durham University Music Society Review 2013 - 2014