Page 1

2013 Graduation edition

News and views from the Alumni Association of Leeds College of Music

ALUMNI NEWS We talk to Everything Everything drummer and BA Jazz graduate Michael Spearman about the band’s ‘pioneering’ ethos. P4

Loud and Proud – Leeds College of Music’s new LGBT Society celebrates a triumphant first year. P8

Hello Class of 2013!

Find out about the perks of being a Leeds College of Music graduate – from discounted fees and room hire to career development bursaries. P2

2012–13 has been an incredible year. See our pick of the best bits, from masterclasses and Steinway showcases to the Gala Concert. P10


Your aLuMni aSSoCiation WordS Catherine Newman PHotoGraPHY Tom Arber Graduation isn’t the end of your time with Leeds College of Music – it’s more like the end of the beginning. You might no longer be starting your day with a cup of rocket fuel from One Bar Inn, or feasting your ears on the sublime chaos of our corridor symphonies (though you’ll be welcome – hello 10% alumni discount on postgraduate tuition fees!), but your free and automatic membership of the Alumni Association means we’ll be here for you long after graduation. In the early days of your career, we can help you continue to build your network, stay in touch with each other, and support you in getting your career off the ground. And in the future, you could be sharing your expertise by mentoring current students, providing work placements or even giving a lecture or two. You’ll always find an open door at Leeds College of Music. Whatever stage in life you’re at, there’ll be a way for you to stay involved with life at the conservatoire. As a member of the Alumni Association, you get access to a range of benefits and services, designed exclusively for you – see the column on the right for details. These are all redeemable with your alumni membership card, which you can collect from the alumni desk at graduation, or by emailing your details to: And for those of you who are entrepreneurially minded, the Enterprise Team offers additional

aLuMni neWS Produced by the Marketing and Communications department at Leeds College of Music. Printed by Newspaper Club. Credits: Tom Arber, Adam Martin, Split Design.

career and business start-up support for up to five years after graduation – including career development bursaries of up to £500 to help you attend courses and conferences; and ‘proof of concept’ bursaries of up to £1,000 to help you test a new business idea. That’s alongside free enterprise events and masterclasses, and access to a professional mentor. Contact Dr Paul Abbott, Head of Events and Enterprise, at: for more information. Likewise, the Careers Team at Leeds College of Music can help you prepare your CV, hone your job applications, and identify the variety of career options that you could pursue. You can reach them at: We love to hear your views, news, questions and ideas, and we’re always here to help. As the late, great Marvin Gaye said, “It takes two”. So please keep us up-to-date with your details and stay in touch!

StaY in touCH

aLuMni PerKS 10% tuition fee discount on Master’s level courses for alumni who have completed an undergraduate degree at Leeds College of Music Discount on rehearsal space hire Discount on studio hire Early bird discount on short and professional courses Discount on selected Concet Season tickets Special delegate rate at Leeds College of Music conferences and festivals Discount on subscription magazines Library reading rights Library borrowing rights (£10 fee payable) Register for the Musicians Booking Agency, which provides musicians for corporate events and private parties with fees in line with current industry rates. E-mail or call 0113 222 3440 Career and business development bursaries for undergraduate and postgraduate alumni

@LCoMalumni gid=4322302

0113 222 3457


Leeds College of Music Alumni Association 3 Quarry Hill, Leeds, LS2 7PD

Careers service support for recent alumni Membership of LinkedIn group for professional networking with fellow alumni Alumni e-newsletter You can redeem these benefits and services by quoting the alumni reference number on your alumni membership card. If you don’t yet have a card, you can pick it up from the alumni desk at graduation or by e-mailing your name, degree details and current address to


Left to riGHt Kelly Mueller, Neeta Sarl, Kari Bleivik and James Warrender

WorKinG titLeS Now more than ever before, Music graduates are building portfolio careers to give themselves the flexibility to work on their own projects whilst staying fully immersed in the music industry and earning a living. Meet four alumni for whom the 9–5 is pretty much obsolete.

tHe LeCturer Kari Bleivik (BA Jazz 2002, MMus 2003) Lecturer, Leeds College of Music “I’ve wanted to go into teaching all along, but it was when I was offered a bit of research-related teaching while I was doing my MMus at Leeds College of Music that the ball really got rolling. I did my Postgraduate Certificate in Performing Arts Education (PGCertPAE) a couple of years ago and haven’t really looked back. Alongside her teaching, Kari is a founding member of Leeds Improvised Music Association and has performed with a range of projects like LIMA Orchestra, Sonic Stories, Røyst and Tommy Evans Orchestra. She has toured in many countries and performed at major jazz and international festivals, as well as releasing numerous albums with different bands. “I find being in an academic and sharing environment really healthy. It keeps me informed and supports me so I can pursue my freelance projects.”

tHe BooKinG aGent James Warrender (BTEC Music Performance 2007, BA Pop Music 2010) Musicians Booking Agency, Leeds College of Music “I’ve always been pretty interested in the business side of music as well as the

performance aspect,” says James who also drums with Ellen and the Escapades. “With the band we did a lot of self-promotion and knocking on doors to get bookings. That definitely put me in a good position to be a booking agent.” In my job I arrange bookings for students and alumni for recitals, concerts, festivals, corporate events, private parties, weddings – no event is too big or small. I chose the most appropriate performers according to the request and give the client a few options and sometimes suggest something that’s a little different that they might not have thought of which, is another great way of getting our students and alumni out there.”

tHe riGHtS SPeCiaLiSt Neeta Sarl (BA Pop Music 2008) Music Reporting Coordinator, PPL As well as writing, recording and producing with her band Polaroid 85, Neeta works for a licensing rights company that collects and distributes money on behalf of songwriters, composers and publishers. “I put a lot of work into my music, and its great to be able to work alongside it in a job that directly benefits the industry I’m a part of.” She specializes in Classical and Asian repertoire, meaning she manages databases for returns received by channels such as BBC Asian Network, BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM.

WordS Heather Iqbal PHotoGraPHY Tom Arber , Richard Moran, Kell on Urth and Røyst.

tHe SeLf-Starter Kelly Mueller (2007) Kell On Urth, singer-songwriter-producer Kelly graduated from Leeds College of Music with the John Coates Award for outstanding musicianship, and went on to perform in bands around the world, later signing to Universal Music as artist/songwriter/ producer Kell on Urth and working with artists like Ne-Yo, Keri Hilson and The Script. “Being an independent in the music industry means that no week is ever the same which I personally love. One week I could be at a writing camp, another week I might be glued to my laptop working on my website and the next I could be performing in China.” “The music industry has changed more in the past year than it had done in the five years previous. It’s an exciting time for creatives and you’re definitely at an advantage if you’re willing to learn about every area of the industry from songwriting & producing rights through to marketing & distribution.” “There are many sites out there now that enable you to be proactive without a large budget or a corporation behind you. One I’m currently using to release my album is Kickstarter – a crowdfunding platform that allows your fans to invest in you, so you can have the money upfront to pay for manufacturing and distribution.” You can find out more at:



Left Captain Robert F. Scott (left) and members of his crew were immortalised by photographer Herbert Ponting in 1911 during their ill-fated Terra Nova expedition BeLoW and riGHt Their stark expressions inspired the artwork for Everything Everything’s second album, Arc. Band members from left: Michael Spearman, Jonathan Higgs, Alex Robertshaw and Jeremy Pritchard

BarefaCed BeLief Savour the details and stick to your guns, says Everything Everything drummer Michael Spearman (BA Music (Jazz) 2007) – it’s a strategy that’s helped the Manchester based-band succeed without compromising their integrity.

WordS Heather HeatherIqbal Iqbal Words PHOTOGRAPHY and Everything Everything HerbertPonting Ponting and ??? PHotoGraPHY Herbert

On a winter’s evening in 1911, a group of men stood on an open snow plane in the Antarctic and had their profiles shot by photographer Herbert Ponting, as part of Robert Falcon Scott’s tragic expedition to the South Pole. Those frozen and determined faces, battling through a long and tireless journey, have become a profound icon of the British psyche. 102 years later Everything Everything drummer and BA Music: Jazz graduate, Michael Spearman, sits in a sun-soaked café in central Manchester, explaining how Captain Scott’s expedition became part of the band’s selfproclaimed “control-freakery” over how their music and aesthetics come together. “Determining our identity was definitely a conscious choice with the new album,” he explains with quiet measurement. “With Man Alive we felt that we were seen as slightly strange – no one really knew who was in the band and what it was

– it was just sort of faceless and it had a fox on the front cover. With all the music and lyrics being a bit at arm’s length, we didn’t really let people in too much. Hopefully the aesthetics of Arc are a signifier of it being clearer in lots of ways.” In an industry age of fast-food music, produced for quick consumption with poor digestive results, choosing album artwork is only one aspect of how artists like Everything Everything are trying to keep a hold on how their music is delivered. The need to constantly self-promote, to be present on the scene and to produce records whilst simultaneously touring, create a challenge for musicians to hold steadfast to their own identity and approach. For them, tackling this permeates through all aspects of their approach – tweets, mail-outs, videos, and the production of their music. “I was at the Bowie exhibition and there was an amazing little five minute documentary on how they came up with the new album artwork – which has a white square on top of the original Heroes artwork – and at first glance you look at it and you think ‘Oh, that mustn’t have taken long’. But I imagine the thought process was just huge behind that.

“Our faces on the Arc album cover were inspired by Captain Scott and his expedition. We went to loads of Ponting exhibitions and saw all his photographs and the style of it and chose a photographer and all this stuff that you’d think we wouldn’t bother with – we like doing that. “It’s fun and so much more satisfying. Especially when the stuff that you think is very, very simple is far more complex – like the three days we spent picking the right shade of yellow for the cover. These are the things you never think you’ll get involved in and end up teaching you so much, and giving you a different kind of creative outlet.” Immersion in the details of what is being created is what helps the band feel like they’re making records that sustain themselves, and that speak true of the genre-transcending music they aim to put out. As well as the artwork inspiration of Captain Scott’s cold and difficult journey reflecting some of the sharp and stark loneliness that ribbons through the record (“Sold my feelings now I’m hanging by a thread” (Cough Cough), “Do you feel left behind? Like there’s something not right?” (Duet)), the arduousness of the music-making process also resonates.


It seems no less poignant that the picture the artwork draws its inspiration from was taken at the start of Scott’s journey – now that Everything Everything are distilling and clarifying their approach does this seem like the beginning or a point of completion? “When bands are on their third or fourth album and they take their foot off the gas, you can tell because the details aren’t quite there. We could definitely have less control but we care about it. It comes through in how we write music as well – we really put things through the mill and sometimes we end up not even liking them for a while, and we have to kind of take a break from those songs – normally it leads to something better for it. For us the harder we work at things the better the result. We always want to be writing something better than the last thing for sure.” Spearman’s influences are diverse, but his approach to drumming has always been one of discipline and a sort of quiet focus. Hailing from Northumberland, he graduated from Leeds College of Music in 2007 and formed the group with school friend and band front man, Jonathan Higgs.

“I grew up playing jazz, but I also grew up listening to Radio 1. I’ve always been keen not to close myself off from anything. One of the reasons I wanted to do jazz was how seriously people took it – it’s sort of that classical approach, that conservatoire approach, and it’s quite a pure approach as well. “I found studying at a conservatoire fulfilling because I was part of something – you’re working together and you can all say ‘look we made this together, we survived this together’ and there’s a kind of solidarity.” Now, looking back on how he took the next step after graduating, the control and focus he applies to the aesthetics and music making of his band resonates in his approach to life in general – focus, courage and conviction in what you believe. “When it comes to advice, I’d definitely say stick to your guns. If you know what you want to do and believe in it then a) you’re quite lucky and b) you should just follow your convictions; you should stick to them. They might take a long time and you might need some luck as well, but I’d definitely say just stick to your guns. There


will be sacrifices unfortunately in order to do that, but the gains are bigger – nothing good comes easy. “Be brave. Even when I was 16 I knew that Jon (Everything Everything lead singer) was really good at writing songs and no one was going to convince me otherwise. And really, no one can say you’re wrong.” And his reaction to those who might be slightly more doubtful about where they’re heading? “When I started studying music, someone told me that I wasn’t there because I wanted to be, but because I needed to be. And I do feel like that – I could have taken so many other routes that might have been more conventional or less specific. But there was something in me that said: “No, I need to do that”, and listening to that feeling was definitely worth it”.

Find out more about Everything Everything and their upcoming UK Tour at


Speed data

Instruments booked out

Information is beautiful – when it’s not crammed into a spreadsheet. Here’s Leeds College of Music as you might not have seen it before.

Where our UK alumni live 1%

Yorkshire: 32% South East: 18% North West: 3% South West: 3% Midlands: 2% Scotland: 1% North East: 1%







*Based on a sample of 1,000 alumni profiles on LinkedIn





59,500 6,241 1,391 624 98 66 11

Instruments issued from the Facilities hatch Cymbal felts

Jazz cymbals

Fender Jazz Bass guitar

Tenor saxophones Flugelhorn


The class of 2013 by course 4



Undergraduate Courses*

Postgraduate Courses

BTEC Diploma & Extended Diploma in Music Tech

BA Music (Production) – 83 BA Music (Popular) – 54 BA Music (Jazz) – 46 BA Music (Classical) – 33 Foundation Degree in Music Production – 37

BA Music (Production)



*BA Music (Combined) graduates are split across the four main pathways

Further Education Courses BA Music (Popular)

BTEC Diploma & Extended Diploma in Music

BTEC Diploma & Extended Diploma in Music – 87 BTEC Diploma & Extended Diploma in Music Tech – 59 Foundation Certificate – 14 46

BA Music (Jazz)

Postgraduate Courses

87 Foundation Degree in Music Production

BA Music (Classical)

PGDip Music Performance – 4 PGDip Music Composition – 1


33 37



diGitaL StatiStiCS




Followers on Twitter @LeedsMusic




likes on our Facebook page:

views of 69 videos on YouTube

LeedS CoLLeGe of MuSiC in tHe CoMMunitY Our Community Music Project partners LCoM students with local community groups.

200 17 43

It helps students develop the skills needed to go on to become professional arts facilitators and offers its participants – many considered to be at risk of social exclusion – the opportunity to take part in a series of free musical workshops. These sessions have helped participants develop communication skills and self-esteem through performance and have also helped those taking part learn new skills such as composition, conducting and song writing.


We’re aLL-SteinWaY

People in some of Leeds’ most challenging wards


GaLa ConCert 2013

133 2,988 3,300 2 Steinway Model D concert grand pianos 26 Steinway Boston upright pianos

1 Steinway Model B grand piano 15 Steinway Essex upright pianos

8 Steinway A/S grand pianos

students performed during the concert

global views of first ever live stream

total viewing figures (which would fill Royal Opera House 1.45 times)


LOUD AND PROUD Leeds College of Music’s new LGBT Society celebrates a triumphant first year. Words Dan Howarth PHOTOGRAPHY Adam Martin

With a blossoming membership, annual event, and a powerful contribution to the global It Gets Better Project in the bag, the Leeds College of Music LGBT Society has arrived in style. Dan Howarth talks to its founder, Heather Coulton (MA Composition), in the lead up to the Society’s first anniversary in September. “There are lots of LGBT societies in Leeds, but there was never one here at Leeds College of Music,” says the Society’s founder, Heather Coulton. “It’s the first thing I wanted to do when I came here.” Enrolling on the MA in Composition last September, Heather contacted Dawn Moore, Student Welfare Officer, and immediately set up a stall at the Freshers’ Fair with co-founder Andrea Griffith. Now the Society has over 30 members and meets up every Monday in the Green Room. “It’s a safe place for people to come,” says Heather. “We chat about anything, not necessarily pressing LGBT issues. And people from outside the LGBT community come along to support the society too.

“I never had an LGBT society whilst studying for my undergraduate degree, and I think it’s really important to have that sort of support network.” Alternative Love Day was the Society’s first major event, held during LGBT History Month in February, on the day after Valentine’s. The day saw LCoM students and staff joined by LGBT societies from around Leeds for an afternoon of talks and workshops, before a VIP night out on the scene. Tom Hunt from sexual health organisation MESMAC and NUS LGBT officer Sky Yarlett gave talks - alongside musical performances from LCoM students. The event also premiered a short film, produced by members of the LGBT Society as part of the It Gets Better Project – a global social media campaign which shares messages of hope with young LGBT people, launched in 2010 in response to a series of suicides by teenagers who were bullied for being gay. “The videos are for people who haven’t come out yet, or who have and things have gone a bit wrong, who might not have anyone to talk to,” says Heather. “I remember feeling completely alone, like I was the only person in the world who this could happen to.

ABOVE LGBT Society founders Andrea Griffith (left) and Heather Coulton.

“It’s a really hard time in your life when you don’t think anything will get better for you, but it does. The videos are really positive. They usually start off a bit morbid and build up to an uplifting end – kind of mirroring the experience.” The video features members of the LGBT Society – both students and staff – talking about their own experiences of coming-out, with music by second year Pop student Billy Simmons and postgraduate student Frances Woodcock. “It was quite emotional as people were seeing what they had said for the first time. Seeing your words edited in context with music alongside other people’s experiences was really poignant,” says Heather. Heather is set to graduate in January 2014 but will hand over the reins of the LGBT society to BTEC graduate and incoming BA student John Sermon from September. “I want the Society to be here for as long as Leeds College of Music is here,” she says. “I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved this year, but there’s so much more to do. We’d love to hear from alumni if LGBT issues have affected their career in the music industry, and we’re always looking for new members and supporters. Together I think we can really make a go of it”. To find out more about the LGBT Society, you can join the Facebook group at www.facebook. com/groups/lcmlgbt and email



Production graduate scores in LA Since graduating last year, Alex Redfern (BA Music: Production 2012) has embarked on a career composing music for film and television, which has taken him from Spain to Los Angeles.

Words Heather Iqbal PHOTOGRAPHY Lei Han and Alex Redfern

Between completing a film soundtrack in LA and his MMus thesis on music for Sci-Fi, he tells Heather Iqbal about his work with Spanish films, symphony orchestras and Hans Zimmer. So, what’s it been like since leaving Leeds? Incredibly busy! After graduating I started studying for a Master’s in Scoring for Film, Television and Video Games at Berklee Valencia. I finished that about a month ago, and came out to LA to do a whole load of crazy stuff! I’ve been meeting with agents and composers, and networking in the film music industry. I’ve also recorded some tracks at Warner Bros. studio with a 47-piece orchestra, which has been amazing. LA looks like it’s an exciting but tough place to break! Do you think there’s a space for young composers out there? I guess there are only around 100 composers that score most big films – but there are so many different movies and films, international, independent or lower budget projects, so there

are still a lot of opportunities. Initially I was quite shocked at just how many young people are making music for major films out here. You’ve worked with some really high profile orchestras – did you ever find it difficult being the youngest person there? When I started composing in Spain, I was working with people from the Valencia Symphony Orchestra who had years of experience playing – they’re masters of what they play really – and I was conducting them, which was scary. Last week when I was up recording at Warner Bros. studios, I walked in there thinking “these players have worked on ‘Signs’ and ‘King Kong’ and these blockbuster films, this is out of my league”, but in the end I just worked hard at it, and it was incredible, and so much fun. When did you first get into scoring music for film and the moving image? One of the reasons I went to Leeds College of Music was its Music Production offering, but also the fact that you can combine that with studying music for film. I think something that helped a lot were Brian Morell’s classes in film music – they were inspirational and I still go around saying that they were the best film music classes I’ve had.

What’s happening next? I’m moving to LA to intern at Remote Control Productions, the studios owned by Hans Zimmer, next year, which should be incredible. I’ve been working on a soundtrack for a short actionadventure film, which is coming out soon at a few film festivals, which I’m also really excited about. The film is Spanish and is called ‘Happy Face’, and I recorded the soundtrack to that in Valencia, with an ensemble from the Symphony Orchestra which I’m now mixing and preparing for the final delivery. It’s taking long hours and sleepless weeks, but all the hard work is definitely how I’m starting to cement myself as a composer.


JUST SOME OF YOUR BEST BITS FROM 2012–13... Aeroplanes at Brescia, Gala Concert, May 2013

Charlie Siem violin masterclass, November 2012

Steinway Hall Jazz showcase, November 2012

Baroque Orchestra with mezzo soprano Rosie Evans and Samuel Chilvers on violin, Gala Concert, May 2013

James Brander performs ‘One of These Days’, Gala Concert, 2013

Mercury Prize and MOBO-nominated Jazz graduates, Roller Trio, perform at The Venue, March 2013

Luke Dempsey performs Böhme at the Gala Concert, May 2013



Spot the difference Now relax your tired brains and cast yourself back to those formative years... There are eight anomalies in these two pictures of The New Music Collective – can you find them all?

Lines of connection Match up the statements and answers – and access our LCoM Graduating Bonus Quiz at:

LCoM’s Armani model regular

Soweto Kinch

Contemporary ______ Orchestra featured Neil Yates this year

Aaron Spears

Is this the biggest concert of the LCoM year?


Major broadcaster filmed a pilot TV series at LCoM this year

Charlie Siem

Who can forget a visit from this drummer?

The Wardrobe

The name of the 2013 student magazine


The pop-venue-next-door

Steinway Hall

Students from all pathways performed at this venue in London


MC & alto-saxophonist blew the crowds away at LIJEC


Big thanks go out to our student helpers or…


Development and Alumni Relations Leeds College of Music 3 Quarry Hill Leeds, LS2 7PD 0113 222 3457 @LCoMalumni

Alumni News – summer graduation 2013  

Leeds College of Music's graduation newspaper, produced in July 2013.

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you