The Magazine for the Royal College of Music I Autumn 2012
RCM students report in from around the globe
What’s inside... Welcome to upbeat... The cover of this issue shows Peter Kirk in the lead role of Gary of the Antarctic by RCM composer Edward Bell: one of six brand new 15-minute operas created and performed as part of Great Expectations, a unique collaboration between the RCM and innovative opera production company Tête à Tête earlier this year. In this light-hearted, comingof-age story, the protagonist Gary Scott journeys to the South Pole and – thanks to a little advice from a legendary figure – learns to pursue his own path.
Although not venturing quite a far as the Antarctic, RCM staff and students regularly have the opportunity to travel the globe and to spend time studying in other conservatoires through the Erasmus exchange programme. In this issue, we hear about some of their experiences, and give you the chance to find out how living and learning in a different country has improved their playing, their confidence – and perhaps even given them their own great expectations…
As usual, Upbeat is also packed full with news from around the RCM, including the tale of how three alumni were given the chance to perform at the closing ceremony of the Paralympic Games. We’re always keen to hear from students past and present, so if you have anything you would like us to feature in the next issue of Upbeat, send your news and pictures to email@example.com by Monday 7 January 2013. NB: Please note that we cannot guarantee to include everything we receive and that we reserve the right to edit submissions. Upbeat online Did you know that Upbeat is available to read online at www.rcm.ac.uk/upbeat If you’d prefer to read it in this way, do contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll stop sending you a paper copy. If you’d like us to send you an email notification when Upbeat is published, let us know your email address too.
In the news Updating you on recent RCM activities... New arrivals Welcoming a host of new arrivals to the RCM this academic year
9 The Britten Theatre 25th
Anniversary News The final events to mark the anniversary of this much loved space
10 Exchanging Views
Bassoonist Christina Marroni tells Upbeat about the three months she spent studying in France
12 Farewell to Sue
RCM Director of Communications tells Upbeat her most poignant memories, experiences and achievements
14 Meeting the supporters
Upbeat meets John Lewis Music Advisor Nigel Brotherton
16 Student notes…
Current student success stories
18 Staff notes…
News from professorial, academic and administrative staff
20 Alumni notes…
Updates from RCM graduates
22 Obituaries and births
RCM Baroque Orchestra performing at the Palace of Versailles
Front cover – Peter Kirk in ‘Gary of the Antarctic’ composed by Edward Bell. Part of Great Expectations © Chris Christodoulou Inside front cover – Images from the RCM International Opera School’s summer production of ‘Le Nozze di Figaro’ © Chris Christodoulou Inside back cover – Images from the 2012 Festival of Percussion © Chris Christodoulou and David Phillips
In the news... Cavaleri Quartet success
Britain’s greenest conservatoire For the third year running, we’re delighted that the Royal College of Music has been recognised as the UK’s greenest conservatoire.
The Cavaleri Quartet, founded at the RCM by Anna Harpham, Ann Beilby, Ciaran McCabe and Rowena Calvert, has triumphed at the second ICMC International Chamber Music Competition in Hamburg. Not only did they take away the 20.000 Euros First Prize, they also won the 10.000 Euros Oscar and Vera Ritter Foundation Prize for the best performance of a work by Mendelssohn. Following their victories
An Honorary Doctorate for Bryn
they were invited to perform at the Awards Ceremony and Final Concert, which was broadcast live on NDR Kultur, and to make a commercial CD recording. The quartet is now looking forward to undertaking a concert tour of Germany. The ICMC International Chamber Music Competition attracts some of the world’s best chamber groups. Many congratulations to the Cavaleri Quartet for this fantastic achievement.
Upon receiving his award, Bryn gave a speech in which he detailed four key encounters that shaped his own singing career. To watch his complete speech visit bit.ly/PleHdV
The People & Planet Green League is the only comprehensive and independent league table of UK universities ranked by environmental and ethical performance. It is compiled annually by the UK’s largest student campaigning network, People & Planet.
Exhibition Road Show While all eyes were on London’s East End this summer for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, a unique cultural festival was taking place in Kensington. Exhibition Road Show was held from 28 July to 5 August in celebration of art, music, science, literature and acrobatics. One highlight of the festival was the appearance of the RCM Brass Quintet, described as the festival’s “in-house band”, who entertained passers-by with a rousing programme!
On Friday 6 July, the Royal College of Music was delighted to award an Honorary Doctorate to bass-baritone Bryn Terfel. The award was made by the RCM Chairman, Professor Lord Winston, at the RCM’s annual graduation ceremony in the Britten Theatre. Director of the RCM Professor Colin Lawson introduced Bryn as: “the world’s greatest bass-baritone […] an artist truly meriting the adjective ‘exceptional’ ”, before listing the roles for which Bryn has received international acclaim, and concluding with praise for Bryn’s deep and heartfelt commitment to Wales, the country of his birth.
The People & Planet Green League awarded the RCM a high 2:1 score, just an agonising half point from a 1st class degree. The RCM scored highly for its excellent environmental policy and management, and for its commitment to ethical investments, carbon management, Fairtrade and sustainable food, and renewable energy sources. Congratulations to all of the staff and students who have worked hard to achieve this result.
The RCM Baroque Orchestra, conducted by Sir Roger Norrington, performed a spectacular concert at Cadogan Hall as part of the BBC Proms this summer. Performing on instruments that featured in Louis XIV’s 24 Violons du Roi, painstakingly recreated by the Centre de musique baroque de Versailles, the RCM Baroque Orchestra’s performance in London was the culmination of a remarkable tour which took in concerts at the Palace of Versailles and across France.
Award winners announced The winners of the RCM’s most prestigious awards for departing students have been announced. These awards are presented to students who have made a particularly great impact on life at the RCM. The Worshipful Company of Musicians Silver Medal will be awarded to violinist Sean Riley, the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Rosebowl will go to pianist Caterina Grewe, and the Tagore Medals will be given to violinist Mari Poll and trumpeter Christian Barraclough.
In a review from the Guardian Tim Ashley commented: “The performances were exquisite. Bliss from start to finish”. Andrew Morris, from Classical Source, called it: “A fascinating history lesson [...] with such an immaculately drilled and youthfully stylish reincarnation of a very old orchestra”. Alexandra Coghlan, from The Arts Desk, wrote: “Norrington has just the right amount of sardonic humour and throwaway brilliance for this music, and under his direction the orchestra generated a performance of distinctively Gallic hauteur (and just a little bit of silliness).” Photo © Sisi Burn
24 Violons at Cadogan Hall
Visit www.rcm.ac.uk/24violons to view a gallery of images.
members enjoyed exclusive tours of the Royal Albert Hall.
RCM Sparks once again played a key part in the BBC Proms, the world’s biggest classical music festival.
One participant said: “It was a truly inspirational day… everyone was laughing and enjoying themselves making music, making friends and having a really good day”.
The Summer Music programme saw more than 200 young people, aged six to 12, take part in live music-making events. Almost half of the participants performed at BBC Proms Plus Family Introductions and attended a BBC Proms concert. In addition, 25 teenagers participated in a five-day composition course, more than 40 music lovers of all ages took part in Discovery Sessions (exploring treasures from the RCM’s Museum and Library) and 80 family
RCM Sparks aims to offer inspirational learning experiences for all, regardless of financial means. This year, 60% of attendees received free workshop tickets, while subsidised Proms tickets were available to all participants. All events were supported by a committed team of RCM students, who gained invaluable experience for their own careers.
They will all be presented with their awards at next year’s President’s Visit.
In the news... Celebrating Benjamin Britten
Tri-borough Music hub launched
Photo © Mark Allan
On Tuesday 25 September the Royal Albert Hall hosted the launch of the new Tri-borough Music Hub, supported by Arts Council England. The Britten-Pears Foundation has unveiled details of the centenary celebrations for RCM alumnus Benjamin Britten (1913–1976). The launch event was held at the RCM’s very own Britten Theatre, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Britten 100 began in September and continues throughout 2013. Many famous orchestras, opera companies, conductors and school children will be involved in the festivities both in the UK and abroad. Beyond worldwide performances of his music, plans extend to books, films, dance,
International Symposium on Performance Science 2013 The International Symposium on Performance Science (ISPS) is convened biennially by the RCM Centre for Performance Science. Following the success of ISPS 2011 in Toronto, the next Symposium will take place in Vienna at the University of Music and Performing Arts (MDW) on 28-31 August 2013. 6
radio festivals and special television programming, recordings, exhibitions, conferences, online initiatives for children, heritage trails and even a new building at The Red House, Britten’s much-loved home in Aldeburgh. The Royal Mint has also announced that a new 50p coin depicting Britten will go into circulation at the end of this year, underlining the importance of the composer as a leading figure in British cultural history. Find out more about the celebrations at www.britten100.org The 2013 theme, Performing Together, is intended to encourage discussion and debate on collaborative performing activities of all types and between various constituents. Specific research topics, fields of study, and methodological approaches have been left open intentionally to encourage interdisciplinary exchange. RCM staff and students are eligible for reduced registration rates. For further information about the venue and submissions, visit the conference website, www.performancescience.org or email the conference co-chair, Professor Aaron Williamon, at email@example.com
The hub comprises three strategic partners: the Royal College of Music, the Royal Albert Hall and the Aurora Orchestra, who will provide music services to children in three London boroughs: Kensington & Chelsea, Hammersmith & Fulham and Westminster. These six partner organisations will ensure that every child aged 5-18 has the opportunity to sing and learn a musical instrument, to develop their skills, and to play with other children as part of an ensemble or choir, either through their own projects or through those of the partners within the hub. The launch evening featured a number of musical performances, including an appearance by Tir Eolas (pictured), founded at the RCM by Georgie Harris, Pip Mercer, Laura Snowdon and Ruairi Glasheen. The RCM’s contribution to the Tri-borough Hub will be provided by RCM Sparks, the RCM’s groundbreaking learning and Learning and Participation programme. For more information visit www.rcm.ac.uk/sparks.
2012 RCM International Piano Course
This summer 12 students from China, Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, the USA and the UK attended an intensive course at the RCM.
Paraorchestra closes Paralympics Following an exciting summer of sporting triumphs, three RCM alumni – Nicholas McCarthy, Abi Baker and Clarence Adoo – had their chance to shine as they performed as part of the British Paraorchestra in the Closing Ceremony of the Paralympics. The group backed Brit-pop sensation Coldplay and their performance marked a great achievement for the
17-strong ensemble. Left-hand pianist Nicholas, who graduated in July this year, said before the ceremony: “as a classical pianist, I’d never thought I’d be playing alongside Coldplay at the Paralympics, it’s a bit mad to be honest, it’s wonderful.” The musicians played specially adapted electronic and conventional instruments. They were also the subject of an hour-long documentary entitled The Great British Paraorchestra which was aired on Channel 4 just before the Ceremony.
The week provided pianists with the opportunity for intensive study and included masterclasses, lessons, concerts and performing opportunities. Participants also had the opportunity to attend a number of BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall and to explore the treasures housed in the RCM Museum and Library. A surprise visit by worldrenowned pianist Lang Lang, however, will probably be remembered as the highlight!
Reproduced by permission of London Library
The Bradley Bulletins Professor Paul Banks, with the help of some special documents held in the RCM archive, has featured in a BBC Radio 4 documentary about musical life in wartime Britain.
Tea at the House of Lords In June, the RCM Chamber Choir received international acclaim for their rain-soaked, heroic performance at the climax of the Thames Pageant, part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebration. To thank them for their performance, the RCM Chairman – Professor Lord
Winston – invited them to the House of Lords. The choir were treated to high tea, met several grateful peers and attended a debating session in the chamber. They also posed for photographs on the terrace; of course, it was raining again…
“One Man’s War” told the story of the Bradley Bulletins, which were compiled by Lionel Bradley, a Librarian at the London Library and also an avid lover of ballet, opera, orchestral and chamber music. After every event he attended, Lionel would write a personal bulletin describing the occasion, which he then circulated to his friends. Rediscovered by Professor Paul Banks, they provide an invaluable insight into musical life in London during the War. Find out more at www.rcm.ac.uk/bradley 7
New arrivals Students This academic year the RCM warmly welcomed a total of 332 new students from 49 different countries, with no fewer than 135 of these new arrivals benefiting from an RCM scholarship. Pablo Ortiz De Urbina has been newly elected as President of the Students’ Association. Pablo and his team will represent and support the student body, and provide a full programme of social events and activities.
Keyboard faculty Winner of the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition and RCM alumna Sofya Gulyak joins the Keyboard faculty.
Woodwind faculty Principal oboe with La Scala, Milan Fabien Thouand and world renowned clarinettist Michael Collins join the Woodwind faculty.
The Sacconi Quartet
New Professors We’re thrilled to announce a number of exceptional new professors this September. Pablo Ortiz De Urbina
Junior Fellows The RCM welcomes a host of new Junior Fellows for 2012/13 academic year including Yulia Chaplina (Mills Williams Junior Fellowship), Mari Poll (Constant and Kit Lambert Junior Fellowship), Jocelyn Freeman (Phoebe Benham Junior Fellowship) and Jennifer Hughes (Gilbert and Eileen Edgar Junior Fellowship). We also welcome back for a second year Richard Carne Junior Fellowship holders: The Muse Piano Quartet (Yulia Vorontsova, Ksenia Berezina, Ilona Bondar, Jordan Gregoris), Jonathan Musgrave (Anthony Saltmarsh Junior Fellowship), Jennifer Carter (Adami Award for Piano Accompanists), David Smith (Lord and Lady Lurgan Junior Fellowship), as well as RCM Quartet in Association the Sacconi Quartet (Ben Hancox, Hannah Dawson, Robin Ashwell, Cara Berridge). 8
String faculty We’re delighted to welcome virtuoso violinist and universally celebrated teacher Detlef Hahn; internationally renowned cellist and RCM alumna Natalie Clein; violinist Sasha Rozhdestvensky who not only has a global solo and chamber music career but is also an advocate for contemporary music; long-time friend of the RCM and well-known orchestral leader, chamber musician and teacher Gaby Lester; and Aeronautical Engineering graduate and BBC Young Musician finalist 2004 Michal Cwizewicz.
Historical Performance faculty Winner of the Moeck International Recorder competition Maria Martinez Ayerza joins the Historical Performance faculty.
Academic Tutors We welcome four new teachers to the academic staff: Carola Darwin joins us as Acting Area Leader for Historical Studies while Natasha Loges is on her AHRC-sponsored sabbatical. Pande Shahov and Gareth Wilson both join the programmes team to teach a range of BMus courses. Owen Cox also joins us to work with second year upper string students as part of the Professional Skills course.
The Britten Theatre 25 th Anniversary News Celebrations to mark the 25th anniversary of the Britten Theatre have now concluded. Visit www.rcm.ac.uk/bt25 for details of activities and to read memories from past students, performers and audience members.
Circles of Excellence The year-long celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the Britten Theatre drew to a close with a drinks reception and recital for RCM Patrons and Supporters on Tuesday 16 October. The special event featured two of the recent BBC Young Musician winners: cellist Laura van der Heijden and pianist Lara Melda, as well as finalist Martin Bartlett, all of whom studied at the RCM Junior Department.
We would like to thank everyone who has donated to the Britten Theatre Anniversary Fund. Almost £40,000 has been raised which will help fund performance opportunities and training in the Britten Theatre, including the forthcoming RCM International Opera School production of Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea.
Le nozze di Figaro Supporter Geoff Richards took on a walk-on role in the RCM International Opera School’s summer production of Le nozze di Figaro – one of many auction prizes on offer at the Nuit Fantastique Gala held earlier this year.
Geoff Richards with Costume Supervisor Jools Osborne
Big LauraGive van der advert Heijden 2012:Layout 1
31/10/2012 Lara Melda16:18
Geoff Richards on stage with RCM singers
The Big Give Christmas Challenge 2012
Challenge opens: Thursday 6 December 10am
The Royal College of Music is proud to be part of The Big Give Christmas Challenge 2012, during which we seek to raise £140,000 for the RCM Scholarship Fund. The Trustees of the RCM and The Big Give have created a fund to match donations, meaning that for every £1 donated online, the RCM will receive £2. If you have ever considered making a donation to enable talented young musicians to train here, there is no better time. From 10am on Thursday 6 December, please visit www.theBigGive.org.uk to have any donation you make to the RCM (from £1 to £5,000) doubled.
The river Saône running through the city of Lyon in France
If someone had told me all of this, and the many other things that I learned during my stay in Lyon, I would perhaps have been more prepared for my time away, but finding them out for myself has definitely been an integral part of the experience. After all, the main draw of doing an Erasmus exchange was the opportunity to take some time out of studying at home, in order to see what it is like to study in a country with different musical and social cultures.
Christina Marroni (right)
Every year about 20 RCM students and staff take advantage of the Erasmus exchange programme, traveling to all four corners of the globe to experience life in a different conservatoire. Bassoonist Christina Marroni tells Upbeat about the three months she spent in France studying at the Conservatoire National Superieur de la Musique et Danse (CNSMD). A postgraduate bassoon student’s guide to three months in the French city of Lyon: learn the language, take three months’ worth of toiletries, buy anything except salad from the market, don’t try to go shopping on a Sunday, trust cheap wine, be willing to practise your scales and studies properly, eat like the Lyonnais (they know their stuff), beware the exchange rate, go to concerts at the auditorium – eight euros for any seat in the house if you go to the box office an hour before the concert – and, above all, remember that spirits are sold in single measures of 50ml rather than 25; so if you drink doubles you may end up falling off a table and needing to go to A&E. 10
My first encounter with members of Carlo Colombo’s bassoon class at the CNSMD Lyon was in the courtyard of the college, over a coffee and rapid conversation in French, which I only vaguely understood. My second was when I found myself listening to the bassoonist in the practice room next to mine, as they went through their scales in thirds, fourths, fifths, forwards, backwards and upside down at a metronome mark of around two gazillion. I can’t do that. Cue onset of an inferiority complex. (To this day, I don’t actually know which of the bassoonists it was, but I’m going to continue believing it to be the one who, shortly after the start of term, won a place at the Karajan Academy in Berlin!). In fact, it didn’t take me long to realise that all of the bassoonists at the CNSMD were extremely technically proficient and that I would have to work very, very hard to catch up with them! However, as the first few weeks progressed, I discovered that my apparent technical downfalls weren’t necessarily the catastrophe I was anticipating. Yes, I needed to work, but thanks to having very few classes and
Viola player Mark Gibbs studied for four months at the music department of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague: “I had a great relationship with my viola teacher – Jan Peruška – at the Academy. He gave me a fresh insight into my playing and opened my eyes to new ideas regarding the pieces I took to him. I cannot recommend Prague enough to anyone wishing to take part in an Erasmus exchange. Everything I wanted to gain from my exchange I managed: new ideas for my playing, a different culture and language and a change from the hustle and bustle of London.” no orchestral projects, I had the time to do so. I also had the space to work, thanks to the way the practice room allocations were organised and pleasantly understanding neighbours. I discovered too that the focus of the French school towards extreme technical proficiency was occasionally at the loss of a wider, musical horizon. Carlo, however, was a fantastic teacher for both my musical and technical development. It would be an understatement to say that I learned a huge amount. The classes were a hive of activity, and were open to anyone who wished to come and listen. On some occasions, there could be two or three people watching the class (either Lyon students or those from outside), as well someone (usually me) tinkering with reeds at the back, not to mention the person being taught who would still be receiving Carlo’s full attention, even if he was also tinkering with someone’s reeds
of the class, rather than someone who needed special treatment. I should say that I do speak French (although far from perfectly) and understand it well, but it is amazing how easily music transcends language and even those with limited understanding would have been able to grasp what it was that Carlo wanted from his students.
Erasmus exchanges are not exclusive to students, Deputy Librarian Peter Horton spent four weeks at the Sächsische Landesbibliothek, Staatsund Universitätsbibliothek (Saxon State and University Library) in Dresden: “During my stay I shadowed various members of staff including the head of the library’s music department Dr Karl Geck, had an introduction to reading traditional German script, learnt about cataloguing for the collaborative RISM database and embarked on cataloguing a manuscript of court dances, including a number with English titles (among them Cockney’s Frolic!). And my memories of Dresden? Salome at the Semper-Oper, Bruckner in the Frauenkirche, Vespers in the Kreuzkirche, Weber’s house at Pilnitz, my first ride on a motor bike, dinner and beer-tasting with Dresden music librarians, but perhaps most of all the welcome I received from everyone I met. The experience was a thoroughly invigorating one and I would strongly recommend other members of staff to consider a similar placement. Not until you have done it do you realise what you can gain!” (usually mine). Every so often he would turn to the spectators and ask their opinion on the piece or thrust them a reed to try, regardless of who it belonged to. This approach ensured the class had a community feel, where everyone was able to offer something. He taught me in English for a grand total of one lesson. After that, he spoke in a mixture of French, Italian and English in the same way as he did for everybody else. Not only did this mean that anyone listening to my lessons was also able to understand, but it helped me to feel part
With regards to language, it is no myth that many French are poor at English. As a result, I would recommend anyone wishing to study there has more than a basic grasp of French courtesies and is able to sustain a normal everyday conversation. If you do have to pull the: “Pardon, Je ne suis pas français” excuse, you might get some sympathy but you’ll not get very far in the supermarket. Among the students of the CNSMD, there were those who spoke enough English to help out floundering foreigners and I discovered that being from the UK,
Composer and jazz pianist Toby Nelms spent a semester studying at the Sydney Conservatorium: “Choosing to do an exchange to the Sydney Conservatorium was probably the best decision I ever made. When I applied to the Conservatorium I didn’t have a composition professor in mind. As it turns out the professor I had – Damien Ricketson – was fantastic. As well as studying composition I also had the opportunity to get involved in some jazz classes, and took a jazz harmony and ear training course which helped me improve vastly as a jazz musician. Overall, I would highly recommend the experience of doing an exchange. I found it a perfect opportunity for me to focus on my own progression as a musician. It also had great personal benefits as I feel far more confident in what I am pursuing.”
Clarinettist Stephanie Bissell spent the autumn term of her third year studying in Malmo, Sweden: “My teacher was principal of the Malmo Opera and had lots of suggestions on my playing. He had me trying lots of new techniques and approaches which was brilliant. We had a clarinet performance class each week where it was compulsory to play a piece and an excerpt. At first this was terrifying, but as the weeks progressed I began to feel comfortable performing and now I feel so much more confident to get on stage and play. Through the exchange experience I have met some wonderful friends and feel I have grown as a person and as a musician.” and Scotland especially, was often a useful conversation starter. I also found at least one person in my class who was willing to take the time to hear me speak, allowing me the chance to properly formulate sentences, acquire vocabulary and express myself, and who didn’t zone out of the conversation at the first sign of a hesitation or mistake! Carlo was also fantastic at helping me with some of the social aspects of living in Lyon – ensuring that I knew the dates of the Fête des Lumières, (a Lyonnais spectacle of lights which takes place at the start of December), and the Fête du Beaujolais Nouveau wine festival (the third Thursday in November). All in all, the three months that I spent in Lyon were very different from how they would have been had I stayed in London. I have made connections and friends from all over Europe, drastically improved my French and hopefully improved as a bassoonist! I also had the chance to study with a truly inspirational professor to whose class I hope to return as soon as possible. 11
Farewell to Sue After 18 years at the RCM, Director of Communications Sue Sturrock tells Upbeat her most poignant memories, experiences and achievements…
author the first CD-ROM produced by Dorling Kindersley and Microsoft, about world music. It was a very rewarding period for me. DK built its own recording and photographic studio and there was both time and money to do things thoroughly.
St Albans International Organ Festival Alongside this, in 1988 I was appointed Artistic Director for the St Albans International Organ Festival. That was possibly the most interesting thing I’ve ever done: working with major orchestras and soloists in the Cathedral. I remember with particular affection the 200 volunteers who seemed to be able to solve apparently insurmountable problems.
Studying at the RCM My time at the RCM began badly. I arrived in 1968 as an oboe student, and on my first day there was a freshers’ recital which included the stellar oboist Roy Carter, who went on to be Principal of the LSO. It was brilliant and I suddenly realised my place in the hierarchy of talent! The next day I explained how I felt to the Registrar John Stainer. He suggested I stick it out and start on the new joint BMus course with King’s London. So I did, and I loved it. Those of us on the joint course had the best of both worlds. We went to King’s for some lectures, and had lessons and took part in the orchestral and chamber performance back at the RCM. We spent a lot of time on the number 9 bus – I pitied my friend who played the double bass! I developed in those years interests that have lasted all my life, particularly opera and contemporary music. A key influence was Edwin Roxburgh, who taught contemporary techniques for wind players, and a musician I admire to this day. There was a 20th-century ensemble, and a composer friend wrote an oboe quartet for me which I premiered in the Concert Hall. It was a great time to be in London. We had access to free tickets to concerts so I went to countless premieres including Maxwell Davies’s Eight Songs for a Mad King. But the most instructive experience was hearing Janet Baker. As an instrumentalist I didn’t know much 12
about vocal performance, but from the moment she came onto the stage, I was transfixed. Every last sinew was involved in delivering the drama. The focused yet restrained intensity was utterly absorbing.
Teacher, Researcher, Writer, Editor After graduating, I taught a couple of days a week in a school, did some playing and peripatetic teaching. After six years I suddenly realised I needed a change and I spotted an advert in The Times for a researcher for an encyclopaedia of musical instruments. Lying disgracefully about my editorial skills and typing speed, I got the job. That was the beginning of a totally new life, doing something I really enjoyed. A general interest book, the encyclopaedia was a substantial tome which grouped instruments according to how they were played, rather than by historical period or country of origin. A new idea, it was a remarkable success, going to 19 editions and into nine languages over several years. After that, I was invited to do various quirky writing projects including contributing to the BMA’s Encyclopaedia of Family Health and authoring public health pamphlets for the Central Office of Information, designed for translation into minority ethnic languages. I also got involved in musical projects, and in 1992 I was asked to conceive and
For example, I had programmed Vaughan Williams Antarctic Symphony with Norman del Mar and the Philharmonia Orchestra. I planned to back-project images of Scott’s expedition above the orchestra. At the afternoon rehearsal, I realised that in the evening performance the setting sun would stream directly through the West window rendering the projection invisible. I wept with disappointment, but my lighting engineer said he’d work something out. I couldn’t see how. When it came to the concert interval, as I feared, the sun had moved into position and the orchestra was facing blinding light. But as Norman ascended the podium, darkness fell! In the three hours between the end of the rehearsal and the start of the performance, the lighting man had driven down to London, bought 10,000m2 of black plastic, made an enormous roman blind and arranged for it to be let down just before the symphony. And at the end of the symphony, it was pulled up as quickly as it had come down. A wondrous moment.
Royal College of Music In 1994 I joined the RCM as Publicity Officer, appointed by Dame Janet Ritterman, the Director. My office had neither a typewriter nor a telephone, but it did have a bed and a basin: it was formerly the professors’ rest room. Nobody had warned the professors of its new use so on my first day, when I came back from a meeting, I found somebody lying on the bed!
The Woodhouse Professional Development Centre In 1999, the RCM was unexpectedly given funds by the Paul Woodhouse Trust, with a specific brief: to create a resource for students to prepare for a working life in music. Dame Janet invited me to set it up and run it. She thought I was the right person to do it as I’d not had a straightforward route through my career. I was amazed. I felt I’d muddled through my life this far, not altogether unsuccessfully, but in a rather ad hoc way. She persuaded me that I had had the perfect ‘portfolio’ career and that I could bring my experience to bear on this new challenge. I included in the team my successor as Publicity Officer and other members of staff who worked for the wider College whose expertise could be brought directly to the service of students. One of the cornerstones of my vision was to give students experiences around which appropriate support could be offered. Professional development courses have their place, but until you’re standing with an oboe in your mouth, an expectant audience in front of you at an event you have organised yourself... you don’t really know what it feels like to be a self-employed musician. To create this verismo experience, I brought the External Engagements team into the Woodhouse Centre, so we were making it a real experience all the time. That was novel; nobody had done it.
Travel I went to North America in 1999 to look at the way careers services were run in US conservatoires, visiting the Career Development Offices in the Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory, among others. They gave me insight into several important facets of musical training especially getting the balance right between the taught and the lived experience. I came back inspired by what we could do in our own Woodhouse Centre. In 2000 I was awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travelling Fellowship, to visit the USA and Finland, to investigate how organisations were helping to prepare musicians for work. By getting inside the Chicago Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Cleveland
The 2005 Woodhouse Professional Development Centre team
Orchestra, and conservatoires such as the Juilliard and Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, I began to see how we at the RCM could become even more effective.
Creating RCM Sparks Working with the community was an area we had neglected, assuming that our graduates would either perform or teach. I realised that we needed to provide training and experience in creative and outreach projects. A colleague in the Centre did the groundwork in building relationships with schools and putting in place training for our students. After about three years, following the arrival of Hayley Clements, RCM Sparks was born. What started as a means of training our students to work in a school environment has grown into a significant operation.
Changing Attitudes In my early days, few students took responsibility for shaping their careers, relying on contacts and hoping the phone would ring. The culture has changed for the better: I don’t think I’ve met a single student in the last three years who doesn’t understand the need for initiative and an entrepreneurial approach. Most importantly, I hope the Woodhouse Centre has helped to redefine what it means to be a successful musician. Back in 1994, success was normally seen as getting into an orchestra or an opera group, or having an active solo career. Through the Woodhouse Centre, we’ve tried to convey that bringing your musicianship
and artistry to other settings and situations can be equally valuable. I’ve always believed that a musician who elects to study at a conservatoire has the potential to make a difference with their music. You don’t have to be on the Wigmore Hall platform or leading the LSO to play a part in musical life. Take me, for example. I’m proud that I’ve earned a living through music all my life and enjoyed almost every moment. I could never have predicted this: at 27 I thought I was on the scrapheap but the RCM training and experience I gained must have opened doors I could never have foreseen.
Favourite RCM moments? Well naturally I’ve really enjoyed the big projects – who wouldn’t? Mussorgsky’s Sorochyntsi Fair with Rozhdestvensky, the Haitink performances with the RCM Symphony Orchestra, Lachenmann’s residency, Sparks projects, and many memorable Junior Department performances. I have a lifetime’s music in my head to play on demand! But most of all I shall remember witnessing the transformative effect of music. By day, I watch students troop around the building, sometimes dishevelled, eyes dark-ringed with exhaustion, hair wild, shoes dirty. Then, by night, I can see the same students on stage performing as professionals, their startling talent instantly eclipsing any concerns I may have had about sartorial matters. That contrast is thrilling and humbling and has always made me feel proud to be part of such a uniquely enriching community. 13
Meeting the supporters... It must be hard deciding which organisations to support? Interestingly it’s one of the best kept secrets – we don’t get approached that much. We have a clear structure of what we want to support. We try to identify areas that are really worth supporting and then go and find somebody who can fill that need or could do with more support. So what criteria do you use? Essentially the criteria are youth and music, but there is also a local element which is not specific to young people and that is administered through local branches. I generally deal with organisations that have a regional or national impact. Why support the RCM? Well we’ve been supporting the RCM for many years. I think it goes as far back as 1997.
Nigel Brotherton Having worked for John Lewis for more than 20 years, Nigel Brotherton now advises the John Lewis Chairman on the administration of the company’s donations to various musical causes. Here he explains that process and why John Lewis is keen to support scholarships and RCM Sparks at the College. How long has John Lewis supported the arts? Well it’s actually a long-standing initiative. John Lewis began as a small haberdashers shop on Oxford Street back in 1864. John Lewis’ son, Spedan, took over the business after his father’s death and made a number of changes in the 1920s including selling the business to a trust, the beneficiaries of which are the employees. Anyway, the reason this is important is that Spedan Lewis had two strong personal interests – the natural sciences and music. In the 1930s he was good friends with John Christie and was even involved in the setting up of Glyndebourne (at the time everyone thought they were crazy – why would you want to set up an opera house in the countryside? Nobody will go!). So really right from that time natural sciences and music has by tradition remained very important to John Lewis, and also under the responsibility of the Chairman. My job is to administer the musical donations on his behalf. 14
Supporters are always interested in different initiatives. The RCM scholarship programme really appealed to us as we believe our relatively modest amount of donations have a strong impact on the music community. We like supporting minority orchestral instruments (which I have to say can also come in handy for helping out at our own orchestral concerts!). I always really enjoy coming to concerts too and meeting our award holders afterwards. I also hope that the scholars get to know each other through us. I don’t think any of our previous scholars have gone on to become ‘superstars’ but that’s not really what we’re interested in. What is important to us is to support and encourage a vibrant musical community of orchestral players, teachers and portfolio musicians. Why were you interested in supporting RCM Sparks? Well primary-level music is one of four key areas we’re interested in supporting. We’re very keen to support organisations that bring music to young people who would not otherwise have access to it. For the first time this year we’re supporting the work RCM Sparks do in terms of teaching students about education and outreach work. They may be fantastic musicians, but not necessarily know what to do when faced with a class full of children – how do you
control them, how do you get musical ideas across to them? We really believe it’s important to make sure there’s money available to train students to carry out outreach work effectively. Are there any benefits to John Lewis? It’s very much part of our philosophy that donations are not just about money. It’s about building long-term relationships – and there are lots of things that we do together. Our Musical Director, Manvinder Rattan takes on an intern each term to help with our Music Society which offers practical hands on experience. Coincidentally, the last two have been the RCM’s Students’ Association President. College students come and play in our shops, often at Christmas time – I remember spotting one of our award holders playing in a quartet in Peter Jones a few years ago. We also run a series of concerts after work inside our offices and often invite College students to play, as well as some of our own musicians, and these always go down very well. Do you get the chance to come to many concerts at the RCM? Yes! I love coming to operas and there are usually one or two award holders playing in the orchestra too. It’s interesting to talk to them and hear how different it is playing in a pit – particularly for brass instruments. They’re so deep underneath the stage that the atmosphere is quite dry and it can be difficult to hear. The one that really stood out for me was Orpheus and the Underworld – what an amazing production! I also really enjoyed the recent concerts conducted by Haitink. He is, to my mind, one of the finest conductors today. I remember talking to one of our award holders, Anna Blackmur, after the concert. She said how much she learnt from him – and that she wasn’t going to wash her hand for a week after shaking his!
Supporting the future of music... Music has the power to transform lives. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, generations of gifted students from around the world have been guided and inspired at the Royal College of Music. We would like to thank in particular those who have made donations of £1,000 or more in the last academic year – gifts are listed in descending order. Supporters of named scholarships, prizes Estate of Dr Neville Wathen Estate of Ian Evans Lombe Estate of David Young Leverhulme Trust Estate of Roselyn Ann Clifton Parker ABRSM The Wolfson Foundation The Michael Bishop Foundation The Richard Carne Charitable Trust H R Taylor Trust Laurie Barry and the John Barry Scholarship for Film Composition H F Awards John Lewis Partnership Scholarships The Tsukanov Family Lord and Lady Lurgan Trust The Worshipful Company of Musicians The Reed Foundation Croucher Hong Kong Charitable Trust The Hon Ros Kelly Ackroyd Trust The Stanley Picker Scholarship Stephen Catto Memorial Scholarship The Worshipful Company of Drapers The Tsukanov Family Irene Hanson Scholarship Ian and Meriel Tegner Jane Barker Emma Rose and Quentin Williams John and Catherine Armitage Ian Stoutzker OBE CBE FRCM Derek Butler Trust Andrew and Karen Sunnucks The Worshipful Company of Fishmongers The Opperby Stokowsky Collection Trust Gilbert and Eileen Edgar Junior Fellowship Phoebe Benham Junior Fellowship The Mills Williams Foundation The Charles Peel Charitable Trust Sir Roger and Lady Carr Award Richard and Rosemary Millar Mark Loveday Scholarship Steinway & Sons Jonathon Bond Celia and Andrew Curran Scholarship The Wyseliot Charitable Trust Independent Opera Artist Scholarship Lark Insurance Scholarship John Nickson and Simon Rew Russell Race South Square Trust Richard and Debbie Ward David Laing Foundation Scholarship Noswad Charity The Wall Trust Edward Brooks FRCM Sir Peter and Lady Walters Award Douglas Downie Sir Gordon Palmer Award Else and Leonard Cross Charitable Trust Kirby Laing Foundation The Bliss Trust
Supporters of RCM Sparks The David Ross Foundation John Lyon’s Charity Guy Dawson and Sam Horscroft EMI Music Sound Foundation The Ernest Cook Trust Dr Susan Sinclair and Rodolphe Olard The Stanley Foundation J Paul Getty Jr Charitable Trust Sir Roger Carr The Oldhurst Trust Corporate Partners BP International Ltd Royal Garden Hotel Hatch Mansfield Members of the RCM Opera Circle Philip and Christine Carne* Michael and Ruth West* Victoria Sharp Charles and Kaaren Hale Sir Vernon and Lady Ellis Gisela Gledhill * James and Clare Kirkman* Dr Mark Levesley and Christina Hoseason* Peter and Dimity Spiller Vivien McLean Sir Peter and Lady Middleton FRCM Sir Sydney and Lady Lipworth Christina Hoseason * Richard and Sue Price Members of the RCM Piano Circle Alethea Siow and Jeremy Furniss* Judy Mowschenson Terry Hitchcock Members of the RCM Patrons’ Circle Jane Barker* John Nickson and Simon Rew* Tania Chislett Ellen Moloney Sir Anthony Cleaver FRCM and Lady Cleaver John Cheng Betty Sutherland Costas Kaplanis John Ward Rhoddy Voremberg Dimity and Kerry Rubie Richard Hamilton Russell Race David Poultney Ruth Rothbarth Halina and John Bennett David and Sue Lewis Monica Moezinia
Other generous donors Estate of Albert Frost Estate of Pamela Larkin Sir Siegmund Warburg’s Voluntary Settlement Paul and Ruth Idzik Tungare Manohar Family Foundation Linda and Tony Hill* Karen Cook Roland Rudd Jeremy Furniss The Seary Charitable Trust The Rayne Foundation The Sharp Foundation Miss Kathleen Beryl Sleigh Charitable Trust Fidelio Charitable Trust The Derek Hill Foundation St Marylebone Educational Foundation The Rothermere Foundation Geoffrey Richards HonRCM Mr and Mrs Grace Dasha Shenkman Nicholas and Carol Paumgarten Serena Fenwick Webster and Davidson Mortification for the Blind Professor Colin Lawson FRCM Sir John and Lady Parker Ann Driver Trust Morgan, Lewis and Bockius Charles Lubar Blair Wilson Award Peter Granger Sir Michael Parkinson Victoria Moore-Gillon Janis Susskind HonRCM Michael Steen OBE HonRCM Sir Cyril Taylor GBE Katharine Long Don and Jennifer Robert Knights of the Round Table Ian and Lesley Millar Sir Jeremy and Lady Morse Sir Michael and Lady Perry Michael Crawford The Everard Foundation Helena Morrissey * also support a named award For more information about supporting the RCM, please visit www.rcm.ac.uk/supportus Alternatively, contact the Irisa Frankle on 020 7591 4861 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to new Friends and Supporters We are delighted to welcome the following people who have recently made their first donation to RCM Mr David Bentley Mr and Mrs John Botts Mrs Lillian Frances Burke Mrs Helen Butler Mr Paul De Thierry Mr Geoffrey Dellar Mr Alun Evans Mr Peter Ford Dr H Fossa Mr David Gendron Ms Sarah Griffin Mr Jonathan Gulliford Mr James Kneifati
Mrs Anna Koffer Dr Helen Liversidge Ms Zoë MacGibbon The Earl of Lauderdale Dr Christine Melville Mrs Sally Morris Mr Jacek Opienski Mr Noel Otley Mrs Anne Power Ms Peggy Quek-aziz Mr Michael Rolfe Dr Ildiko Schuller Mr Nicholas Selman
Mrs Eva Slone-Murphy Mr Michael Smith Mrs Katrina Stewart Mr Andrew and Mrs Karen Sunnucks Miss Barbara Waine Mr Richard and Mrs Debbie Ward Mr Tim Ware Ms Susan Waterhouse Mr Clifford Watson Mr Nigel Winkle Mr John Wright
Student notes String successes
Photo © Marco Martini
Violinist Emre Engin won the title ‘Young Soloist of the Year 2012’ at the Istanbul Music Festival… Violinist Sujin Park won First Prize at the Jeunesses International Violin Competition in Bucharest. Sujin performed a winning programme of Wieniawski’s Polonaise Brillante in A op 21 and Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole… Violinist Aisha Syed performed Mozart’s Violin Concerto no 5 in Zurich… Violinist Hannah Tarley won the Aspen Music Festival’s Concerto Competition 2012. The prize included a performance with the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen… Cellist Kristiana Ignatjeva performed Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations at the Watford Colosseum with the Purcell School Symphony Orchestra… Cellist Yuki Ito won the European Young Concert Artists Competition in Leipzig. The prize included solo engagements at prestigious venues throughout Europe and a ticket to the competition’s Grand Final held in New York… Guitarists Tom Ellis and alumna Laura Snowden won First Prize at the Liechtenstein International Guitar Duo Competition.
Keyboard accomplishments Vasco Dantas Rocha won First Prize at the XIII International Piano Competition “Cidade do Fundão” 2012 in Portugal. Vasco performed a winning programme of Beethoven’s Sonata op 31 no 3 and six Preludes by Debussy… Tak Man Chow won Third Prize at the Centenary Organ Competition, run by the Glasgow Society of Organists… Pianist Oxana Shevchenko won First Prize and the audience prize at the finals of the Sheepdrove Intercollegiate Piano Competition in Newbury.
RCM Baroque Chamber Ensemble In September, the RCM Baroque Chamber Ensemble gave four performances in Italy by invitation of the ‘Associazione Musicale Karl Jenkins’. Some of the best undergraduate and postgraduate students from the RCM Historical Performance department, including Elspeth Robertson (recorder, baroque oboe), Yu Wei Hu (baroque flute), Ben Norris (baroque violin), Sophia Anagnostou (baroque violin), Matyas Csiba (baroque viola), George Ross (baroque cello), Pia Pircher (viola da gamba), Jadran Duncumb (theorbo) and Richard Moore (harpsichord), accompanied by Head of Department Ashley Solomon, performed in Nemi, Fascati, Rome and Venice. The group gave an exciting and varied programme of music from the 17th and 18th centuries, promoting four different national styles of baroque music, and for various instrumental combinations.
Tom Ellis and Laura Snowden
Ian Tindale was joint winner of the prestigious Gerald Moore Award for piano accompaniment, performing songs by Michael Head, Schumann and Duparc with singer Bradley Travis… Pianist Samson Tsoy has become a Laureate of the prestigious XVII Santander International Piano Competition Paloma O’Shea in Spain.
The tour provided students with a unique opportunity to perform baroque chamber concerts in some of the major Italian cities. They met Italian musicians specialising in Historical Performance, exchanging performance and interpretation ideas. The concerts were enthusiastically supported by local conservatoire professors, students and the general public, including HM Ambassador to the Holy See, Nigel Baker, in Rome. Watch a video of one of their concerts at www.rcm.ac.uk/hp/ highlights
Composition congratulations RCM Junior Department composer Amy Bryce won the Yorke Dance Project Young Composers Competition with her work Marilyn’s Darkroom, based on letters Marilyn Monroe wrote to her psychiatrist after being committed to a clinic in New York suffering from mental exhaustion. Her piece forms part of Yorke-Edgell’s new dance work, Noted, based on letters written by historic or iconic figures.
Compositions by Ewan Clark and Richard Ford have featured in the recent BBC series Treasures of Ancient Rome. The Auckland Symphony Orchestra also commissioned and twice performed a suite of highlights from Ewan’s feature film score Hotspot… Adam Kornas has been shortlisted for The Lord Mayor’s Composition Award with his string quintet, Paradise Regained. His work for chamber orchestra Cortege was also performed by the London Contemporary Chamber Orchestra at St George the Martyr on Borough High Street… Joanne Sy has been commissioned by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council to write a score for Before Friday, an independent film. She has also been shortlisted by Chinawest International Productions to compose a work for their upcoming music project Hey Youth… Composer Arne Gieshoff has been awarded the coveted Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize for 2012. The award is supported by the Delius Trust and RVW Trust and includes a commission for the Philharmonia Orchestra’s Music of Today series.
Other activities Lord Black and Amy Bryce
Pedro Faria Gomes’ work Contraluz, commissioned by Guimaraes as the 2012 European Capital of Culture, has been premiered by the Fundação Orquestra Estúdio in Portugal. He has also been chosen as an associate composer of the London Symphony Orchestra’s Soundhub.
Kensington Brass, a brass dectet featuring Ryan Linham, Toby Street, Adam Stockbridge, Tom Griffiths, Finlay Bain, Tom Barton, Adam Taylor, Gordon Maclachlan, Jim Alexander and Stephen Calow spent ten days in Kerkrade, Holland this summer, performing at the Orlando festival. Performances included a world premiere with tuba virtuoso Oren Marshall.
Park Quartet Imagine the scene – a small medieval village perched on a rocky outcrop deep in ‘France Profonde’. Green hillsides and hot weather, the twinkle of the river in the distance, a beautiful ancient Romanesque church and Halle de la Justice (where medieval miscreants were hanged at the door…). This was the setting for the week long residency of the Park Quartet (Eunsley Park, John Garner violins, Marie Schreer viola, and guest cellist George Ross) at the 2012 ‘Association Musicale de Combret sur Rance’ music festival. Hosted by the President Patricia Gane, artistic advisor Peter Gane and local families, the quartet presented four public concerts: an informal reception by a swimming pool, a buffet lunch concert overlooking the hills, an evening concert in the church and a private concert for sponsors. The festival aims to provide an opportunity for young talented musicians to experience the unique French country life in an unspoiled region of great beauty.
Staff notes in Greece. He also gave a lecture recital on British composer Rebecca Clarke at Birkbeck University and performed in various festivals, including the inaugural Belsize Midsummer Music Festival.
Violinist Madeleine Mitchell has premiered a new work by David Matthews. His Romanza was performed in Suffolk in October with a further performance scheduled in London early next year. Commissioned by Madeleine, with funding from the Cohen Trust, Romanza is published by Faber Music in two versions: solo violin with strings op 119 and violin and piano op 119a. Junior Department piano teacher Yekaterina Lebedeva has been involved in an exciting project working with young Palestinian pianists and string players from the West Bank and Gaza brought to the UK under a joint British Council/Choir of London Bursary Scheme. The project aims to improve young people’s aspirations and the quality of music-making in Palestine. Composition professor Kenneth Hesketh’s work Knotted Tongues was given its world premiere by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra in October, conducted by RCM alumnus Ludovi Morlot. Also on the programme was the first performance of Moler, written by Kenneth’s wife Arlene Sierra. Piano professor and Assistant Head of Keyboard Ian Jones has given masterclasses at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, the World Piano Conference in Serbia and the Poros International Summer Piano Academy
Violin and viola professors Yuri Zhislin and Natalia Lomeiko have performed in Moscow and St Petersburg with the Russian Virtuosi of Europe. They will perform Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante and Britten’s Double Concerto with the Oxford Philomusica at the Sheldonian Theatre on 6 December.
Composition professor Jean-Philippe Calvin has conducted and recorded 12 new works at Klasik Keyifler, a new music festival in Turkey (including a new piece by RCM composer Camilo Mendez). Jean-Philippe also gave a lecture at the Science Museum exploring how electronic music has changed composition, particularly focusing on the influence of Iannis Xenakis. This talk was part of the Oramics to Electronica series.
Camilo Mendez (left) and Jean-Philippe Calvin (right)
Junior Department piano teacher Clara Rodriguez has performed at the Purcell Rooms at the Southbank Centre. Her programme featured solo piano and chamber works, including the London premiere of Three Preludes by the young Venezuelan composer Mirtru Escalona as well as Piazzolla’s Grand Tango and Four Seasons of Buenos Aires.
Natalia Lomeiko and Yuri Zhislin
Junior Department composition teachers David Sutton-Anderson and Avril Anderson have given a presentation at the World Dance Summit conference at the Taipei National University of the Arts. The topic was Sound Moves, an annual project which provides the opportunity for JD composers to collaborate with young choreographers and dancers, culminating in performances at both the RCM and the Robin Howard Dance Theatre at The Place. Piano professor John Blakely’s book God in the Dark has been published by Wild Goose Publications, under the pseudonym ‘Peter Longson’, with a cover designed by RCM Facilities Officer Chris Tomlin. A recent review in the Church Times said it was: “an exquisitely written exploration of the problem of suffering... by far the best and most life-affirming book that I have ever read about the problem of pain.” Assistant Head of Programmes Dr Natasha Loges is in Berlin for the 2012/13 academic year, on a grant funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. She is working on her book Brahms and his Poets and welcomes contact from any RCM musicians in the city.
In John Cage’s centenary year this was a tribute to the composer who coined the term ‘prepared piano’. Current RCM students Arne Gieshoff and William Cole also contributed to the programme with short pieces for prepared piano influenced by Cage’s work.
Membership and Events Coordinator Heather Letley volunteered as a Games Maker at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Heather worked as a member of the security team based at the Olympic Park for nine days over the Olympic period. She was proud to be one of the 70,000 Games Makers, who have been given high praise for their outstanding enthusiasm and dedication in making the Olympics a success.
Professor of piano and chamber music Julian Jacobson spent four weeks in Australia this summer, giving two performances of Rachmaninov’s 2nd Concerto in Melbourne, as well as solo and chamber music concerts, masterclasses and a lecture-recital on Liszt and Wagner for the Melbourne Wagner Society. Mark Messenger, Head of Strings, has presented a paper “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” at the 2012 International Music Institutions Leaders Forum in Beijing. He also completed the first ever Ealing half marathon in 1 hour and 35 minutes. In 2013, he will be running the London Marathon once again to raise money in support of students who wish to come to the RCM.
Jazz trumpet professor Mark Armstrong has been appointed Artistic and Music Director of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO). The orchestra was founded in 1995 and is a showcase for the country’s best young jazz musicians.
Brahms piano music
Leon McCawley HANDEL VARIATIONS OP. 24 WALTZES OP. 39 PIANO PIECES OP. 118
Piano professor Leon McCawley’s recording of solo works by Brahms for Somm Recordings was selected by Classic FM as CD of week in July. He also looks forward to concerts at Wigmore Hall and Royal Festival Hall with the Philharmonia in January. RCM Piano Supervisor and Technician Chris Moulton has featured in the BBC Radio 3 programme ‘Preparing a Piano’.
Piano professor Ashley Wass has signed a three-disc partnership with Orchid Classics. The first album has just been released and features Liszt’s transcription of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, performed on the Girikowsky fortepiano at Restoration House, Rochester. A recital disc ‘Back to Bach’ will follow in 2013. Professor in piano accompaniment Simon Lepper has performed at the Buxton Festival with alumnus Andrew Kennedy, the Presteigne Festival with Gillian Keith and Petworth Festival with Valentina Nafornita. He looks forward to a recital at the Musée d’Orsay with alumna Rosie Aldridge in December.
Composition professor Joseph Horovitz’s dramatic work Lady Macbeth was performed by celebrated American mezzo Susan Graham on a 14-city recital tour of North America, Europe and Australia earlier this year. Accompanied by pianist Malcolm Martineau, the tour included a performance at London’s Wigmore Hall. The CD of the programme, entitled Virgins, Vixens and Viragos, is available on Onyx Classics. Horovitz’s work is a dramatic scena based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth which illustrates the character of Lady Macbeth and her descent into madness. Commissioned by the Bergen Festival in 1970, it has since been performed by alumnae Sarah Walker (who has recorded it with Graham Johnson) and Della Jones, as well as other distinguished mezzos including Norma Procter, Felicity Palmer, Catherine Wyn-Rogers and Susan Bickley. The most recent Lady Macbeth was 2012 Kathleen Ferrier Award winner Kitty Whately, who performed the role at the University of Leeds Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall in March. Piano professor Norma Fisher was part of the jury of the 2012 Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia. She is also to be made a Fellow of the RNCM later this year. Organ professsor Margaret Phillips gave the first UK performance of Hommage à Liszt by Lionel Rogg at St Paul’s Cathedral. She also taught at the Académie Tibor Varga in Sion, Switzerland and the International Summer Academy in Haarlem, Holland. 19
Alumni notes Pianist Nicholas McCarthy has turned to presenting for the recent BBC Radio 3 season dedicated to the piano. Nicholas took the letter L for ‘left-handed’ in an A to Z of the piano and used it as an opportunity to explain more about the range of music available for one-handed pianists and how some of these works came to be written.
Music Off Canvas Nicholas McCarthy
Music Off Canvas, featuring flautist Hannah Grayson, oboist Vanessa Howells and bassoonist Sophie Crawford, has collaborated with RCA alumna Candida Powell-Williams to create a piece of promenade music theatre. Glissando was launched at Salisbury Arts Centre in July and was managed by the Woodhouse Professional Development Centre. Composer Lauri Supponen’s work The Dordrecht Humaphone has been premiered by the BBC Singers at the Cheltenham Festival. He received the commission from the Royal Philharmonic Society Susan Bradshaw Composers Fund after winning the 2011 RPS Composition Prize. Oompah Brass, known for their Bavarian-style re-workings of popular songs, has recently seen victory at the Haizetara International Street Band Contest 2012. The band formed six years ago at the RCM and three original members still remain – Nathan Gash, Lucy Leleu, and Sam Pearce.
Clarinettist William Stafford has performed at Lorn Live, a new chamber music festival in Oban, Scotland. The afternoon recital included Mozart’s Kegelstatt Trio in E flat major K 498 and Bruch’s Eight Pieces op 83. Alto flute specialist and artistic director of rarescale Carla Rees has released a disc of music by the ensemble’s composer in residence RCM professor Michael Oliva. Nocturne features the song cycle ‘Dover Beach’ as well as three works for alto flute and electronics. She is also behind the launch of a new specialist publishing house for low flute music. The idea behind the initiative is to promote and encourage more performers to take on some of the works that have been composed for rarescale. www.tetractys.co.uk
Conductor Jacques Cohen’s opera The Lady of Satis House has received two performances at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith. Based on Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, the operatic monodrama for soprano and string quartet featured alumna Marie Vassiliou accompanied by the Piatti Quartet.
Folk group Tir Eolas, founded by RCM alumni Georgie Harris, Pip Mercer, Laura Snowdon and current student Ruairi Glasheen, has been awarded a place on Live Music Now. Founded by Yehudi Menuhin and Ian Stoutzker, the scheme aims to bring joy and inspiration to those who have limited access to conventional music-making, as well as helping to develop the careers of young talented musicians. Composer Oliver Rudland has written The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark, a new opera for children. Based on Jill Tomlinson’s classic book, it received its first performance in November last year at Great St Mary’s Church in Cambridge with children from local schools.
Kit Chi Lau has won first prize in the Centenary Organ Competition run by the Glasgow Society of Organists. She was also awarded the David Sanger Memorial Bach Prize. Violinist Leonard Schreiber performed Bruch’s Violin Concerto with the London Firebird Orchestra at St George’s Hannover Square in Mayfair for the 35th anniversary concert of The Story of Christmas, an annual charity event to raise money for disadvantaged young people and the homeless. Pianist Florian Uhlig has released the third volume of his recordings of Schumann’s solo piano works for Hänssler Classic. Florian also gave performances of Schumann’s Piano Concerto with the Beijing Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestre de la Garde Républicaine in Paris. In addition, he is entering his fifth year as Artistic Director of the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival.
Two works by composer Simon Coleman were premiered at the Paralympic Torch Lighting Ceremony at Stoke Mandeville. He co-produced the music for Driving Inspiration: Light Up the Word, an animation celebrating the history and values of the Paralympics, and wrote the music for a short documentary The Mandeville Legacy charting the birth of the Paralympics. Baritone Edward Grint and counter tenor Jake Arditti have been awarded major prizes in the Cesti International Baroque Opera Singing Competition in Innsbruck. Edward was awarded Second Prize as well as a role in Gluck’s Iphigenie en Aulide at the Theater an der Wien and at the Barockoper: Jung in Innsbruck. Jake was awarded a concert in Rahmen des Festivals della Valle d’Itria, Martina Franca in Italy. The Glendower Duo, featuring clarinettist Hannah Morgan and pianist Thomas Besnard has released a CD featuring music by Paul Patterson, Julian Anderson, Hugh Wood and RCM professor Harris Kittos. The CD is available to purchase through their website: www.glendowerduo.com
Pianist Dominic Ferris has joined the team of the new musical Finding Neverland, which received its world premiere in Leicester Square in September. He is working as a vocal coach and assistant to the musical director, David Charles Abell. Jonathan Pitkin’s Con Spirito for piano and disklavier has been included in the British section of the International Society for Contemporary Music World Music Day in Poland 2014. The work explores the dramatic potential of the disklavier, which seemly plays itself, paired with a live performer. Conductor Robert Hodge has been appointed Musical Director of Stoneleigh Youth Orchestra, one of London’s leading and longest established youth orchestras. Robert takes up the position in April 2013 and succeeds Adrian Brown who is leaving the post after 40 years. Violinist Laura Samuel has been appointed leader of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. She took up the post at the start of the 2012–13 season with a performance of Richard Strauss’ Alpine Symphony, conducted by Donald Runnicles at the Edinburgh International Festival.
The Glendower Duo Florian Uhlig
Composer Russell Hepplewhite has been awarded the PRS David Bedford Music Education Award for his new opera for young people. Laika the Spacedog was commissioned by English Touring Opera and will feature in their 2013 spring tour, which includes performances at the Science Museum and Snape Maltings. Soprano Natasha Day has won First Prize at the Zlote Glosy Competition at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland. Natasha has also taken up a place at ENO Opera Works, a training programme for talented opera singers.
Pianists Katherine Tinker, Alex Wilson and Antoine Françoise have performed alongside members of London Sinfonietta at a concert at Kings Place. ‘Minimal Materials 1’ showcased compositions by Graham Fitkin and Laurence Crance including Flak, a piece for eight hands, which they performed with the composer.
Composer David Braid’s CD of chamber and instrumental works has been released on Toccata Classics. To celebrate its release, David organised a concert at the Purcell Room and featured on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune with fellow alumnus and pianist Sergei Podobedov.
Pianist Dan Marginean was awarded a scholarship to participate in the Encuentros Internacionales de Música in Spain. He enjoyed masterclasses with Fernando Puchol, Jean-François Antonioli and Andrei Gavrilov and also gave three concerts at the Centro de Arte, Alcobendas.
Elmar Gasanov has won Third Prize at the Géza Anda International Piano Competition in Zurich. He was also awarded the special Schumann Prize from the concert agency Artists Management Company Ltd for the best Schumann interpretation of the competition. 21
Obituaries and births Obituaries Hubert Dawkes FRCM, keyboard professor at the RCM from 1946 to 1987, died on 12 May. Though principally remembered as an organist and pianist, he also played violin and viola. Born in 1916, Hubert studied organ at Winchester Cathedral and, encouraged by George Dyson, applied to the College. He entered as a Scholar in September 1935, remaining until December 1938. An outstanding student, he was awarded the Wesley Exhibition, the Kenneth Bruce Stuart Prize and the Bruce Scholarship in 1936. In 1937, he was awarded the Arthur Normand Prize and the Tagore Medal and, in 1938, the Walter Parratt Prize. Johannes Johansson HonRCM, Principal of the Royal College of Music in Stockholm since 2006, and from 2005–2011 President of the Association of European Conservatoires, has died. After studying music, philosophy and the history of science, Johannes worked mainly as a composer, notably of vocal music and of music-mixing instruments and electro-acoustic sounds. He also published widely on music education and contemporary music, and served as an expert on committees and advisory groups in many European countries. He will be remembered by colleagues all over Europe as a hugely gifted individual, deeply committed to the principles of conservatoire training and to the advancement of music more widely. Colin Horsley OBE FRCM, keyboard professor at the RCM from 1955 to 1990, has died. Born in New Zealand in 1920, Colin studied at the RCM from 1936 with Herbert Fryer and Angus Morrison, and later with Tobias Matthay and Irene Scharrer. He enjoyed a long and successful career, making his debut in 1943 at a Royal Albert Hall Prom playing Bach’s Concerto for Three Keyboards. Always interested in contemporary music, Colin premiered Humphrey Searle’s taxing First Piano Concerto in 1946 and Lennox Berkeley’s Piano Concerto two years later. He formed a close artistic association with Berkeley, premiering several of his piano works, and commissioning a Trio for Horn, Violin and Piano. Appointed OBE in 1963 and FRCM in 1973, Colin eventually retired to the Isle of Man, close to where his grandfather was born.
David Tod Boyd, professor at the RCM’s Opera School for many years, died on 29 July 2012. Born in 1924, David studied at the RCM during the Second World War. Having helped to sweep incendiaries off the College’s roof, David was called up for service just before completing his three years of study. Happily, he returned in 1946 studying piano with Kendall Taylor and clarinet with Frederick Thurston, achieving ARCM (Piano Solo) in 1943 and ARCM (Piano Teaching) in 1947. In addition to his important contribution to the College’s vocal and opera departments, David was chorus master and repetiteur at Sadler’s Wells, as well as a frequent musical director in the West End and at the National Theatre. RCM alumnus, award-winning composer and eminent professor Ian Parrott died on 4 September 2012. Ian arrived at the RCM when he was 16 years old, studying organ with Henry Ley, conducting with Professor Kitson, piano with Hilda Klein and singing with Albert Garcia. He went on to complete his DMus at New College, Oxford in 1940. Ian later served in World War II; his war service in Egypt inspiring the symphonic poem Luxor, which won the Philharmonic Society First Prize in 1949 and marked Parrott as a rising star in British music. The following year he was appointed to the Gregynog Chair of Music at Aberystwth University, where he worked until his retirement in 1983. He became immersed in the musical life of Wales and helped found the Guild for the Promotion of Welsh Music. Richard Nunn, keyboard professor for many years, died on 28 August. Born in 1937, David studied at the RCM with Eric Harrison and Hubert Dawkes from 1954 to 1960. He was awarded his ARCM in 1955. In July 1961 he joined the music staff of the old Sadler’s Wells Opera and in November 1965 he progressed to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. He returned to the RCM in 1978 to teach in the Keyboard Faculty, in particular piano accompaniment, as well as teaching repertoire in the Opera and Vocal Faculty. He retired 24 years later in 2002 after seeing a new generation of musicians thrive under his stewardship. June Morgan (née Colthup) died on 8 September. She attended the RCM from 1946–1950, studying singing with Dorothea Webb and piano under Kathleen McQuitty. She went on to teach music and work as an accompanist
in two secondary modern schools in Sittingbourne, Kent. She also founded a girls’ choir, and had many private pupils, who remember her meticulous technique and musicality. Russell Brown, long-standing Friend of the RCM, passed away on 16 July after a brief illness. Russell spent his life involved with the arts, holding positions at Sadler’s Wells, the Royal Shakespeare Company and most significantly, as Bursar of the nearby Royal College of Art. He was also a Trustee of the Royal Ballet Benevolent Fund. Lord Carbery, long-standing Friend of the RCM, died on 28 July aged 92. He had a great love of music and poetry, as well as a deep interest in agriculture. A devoted Catholic, he was buried in the ancient family vault of Castle Freke, a spectacular ruin overlooking the Atlantic in west Cork.
Births Clara Hélène Le Crapper was born on 8 June 2012 to Development Officer Joana Witkowski and her husband Jérôme Le Crapper. Joseph Oliver Taylor was born on 25 August to Academic Registrar Elly Taylor, a younger brother for Amelie. Elliott Hesketh was born on 9 September to Composition professor Kenneth Hesketh and his wife Arlene Sierra.
Clara Hélène Le Crapper
Joseph Oliver Taylor with sister Amelie
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