Monthly Archives: December 2018

Music Department Christmas Cabaret 2018!

On Friday 7th December, we ended the term with a big bang with the annual City Music Department Christmas Cabaret.

The cabaret has been running since 2011 and is now an unmissable date in the department calendar.

The afternoon began with a performance of seasonal pieces by the Balinese gamelan ensemble, followed by the (in)famous staff vs student quiz, which this year featured a revealing ‘Would I Lie to You?’ round and some impressive rapping by 3rd year student Will Brown and Professor Stephen Cottrell.

Highlights of the afternoon included performances by the Balkan Ensemble and by members of Jazz-Improvisation Ensemble. There was also a staff balloon ensemble (‘Hot Air’) performing David Bedford’s Balloon Music 1 (1973) and the staff also accompanied our very own City Music version of the 12 Days of Christmas. The afternoon rounded off with everyone dancing to the music of the Funk Band.

The prize for most sparkly outfit was awarded to Will Brown and best Christmas jumper to Gabriel Makara. We also raised £85 for Mind, auctioning off two special edition Walls on Walls designer mugs.  

A big thank you to the organising committee – Helen Brand, Sam Jones, Mara Miron, Brandon Sands, Morten Vamplew and Hannah Wood – and also to Will Goring and Josh Mitchell for the sound and lighting, and to Claudia and Tullis for compering the afternoon.

 It was a great way to end the term. Happy Christmas everyone!

Staff Balloon Ensemble

Balkan Ensemble

Members of Jazz-Improvisation Ensemble

City University Singers Wrapping Up: Christmas Carol Singing in Trafalgar Square

Blog by Carolina Herrera, Year 3 BMus

For their last performance of the year, singers from the Music Department and the university staff choir came together in the festive spirit of the season to sing traditional Carols beneath the famous Norwegian Christmas tree as part of the Greater London Authority’s Carol Singing Programme for Christmas.

Densely wrapped to brave the cold, students and staff congregated in front of the mixed and enthusiastic audience, eagerly singing some of the most loved hymns and carols for an hour to raise funds on behalf of Mind and Islington Law Centre, their chosen charities. Favourites included Hark! The Herald Angels Sing; Ding, Dong! Merrily on High; In the Bleak Mid-winter; O Little Town of Bethlehem; We Wish you a Merry Christmas, Silent Night and O Come, All ye Faithful. In addition, the Staff Choir delighted the public with Carol of the Bells and the Chamber Choir added Sleep, my Jesu and Tomorrow Shall be My Dancing Day, for a memorable evening of Christmas cheer.

Led by Tim Hooper and constituted by talented students from the Music and other departments, the City University Chamber Choir performs at the end of each academic term. This year, it sang Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem in St Giles’ Cripplegate church in London and also as part of the festival de Printemps de l’Université PSL (Paris Sciences & Lettres) in Paris during the spring 2018. They recently performed their annual Christmas Carol Concert at St. Clement’s Church, in collaboration with Civitas, the university vocal ensemble devoted to the performance of early music and led by Dr Alexander Lingas.

The City University Staff Choir is a community ensemble open to academic and professional service staff with no previous experience required, from across the university. The choir was set up 18 months ago by Louise Gordon, who also manages and conducts. 15 of its 25 members sang in Trafalgar Square and their beautiful voices brightly resonated together with singers from the Music Department, creating a light-hearted atmosphere for which the public showed appreciation.

After the session, singers and staff were offered mulled wine and mince pies by the Music Department and had photographs taken by friends and the public.

Many thanks to Tim Hooper for conducting the choirs, to Dr Alexander Lingas for joining the singers, to Dr Laudan Nooshin and Dr Ian Pace who diligently collected funds from the crowd and, of course, to all the singers who helped us raise more than £200 for charity!




BSc Students visit Tate Modern

Students taking the BSc in Music, Sound and Technology recently met at London’s Tate Modern gallery to experience Christain Marclay’s film The Clock.  Marclay’s work connects with many topics that were discussed in the Music, Sound and Technology module throughout the term, including musical and audio-visual techniques of sampling, cut-up, splice and montage, as well as wider issues relating to authorship. and the use of environmental or found sound as compositional materials.

Current student Fabian has written evocatively about his experience of the trip.

We woke up that last Friday of our first term, excited and exhausted. It had been a long term of lectures, labs and assignments – but today was the day. We had only one more class, then the famous Christmas Cabaret – an all-department event filled with music, dancing, and a little too many bottles of wine.
The morning was raining and cold yet none of that mattered because we were going to the Tate, one of the better modern art museums in London. Our lecturer, Tullis Rennie, brought the perfect storm. The last day of term, Christmas cabaret, and a field trip instead of class – it felt like being in primary again.

The reason we went to the Tate was due to their showing of The Clock, a 24-hour film by Christian Marclay. The film is a collection of shots of clocks arranged in real time, i.e. it is 10:24 in the morning so you see a clock in the film at 10:24. Thousands of shots from films arranged in perfect timing to the real world, so that every minute there’s at least one instant of the time. It could be a simple bedside clock, or someone can ask for the time and a character replies. You can see slices of popular films as well as random shots from films you would’ve never seen before. This collage is nothing short of a masterpiece, with the most impressive part being the cohesiveness of the shots in combination. Audio flows from one to the other, and the tracks make contextual sense – it’s not just random shots thrown around. It’s a precisely edited and arranged piece of art.

We sat in the Tate theatre for around an hour in the morning, seeing the 10:15-11:15 am section of the film. I would recommend anyone that wants to see this piece to see it at any time they are able to. In the morning the film will be riddled with shots of people going to work, and at night with people stumbling home from a pub; yet every minute is an interesting peak into the way that civilization moves around in our 24 hour time frame.
I only hope that we can have more field trips to further our outside experience into the arts. Go! Watch it – experience it.


Sound Art and Technoculture Module Trip to the V&A Museum

By Saule Boguzaite, BSc Year 3

On Friday, 30th November, the discussion about technology and media in the Sound, Art and Technoculture module was taken a tube ride away from campus to the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design – the V&A. Led by Dr Claudia Molitor, we visited an interactive exhibition, ‘Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt’, which explored the development, practice and magnitude of the medium since the mid-2000s.

The exhibition explores the world beyond the user’s interface of what for many of us, is a daily source of entertainment. Artefacts on display such as detailed blueprints and field research documentation revealed the extensive labour and process of video game production. The visitors from City enthusiastically gathered around the game-like exhibits that required hands-on interaction. An enormous screen showing an eSports tournament gave the visitor an idea of a rapidly growing player community and culture. The ‘Disrupt’ stage provides some food for thought through critical discussion about the social, cultural and political influence of videogames. The arcade with retro-style machines concluded the exhibition, where videogame enthusiasts of any level could find something they enjoyed.

Here is what some of the attendees had to say about the exhibition:

“I enjoyed the Play stage of the exhibit the most just for the simple pure enjoyment of having fun playing some of the unique and thought provoking games. The Design stage was also very interesting, to see the different motivations, ideas and techniques that went into the making of the games on display.” – Chris, BSc Year 2

 “I found that the plethora of sound effects present in the video game exhibition gave me new ideas for my major project, which involves sound design for video games.” – Moumen, BSc Year 3.

The exhibition is on until 24th February 2019


Chamber Choir and Civitas Christmas Concert at St Clement’s

by Carolina Herrera, BMus Year 3

The City University Chamber Choir and Civitas delighted the audience during their Christmas Carol Concert at St. Clement’s Church, Finsbury, on Wednesday the 5th of December 2018.

Joining forces for the first time, the two City, University of London choral ensembles performed repertoire that included a mix of Gregorian chant, English anthems, sacred motets, traditional carols and the premiere of Nunc Dimittis from Ty Gwyn Canticles, an original work by choir baritone, final year Music student and composer Jacob Collins.

Conducted by Tim Hooper, the Chamber Choir performed Henry Balfour Gardiner’s Evening Hymn (1908), Samuel Sebastian Wesley’s Thou wilt keep Him in perfect peace (1850), Josef Rheinberger’ Abendlied (1855) and Jamie W. Hall’s Sleep, my Jesu (2015). In alternation with these and Civitas’ pieces, the choir also sang Once in Royal David’s City (1848) by Arthur Henry Mann and Henry John Gauntlett, Tomorrow Shall be my Dancing Day (1830) by John Gardner; Ding Dong! Merrily on High, Eng. trad., arr. Charles Wood; A Maiden Most gentle, French trad., arr. Andrew Carter; Sans Day Carol and Nativity Carol (1963) by John Rutter, as well as O come, all ye faithful, J. F. Wade and Gabriel’s Message, Basque carol. The evening ended with Hark! The Herald Angels Sing by Mendelssohn, all arr. Willcox, for which the audience stood to join in song.

Civitas, led by Dr Alexander Lingas, performed Veni, Veni Emmanuel; Magnificat Antiphon Hodie, Cristus Natus Est; old Roman chant for the Mass of Christmas Day Kyrie in Natale Domini (MS Bodmer 79 ‘1071’); Christmas Canon, Ode 1 (Medieval Byzantine chant, MS Grottaferrata E. γ. II -13th c., ed. Ioannis Arvanitis); Lutheran chorale Wir schön leuchtet der Morgenstern by Philipp Nicolai; Resonet in Laudibus (S. Gall MS, ed. Keyte and Parrott) and Annunciation carol Nova! Nova! (Hunterian Museum MS, ed. Keyte and Parrott).

During the interval, mulled wine and mince pies were available to singers and guests, who included friends and family, as well as Music department lecturers and members of the local community.

Many thanks to Tim Hooper and Dr Lingas. Also, to Dr Laudan Nooshin and Leo Chadburn for their concert organisation, to St Clement’s for hosting the concert, and of course to everyone who played!

The Chamber Choir will be Carol singing in Trafalgar Square this Tuesday, 11th of December and will be back in St. Clement’s Church for their annual Easter-themed spring performance.