Author Archives: laudan

Summer Sounds Festival Ends with Chamber Choir and Orchestra Concert

The final concert of this year’s City Summer Sounds Music Festival took place on Friday 31st May at the local church of St Clement’s, King Square.

The concert began with the City University Chamber Orchestra performing the Overture to Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro (1786). The orchestra was then joined by the Music Department’s Chamber Choir for a performance of Haydn’s dramatic Missa in Tempore Belli (‘Mass in Time of War’) (1796).

Many thanks to Tim Hooper for his amazing work conducting both Chamber Choir and Chamber Orchestra this year.

The concert marked the end of this year’s festival and another busy year of music-making!

 

Children’s Book Launch at the British Library

On Thursday May 30th, The Phoenix of Persia children’s book was launched at the British Library in London.

This picture book is the culmination of a two year collaboration between the Music Department at City, University of London and children’s publisher Tiny Owl

Based on a tale from the 10th-century epic poem, the Shahnameh, by Iran’s national poet Abolqasem Ferdowsi (940-1020 CE), the book tells the story of Prince Zal, born albino and abandoned by his family as a baby, who is found and raised by the wise and magical Simorgh bird. At the end of the story, Zal is reunited with his family. The aim of the book is to introduce British children to Iranian storytelling, music, instruments, culture and history. With its many topical themes of understanding and valuing difference, and of the importance of forgiveness, this is an ideal story for a book aimed at promoting greater cultural understanding.

The project was initiated by Professor Laudan Nooshin and builds on her earlier project with the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 2012-12 It is very much about promoting a different and more positive image of Iran than children might otherwise receive through the mainstream media and elsewhere.

The book’s soundtrack introduces children to Iranian instruments, with each character of the story represented by a different instrument. The original music was composed and performed by: Nilufar Habibian (qanun, plucked zither), Saeid KordMafi (santur, hammered dulcimer), Amir Eslami (nei, end-blown reed flute) and Arash Moradi (tanbur, long-necked lute).

City Music PhD student Soosan Lolavar, was the Creative Producer and Assistant Editor, and the music was mixed, mastered and edited by Julius Johansson and other students in the sound studios at City (Malhar Kawre, Mara Miron, Olivia Cepress-Mclean).

The story was adapted by Sally Pomme Clayton, who also narrates the soundtrack, and beautifully illustrated by Amin Hassanzadeh Sharif. Ideal for children aged 6 to 11, the book can be purchased here:

As well as the book, the project includes educational resources for key stage 2 children and Laudan and Nilufar have been leading school workshops around the project.

The book has received many positive reviews, including the following:

http://tinyowl.co.uk/the-phoenix-of-persia-is-a-beautiful-immersion-into-the-literature-of-iran-armadillo/

http://tinyowl.co.uk/the-phoenix-of-persia-is-a-boon-for-teachers-parents-in-touch/

http://tinyowl.co.uk/the-phoenix-of-persia-is-a-must-read-read-it-daddy/

Photos from the launch:

Workshop on Interrogating Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Music: BAME routes into and through Higher Education

On 28th May 2019, City hosted a workshop on ‘Interrogating Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Music: BAME routes into and through Higher Education’.

The event was co-organised by the Royal Musical Association, the National Association for Music in Higher Education and the British Forum for Ethnomusicology, and is one of a number of recent initiatives aimed at addressing issues of equality, equity and diversity in University Music Departments and conservatoires, with a particular focus on BAME under-representation.

The afternoon was attended by about 30 delegates, with representatives from Music HE institutions and the wider music industry, including organisations such as the Musicians’ Union, Live Music Now, the Incorporated Society of Musicians, Sound and Music, London Music Masters, Chineke! Foundation and The Third Orchestra.

The discussion was very wide ranging and covered a number of areas from pre-university to academic careers. Ideas and recommendations coming out of the workshop will be taken forward to a larger event to be held in the autumn.

The event was linked to the Department’s 2019 Distinguished Lecture, which followed in the evening, on the topic of diversity in British Orchestras and delivered by Chi-chi Nwanoku, OBE.

The work of Michael Finnissy: 2019 Book Launch at City

by Chloe Davey, BMus Year 2

The evening of Wednesday 26th June 2019 saw an exciting new book launch, and a celebration of the work of British composer Michael Finnissy, with the added honour of having Finnissy himself in attendance. The launch involved talks by those who contributed to the book, along with outstanding performances of some of Finnissy’s works.

The book, titled Critical Perspectives on Michael Finnissy: Bright Futures, Dark Pasts, was edited by City’s Head of Performance Dr Ian Pace, along with composer and musicologist Dr Nigel McBride. It consists of chapters written by several performers, musicologists and composers (many of whom were in attendance at the event), all portraying their perspectives on Finnissy’s complex and contemporary work.

The music began with Philip Thomas’ performance of Finnissy’s First Political Agenda, and the concert consisted of several other performances of Finnissy’s works, including Chi mei ricercari for cello and piano, played by Neil Heyde and Zubin Kanga. The works of Chris Newman also featured, and were performed by Lauren Redhead.

Philip Thomas

With Michael Finnissy present at the concert, a world premiere took place of his new 2019 work, Fourth Political Agenda. This was performed by Finnissy himself, along with Ian Pace and Philip Thomas.

Michael Finnissy

Lauren Redhead

Dr Ian Pace closed the evening’s performances with Finnissy’s highly complex Piano Concerto No.4; the exceptional performance had audience members standing in applause.

Ian Pace

The evening as a whole was an excellent opportunity to launch the new book and acknowledge the commitment of the book’s contributors, as well as celebrating the work of Michael Finnissy in his presence. Many thanks to Leo Chadburn, Ian Pace, Laudan Nooshin and many more for making the event possible!

Some of the book’s contributors.

Music Alumni Concert and Reception Evening

The City Music Department’s annual alumni event was held on Friday 24th May 2019, as part of the Summer Sounds Festival 2019.

The evening began with a concert featuring four of our outstanding pianist alumni, each of whom are variously established as concert soloists with international careers, as award-winning creative musicians, and as rising stars.

First on stage was Ben Smith (BMus, 2015), performing the extraordinary extended piece Phrygian Gates (1977-1978) by John Adams. This was followed by Ikuko Inoguchi (PhD, 2016) playing a series of pieces by Japanese composer Karen Tanaka (b.1961): Who Stole the Tarts? (2016), Water Dance I. Very lightly with flow (2011) and Crystalline II (1995).

Robert Mitchell introducing his set

Jazz pianist Robert Mitchell (BSc, 1993) then performed a solo set, followed by Clare Hammond (DMA, 2012) who completed the concert with a series of pieces around the theme of ‘bees’: Felix Mendelssohn’s The Bee’s Wedding (Op. 67 No. 4), Rimsky-Korsakov’s (arr. Rachmaninov) Flight of the Bumblebee and Ewan Campbell’s Flight of the Killer Bee (2013). Clare also performed the piece A Garland for Anne (2003) by City Professor Emeritus Rhian Samuel, who was also in attendance at the concert.

Clare Hammond

Dr Clare Hammond and Professor Rhian Samuel

 

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The evening ended with a drinks reception for alumni, final year music students and current and former staff.

Many thanks to all who attended, and to the alumni office for organising the evening, and of course to our amazing pianist alumni!

Current second and final year students enjoying the reception!

Middle East and Central Asia Music Forum, 20th May 2019

On Monday 20th May, City hosted the bi-annual Middle East and Central Asia Music Forum study day, with speakers from the UK and abroad.

The morning sessions focused on Iran and included papers on Iranian film music, rave culture, experimental musical theatre and Iranian classical music.

The afternoon included papers on Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Muslim communities in Berlin.

The day ended with a drinks reception to mark the publication of Sense and Sadness: Syriac Chant in Aleppo by Tala Jarjour (2018, Oxford University Press).

The day also included a lunchtime musical origami session!

 

Darci Sprengel (University of Oxford): ‘Theorizing “Quiet”: Atmospheres of Sleep and Political Refusal in Post-Revolution Egypt’

 

 

 

 

Peter McMurray (University of Cambridge): ‘Listening with the Dead in Muslim Berlin (and Beyond)’

 

 

 

 

Laudan Nooshin (City, University of London): ‘The Phoenix of Persia: Introducing Primary School Children to Iranian Music’

 

 

 

The Middle East and Central Asia Music Forum has been running since 2007 and is open to researchers, students and anyone interested in the music and culture of the region. In the spirit of fostering dialogue and interdisciplinarity, we hope that the issues discussed at the forum will be of interest to a broad audience, including musicologists, ethnomusicologists and other researchers in the arts, humanities and social sciences. In addition, we welcome those working on other aspects of Middle Eastern and Central Asian culture broadly speaking (dance, visual arts, media, film, literature, etc.).

The Forum is convened by Professor Laudan Nooshin, City, University of London (l.nooshin@city.ac.uk) and Dr Rachel Harris, SOAS, University of London (rh@soas.ac.uk).

 

 

Chi-Chi Nwanoku Delivers the Music Department 2019 Distinguished Lecture

On Tuesday May 28th 2019, the Music Department welcomed Chi-chi Nwanoku, OBE, to present the 2019 Distinguished Lecture.

Chi-chi talked about her work with the Chineke! Foundation, which she established in 2015 with the aim of increasing the representation of Black and ethnic minority musicians in British and European orchestras.

Chi-chi has been an inspirational figure and role model for those working towards greater inclusion, diversity and equality in the classical music world.

As well as her international performing career as a double bass soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player, Chi-chi is a broadcaster, teacher, board member and trustee of numerous organisations. Amongst many broadcasts, she presented a two-part series on BBC Radio 4 in 2015 entitled In Search of the Black Mozart, which explored the stories and music of black composers and musicians from the 18th century.

Chi-chi was awarded the MBE in 2001 and OBE in 2017 for Services to Music.

The talk was followed by a Q&A with the audience.

https://www.city.ac.uk/news/2019/may/chi-chi-nwanoku-obe-to-give-distinguished-lecture-on-improving-diversity-in-orchestras

     

 

Again & Again: Musical Repetition in Aesthetics, Analysis and Experience

Andrew Simmons, Music PhD Student

City Music department recently played host to an international conference investigating the wide-ranging topic of musical repetition. The two-day event, which took place in the last week of April (25–26th) was conceived, organised, and expertly choreographed by the department’s very own Christine Dysers. Christine, who is currently in the final stages of her PhD project, brought together academics from such far-flung universities as Louisiana State University, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, and Melbourne University with the aim of stimulating a broad, interdisciplinary conversation about musical repetition at both local and global levels.

 

Many of the City Music staff kindly chaired sessions, sifted through abstracts (of which there was an overwhelming number), coordinated Skype presentations, and generally helped to ensure the smooth running of the event. Attendees praised it as ‘the first conference I’ve been to that actually ran to schedule!’

Highlights of the conference included keynote presentations by Professor Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis (University of Arkansas) and Professor Tilman Baumgärtel (Hochschule Mainz), a lunchtime recital by pianist Mark Knoop, and evening concerts by the City Pierrot Ensemble and Explore Ensemble.

Congratulations go out to Christine and the Music staff for organising such a wonderful conference!

See full details of the conference here: https://againandagain.london/

 

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Mara Miron, 2nd year BSc student, talks about her current internship post

Thanks for joining us, Mara. Can you start by telling us a little about the placement you are doing at the moment?

I’m doing an internship at Peter Conway Management, a company led by artist manager Peter Conway. I work in the office once a week or so and my role ranges from doing paperwork, writing emails and answering phone calls to even doing admin work in Peter’s absence, helping set up events and liaising with artists. It has been my first taste of the music business, something which I’m very grateful for.

 What are you enjoying most?

Taking part in the crafting process of certain events and then getting to see the end result is one of the most rewarding and motivating things for me. Also, being part of the music world – it’s always exciting when you get to meet different artists and see them perform. It does feel a bit surreal sometimes.

What have you found challenging?

It’s my first work experience, so it was a bit scary at first. You want to do your best, but it takes a while to learn the ropes and get used to everything. I was a bit shy in the beginning and there were lots of moments when I had to come out of my comfort zone to get things done, such as emailing promoters, meeting artists and other influential people, networking, and so on. It’s not second nature to me, but I feel like the first step is the hardest. Once you start doing it, the nerves start to dissipate, and it just gets easier and easier with time.

How did you go about finding your placement?

I found out about the internship through the Work Placement module at City. Peter is a good friend of Debbie Dickinson’s, the module leader who sadly passed away in March. She had invited him to come and talk to the placement students. So, it was through Debbie that I came into contact with him. In that regard, I will always be extremely grateful to her.

What is the most valuable thing/s you have learnt from your placement?

For me, although this might be a bit of a cliché, it’s important not to give up. I was rejected before and one time I didn’t even get a reply; but I had been told that out of a hundred applications, you’re lucky if you get a reply from ten, so that was very motivational for me. If you get rejected, don’t despair – just keep your head high and keep looking. There has to be something out there for you, I personally have always believed in that.

Do you have any advice for students thinking about taking the placement module or a sandwich year?

I have two. The first is to not be too hard on yourself. I have made mistakes and I was told I would, but it’s still hard. At any workplace, especially when it’s your first internship, you want to do your best. I used to criticise my every move, but then I realised that mistakes really are the best teacher and that it’s normal. I’m still scared of making them, but it doesn’t bother me as much anymore if it happens.

The second thing is that this internship has improved my self-confidence in a way I wouldn’t have imagined. As I’ve mentioned, meeting a large number of people and socialising wasn’t easy for me initially. But, when you’re thrown out there, you have to find a way to make it work. It’s an exercise to get out of your comfort zone and I cannot stress how much it has helped me. I’m still working on it, but it’s getting better and better every time.

Thank you for sharing your placement experience with us!

 

City Chamber Choir Trip to Paris, April 2019

by Iona Mitchell, BMus Year 1

On the 15th April, a small group from City’s Chamber Choir travelled to Paris to participate in a concert of joint choirs. The choirs came from all over Europe, including Belgium, Paris, and the UK.

The piece was the Schubert Mass No.6 in in E-flat major (D.950) and was performed as part of the Festival De Printemps PSL. The concert was held in the Grand Amphithéâtre de la Sorbonne which was so beautiful and made the five soloists sounded incredible.

Overall the concert were great fun and an amazing experience to be surrounded by other great singers and to be led by such an enthusiastic conductor.

Thanks to Alex Lingas and Jacob Collins for running the rehearsals and preparing us, and to Alex for accompanying us to Paris!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can watch a clip from the concert here:

[Festival PSL] ✨Souvenir du concert de mardi 16 avril au Grand Amphithéâtre de la Sorbonne avec les chœurs invités de Cambridge, Londres et Namur 🗣 : la Messe en mi bémol majeur de Schubert a résonné en direction de Notre Dame de Paris, à quelques mètres de là, 🎼 précédée du double Concerto pour alto et clarinette de Max Bruch avec l'Ensemble CONTRASTE 🎻🌼🌸 Le Festival de Printemps PSL a pris fin hier soir avec deux concerts : l'ensemble vocal I Dodici (Cambridge) à l'École normale supérieure – PSL et le chœur de clarinettes de l'IMEP Institut Supérieur de Musique et de Pédagogie à la chapelle du Lycée Henri-IV. 🎉Merci à tous de votre venue et de votre participation au succès de cette 4° édition du Festival💃📆 En attendant le printemps prochain, vous avez rendez-vous avec l'OCPSL, Ravel, Anthiome, Poulenc et Vincent Warnier, le 13 juin en la Cathédrale de Saint-Louis-des-Invalides.🎥🎞 merci à Jean-Luc Votano pour la vidéo

Posted by Orchestre et Chœur Paris Sciences et Lettres on Thursday, 18 April 2019