The Music Department’s annual alumni reception took place on the evening of Monday 5th March 2018 at the London Coliseum (English National Opera). It was attended by about 60 City music alumni, final year students, and music staff, including several visiting lecturers and instrumental teachers.
The evening began with a fascinating historical tour of The Coliseum, including the auditorium, which was being set up for the forthcoming season of La Traviata.
The Head of Department, Dr Laudan Nooshin, then welcomed everyone, following which three of our female alumni spoke, to mark the coinciding of the event with International Women’s Week and to celebrate the many achievements of our female alumni. The speakers were: Karen Mason (Music, 1988) Managing Director at Novalex, Laura Selby (Music, 2015) Studio Manager at Brains and Hunch and Fiona Baldwin Tanner (Music 1998) Director Founder of Oyster Opera.
We were then treated to performances by alumni and current students: Annie Yim (DMA alumna and the Minerva Trio with Michal Cwizewicz on violin and Richard Birchall on ‘cello); Ben Schoeman (piano, DMA alumnus); Sasha Karpeyev (piano, DMA alumnus); and Emilie Parry-Williams (voice, 3rd year BMus). Appropriately for International Women’s Week, the performances included a movement from Clara Schumann’s piano trio.
On Friday 16th February 2018, a group of City Music students and staff visited the exhibition ‘Opera: Passion, Power and Politics’ at the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington.
The exhibition explored the history of opera from its birth in 17th-Century Venice to the present-day through a series of key cities, dates, composers and operas – for instance Venice, 1642, Monteverdi, L’Incoronazione di Poppea; London, 1711, Handel, Rinaldo, and so on.
For each city/date/composer/opera the exhibition explored the social environment of the time and the importance of opera as an art form at different historical periods, for instance in relation to the ideas of the Enlightenment in Mozart’s time, or Italian nationalism in relation to Verdi’s work. The final section of the exhibition looked at opera post-1940.
There was also live music performed by students from the Royal College of Music.
One of the first year BMus students who came on the trip said: ‘The exhibition – its content and the way it was presented – was very inspiring. And it was very nice to be able to share the experience with other students and with the tutors’.
The trip ended in true City style with a meal in a local pizzeria!
On the evening of Tuesday 13th February 2018, the Music Department held its annual ‘Careers with a Music Degree’ Evening in conjunction with the City Careers Service. There were 5 speakers, including several City music alumni, as follows:
– Laura Selby, Studio Manager at Brains and Hunch;
– Marc Dooley, Head of Digital Content Development at Edition Peters;
– Eloise Garland, Freelance Musician, Teacher and Deaf Awareness Campaigner;
– Luke Annesley, Music Therapist at Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust;
– Sophie Ransby, Education Manager – Orchestras at the South Bank Centre.
The evening was led by Estanislao Bouza-Ortin, from the City Careers Service, who asked speakers about their own career paths, what their current work role entails on a day-to-day basis and what advice they would offer students to help them land their dream job.
The evening was attended by both UG and PG students who found it very useful to hear from and ask questions and careers advice from music professionals. Final year BMus student Emilie Parry-Williams commented: “It was an incredibly informative evening. It was reassuring to hear how from their music degree, the panel had all embarked on different paths and found success in various places within the music industry. Listening to their experiences gave me peace of mind that the degree is the right choice, and will open lots of doors to me upon graduation.”
After the formal session, the evening continued with networking with wine and nibbles.
The City University Chamber Orchestra gave their first concert of 2018 at St Clement’s Church, close to City, on the evening of Friday 25th January.
Conducted by Tim Hooper, the orchestra performed Bela Bartok’s Romanian Folk Dances (1917), the beautiful Pavane by Gabriel Faure (1887) and ended with Haydn’s Symphony no 101 in D Major, also known as the ‘Clock Symphony’ (1793/4).
Many thanks to Tim Hooper and to Leo Chadburn for his concert organisation, to St Clement’s for hosting the concert, and of course to everyone who played!
The orchestra’s next concert will be part of the Department’s Summer Sounds Festival in June.
Students taking a new module in Electronic Dance Music had a privileged visit to Clerkenwell clubbing institution Fabric recently. They were met and shown around the building by the club manager, artistic programmer, marketing manager and chief sound engineer, who all gave unique perspectives on what it takes to run a large, iconic club in London for the last 18 years.
Students were able to set foot inside the famous Room 1 DJ booth, experience the unique ‘bodysonic’ sub-bass transducer dance floor, as well as hear the same music played back (at full volume!) on different systems… all to themselves!
A huge thanks to Judy, Kirsti, Luke and Pierre for taking their time to host us.
The City University Chamber Choir has had a busy end of term with three performances in just over a week. The first was its annual Christmas Concert at St Clement’s Church, King Square, on Wednesday 6th December, with a seasonal mix of carols and a complete performance of Bob Chilcot’s ‘A Little Jazz Mass’.
The following week, on 13th December, the choir gave a lunchtime performance of carols at the main university entrance, in conjunction with the University Chaplaincy.
The choir finished its trio of performances with singing under the christmas tree in Trafalgar Square on the evening of 13th December. Despite the damp weather and competition from the bells of St Martin the Fields (!), much fun was had by all, fuelled by plenty of mince pies! We raised £170 in aid of Mind and the Islington Law Centre.
The City Chamber Choir is conducted by Tim Hooper and is open to anyone in the university. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to find out more about singing with us.
The City University Chamber Orchestra gave its final concert of the year on May 19th, kicking off the City Summer Sounds festival, a three-week music festival in the Music Department at City, University of London.
Conducted by Tim Hooper, the orchestra performed at the atmospheric St. Clements Church, close to the university. The concert featured Franz Schubert’s Symphony No. 5, Charles Gounod’s Petite Symphonie and Edward Elgar’s Chanson de Nuit and Chanson de Matin, Op. 15, No. 1 and 2.
These works exhibited the versatile talent of City’s Music students. The Schubert, which began the concert, was played by the entire orchestra and gave an invigorating start to the evening. This was followed by the Gounod, a lovely work which showcased the orchestra’s wind players. The evening concluded with the orchestra re-joining to play two beautiful short pieces by Elgar, featuring Andrew Losq on piano. A great way to start our Summer Sounds Festival!
The Department of Music recently hosted a series of events focused on the musics of the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia as part of the City Summer Sounds festival.
The latest instalment of the bi-annual Middle East and Central Asia Music Forum, convened by Head of Department Dr Laudan Nooshin and Dr Rachel Harris (SOAS, University of London), took place on Monday 22 May. Alongside scholars from institutions within the UK, the day included speakers from as far afield as Israel and the United States. Laudan was part of a roundtable discussion in the afternoon, with Tom Parkinson (Royal Holloway, University of London) and Dr Abigail Wood (University of Haifa), which focussed upon ‘The Ethics and Aesthetics of Studying Music in Situations of Conflict and Violence: Perspectives from the Middle East’. Also presenting her research was City PhD student Gabrielle Messeder, whose paper explored competing political narratives from the Syrian Civil War through musical examples shared and circulated on YouTube.
PhD Music student Gabrielle Messeder
In the evening of 22 May, the Performance Space hosted a performance by Syrian Kanun player Maya Youssef and her Trio. Performing pieces from her recently-recorded debut album, the evocative Syrian Dreams was a particularly moving highlight of the evening.
On Tuesday 23 May, a one-day conference convened by Visiting Lecturer and department alumnus Dr Stephen Wilford focussed upon Music, Technology and Digital Cultures in the Middle East and North Africa. The event brought together scholars, filmmakers, musicians and industry professionals to consider the role of technology and digital culture in the Middle East and North Africa, in both historical and contemporary contexts. The final session of the day included a presentation by Dr Cristina Moreno Almeida (King’s College London) and Moroccan rapper Omar Souhaili (aka Dizzy DROS), and a discussion between Nathan Comer (Masåfåt Festival, London and Cairo) and City PhD student Sam Mackay. The conference was part of the Music and Digital Cultures in the Middle East and North Africa project, and was supported by both City, University of London and the Institute of Musical Research.
Music PhD student Sam MacKay in discussion with Nathan Comer (Masåfåt Festival, London and Cairo)
Stephen Wilford, City Visiting Lecturer and PhD Music alumnus
It’s now ten days before the start of our annual music festival, City Summer Sounds. We have three weeks of events, including jazz, world, experimental, electronic and classical chamber music, reflecting the diverse interests of the Department of Music. Everything is open to the public and free to attend.
City Summer Sounds is an opportunity to showcase our students’ work, with performances by all our instrumentalists, and premieres by our composers. Immersive, multichannel electronic music is also a major part of the programme, studio work being a proud and significant part of the department’s legacy.
On the 6th June, we launch a new group, the City Pierrot Ensemble, who will be performing Schoenberg’s expressionist masterpiece Pierrot Lunaire, Michael Finnissy’s wild, rarely-performed music theatre piece, Mr Punch, and Roger Redgate’s mercurial Pierrot On The Stage Of Desire. The vocalists will be two astonishing performers, Adam de la Cour and Alwynne Pritchard.
The City Balkan Ensemble presented its first official concert at City on Friday 17th March. Established and led by MA Ethnomusicology student Gundula Gruen, the ensemble presented its debut performance at the department’s Christmas Cabaret in December, since when its membership has doubled!
The performance on Friday featured a selection of vocal and instrumental pieces from Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia and other parts of the Balkans, as well as songs from further afield such as Georgia. Pieces ranged from lively dances (including audience participation for the song ‘Jovano Jovanke’, a 7-time dance from Macedonia) to more contemplative songs.
Ensemble members are: Gundula Gruen (violin), William Brown (voice), Nia Rees (voice), Carolina Herrera (voice), Antonis Rousounelos (bouzouki), Kaz Levell (accordion), Ruth Kay (recorder), Anna Vaughan (violin), Serena Cassini (clarinet), Laudan Nooshin (clarinet), Fotis Begkli (clarinet and percussion), Emily Eaton (flute), Jamie Turner (guitar), Robbie Josephs (electric bass), Hannah Chow (cello) and Harriet McBurnie (cello).
The ensemble is great fun to play with and we are always looking for new players. We can accommodated most instruments or voices. Rehearsals are on Wednesday evenings from 7pm in the Ensemble Room. If you’re interested in joining, email Gundula: <Gundula.Gruen@city.ac.uk>