It’s that time of year again where we look back at all the amazing memories from the last 12 months. From conversations with Steve Reich to launching a brand-new programme, 2019 certainly didn’t disappoint. Here are just a few of the highlights.
1. We learnt a thing or two from Steve Reich
October was an exciting time for new music at Trinity Laban as prolific minimalist composer Steve Reich visited us at our Faculty of Music to receive an Honorary Fellowship and take part in a Q&A with our students and staff where he shared unique insight and advice:
“Write something so moving and magnetic they want to hear it. Music should absolutely rivet you so you’re just in it – if not the composer or performer has failed you.”
The celebratory event opened with a performance of Reich’s iconic work Electric Counterpoint arranged for electric viola by our Head of Strings Nic Pendlebury.
2. We hosted the first ever London International Screen Dance Festival
Curated by Reader in Choreography at Trinity Laban Charles Linehan, and screened at the Laban Theatre, the inaugural London International Screen Dance Festival featured 24 films from 5 continents, including 5 world premieres.
The event was a celebration of the inventive and experimental integration of movement, choreography and the moving image on screen.
3. Harp student Noelia Cotuna joined the Berliner Philharmoniker Karajan Academy
Harp student Noelia Cotuna not only won the Trinity Laban Soloists’ Competition 2019, but was also selected for the prestigious Karajan Academy, a young artist development programme giving her the incredible opportunity to play with the world-famous Berliner Philharmoiker.
4. We launched a brand-new dance science programme
In September we welcomed our flagship undergraduate cohort to our bespoke Dance Science Lab. The new BSc dance science programme, based at our Faculty of Dance, builds on our reputation as a world leader in dance science.
“I chose Trinity Laban [for dance science] because I really liked how they connect with not only the other dance science students on the masters, but also the other dance students within the school” – Rachel, First-year BSc Dance Science Student
Hear more from the students about why they chose to study on the BSc.
5. Our students performed with West End stars
During the summer Musical Theatre students shared the stage with current stars of Broadway and The West End for a spectacular night of show tunes as part of Greenwich Music Time. Students performed alongside stars including Marisha Wallace (Waitress, Dreamgirls), Rachel John (Hamilton) and winner of ITV All Star Musicals and much-loved Coronation Street star Daniel Brocklebank.
Our students also joined Ramin Karimloo and Celinde Schoenmaker for the debut UK concert performances of Dr Zhivago at Cadogan Hall (Lambert Jackson Productions). They received rave reviews from critics and were invited to join Ramin again this spring for the upcoming production of The Secret Garden at The London Palladium.
6. We travelled to Hong Kong for the British Council’s festival SPARK: The Science and Art of Creativity
Ahead of CoLab 2019 – Trinity Laban’s annual festival of collaboration – Head of CoLab Joe Townsend and Director of Dance Sara Matthews travelled to Hong Kong for British Council’s festival SPARK: The Science and Art of Creativity.
Working at the cross-over of art and science, the Trinity Laban mentors collaborated with dance and music students from the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts to create CoLab Journeys, a 17-minute semi-improvised, immersive performance that combined original movement and sound.
7. We launched an award that champions creative innovation
In 2019 we created the Trinity Laban Innovation Award to provide a unique opportunity for final-year undergraduates to access professional development support.
It forms part of our aim to help emerging artists find their voice and innovate in the cultural industries, one of the fastest growing sectors of the UK economy.
This year, the diverse and innovative proposals spanned female artistic expression, boundary-pushing genre development, and the power of the arts for positive change in the community.
Find out more about this year’s recipients.
8. We continued our unprecedented commitment to programming work by women composers
2019 was the culmination of our Venus Blazing initiative in which music by 120 female creatives was programmed across 60 varied public performances.
We reflected on its impact at our Venus Blazing Symposium in December, an inspiring day of music and discussion, and looked ahead to future plans to help ensure a lasting legacy for underrepresented artists in the industry.
9. The Gold Medal was at Southbank Centre
We were excited to take our Gold Medal competition to Southbank Centre for the first time at the beginning of 2019, where our 7 finalists performed on the Purcell Room stage in front of a sold-out audience.
Awarding-winning trumpeter Alison Balsom OBE, who judged the competition, commented on the ‘staggeringly diverse evening’ and its ‘creative programming’ before naming violinist Elena Abad the winner.
Not only did we have a new venue, but we also had a new category to represent Musical Theatre students, and introduced an Audience Prize.
We’re looking forward to returning to Southbank for 2020.
10. Students from the Juilliard School visited Trinity Laban to celebrate the Merce Cunningham centennial
In July we welcomed students from The Juilliard School for a one-week collaborative project in celebration of choreographer Merce Cunningham’s Centennial.
Together, Trinity Laban and The Juilliard School students performed a Cunningham repertoire-based MinEvent, staged by Robert Swinston, Director of the National Centre for Contemporary Dance in Angers, France and Trinity Laban Dance Lecturer Daniel Squire.
“This experience has had so much impact on my development as a dancer here at Laban. It challenged me beyond our normal curriculum and having the opportunity to delve deeper into the work of Merce Cunningham with the guidance of experts was so rewarding. Collaborating with the dancers from Juilliard was very inspiring.” – BA2 Trinity Laban Student Hannah Wallace
11. We hosted a new festival of creative ageing
In October 150 Lewisham residents contributed to the joyous grand finale of Age Against the Machine, the London Borough of Lewisham’s brand-new festival of creative ageing.
Hosted in our Faculty of Dance the day of free events featured pop-up performances, workshops and exhibitions and included the world premiere of Finale!, a specially-commissioned music and dance work about identity and aging created in collaboration with 90 Lewisham residents.
The day emphasised the power of creativity, championed older artists and challenged perceptions. Sydenham Singers member Andrew Rahim described the project as “a creative and nourishing endeavour that reached out to all ages.”
12. We saw awards and accolades aplenty
During 2019 our staff, students and alumni won various high-profile awards across the performing arts industry, including wins at the Jazz FM Awards, One Dance UK Awards, Ivors Composer Awards, Black British Theatre Awards, and a Mercury Prize nomination.
These are just a selection of the incredible moments and events at Trinity Laban during 2019. What a way to end the decade, we are can’t wait to see what 2020 has in store.