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Vocal & Opera Alumna Charlotte Hoather performing on BBC show <em>I can see your voice</em>

UpdatesSummer 2021

Alumni updates

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Our alumni have been engaging in many exceptional projects in the spring and summer months.

Violinist Benjamin Baker released a new album on Champs Hill Records in April. 1942 features sonatas by Copland, Poulenc and Prokofiev, all written in that challenging year in history.

Pianist Mark Bebbington has released his second Poulenc album, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Jan Latham-Koenig on Resonus Classics. The album includes Aubade, Le bal masqué (with Roderick Williams), Sextet and Flute Sonata (with Emer McDonough).

Classical guitarist and theorbo player Jonatan Bougt won First Prize in the EAR-ly 2020 Competition, held this year in Riga, Latvia, for his performance on the theorbo.

Composer Amy Bryce was interviewed in Choir and Organ magazine in February. She explores her new work, I will tell them, which speaks out about climate change, and her role of composer-curator-performer.

Broadcaster Clemmie Burton-Hill returned to BBC Radio 3’s Classical Fix in March – her first-time hosting since a serious brain injury in 2020. She joined BBC Woman’s Hour presenter Emma Barnett for a one-off International Women’s Day special.

Pianist Yulia Chaplina penned a feature for International Piano magazine in March, exploring the beauty of Tchaikovsky’s Lullaby op 16 no 1.

Trumpeter Russell Gilmour is featured as a soloist in a new recording of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto no 2 with Il Gusto Barocco, released by Berlin Classics in March. The recording was made in 2019 as part of the biennial Bachwoche Ansbach Festival (Ansbach Bach Week).

Composer Charlotte Harding has recently signed to the Faber Alt label.

Vocal & Opera alumna Charlotte Hoather appeared on BBC’s new musical gameshow I Can See Your Voice as a hired mystery singer. Read her experience of appearing on the show on her blog.

Composer Emer Landers has been awarded a Music Bursary of over €13,800 by The Arts Council of Ireland. The bursary will allow Emer to spend several months developing an original musical theatre project, and to consult with a professional dramaturg at crucial points throughout the process.

Soprano Julieth Lozano and pianist João Araújo gave a virtual performance of María Grever's Alma Mia for the St Endellion Easter Festival – watch below.

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Alumni Romain Malan (creator of the World Harmony Orchestra) and Eleanor Harrison (Co-director of WHO) have been organising live socially distanced ‘Cuppa Concerts’ for people who are vulnerable or shielding since March 2020. With the help of an Arts Council grant, they were able to deliver 200 of these concerts. The project was featured on BBC Breakfast last year.

Pianist and Conductor Maria Marchant was awarded a Classical Music Digital Award for the best Digital Project by a Musician in 2020, for her contemporary music project 7 Notes in 7 Days at 7pm. The project started in May 2020 and showcases composers from the UK and around the world, with Maria giving a first performance of a contemporary piano piece each Monday on social media. The project has featured in a Gramophone blog.

In November, pianist Lara Melda released her debut albumLara Melda Plays Chopin, on Champs Hill Records. The album fulfils Lara’s long-held ambition to record the music of Chopin, and features selected Nocturnes and Ballades.

Violinist Dominic Moore, co-founder, director and leader of St George’s Chamber Orchestra, has written a new book titled Keep Fit for Violinists, a method to enhance performance and avoid injuries. £1 for every copy sold will be donated to the Royal Society of Musicians of Great Britain.

Lance Sergeant Nick Mott, current Principal Trumpet of the Coldstream Guards Band, shared his experiences of studying at the RCM on the Household Division website.

Soprano Robyn Allegra Parton has been awarded the 2021 Soloist Award by the Friends of Folkoperan in Stockholm.

In a video for Alternative Classical, violinist Emma Purslow talks about Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht and shares how it's helped her during lockdown.

RCM Junior Department alumnus Kris Reeder has been recognised for his transformative contribution to British jazz in recent times in a book by David Burke entitled Giant Steps: Diverse Journeys in British Jazz.

Cellist Jobine Siekman won Second Prize in the First Collegium Musicum International Competition 2021 in Lugano, Switzerland. Two ensembles with which she performs have also enjoyed recent successes: the Alkyona Quartet received the European Union i-Portunus bursary to perform at the Koroni Arts Festival in Greece this June; and the Chloé Piano Trio has been awarded the Henderson Chamber Ensemble Award 2021 by the Royal Philharmonic Society.

Mezzo soprano RCM alumna Emily Sierra was awarded the Noreen Zimmerman Award at the online Metropolitan National Council Audition Finals in May. Emily will join the Bayerische Staatsoper Opera Studio in the Autumn.

Conductor Avi Taler is a recipient of the RPS Enterprise Fund, which invited applicants to present ideas drawing on the new, entrepreneurial forms of creativity they explored in lockdown. The award will allow Avi to devise a responsive live online-based concert experience with his ensemble, ExploSound (comprising RCM alumni and students Thomas Foster (Founder), Birgit Born, Toby Warr, Findlay Spence, Sirius Chau, Matt Glendening, and Iain Clarke).

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Composer Christopher Tin’s Hope is the Thing with Feathers was recorded as a virtual performance by the RCM Junior Department. Christopher also spoke to us about his time at the RCM and his career – read the interview here.

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Violinist Merel Vercammen has released her second album alongside pianist Dina Ivanova. The Boulanger Legacy, which was featured on violinist.com, brings to light the versatility of legendary conductor, pianist and composer Nadia Boulanger in her role as a teacher and mentor, through the lens of her pupils’ compositions for violin. The album also includes three pieces by her sister Lili Boulanger, whose work Nadia championed throughout her life.

Send your updates for the next edition of Upbeat to alumni@rcm.ac.uk.