Andrey Lebedev, Classical Guitar | August 2018 Newsletter

Andrey Lebedev (2016-2017 Awardee) has enjoyed a busy few months with several exciting projects and awards to announce.

Andrey Lebedev

Highlights have been:

  • Awarded the inaugural New Elizabethan Award in duo with singer Lotte Betts-Dean. The prize includes a recital at Wigmore Hall on 9th February 2019.
  • Placing 3rd at the Guitar Foundation of America International Concert Artist Competition.
  • Realising Death Speaks, an innovative and ambitious concert project with singer Lotte Betts-Dean and the City Music Foundation.

If you’re interested in further information or would like to say hi, feel free to drop Andrey an email.

Cheers, Andrey.

To read Andrey’s newsletter click here

Tait Awardees, Rebecca Blenkinsop and Breanna Foad join English National Ballet

Below is an article recently published in Ballet News about Tait Awardee, Rebecca Blenkinsop. Rebecca has been supported by an award from the Tait funded by Australian Impressario, John Frost AM. We are delighted to see she has had such great success.

Good news come in twos as another Leanne Benjamin Awards recipient, Breanna Foad has also been offered a contract from the English National Ballet.

Breanna was born and lived on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia until the age of 14. She was then accepted into The Australian Ballet School, Melbourne Australia for full time ballet studies. In January 2016 Breanna auditioned for the chance to be accepted into the English National Ballet School in London and was one of only three Australians to be selected and offered a place. She then left The Australian Ballet School and started in September 2016 into 2nd year of a three-year full time course in London.

We are thrilled for them both!

From Student To Star | Rebecca Blenkinsop | The Royal Ballet School

Rebecca Blenkinsop

Rebecca Blenkinsop

From Student to Star is an interview series featuring graduates from vocational ballet schools as they begin their professional careers. The questions have been updated to reflect reader feedback; I hope you find them helpful.

Rebecca Blenkinsop, The Royal Ballet School, 2017, Credit: Johan Persson

Rebecca Blenkinsop, The Royal Ballet School, 2017, Credit: Johan Persson

You’ve been studying at The Royal Ballet School. When did you join the School and what made you decide to train there?

I joined the school in September 2015 and I decided to go there due to its renowned classical ballet training and it had been a dream of mine.

Prior to joining RBS, where did you train, and how early did you start ballet ?
Before I joined RBS I trained at The Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School at the age of 11.
What do you think are the important things to focus on during training if you hope for a vocational career as a ballet dancer?

I personally believe during training that it is so important to focus on yourself and your own personal journey without comparing yourself to others, everyone progresses at different rates. Listen to your body and be aware of aspects of your training which you need to improve and focus on that. Also take advantage of any performance experiences that you get and cherish these moments as a chance to develop yourself as an artist. And finally never forget why you do what you do, find constant inspiration in other dancers around you and professionals that inspire you.

Have you entered any competitions during your training and if so, which ones, and what would you say about your experiences ?

In 2015 I participated in the Prix de Lausanne from which I was fortunate enough to receive a place at The Royal Ballet School. I have to say this was one of the best experiences of my life. I particularly liked the process of the competition as it gives all of the dancers an opportunity to be seen in classes throughout the week as well as onstage in a performance setting. I was lucky enough to make it through to the finals which was an incredible experience, although I must say I found dancing on the raked stage incredibly challenging as I was not used to working in these conditions; however I still really enjoyed the performance. I highly recommend this competition as it is a platform for students to be chosen by the best schools in the world.

Rebecca Blenkinsop and Harris Bell dancing Robert Binet’s Self & Soul. ©2018 The Royal Ballet School. Photographed by Tristram Kenton

Rebecca Blenkinsop and Harris Bell dancing Robert Binet’s Self & Soul. ©2018 The Royal Ballet School. Photographed by Tristram Kenton

You’ve accepted a contract with English National Ballet. Congratulations ! What was the process you went through to be awarded the contract and and when do you start work?

Thank you, I was fortunate enough to be seen by Tamara Rojo during ballet class at my school where she offered me a contract. I begin working at the beginning of August this year.

What do you know about English National Ballet & have you spent any time with them yet ?

I have seen the company perform multiple times in London and was amazed by the technical standard and performance of the dancers. I also love the company’s classical repertoire combined with many modern contemporary works. I have not yet spent any time with the company but look forward to starting the season.

What are you looking forward to about joining the company?

This season I am very excited to learn and perform in Manon, Swan Lake, Cinderella and Akram Khan’s Giselle. I am also looking forward to the international tours to Chicago and Russia. I love to travel and can’t wait to see many new places with the company.

How do you think company life will differ from your student days?

Obviously no more uniform which I am very excited about. In a company you have to draw from skills that you have learnt as a student to maintain and improve your technique as you do not receive feedback and corrections as often as in school. Also I am going to have to prepare myself for finishing late at night after shows, and performing constantly, which is very exciting.

What do you think you will bring to the company?

I hope to bring my enthusiasm and passion for dance to the company and wider audiences through my  performance.

How are you preparing yourself for your first professional contract?

Sewing lots of pointe shoes! But on a serious note as I have three weeks before I begin, I am going to the gym to complete a fitness program created by the sports scientists at RBS focusing on cardio, leg strength and abdominal work to maintain my fitness levels over the holiday period. I plan on doing holiday classes as well before the season commences.

What are you your best achievements as a student?

My best achievements as a student include being a finalist of the Prix de Lausanne, dancing Robert Binet’s Self and Soul on the Royal Opera House stage for the RBS end of year show and of course being offered a contract for English National Ballet.

Why ballet?

I love the technical challenges of classical ballet and the physicality of the art form. For me there is honestly nothing more rewarding than performing a piece on stage that you have worked so hard to achieve. I love the feeling of taking the curtain call and feeling proud of how I danced. I was also attracted by the beauty of the art form and how such complex movement can appear so graceful on stage.

Do you have a dream role and/or dance partner and if so what/who are they?

I have a few dream roles/works I would love to dance including Manon, Juliet, Aurora, After the Rain by Christopher Wheeldon and Petite Mort by Jiri Kylian.

What would you say to students entering their graduate year ?

Work hard, stay focused and enjoy every opportunity you are given. In terms of auditioning for companies I would say to be confident in your abilities, make an effort to stand out and focus on yourself and not the other dancers in the room, and always remember you never know what directors are looking for so never give up on what you want to achieve.

Where would you like to be this time next year and how will you measure your progress over the year?

I would like to continually improve my technique, become a stronger dancer and to have enjoyed my first season as a professional dancer.

Rebecca Blenkinsop

Rebecca Blenkinsop

Connor D’Netto awarded Tait Performing Arts Association award 2018

Connor D’Netto was selected by the our sister organisation in Australia, the Tait Performing Arts Association for their 2017/2018 award with funding going towards his continued studies at the Royal College of Music in London. This was presented to him by TPAA President, Isla Baring  OAM and Vice President, Diana Murray.

Support the Tait in Australia
Please support us and Join our Friends of the Tait Performing Arts Association.

Become a Friend of the Tait Performing Arts Association, – for an annual subscription of AUD$50.00 you will receive discounts on tickets for TPAA events, as well as an invitation to an exclusive TPAA Friends event. For further information please contact Robyn Hollands email: support@tait.org.au

Individual donations to TPAA are accepted by Pay Pal or cheque.

Please make cheques payable to the Tait Performing Arts Association Inc to:

Tait Performing Arts Association Inc.
P.O Box 2242
Kew Victoria 3101.

Luke Styles new song cycle | London première at Wigmore Hall

Tait Awardee, Luke Styles, former Young Composer-in-Residence at Glyndebourne is joined by principals of Britten Sinfonia,  and Tenor Mark Padmore, for the London première of a new song cycle set to poems by Australian poet, Les Murray, On Bunyah. The programme is crowned by Vaughan Williams’s On Wenlock Edge, which depicts rural life at a time when the First World War was drawing near.

Luke Styles (b.1982)
New work, On Bunyah (London première) [1]
Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
On Wenlock Edge

[1] Co-commissioned by Britten Sinfonia with the support of donors to the Musically Gifted campaign, and by Wigmore Hall with the support of André Hoffmann, president of the Fondation Hoffmann, a Swiss grant-making foundation

“This new song cycle for tenor Mark Padmore (and the Britten Sinfonia in a chamber formation of string quartet and piano) set’s a series of 10 poems by Australian poet Les Murray, from his most recent collection, On Bunyah.

The cycle charts a loose narrative and progression of themes, where the tenor can be identified as a ‘poet farmer’ character. This central figure gives voice to many aspects of Australia (the bush, land, kangaroos, fire, death, machinery and the 20/21st Century) without sentimentality. The distinctive Australian flavour of this collection of poems embraces the similar experiences and challenges of other rural communities with the ‘poet farmer’ functioning as both a rural and modern day ‘every-man’.”          Luke Styles

Britten Sinfonia
Jacqueline Shave, violin
Miranda Dale, violin
Clare Finnimore, viola
Caroline Dearnley, cello
Huw Watkins, piano
Mark Padmore, tenor

Wigmore Hall, 21st of November 2018 at 1pm

Book for the concert here

Book for the free pre-concert talk by Luke Styles here

A recording of a live performance of Luke Styles’s, How they Creep
from the 2016 Tait Winter Prom at St John’s Smith Square.

Jessica Cottis – Conductor
Alexandra Hutton – Soprano
Ashlyn Tymms – Mezzo Soprano
Tait Chamber Orchestra

 

 

Courtenay Cleary to study at Juilliard

Tait Awardee, Courtenay Cleary, Violin (2017) is a graduate of the University of Queensland and Australian National Academy of Music. She is about to finish her under-graduate degree at the Royal Academy of Music and is to give public recitals at:

Angela Burgess Recital Hall, Royal Academy of Music, Marylebone Road, NW1 5HT

Courtenay Cleary and Mihály Berecz
perform sonatas of Poulenc and Strauss
Monday May 21st, 7pm

Courtenay Cleary and Annabelle Oomens
perform works by Ravel, Martinu and Xenakis
for Violin and Cello.
Wednesday June 27th, 1pm

 

Courtenay recently represented Australia playing for the Queen at the Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting (CHOGM) at Buckingham Palace, and played solo Bach, again for the Queen, at Westminster Abbey in 2017.

 

We are delighted to confirm that Courtenay is to study for her Masters at the Juilliard School, New York City beginning in August this year. We wish her the very best and look forward to watching her career continue to blossom and grow.

In Conversation: Catherine Carby — Rehearsal Magazine

Australian mezzo-soprano Catherine Carby on Rossini, self-love and music preparation.

You’re currently performing with the English Touring Opera in Rossini: Fireworks! Can you tell me about your first experience with Rossini – how it came about and how your relationship with the composer has grown since your career began?

My very first experience with Rossini was singing Rosina in a touring production for OzOpera (the touring arm of Opera Australia) in 1998. On alternate nights I sang the chorus and played percussion onstage in the overture!

I think I’ve always been quite wary of Rossini. I’ve done a lot of bel canto (like Donizetti and Bellini) but felt that Rossini was a bit too specialist for me – too hard, too many runs, too light and high. Returning to it now after spending the first part of this year singing Monteverdi, it feels about right. I’d never say it’s easy and this particular concert program is a big sing for me (some long arias and a big chunk of Elisabetta for the finale), but it feels more “doable” than it used to.

How do you prepare your repertoire for a concert performance like this one? Does it differ from when you get ready to play a staged role?

I guess the trick with preparing a concert is how to “sell” a piece when you won’t have the luxury of costumes and sets and lighting. Also, the biggest hurdle for me is literally singing the pieces. In an opera, you might have four weeks of rehearsals in which to work out any technical problems and learn how to get around the “corners” of a piece. Hopefully, by opening night you’ve sung the tricky bits so often – under lots of different circumstances – that you can’t help but get it right. Concerts are not like that; chances are you might have a week (if you’re lucky) of music calls with the conductor and a pianist and then later with the orchestra. It’s a fast, short learning curve. The only way you can be really well prepared is to in fact be really well prepared!

For developing artists, how important is learning concert work alongside full roles? Do the skills you need for both translate easily to one another, or must you practice in the different styles of working?

Concert work still forms a very valuable (and lucrative!) backbone to my opera work. Learn all the “standards” (Messiah, Elijah, Verdi Requiem), as they will crop up again and again throughout your performing life. I’ve paid many a school bill or mortgage payment with Easter Bach Passion fees!

Stylistically, opera and oratorio aren’t necessarily a million miles apart. They both desire to tell a story and make the listener think and feel something. As all good music does.

Your studies began in Canberra at the School of Music, before you moved to the United Kingdom to pursue further training at the Royal College of Music. Can you tell me about that move and what it meant to you as a young singer?

Moving to the UK early on was a massive step for me. It enabled me to be seen in London regularly, and after I joined the roster of a big UK agency (IMG), I basically studied and worked solidly for 4 years, before I came back home to work for Opera Australia. It was great to be exposed to so much music at such a high level; we regularly got coaching from the best people in the industry even before we got to work for them, so there was a level of familiarity that I wouldn’t have had if I’d stayed in Sydney or Canberra. I remember the first concert I ever went to in London was Anne Sofie von Otter singing Alceste at the Barbican – it really doesn’t get better than that!

Pursuing a career overseas is currently a goal for many young singers, but of course, a major move comes with both opportunities and difficulties. Do you have any advice to developing performers who wish to pursue further study outside of Australia?

Develop self-love! Seriously, this doesn’t mean having a big ego and thinking that you are awesome, but genuinely being kind to yourself and realising that you are human. It’s a very tough industry and there are a lot of knockbacks along the way. Even now I’m asked to audition for things and I may or may not get them. You have to learn to be happy in your own skin despite constant rejection. I’ve become a lot more philosophical about rejection as I’ve gotten older and learned that it’s not necessarily about me as a person or as a performer. Not everyone will love what you do and that’s ok.

You have performed roles all over the world, in houses from the Royal Opera House to Teatro Sao Carlos in Lisbon, and back home with Opera Australia. How do you look after yourself when you’re on the road and away from home for long periods? Do you have a moveable routine or do things change depending on your work and where you are?

When I’m away from home I try to maintain some semblance of normality. I take posh candles, pictures in frames and usually at least one baking tray with me! I walk a lot no matter where I am, so being in a new place just gives me new places to walk. I also do yoga either on my own or in a class, so this is often a way of meeting some “locals”.

Staying calm and focussed before performances and during preparation periods is much discussed for all musicians. Do you have ways of managing stress or “busy-ness” when things get hectic?

Definitely yoga and the meditative side that that involves. I’m a much calmer, happier, nicer person when I’m regularly going to a class.

I also need to be well prepared. I don’t like “winging it”, so I avoid ever having to live too dangerously in terms of the music. Preparation means less stress and less stuff that can go wrong. (That being said, I have done jump-ins and lived to tell the tale. Last year I was rung at very late notice to jump in for an ill colleague for the CBSO. Could I learn Juno and Ino from Semele in 3 days? Well, I did. But it did take several years off my life!)

Finally, if you could go back to the start of your career and give yourself a piece of advice about the industry you were about to join, what would it be?

My best advice would be to just go for it! Ask that person for a coaching, thrust your business card into that person’s hand. You only have one life and one shot at a career, so do it!

Catherine performing the title role of Iphigénie en Tauride for English Touring Opera. Photo by Richard Hubert Smith.

Source: In Conversation: Catherine Carby — Rehearsal Magazine

The Dowager Countess of Harewood (1926 – 2018)

We were honoured to have had the Dowager Countess of Harewood as our Patron for so many years. We go back such a long way and shared many wonderful times in London and Australia. She was always so supportive of our work, and we shall miss her presence enormously.
Lord & Lady Harewood | Credit: Getty Images
We were terribly saddened to learn of her passing. As a small token of our affection for a great Australian it is our privilege to dedicate our 2018 Winter Prom to her memory.
Isla Baring OAM and the Tait Trust family

Chloe Keneally on dancing role of Odette in My First Ballet: Swan Lake – English National Ballet

Following the opening of My First Ballet: Swan Lake in London last week, hear from one of its stars, English National Ballet School student Chloe Keneally. She performs the iconic role of Odette in this version of the classic ballet for young children.

What or who inspired you to take up ballet? Can you remember the first lesson or performance you attended?
My older sister danced which made me want to. I started aged 4 and loved it, I enjoyed the freedom. I saw Sleeping Beauty first and loved it, it became my favourite ballet.

What did it mean to you to get a place at English National Ballet School?
It is a sacrifice being away from my family back home in Australia, but being here is a dream come true. Everything I’d been working for paid off. I loved the school, it was the only one I auditioned for.

Chloe Keneally as Odette in My First Ballet: Swan Lake © Laurent Liotardo

What does it mean to you to have the opportunity to dance in My First Ballet: Swan Lake?
Amazing. It feels like the first steps into the rest of our lives, it shows us what we can do in the future. The artistic team are very supportive which is great.

Tell us about the role you have been rehearsing – what are the best bits and the challenges?
I’m rehearsing Odette – it’s my dream role. It’s hard to remember it all but I’m embracing the challenge. I’m loving doing an entire ballet and building the character. I feel like I can relate to this character – falling in love, learning about trust and vulnerability.

Read More

Source: Chloe Keneally on dancing role of Odette in My First Ballet: Swan Lake – English National Ballet

“Hear My Soul Speak” Finding Prospero in Shakespeare’s verbal music.

A performance research presentation from Shakespeare’s The Tempest

3 performances only at
London Theatre Workshop 
EC3V. 
April 13-14.

This work-in-progress multi-media performance explores the mind and persona of Shakespeare’s most enigmatic protagonist, Prospero.

It does so by investigating the dramatic ramifications of sound patterning in Shakespeare’s poetry—what Peter Brook has referred to as the “verbal music” to expose the sound-world Shakespeare creates through words.

Nowhere else in Shakespeare is the action, and even the disposition of all the characters so utterly the construction of the central protagonist. Shakespeare uses the device of a stage magician – a Faustian necromancer, to explore a single character through all the stage action of the drama.

This expressionist approach to characterisation is fuelled by the most knotted, ornate and ethereal language in the Shakespearean canon. That language creates a sound world that is simultaneously the world of the island, and a sonic portrait of Prospero’s psyche.

Gerrard McArthur (Howard Barker’s The Wrestling School) plays Prospero in a performance that draws not just on Prospero’s own words, but those of his alter egos Ariel and Caliban.

The performance incorporates some of the play’s surviving music by the play’s gifted original composer Robert Johnson. Johnson was composer-in-residence to Shakespeare’s company the King’s Men in Shakespeare’s final years. This performance draws on new research into Johnson’s other surviving songs to partially reconstruct an original score for the play.

Counter-tenor Russell Harcourt 
(Oreste – Royal Opera House) sings the music of Ariel.

Through live projection, video artist Ben Glover creates a visual expression of the sonic patterning in the poetry, and the diffusion of Prospero’s persona beyond the confines of the body of the actor who ‘plays’ him throughout the other characters and the world of the play.

Book your tickets via London Theatre Workshop here.

This performance is the inaugural presentation of Persona per sona – a performance research initiative led by McArthur and Australian director Christopher Hurrell into the somatic implications for the actor of sound in the language of Shakespeare.

Gerrard McArthur and Russell Harcourt, with Alice Haig, via video as Miranda.

Director: Christopher Hurrell
Sound Designer: Nikki Aitken
Video Designer: Ben Glover
Stage Manager: Jari Laakso

London Theatre Workshop
Leadenhall Market
88 Gracechurch Street
London EC3V 0DN

More information: www.christopherhurrell.com/hear-my-soul-speak

Tickets: www.londontheatreworkshop.co.uk/hear-my-soul-speak

To support this production gofundme  https://www.gofundme.com/hearmysoulspeak

To take advantage of tax-deductible status Australian Cultural Fund