Our 12 Plays of Christmas

All of a sudden, it’s that time of year again! RBC’s music departments have been so busy this term making music and preparing for performances already and we wanted to round up just a few of the highlights from students and alumni that listeners and concert-goers can enjoy in the run up to festivities. So, in no particular order...

Emily Abdy
MMus Composition student

1. RBC Repertoire Orchestra End of Term Concert

The last of RBC’s 2019 concerts takes place this Friday 13 December at 7pm in The Bradshaw Hall, where our musical community won’t be finishing the year lightly. Led by Daniele Rosina, the RBC Symphony Orchestra will be performing Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8, preceded by a performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.19  from pianist Daniel Lebhardt and a brand new piece from composer Georgia Denham. 

2. Josh Landsburgh: Songs from North of the Wall

Jazz student Josh Landsburgh is presenting a night of celtic fusion this Wednesday 11 December in RBC’s Eastside Jazz Club. ‘Songs from the North Wall’ will feature Josh and his quartet – Lucas Kelly, Antonio Mura and Tom Bevan – with violinist Sean Morrison. Sean and Harry from the later mentioned band Juniper will also open for JLQ as folk duo Thorpe and Morrison.

3. #BIRMINGHAMNEWMUSIC

Six composers from RBC’s Composition Department will be showcasing some of their recent work in the first of this academic year’s new music series. Luke Harrison, May Wong, Pepijn Streng, Victoria Benito, and Riadh will feature in the concert happening on Thursday 12 December at 7pm in The Lab at RBC, supported by the talents of members of our instrumental departments.

4. Gathering Tides: ‘Stop Motion’

Folk-fusion band Gathering Tides released a new single ‘Stop Motion’ at the end of last month with a brand-new music video. Percussionist Alexander Henshaw and guitarist Sam Baldwin are both current RBC students. Fiddle player Seth Bye and bassist Dan Cippico graduated within the last two years.

5. May Chi: ‘Wayfaring’

Current postgraduate composition student May Wong has just released her new EP ‘Wayfaring’ under her singer-songwriter name May Chi. She wrote, performed and produced the compilation which is now available to stream online. BSc music technology student Tom Cayley mixed the tracks for release.

6. James Mcilwrath: ‘snow on snow on snow on snow’

James Mcilwrath is an artist currently studying on RBC’s new Experimental Performance course and runs A M O K, an experimental performance platform based in York. This Friday 13 December he will be presenting his new participatory Christmas-themed piece ‘snow on snow on snow on snow on snow’ as part of The Artefact Christmas Party 2019 at Artefact gallery in Stirchley. 

7. Rosie Tee: ‘Wither’

Conservatoire composition alumna Rosie Tee released her latest single ‘Wither’ with a launch gig at Digbeth venue, Centrala, last month. The jazz-infused alt-pop band also features alumni Dan Cippico and Tom Harris and current jazz student Kai Chareunsy. ‘Wither’ is available to stream on all platforms and you can view the lyric video on YouTube.

8. tephra: ‘Keiyona’

tephra, a band made up of RBC students and alumni, launched their debut album ‘Keiyona’ in October, a sweet of music inspired by the Devon childhood of trombonist and composer Joe Carnell. Later that same month, the band released a live recording of track ‘closing’, available on bandcamp. The album is available to stream online.

9. Punch The Sky: ‘Duck’

Alumni band Punch The Sky released their second album ‘For All I Know, When I Sleep, I Could Be A Bear’ in October and have just released a new video for their track ‘Duck’, made up of footage of their live performances, which is available to watch on YouTube. Their album is available to stream on all platforms.

10. Juniper: ‘So Here’s The Thing…’

Released in October this year, ‘So Here’s The Thing...’ is a compilation of tongue-and-cheek entitled folk tunes by student and alumni band Juniper. Fiddler Sean Morrison, multi-instrumentalist Dominic Newman and percussionist Jerome Blackburn all currently study at RBC. Guitarist Harry Thorpe and bassist Rob Roberts both graduated last year. The EP is available to stream online.

11. Amy Van Walsum: ‘Out of Town’

Vocal alumna Amy Van Walsum released a compilation of recordings of compositions entirely by female composers as her final year major project before she graduated from the conservatoire in 2019. Her album ‘Out of Town’ is available to buy and stream and aims to help provide recognition that these women in classical music history so often lack. 

12. Maria Grapsa: Dialoguein Sessions

Postgraduate pianist Maria Grapsa commenced a project this term in collaboration with other conservatoire musicians, exploring the dialogue between performers. The second of her live #Dialoguein sessions can now be view online. This session was recorded with bassist Louis Stringer and vocalist Georgia Lee. Videographer and RBC student Gareth Howell shot the video footage.