Collaborations And Coffee Concerts

During the first week of February the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland was taken over by projects as part of ‘Bridge Week’. On Friday, I had the pleasure of watching and supporting fellow fourth year students Katie Oswell (Soprano) and Maria Donohue (Piano) in their immersive theatre experience entitled Cage E B (Cage Electronic Ballet). It was a fabulous collaborative multimedia performance including dance, voice, piano, acting and projection mapping with the aim to transport its audience to the world of 20th century contemporary theatre. With outstanding technical contributions from Alex Mackay and magical stage design by Jennifer Logan.

The performance commemorates the collaborative achievements of John Cage, an American composer, music theorist, writer and artist and refers to his work with the artist Marcel Du-Champ, pianist David Tudor, Andy Warhol, and various dance companies including the influence of Merce Cunningham.” (M. Donohue, 2016)

The musical duo performed:

____, ____ ____ circus on ____
A Valentine Out of Season
The Perilous Night
The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs
Nowth Upon Nacht
Concert for Piano and Orchestra
In the Name of the Holocaust

Overall the performance was visually beautiful and unlike anything I have ever seen or heard before. Maria performed with strength, at times even thrashing her arms into the piano in order to achieve the articulated accuracy of the score. Every note was meticulous showing the depth of preparation undertaken by the talented American pianist. Katie sung with ease and elegance, gliding over tricky melodic phrases. Then as easily she could quickly alienate her audience through her dramatic presentation, causing tension that commanded our attention for the full duration.

The duo will be perform ‘Concert for Piano and Aria’ at the ‘piano festival’ at the RCS on the 11th March. Then they will be travelling to New York on the 19th March to showcase sections of their work at various venues, culminating with a masterclass at the Yamaha Studio to promote studying music in the UK.  I wish them the very best of luck and lots of fun!


Jeffrey Sharkey

Today was the return of the Hilary Rosin Coffee Concert series at the RCS, which started with a bang! Sasha Savaloni, a guitarist and Doctorate student at the RCS, played three songs from Schwanengesang by Schubert and Six airs from Mozart’s ‘The Magic Flute’ Op.19 by Fernando Sor. It was especially lovely to hear this set having performed in the opera last summer. My favourite movement was number three ‘Seid uns zum zweiten Mal Willkommen’ as it was based on motifs from the Knabe giving the music a cheeky and playful atmosphere. To finish the concert, our Principal Jeffrey Sharkey took to the stage with violinist Maya Iwabuchi and cellist Aleksei Kiseliov to perform Beethoven’s Piano trio in B-flat major ‘Archduke’, Op.97. Which was a wonderful example of ensemble connection as at moments the players communicated through generous smiles which was beautiful to watch on a Sunday morning!

And finally it is such a relief after five months of research that I was able to spend the past week collating it all and using the time to get my thoughts recorded for my essay, which has now been submitted ( sigh of relief 🙂  )

36 thoughts on “Collaborations And Coffee Concerts

  1. Beautiful Charlotte how you compliment others in their success and this gives you such joy in your life. When we put others up, we put Jesus first, others second, and ourselves last. This brings to the past, that the first shall be last. May the Lord continue to bless you is my prayer. A happy Valentine’s Day as well.

    1. I love the actual studying behind the projects, it is the putting together of what I want to say that takes me the most time. My ballet module has finished now and I’m on to Italian Opera study so that will be very interesting.

      Best wishes

  2. Yay for the coffee concerts, the completion of the essay and the enjoyment of the Cage E.B. I would imagine that all of your senses were heightened and the performers floated on air for some time afterwards!

  3. Sounds like a couple of great concerts. I do enjoy some of John Cages work. I’ve only seen a prepared piano concert once, but is amazing the sounds that are produced, and live was much, much better than a recording to hear those sounds. (My primary instrument is the synthesizer so I love sounds 😉 ). I’m sure the Schubert and Mozart were wonderful, but I would have liked the Beethoven trio the best of the other concert. Congratulations and handing in you essay. I’m sure it is a relief.

  4. Sounds like wonderful coffee concerts. So kind and generous of you to support your fellow singers and artists. Congrats on submitting your essay. That must be a great relief for you. Best wishes! Xo

  5. I am happy you were able to enjoy yourself and finish your essay. The lighting always catches my attention in settings like this. I try to recognize how certain effects were helps tell the story, in general.

  6. It is so lovely to read about these professional collaborations and the support you give one another. Those coffee concerts sound so wonderful that I think I will see if there is anything here that resembles them, and allows the public to attend. Well done on submitting your essay.

    1. It’s lovely to have a good size audience when you put on these events as students and they’re so cost effective, I hope you do have something like it to enjoy locally. Thank you.

      Best wishes

  7. Well done for completing your essay! The sense of freedom must be wonderful after so many weeks of work and worry. What an interesting selection of concerts and recitals you have been to!

    1. Thanks Clare I always write nearly double the word allowance and have to structure, cut and paste to make sense for everyone else. Well I don’t know about freedom, I’ve three recitals to prepare for, several competitions and our final year opera scenes next month 🙂 My musical knowledge is advancing.

      Best wishes

  8. Congratulations on finishing your essay! Oh, how well I remember what a relief it always was to hand those in at last! But you’re a great writer; I’m sure you did well. But the concerts sound like more fun, though!

    Best regards,


    1. Hi Cate the concert sure was more fun, I put a whole new level of stress on myself with academic essays, I hope I expressed myself well because I found the whole research project really very interesting and have applied what I learnt to my performance and practice. Hope you’re doing well too.

      Best wishes

  9. Your passion for music (and for learning all the incredible ways music can inspire) is so impressive ~ as are your photos, wonderful to see what you’ve introduced here. And of course, great congratulations on submitting your essay 🙂 Enjoy the weekend, you deserved it!

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