The Berkeley Ensemble has been appointed as the University of Hull’s first Associate Artist in Music from autumn 2015. The London-based group will visit several times a year to work with students and perform as part of the university’s annual recital programme.
The players first visited Hull in February 2015 and were impressed by the vibrancy of not only the staff and students, but also that of the wider community. Viola player Dan Shilladay remembers: ‘We were encouraged to mount a challenging programme of new music as part of our trip and weren’t sure how this would go down in a cold church in February. The large and enthusiastic audience that turned out was an inspiring example of Hull’s cultural life.’ Clarinettist John Slack added, ‘Working with students in a performance masterclass after our concert was a pleasure. I was impressed by their dedication and receptiveness and look forward to working with them again during the many projects now planned for the future.’
On returning to London the players approached the university with a view to continuing their relationship and were delighted when the university accepted their offer. Professor Alastair Borthwick, Head of Drama, Music and Screen at the University of Hull, said, ‘We are thrilled that this partnership has been initiated, and very much look forward to collaborating on a range of performance- and composition-based work. We are sure our students will benefit from the range of experience available from this exceptional ensemble.’ The Hull partnership develops the group’s ongoing drive to take music to new audiences and communities, and complements its residences at schools in London and Preston.
With an initial term of three years, the association between the Berkeley Ensemble and the university will include Hull’s tenure as UK City of Culture in 2017 and plans are already afoot to place the new partnership at the heart of the musical celebrations. For the students and concert-going public of Hull, the Berkeley Ensemble promises many more fascinating events in the coming years, many of which will hopefully be warmer than their debut.