London College of Music: Nurturing tomorrow’s composition and performance visionaries

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From the understated, enchanting theme of the film “Up” to the majestic score of “The Lion King” movie, it’s undeniable that Gen Z has grown up moved by some of the greatest orchestrations of all time. It’s only natural, then, that these scores have inspired many to follow in the footsteps of the world’s most celebrated musicians and composers — Francesco Redica from Italy is one of them.

Songs and orchestrations from Disney and Pixar movies helped him realise his passion for the piano as a child. He spent most of his time replicating iconic melodies and writing some of his own — a pastime he desperately wanted to turn into a career.

“It was my aim in life to become a composer-songwriter, to work for major animation studios, and have my theatre work published and performed in well-established venues,” he says.

To achieve such prestige, he knew he needed to choose a university programme as multifaceted as his aspirations. London College of Music’s BMus (Hons) Composition ticked all the boxes. Established over 130 year ago, LCM, now part of the University of West London, specialises in music and performing arts’ degrees from its enviable location in one of the major cultural capital cities of the world.

The programme was designed to launch aspiring visionaries into the fields of film, theatre, video game, and concert composition through specialisation. It contains multiple industry-focused modules delivered by a staff of internationally-acclaimed composers.  As active practitioners, their insights spark passionate conversations in classrooms and studios. Many staff  also publish their cutting-edge research and projects in international journals.

For example, Composition lecturer Dr Bartosz Szafranski has never let his passion for academia stop him from creating for both film and video games. Recently, he released mobile game H1.Jack, the successful in-progress indie Chains of Fury, and the multimedia screen-dance installation Calibrate.

London College of Music

BMus (Hons) Composition and Performance students regularly workshop their music with LCM ensembles and participate in masterclasses by musicians from leading London Orchestras: Source: London College of Music

“It is crucial for media composers to develop a solid understanding of the working environments of their clients and collaborators,” he says. “Our students graduate with a complete awareness of the points of view and challenges faced by filmmakers and game developers, with ample evidence of how this makes them better at their job.”

Opportunities abound for this progression. At the beginning of the academic year, Redica and his peers were given the unique opportunities to perform and record at Abbey Road Studios and rub shoulders with several industry-leading professionals. “I was lucky enough to have two original pieces of mine recorded there – it was beyond incredible and it’s an experience I’ll never forget,” he says.

BMus (Hons) Composition and Performance students regularly attend workshops and masterclasses by musicians from London’s leading ensembles.  These include the Ligeti Quartet, as well as internationally acclaimed soloists and chamber musicians, such as harpist Gabriella Dall’Olio, and violinist Jan Regulski.

London College of Music

The BMus (Hons) Music Performance programme was designed for classical or jazz instrumentalists and singers keen on working professionally in the music industry. Source: London College of Music

Experiences for BMus (Hons) Music Performance students are just as enriching. The programme was designed for ​classical and jazz ​instrumentalists and singers keen on working professionally ​in the music industry.

A team of leading lecturers, professional musicians, researchers, and instrumental and vocal teaching staff supports students as they hone their practice and deepen their understanding of today’s music industry. The process includes engaging with current theories in historical and social musicology as well as performance practice.

“It is important for aspiring musicians today to have a well-rounded musical education, with a diverse curriculum which enhances creativity, communication, social impact and transformation through the arts — preparing them to lead a ‘portfolio career’,” explains faculty member Dr Emilie Capulet.

“Musical creativity, innovation, communication skills, versatility and professionalism are nurtured in our Performance course and this is what will help them become successful professional artists.”

Becoming a professional violinist is something Vicentiu Gabriel Popovici dreamed of from an early age. The BMus (Hons) Music Performance programme provided him with endless resources to realise that ambition.

Expert one-to-one lessons from a leading violinist, combined with exciting chamber music projects helped him expand his musical understanding and technical mastery of the instrument. An approachable faculty opened his eyes to the varying opportunities available in the classical music industry. He made great use of the College’s musical library and ‘All Steinway School’ rehearsal spaces. Collectively, these opportunities helped Popovici pursue a clear vision for his future.

“After graduating, I plan to apply to a London-based orchestra and get involved in several chamber music projects,” he says. “I am already collecting information with regards to venues, opportunities and contacts that will help me achieve my goals.”

For him, working towards remaining in London instead of returning to Romania will be well worth it. Saying goodbye to its “vibrant and fun energy” would be too difficult. Plus, it’s easy to thrive in a city filled with inspiration.

“It’s a fun fair,” says Jazz student Federico Di Biase from Italy. “My favourite places are Camden, Islington and Soho. I’ve spent many nights there at parties and live concerts with friends. Ealing is very welcoming, inspiring and safe, with a lot of bars and pubs and a vibrant music scene.”

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