By Jonty Watt

On the 8th of July, the Dias Ensemble will give a concert in the Academy’s Duke’s Hall that promises to be an exciting evening. Five student composers present their unique perspectives in this polystylistic spectacular. Over the course of the programme, listeners will be taken through the twentieth century, with each composer responding to a specific era.

Dias Ensemble was established by composers Crystalla Lola Serghiou, Faidon Nalbantis and Will Parker while they were studying together at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Their aim is to burst the usual bubble of contemporary classical music with a fresh approach to programming. This will be Dias’s second concert at RAM; the first was back in January, and featured piano pieces written by student composers which all responded to a different aspect of pianistic tradition – a thrilling concert with music that ranged from ragtime to nocturnes, waltzes to boogie-woogie.

The upcoming “Time Travellers” concert promises to be no less scintillating. Crystalla tackles the roaring twenties with her composition Rakkaani, which takes you on an atmospheric journey with its bursts of playfully jazzy grooves. Will Parker offers his take on the cabaret world of Edith Piaf, blending popular melodies with his own unique theatrical style as he has done previously in pieces like Three Thoughts about Maria Carta and his upcoming score for the puppet show Oceanova, a production by the Young People’s Puppet Theatre. Declan Molloy embraces the challenge of fusing rock-and-roll with classical in his piece When the Music Lived. Declan is a composer for whom rigid stylistic boundaries are unwelcome, and, rather unusually, for whom the fifties were the age of Elvis, not Boulez.

The 1960s are presented in the programme via Faidon Nalbantis’s homage to hippie counterculture, spirituality, and psychedelia. Faidon’s piece YOUNG III – Ince Avenue, is sure to be as beguiling as its title suggests. Crystalla makes her second feature on the programme with Rhapsody in Chaka, a playful ode to the ‘Queen of Funk’, Chaka Khan, which engages with the funk influences that often feature prominently in Crystalla’s own music. Finally, Alexander Papp confronts the noughties, and in particular electronic dance music. His piece Gr00ve is bound to inject the evening with some toe-tapping rhythmic energy.

Alongside this diverse programme, the concert will feature two pieces from the Academy’s ongoing “200 Pieces” project. This project celebrates RAM’s bicentenary with 200 new works written for solo instruments and performed by Academy students. Grace-Evangeline Mason will have a cello work performed by Theo Bently Curtin, and the Academy’s own Emre Şener will have his tuba piece Wintermärchen premiered by Callum Davies. To find out more about the 200 Pieces project, be sure to look out for RAMpage’s spotlight of the project in the forthcoming bicentenary edition.

With such an eclectic mix of music, “Time Travellers” is guaranteed to be a fascinating evening of music. Under the baton of Crystalla and Alex Papp, we are also sure to be treated to exquisite musicianship by the ensemble of Academy musicians. Be sure to come along to Duke’s Hall at 7:30pm on the 8th of July for a concert you don’t want to miss.

Free tickets are available from the Royal Academy of Music website, at this link: https://tickets.ram.ac.uk/sales/categories/other-events/the-dias-ensemble-time-travell

Posted by:RAMpage Website

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