School of Arts

The blog of the School of Arts at the University of Surrey

Music alumna conducts newly released recording of Ethel Smyth’s The Boatswain’s Mate

Odaline de la MartinezA newly released CD recording of Ethel Smyth’s comic opera The Boatswain’s Mate, the first modern recording of the work, is conducted by University of Surrey alumna Odaline de la Martinez.

Cuban-American conductor Odaline de la Martinez (pictured) graduated with a MMus in composition in 1977, studying with Reginald Smith Brindle. In 1984, she became the first female conductor at The BBC Proms. A renowned interpreter of the music of Ethel Smyth, she returned to The Proms ten years later to conduct a special performance of Smyth’s opera The Wreckers.

Appearing in the centenary year of the opera, which premiered on 28 January 1916 at the Shaftesbury Theatre, London, the 2-CD set features the Lontano Ensemble, which Odaline de la Martinez founded in 1976, and also includes historical recordings of Smyth conducting extracts from her operas in 1916 and 1930.

Surrey Undergraduate Research Journal features articles by two School of Arts students

The most recent issue of Surrey Undergraduate Research Journal (Vol. 2, No. 1) features articles written by two School of Arts undergraduate students. 

Adrianna MichalskaAdrianna Michalska, who is currently undertaking her professional training placement year as part of the BA Dance and Culture programme, is the author of the article ‘The Disruptive Power of the Disabled Body in Dance: Lloyd Newson’s The Cost of Living’. Adrianna’s essay considers perceptions of disabled bodies in society, and reflects on how they are deconstructed in the film through the analysis of selected dance scenes with a disabled dancer. Adrianna said: “As the world of inclusive dance practice rapidly develops, it is important to simultaneously engage in academic research to further enhance the understanding of what happens when a disabled body enters the dance stage.”


A Celebration of Professional Training and Dance

In a recent university wide celebration of professional training Dance was honoured for its strong relationship to industry through its professional placement program.  The day began with a flash mob, directed by our second year students, which got alot of people out in the sun and dancing!

Nine Dance students presented posters on their placement year, highlighting their personal project and overall placement experience.  Of them Amy Sharkey was awarded Dance Student of the Year for her work with Akram Khan Dance Company. 


Guardian league table 2017 results: Music at no.1, Drama & Dance at no.2

The Guardian logoThe University of Surrey is celebrating excellent results in The Guardian’s UK university league tables 2017, published today.


Music (which includes programmes in Music, Creative Music Technology, and the flagship Tonmeister course) has topped this year’s subject league table, positioning it as the no.1 music department in the country:


Drama & Dance (which incorporates Dance, Theatre & Performance, and the programmes offered by the Guildford School of Acting) moves up one place from last year’s subject league table, to no.2 in the country:


Arts celebrates successes at the 2016 USSU Annual Student Awards

School of Arts staff and students were recipients of several major awards announced at the 2016 USSU Annual Student Awards at an evening ceremony hosted by the University of Surrey Students’ Union on Thursday 19 May.

Christopher PidgeonFinal-year BMus Music student Christopher Pidgeon was awarded Student Course Rep of the Year. Previously in 2016, Chris received the awards of Course Rep of the Month (in January) and Longstanding Course Rep of the Year at the Course Rep Awards, in recognition of his sustained excellence in student representation. He has been particularly commended for his organisation, his proactivity in collating student opinions on a range of issues, and the outcomes he has achieved. Chris has also represented Music at every open day and applicant day throughout his three years at the University of Surrey. There are currently around 600 course reps across the University, so Chris’s awards reflect an exceptional achievement for which competition was extremely fierce.

University of Surrey Annual Review 2015 profiles an Exceptional Student and an Inspiring Academic from the School of Arts

School of Arts students and staff are among the 6 Exceptional Students and 3 Inspiring Academics profiled in the University of Surrey’s Annual Review 2015. Read it in full here:

Nick Smith (final-year BMus Music student)Nick Smith (pictured; profiled on p.9 of the Review), a final-year BMus Music student, organised a highly successful tour for the University’s Big Band, which saw the ensemble perform gigs on canal boats along the River Avon for a week in June 2015. Alongside his degree course, Nick is a member of 5 different music ensembles, including 3 bands founded with friends (The Imaginary Hat, Ragtime Marmalade, and Bare Jams), which perform at a range of venues and events in and around Surrey. He has worked as manager of the University Orchestra and as President of Big Band, co-organised the annual Department Ball for the last 2 years, and won the Joyce Dixie Composition Competition last year. He has also performed on Eagle Radio and in the annual Surrey’s Got Talent competition, and carols he has composed have been performed at the University Carol Service for the last 2 years.

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