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Guest blog: James Robinson – Associate Artist

Posted on 14 August 2018

It really doesn’t feel like that long ago that I was auditioning for the Tenebrae Associate Artist scheme, so looking back on the scheme as I prepare to leave it feels very strange indeed! What I think strikes me the most about my time as an Associate Artist is the sheer variety of work that I have undertaken in a relatively short space of time. I distinctly remember performing Victoria in Rye one evening, and then suddenly finding myself performing Joby Talbot’s Path of Miracles in Perth, Scotland, the very next evening! Performing music in such drastically different styles (and drastically different locations) has been one of the great challenges and pleasures of taking part in the AA scheme.

Speaking of the Path of Miracles, I must say that it is the piece of music that has had the most profound effect on me and provided me with the most amazing experiences. To take part in the UK and US tours of this extraordinary piece, and to see it receive a standing ovation literally everywhere that it was performed, is something that I am sure will stay with me forever. My first ever visit to the USA could not have been more spectacular, and I am extremely grateful to Nigel and all the Tenebrae team for making that so.

An important part of the AA’s work for Tenebrae is our educational projects; during my two years on the scheme we have worked with children and adults with a wide range of experience. It was certainly the aspect of the scheme that I was most nervous about, having never led choral workshops before and with most of my teaching experience being in taking one-on-one lessons. However, the exceptional training provided by Tenebrae was invaluable, and ultimately, I look back on some of these workshops as being the most rewarding work I have undertaken. It was a great privilege to train many of the choirs who took part in our Path of Miracles tour, singing my colleague Owain Park’s piece Footsteps. All of these groups did themselves proud when performing alongside Tenebrae, and it definitely helped us as a choir to stay on top of our game during a long tour! I must also say that working with Richard Frostick at the Islington Music Centre and with the London Youth Choir, who Tenebrae had partnerships with throughout my time on the scheme, has been tremendously informative and fun!

Although my time on the scheme has finished, I still will be working with the choir in the future and am very much looking forward to visiting Italy and Sweden in September and October respectively. My time as an Associate Artist has been unforgettable, and I must thank Nigel and all of my colleagues at Tenebrae for being so welcoming and inspiring.


This scheme is only made possible by the generous support of our donors who believe in Tenebrae’s innovative work. You can support this, and other projects, by donating through our website or by contacting Henry Southern (General Manager, Tenebrae): [email protected]. Find out more about the 2018-19 cohort of Associate Artists here.

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