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Lewis Gaston

BMus Music (2012), Music Director

Why did you choose Royal Holloway for your degree?

The Music department at Royal Holloway is consistently ranked amongst the top in the country for research so I knew the quality of lecturers there would be outstanding. Aside from this one of the things that actually put Royal Holloway above other universities for me was that these academics could be seen and heard on the radio, TV and their articles feature regularly in the programmes of performance venues like the Royal Opera House. Many universities have high quality lecturers but in order to pursue a career in music, it's vital to get a sense of the musicology that is happening now, and where better to learn about it than from the people who are doing the research themselves, and interacting with some of the world's top orchestras and venues.

How did your time at Royal Holloway help your future career?

For me, Royal Holloway was the ideal-sized university, in an ideal location. Being close to London whilst attempting to pursue a career in music proved to be invaluable, having spoken to others who are now starting from scratch in the city. Also the opportunities that I and others wanted to create at Royal Holloway were almost always encouraged and facilitated and I have to thank a very supportive department led by Julian Johnson, and the Principal, Paul Layzell, who was always happy to iget involved as and when necessary in order to help our projects along their way. The ability to use the buildings around campus to rehearse, perform and promote our own activities was crucial in starting projects that have now gone on to bigger and better things. The Entrepreneurial prize that was awarded to Opera Holloway, a group I co-founded, has also given us great recognition as a sustainable charitable enterprise.

What do you do now?

Now I am a Music Director to several ensembles alongside a busy teaching schedule outside of rehearsals. I'm also continuing my own training and conducting as far afield as Romania. One of the largest projects I'm involved in at the moment is with Opera Holloway, the group that started out at Royal Holloway. Having gained charitable status earlier this year our performances and children's workshops are still our top priorities and this summer we are combining both to create The Gingerbread Project. This features three days of singing and acting workshops for children in East London followed by the opportunity for them to perform alongside our cast of young opera singers from the London colleges at Toynbee Theatre in London on the 2 and 3 August. Following this the cast will head up to Edinburgh where they will perform in the Fringe Festival for two weeks.



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