On Wednesday 17 January, six musicians and ensembles from the widest range of backgrounds and genres joined us at The Victoria, Dalston for our annual Battle of the Bands competition, presenting the latest trends and sounds in today’s new classical music scene. They travelled from as far as Gloucestershire and Manchester to compete against top-notch performers, and share their experimental music and innovative ideas with the Nonclassical community in East London.


After a pint of Milk - The Victoria pub’s own beer - and some yummy burgers from their kitchen, the audience greeted the first act on stage:

  • TIC (the improvisers’ choir) opened the night with an impressive vocal improvisation, featuring a range of different vocal techniques such as overtones, setting the bar high for the following acts.

  • Andy Ingamells performance was literally breathtaking: the sound and rhythm patterns were created through his own body movements – by running and jumping on stage, by kicking and stepping, and finally by taping himself to another person. The performance stuck and its unusual composition method left the audience stunned, giving each sound its own life and soul, a gripping physicality and energy, while setting a nice contrast to digitally produced music.

  • After this rhythm-based performance, the string loop pedal duo Täpp from Manchester charmed the audience with their warm and full string sounds, presenting a mix of contemporary classical music, jazz, electronic dance music and folk. The use of loops made their arrangements clever and innovative, while the duo spread a great energy and feel among the crowd.

  • Cellist and composer Simon McCorry followed their approach, creating spheric and floating sounds by looping and processing his cello.

  • Saxophonist David Zucchi came all the way from Canada (though he's based in London!) to perform Choke by Anna Clyne for baritone saxophone and tape – a beautiful piece, combined with an outstanding performance.

  • The improvising trio Release the IMP closed the competition with a humorous performance of Gemma’s Broken Harp by Taylor Burton, Joe Thwaites and Eric Fabrizi.

This year's winners: TIC

This year's winners: TIC

The judges of this year’s Battle of the Bands – Gabriel Prokofiev (our Founder & Artistic Director), Eleanor Ward (our Executive Director), Alan Davey (BBC Radio 3 Controller), Dominic Murcott (Head of Composition and Music Technology at Trinity Laban) and Thomas Gould (violinist) – awarded TIC with the first prize, and David Zucchi alongside string duo Täpp as runners-up.

Battle of the Bands will be back in 2019, but be sure to grab tickets for our upcoming event on Wednesday 14 March, which showcases Ligeti Quartet (performing a European premiere from Anna Meredith) and John Kameel Farah at The Victoria - and don’t miss Rise of the Machine on Sunday 18 March at Village Underground.

See you there!