Masters, freelance performance and community projects: In conversation with music graduate Alice Poppleton
23 April 2021
An article by Lauren Paddison for Epigram The day after the first meeting with Bristol music students launching Thinking Music, Alice Poppleton speaks with Epigram about her new community music project and the steps she has taken to get there.
Completing her undergraduate BA in music at Bristol from 2012 – 2015, Poppleton has gone on to study at both the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama (RWCMD), the Royal Academy of Music (RAM), and the Open Academy as a professional violinist. It is so often the case with arts graduates that their work and study follows a non-linear path, often driven by different projects and opportunities. Poppleton fully adopts this path, subscribing to a portfolio career made up of ‘a tapestry of rich things’ in the form of opportunities that have been sought and taken up.
Reflecting on her time at Bristol which was filled with a lot of music making and performing, Poppleton remarks on the things that she cherished most not so much as the ‘big events’ but the small interactions with friends and the general buzz of university life which is filled with so many life-lasting moments: ‘It’s the laughing in the theatre bar, sneaking off to Waitrose for cookies before a lecture, dancing in the Brass Pig, and the community element of that.’
Vibrancy and opportunity for music ultimately drew Poppleton to Bristol – ‘for me it was really important that it was a university in a city. I wanted to see other people and be interacting with the community and not be shut off in some private student village. I think it was the fact that it felt really open and considerate.’
With music societies playing such a vital role in the social and musical lives of music students past and present, Poppleton relays her love of lecturer run ensembles and student led music groups. Being part of and performing with the university Symphony Orchestra and leading a Mahler Symphony in her final year, along with putting on a production of Dido and Aneas with Bops are among her fondest memories. Other highlights include music society tours to Budapest and Kraków, and ‘the balls as well, we should mention the balls!’
The challenges of graduating into the arts sector were undertaken by Poppleton herself five years ago. Propelled by her study at Bristol, Poppleton said of her next steps ‘I definitely didn’t know what I wanted to do after, but the great thing about the Bristol course is I was trying loads of different things’, whilst also affirming ‘I knew I wasn’t done with music yet.’ Following constructive advice from her parents of ‘Why don’t you just try?’ Poppleton applied for postgraduate study and was accepted to complete a two-year performance diploma at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama. The step was a big one, and Poppleton recognises ‘it’s quite a daunting moment leaving university, and people get quite anxious about it whereas I thought, “I’ll just see what happens”.’
To continue reading the article visit: https://epigram.org.uk/2021/03/22/in-conversation-with-alice-poppleton-2/