Music Award Holders 2015-16 Music Award Holders 2015-16

Please find below bios written by our previous Music Award holders. Click on each name to find out more about the students and learn how they have benefited from their awards.

UEA Music Award Holders Profiles UEA Music Award Holders Profiles

Roger Castells Graells (BIO) - Oboe

RogerHello, I’m Roger and I’m currently doing a PhD. I have been studying music since I was nine in my hometown. During these years, I played the saxophone and the oboe in various classical and jazz ensembles. For more than four years, I have also been playing in a catalan rock band, Altercat, and we released an EP and a CD. I’m currently playing the oboe in the UEA Symphony Orchestra, where I’m learning a lot and having fun. Music is part of my daily life and for me the Music Award has been a fantastic opportunity to improve and develop music skills, and also in allowing me to get involved in the music life of the university.


Astrid Coxon (MED) - Mezzo Soprano


I'm Astrid, a mezzo-soprano and casual double bass player. I've been a keen musician since I took up the piano at 5 years old, and since then have played and sung in a variety of groups and settings, including singing at weddings, and leading a 20-piece double bass ensemble. I enjoy a wide variety of music, but a few of my favourite composers include Weill, Gorecki, and most of the "big Russians" (Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Shostakovich etc.)!
When I'm not making music, I'm a first year PhD student in MED, researching process implementation in hospital settings. My background is in philosophy and psychology, and I am currently an associate tutor for the BSc Psychology module on mental health. I believe that music can have a profound positive impact on mental wellbeing, and I look forward to exploring opportunities to use music to improve the health and wellbeing of students and staff at UEA.

Poppy Damazer (BIO) - Mezzo Soprano

Poppy is a second year biomedicine undergraduate and this is her second year as a UEA music award holder. She is a member of the UEA Choir and Chamber Choir, the Norwich Philharmonic Choir, and holds a choral scholarship at St. Peter Mancroft. As a soloist, Poppy is developing her technique and expression as a mezzo soprano whilst working on Lieder by Schumann and Mahler. Poppy is also a UEA Choir committee member as choir manager and librarian. This has given her the opportunity to explore other aspects of music outside of performing, including planning for our upcoming French tour. Singing and development as a musician is very important to her and the environment, encouragement, and support at the university has been wonderful.

Umaymah El-Khamlichi (BIO) - Vocals

Hello, I’m Umaymah. While I was at school I attained a Grade 8 distinction in singing, as well as playing both piano and viola. I also discovered that what I really wanted in music is to write and perform my own songs. I wasn’t sure what would happen when I came to UEA to do a science degree but in the event the Music Centre and the Live Music Society have both been really welcoming. I’m ambitious for my music and want to take it as far as I can. The Music Award has helped me to pursue this ambition – it has allowed me to continue releasing music.  My music is now played on BBC Radio 1 which gave me some exposure which has lead to opportunities involving working on big musical projects for 2016.

Daniel Good (CHE) - Piano

DanielMy name is Daniel Good and I'm a second year chemistry student. I have been playing the piano for over 12 years and I have always had a passion for performing. I passed grade 8 piano with merit in 2011 and I have been used for various roles, including: accompanying solo singers at school and sixth form college, playing the piano and organ at church, and playing the piano for the Music Society Choir here at the UEA. Recently, I have developed a keen interest in arranging and composing music, the Music Society Choir already having done a superb job of my arrangement of 'Somebody to love' by Queen.

Abielle Hallas (DEV) - Cello

Abielle HallasHi, I’m Abielle. I’m a cellist, and I’m studying Geography and International Development. My music background is predominantly orchestral, and I’m currently joint manager of the UEA Symphony Orchestra. The Music Award has helped me continue lessons and has encouraged me to do more solo performances. 

Yuki Matoba (DEV) - Marimba

Yuki MatobaMy name is Yuki and I am currently a second year studying International Development and the Environment. I started taking private lessons on marimba when I was eight years old and have now been playing it for thirteen years. I was mainly a soloist and a part of marimba ensembles, but since joining the UEA, I have been a part of the Wind Band and Symphonic Orchestra, playing percussion in both ensembles. Symphony Orchestra has posed many challenges and being a part of it has been great opportunity. It has encouraged me to explore the different ways of approaching the marimba, xylophone, and other percussion instruments. The Music Award has given me great experiences as well as facilitating my lessons in London to further develop my musical skills. 

Ben Meyer (LDC) - Tenor

Ben Meyer

Hi, I’m Ben and I’m a first year Drama undergraduate. I have been singing from a young age, performing mostly classical music with various different organisations. Some notable highlights include:

  • singing in English National Opera’s critically acclaimed production of The Magic Flute as the Second Spirit – working alongside Roderick Williams;
  • performing in several high profile concerts with the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain at venues such as the Royal Albert Hall and Bath Cathedral;
  • performing with the London Youth Choir at St John’s Smith Square, Oxford and Cambridge University Evensongs, and City Hall.

More recently I studied Acting and Musical Theatre at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and Arts Educational Schools London respectively. I am currently performing in UEA Drama Society’s production of RENT by Jonathan Larson as the role of Angel.

Receiving the Music Award at UEA has allowed me to continue choral singing get involved in other opportunities which are currently being finalised. Perhaps most importantly I am able to use this award to continue having singing lessons, which is essential to maintaining good vocal technique. 

Amisha Modasia (MED) - Flute

I am currently studying MRes Clinical Science at UEA. I really enjoy music and am working towards my Flute Performance Diploma. My main instrument is my flute (I have been playing flute for 13 years!), but I also play piano and saxophone. I play in the UEA Symphony Orchestra which challenges me musically and UEA Music Society Concert Band, which are both huge fun to be in. The performances are the aspect of music I enjoy the most, the satisfaction of the hard work paying off. The Music Award has been very encouraging in the preparation of my Diploma, giving me a recital opportunity and feedback.

Charlotte Poole (HSC) - Flute

Hi I’m Charlotte and I’m a first year Speech and Language Therapy Student. I achieved my ATCL Diploma in Flute Performance with Distinction last year and hope to take another diploma in the near future. I have played with a number of orchestras including Suffolk Youth Orchestra, and often play in The Kingfisher Sinfonietta. As a Music Award Holder I am able to fund lessons in order to learn new repertoire and new techniques. I play in the UEA Symphony Orchestra and I’m a member of Concert Band. I have been lucky enough to meet people with a similar enthusiasm for music as me and we meet up regularly to play duets.

Lizzie Rankin (LDC) - Violin

Hi, I’m Lizzie and I’m in my third year studying Drama. I began playing the violin at 7 years old, eager to follow in the footsteps of my older siblings. I’ve played in orchestras from a young age, and was chosen to be leader of the Northamptonshire Youth Orchestra in Year 13. My proudest moments are undoubtedly playing in the finals of the Schools Prom at the Royal Albert Hall two years in a row, and performing the solo violin role in Scheherazade in Italy and the UK.

I love playing chamber music too, and quartet playing in particular. For me, this medium is challenging and nerve-wracking, but ultimately the most rewarding!

Today, I am a member of the UEA Symphony Orchestra, and am currently organising the formation of a string quartet with other UEA students.

This Music Award will give me a chance to have further violin tuition and to take on a greater role in the music department at UEA.

Katy Mae Sergeant (LDC) - Soprano

Hello. My name is Katy and I study English Literature. I am a classically trained singer with a diploma in musical theatre and am currently working on training as an opera singer. Since coming to UEA I have performed with the UEA choir in a number of performances - my favourite being the 'American in Norwich' concert as it was incredible singing with the UEA Symphony Orchestra. Through the Music Award, I have been taking singing lessons and am currently working on creating an opera society - more news to follow on this! I am very excited to bring this to life and look forward to putting on the university's first opera. 

Alice Vickery (LDC) - Soprano

I'm Alice Vickery and I am a first year English Literature and Creative Writing student. I am a soprano in the Chamber Choir and also a holder of the UEA Music Award. I particularly love singing songs from musicals and achieved a distinction at grade 8 musical theatre a few years ago. I also enjoy classical and folk, both of which have become part of my repertoire. I am now having lessons with Hannah Francis who is doing a brilliant job helping me develop my mental and physical techniques. Singing is a wonderful art and I continue to look for performance opportunities to improve myself further.

Joshua Ward (HIS) - Violin

Hello! I’m Josh and I’m currently a first year History student. Aside from studying History, I play the violin and drum kit; to a Grade 8 and Grade 7 standard respectively. Whilst at UEA I have enjoyed leading the second violins of the UEA SO, and singing as a bass in the Chamber Choir; as well as progressing my drum kit skills in the Music Society’s Big Band. The Music Award has given me the opportunity to meet new and like-minded musicians, and have the support to further my own playing and musicianship. Outside of performance, my own musical interest is varied and wide-ranging; enjoying artists and composers from Rush, Yes, AC/DC, Elgar, and Puccini. 

Elizabeth Wilkin (HIS) - Cello

Hi, I’m Elizabeth and I’m in first year currently studying History. I have been playing the cello since I was 8 and have been in a number of orchestras and ensembles as well as performing in solo concerts and competitions. I achieved my Grade 8 in 2011 and my Diploma in 2015. I am currently in the UEA Symphony Orchestra and a string quartet, as well as taking lessons in order to continue expanding my repertoire and improving my technique. The Music Award has enabled me to keep improving my cello playing whilst taking advantage of the musical opportunities UEA has to offer. 

Mathew Williams (CHE) - Alto Saxophone

I am currently writing up my PhD thesis under the purview of Quantum Electrodynamical theory at UEA.  Alongside this, and throughout my previous undergraduate studies,  I have been very committed to music at UEA, regularly performing as part of the Music Society ensembles (and the Symphony Orchestra when required). I am happiest when performing a diverse collection of musical styles from all eras, my proficiency with a range of instruments enabling me to fill any gap in the respective ensembles, frequently leading one or more of them, if not the society as a whole.  Developing the tone of each individual instrument is a particular emphasis for me, alongside honing my overarching technique; more recently, the UEA Music Award has enabled me to return focus to my primary instrument, the Alto Saxophone, and tackle more advanced skills as well as the fundamentals of improvisation.