Ndella Longley on up and coming Goldsmiths percussionist Rosie Bergonzi, and why we should support her fundraising efforts!
If you’ve ever been wandering through the deeper reaches of the RHB Music Department, namely past room 164, and had your curiosity piqued by sounds you might not have heard before, it’s probably 3rd Year Music student Rosie Bergonzi playing percussion. At the forefront of Goldsmiths’ percussion department, leading ensembles as well as excelling as a student, Rosie is challenging conventions of classical music in more ways than one. To clarify, percussion is not the same as playing the drums. In any one performance a percussionist could be playing any number of instruments such as marimba, timpani, vibraphone or even the ever-underestimated triangle. In a world where less than 5% of percussionists are female, Rosie clearly breaks the mould.
Recently, Rosie has been offered a place at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, one of the world’s leading conservatoires, to study for an MA in Orchestral Artistry. She is undoubtedly something of a natural talent. She came to percussion quite by chance at the age of 15 after being asked to play the triangle in a school orchestra. Rosie possesses a quiet confidence, proudly explaining that when she started she ‘couldn’t really read music, but by the next year I was the section leader!’ So far she’s done herself, her family and Goldsmiths extremely proud, she now has to find a way to financially cover her fees and her living expenses, an obstacle that would stop many of us in our tracks. The fees for her first year of study are £6000, rising to £9000 in the second year, a daunting prospect without a student loan safety net at the beginning of each term.
It is all too common that we see naturally talented people fall by the wayside in the wake of those in a more financially affluent position. Unfortunately, as is true of many areas of life, there’s nothing like a bit of financial lubrication to grease the wheels and make it that much easier to climb the ladder. It is likely that a number of Rosie’s fellow Guildhall students will hail from elite, privately funded music schools in a transition process that is reminiscent of the stereotypical Eton-to-Oxbridge progression. In true underdog fashion, Rosie beat out numerous competitors to earn her place at Guildhall, and now her focus has turned to seeking out funding.
Rosie has already created an online “Fundrazr” campaign to collect donations from further afield. On top of that, on the 31st May she will be organising and hosting a 12 hour fundraising event in RHB 167. Packed with percussion workshops and performances, both solo and ensemble, it will undoubtedly be a testament to her enduring spirit and commitment to her education. Everyone will be welcome to spectate, participate and most importantly donate to help Rosie on her journey to become, in her own words, “A Master of Percussion!”
A link to sponsor Rosie: https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/1icwd