Lionel Handy


Strings - Cello

Distinguished soloist, chamber musician and recording artist

Studied at the Royal Academy of Music; now a professor of cello here

A commitment to expanding the solo cello repertoire has resulted in Lionel commissioning and premiering many new works. Recently, he has also transcribed works by Brahms, Delius and Messiaen; the latter was included in his Carter/Messiaen centenary celebration CD in 2008. This CD, along with his subsequent Kodaly recording, featuring the monumental solo sonata, has received critical acclaim both nationally and internationally. More recently Lionel was sponsored by the Royal Academy of Music to record a disc of Bax and this was followed by an ecletic From Bohemia to Wessex CD.

Lionel performs throughout the UK and Europe, and has given several solo recitals at the Wigmore Hall and Southbank Centre. Much in demand as a chamber musician, He has broadcast frequently for BBC Radio 3 and European networks. He has made numerous commercial recordings, most recently the Korngold sextet for the German Tacet label. He is a member of London Music Phoenix Ensemble and Trio Eluard with whom he has performed in festivals in Denmark, Germany, Greece, Spain as well as the UK. He was invited twice to participate as a soloist in the South African Chamber Music Festival.

His interest in British twentieth-century music has led to performances of the concertos by Finzi, Bax, Walton and Delius. With the London Sinfonietta he has worked with many of the leading composers of more recent times, including Tippett, Berio, Lutoslawski, Henze, Carter, Part, Birtwistle, Reich and Knussen.

Lionel was principal cello with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields for ten years with whom he recorded extensively and toured widely throughout the United States and Europe. Later as solo cellist with the Bournemouth Sinfonietta, he performed an eclectic range of concertos from CPE Bach and Boccherini to Tavener and Roxburgh. He has played as guest principal with most of the UK’s leading orchestras including the Philharmonia, London Symphony Orchestra, Hallé, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and English Chamber Orchestra.

As a scholarship student at the Royal Academy of Music, Lionel won every prize for cello and chamber music, including the prestigious Moir Carnegie Recital Diploma prize and Principal’s Prize. He was also awarded first prize by Jacqueline du Pre in the Muriel Taylor Competition. With several other important scholarship awards, he was able to continue his studies with Janos Starker in Banff and with Pierre Fournier in Geneva.

Lionel was awarded FRAM from the Royal Academy of Music and plays on a cello by Fendt (circa 1820).

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