Ben de Souza is one of a growing number of British classical accordionists at the forefront of promoting the instrument in this country. His playing shows “great technical assurance and control, beautifully understated expression, and real soul.”
Ben is a regular recitalist and chamber musician and has performed extensively throughout England. He has collaborated with West Forest Chamber Ensemble, The Assembly Project and Bloomsbury Festival, while in 2018 he made his orchestral debut with the Philharmonia Orchestra, under the baton of Vladimir Ashkenazy. Ben has also workshopped new music for the accordion with composition students at the Royal Academy of Music, Trinity Laban and the University of Cambridge. The accordion takes Ben across the UK and has allowed him to perform in venues such as St David’s Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Stoller Hall, Hampton Court Palace and South Hill Park Arts Centre. He is also leader of the Cumberland Ceilidh Band, and plays with a number of other ceilidh bands across England.
Having previously studied with Romano Viazzani, Ben completed his undergraduate studies with Owen Murray at the Royal Academy of Music. He has also received tuition from many of the world’s leading accordionists including Friedrich Lips, Mario Stefano Pietrodarchi, Bjarke Mogensen, Mie Miki, Iñaki Alberdi and Matti Rantanen among others. Ben has trained as an accordion repairer and tuner with Beltrami Accordions, Italy, and has returned to the Academy on occasion to give tuning masterclasses to the accordion students.
Ben is also passionate about educating the next generation of British accordionists and has a busy private teaching practice encompassing students of all ages and abilities. He currently holds accordion teaching posts at Salisbury Cathedral School and the Purcell School.
Following his time at the Academy, Ben completed a Masters in Choral Studies at the University of Cambridge, studying conducting with Stephen Layton and Graham Ross, while holding places in King’s Voices and Magdalene College Chapel Choir. Alongside his accordion work, he is a freelance choral conductor, working with a range of choirs. He is the founding conductor of Clare Hall Choir, Musical Director of Farnham & Bourne Choral Society and Newbury Chamber Choir, and also works with choirs at the John Lewis Partnership, Finchley Children’s Music Group and Taplow Choirs.
Described as creating a ‘poignant and distinctive sound world’ by Fiona Maddocks for The Observer, accordionist Bartosz Glowacki certainly shows the qualities of a rising star. Winner of numerous competitions, he was named Polish Young Musician of the Year in 2009 and represented his country the following year at the Eurovision Young Musicians. In 2011, he was offered a place under the tutelage of Owen Murray at the Royal Academy of Music, where he graduated with honours in 2016.
Glowacki has performed as a soloist in prestigious concert halls including the Royal Albert Hall, La Salle Cortot and Witold Lutoslawski Concert Studio of Polish Radio. Founder of the Deco Ensemble, he has worked with renowned artists from various musical worlds, such as Nigel Kennedy and Trevor Pinnock. He also plays regularly with international orchestras and companies, including the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Royal Opera House. He recently worked with Apartment House on their revival of the opera Dejligt vejr i dag, n’est-ce pas, Ibsen? by Henning Christiansen in New York and Copenhagen.
Glowacki is a City Music Foundation Artist and has received numerous awards from the Zygmunt Zaleski Foundation, The Countess of Munster Musical Trust, Biddy Baxter and John Hosier Music Trust, and Poland’s Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. He was selected to be part of the Open Space residencies at Snape Maltings in 2016 and recently won the Sir John Manduell Prize at the Bromsgrove International Competition.
Inspired by Astor Piazzolla, Gustavo Beytelmann and Osvaldo Pugliese, Glowacki started playing the bandoneon in 2016 and has recorded an album with the London Tango Orchestra and the bandoneon parts for the new Lion King stage show at Disneyland Paris.
In 2020, Glowacki released his debut album, Genesis, featuring solo accordion works and double concerto with British jazz guitarist Rob Luft. This album has been praised by critics as a ‘fascinating tour through the centuries’ (Göran Forsling) and showcasing ‘some terrific playing and fine contemporary writing for the instrument’ (Robert Hugill).
Praised by The Times for his ‘mastery of an instrument once dismissed as a squeezebox’, accordionist Martynas Levickis has transformed the way we listen to the instrument, captivating audiences and critics alike with his musicality, charisma and dynamic performances.
At the age of just three, Levickis began to teach himself the traditional folk music of his home country, Lithuania. Aged eight, he began to learn formally at the Saulius Sondeckis School of the Arts in his hometown of Šiauliai, before going on to study with Owen Murray at the Royal Academy of Music, followed by postgraduate studies with Iñaki Alberdi at Musikene in Spain.
Levickis is the recipient of more than 30 international awards; in 2010, he won the Coupe Mondiale World Accordion Championships. As the first accordionist signed to the Universal Music Decca Classics label, his eponymous debut album went straight to the top of the UK Official Classical Artist Album Charts. In 2015, Levickis founded his chamber ensemble, Mikroorkéstra, and was named Preisträger in Residence of the 2020 Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – an honour he will have for a second time in 2023. Owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, several of his 26 concerts for the festival are now rescheduled to take place in 2023.
Over the years, Levickis has performed at venues including the Royal Albert Hall, St Petersburg Grand Philharmonic Hall and Auditorio Nacional in Mexico, and at festivals such as Dresdner Musikfestspiele, Thüringer Bachwochen and Edinburgh Jazz Festival. He has led residential courses and in 2014 founded the annual Composers+ Summer Academy to premiere new music for the accordion with chamber ensembles. He was also the Artistic Director of Vilnius Accordion Music Week for six years.
Levickis is an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in recognition of his distinguished contribution to music in his field and sits on the Advisory Board of the Lithuanian World Arts Council.
Award-winning Serbian born Miloš Milivojević was described as ‘a hurricane of imaginative invention’ in The Times. His versatility as a musician performing different genres including classical, tango and world music, has ensured he is internationally in demand. Milivojević has won first prize at international accordion competitions in Germany (Klingental), France (Grand Prix), Italy (Castelfidardo) and Denmark (Diremose Prisen).
Milivojević studied with Vojin Vasović and Radomir Tomić in Serbia and was awarded a full scholarship from the Royal Academy of Music for his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, studying with Professor Owen Murray. During his studies, he became the first accordionist to win the RAM Club Prize and was the winner of the prestigious Derek Butler London Prize at the Wigmore Hall, contested by students from all four of the London conservatoires. At graduation, he was awarded a Distinction and the Vice Principal’s Special Prize.
Milivojević has performed at venues including the Royal Albert Hall, Wembley Arena, Birmingham Symphony Hall, Sydney Opera House and Muziekgebouw. He has given recitals at many prestigious classical and world music festivals across the globe.
Having worked with leading opera companies including Opera North and Opera Holland Park, in 2017 he performed Brett Dean’s new opera Hamlet with Glyndebourne Opera touring production. In 2022, Miloš performed in Graeae Theatre and the BBC Concert Orchestra’s production of Errollyn Wallen’s groundbreaking opera The Paradis Files which was recorded for BBC Radio 3. In 2018 and 2019 he appeared with the BBC Singers and Rias Kammerchor and has given accordion masterclasses in Serbia, Portugal and Scotland.
Live broadcasts include BBC Radio, Classic FM, ABC and the Serbian national radio and television networks. Milivojević is a member of the London Tango Quintet, Kosmos Ensemble, AccordDuo and the Balkan group Paprika. He regularly performs with guitarist Craig Ogden and violinist David Juritz.
In 2014, he was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music for his contribution to music. He is an official artist and exclusively performs on Pigini Accordions.
Milivojević’s debut solo CD Accord for Life is available on Nimbus.
Born into a family of acclaimed Russian classical accordionists, Iosif Purits is renowned for his effortless mastery of the instrument. He boasts a truly international career with appearances at concert venues including Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, Wiener Konzerthaus, George Weston Recital Hall and the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory.
Purits came to prominence as recipient of the coveted Royal Academy of Music Patrons Award offering a Wigmore Hall debut to the most outstanding student across all instrumental departments, and prizewinner of The Arts Club Sir Karl Jenkins Music Award. He was the first-ever BBC Music Introducing classical artist, which led to showcase performances on BBC Radio 3, the Cheltenham Music Festival, Latitude Festival and Southbank Centre.
Purits’s extensive repertoire ranges from JS Bach’s Goldberg Variations and Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition to Bent Sørensen’s Looking on Darkness and Magnus Lindberg’s Metal Work. Distinguished not only as a solo performer but also as an enthusiastic chamber music collaborator, he has established duo partnerships with cellist Cecilia Bignall, guitarist Andrey Lebedev and clarinetist Mikhail Mering.
Purits was the first-ever Russian child to win the under-12 category at one of the most prestigious accordion competitions in the world, in Klingenthal, Germany, where, 13 years later, his repeat success in the main category at the 50th anniversary competition was described as ‘ensuring his place in history’. Since then, his numerous awards have included 17 first prizes at international contests such as Italy’s Competition of Accordionists, Arrasate Hiria and Trophée Mondial.
Purits was awarded a full scholarship for postgraduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music, where he graduated with Regency Award in 2017. Prior to that, he was a student of Friedrich Lips at the Gnesins Russian Academy of Music.
Praised as 'revelatory' (New York Times) with 'breathtaking virtuosity' (The Observer), Ksenija Sidorova is a major ambassador for the classical accordion and collaborates regularly with leading composers and musicians. Her repertoire spans from JS Bach to Astor Piazzolla, from Efrem Podgaits to George Bizet, as well as two new accordion concertos composed especially for her and a multitude of chamber projects.
Encouraged to take up the instrument by her grandmother, Sidorova started to play the accordion aged six under the guidance of Marija Gasele in her hometown of Riga. Her quest for more exposure to both classical and contemporary repertoire took her to London, where she became a prize-winning undergraduate at the Royal Academy of Music.
In May 2012, she became the first international award winner of the Bryn Terfel Foundation and in October 2015 appeared at the Royal Albert Hall as part of Terfel’s 50th birthday celebrations. Released in June 2016, Sidorova’s debut album with Deutsche Grammophon is a fascinating take on Carmen and has delighted audiences across the world. Her latest album, Piazzolla Reflections, was released in 2021.
Ksenija works with leading orchestras including NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, MDR Sinfonieorchester, Stuttgarter Philharmoniker, Kammerorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo and Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, and prestigious conductors including Paavo Järvi, Thomas Hengelbrock, Vasily Petrenko, Kristjan Järvi, Michał Nesterowicz and Jan Willem de Vriend.
Sidorova is a recipient of both the Philharmonia Orchestra’s Martin Musical Scholarship Fund and Friends of the Philharmonia award, as well as the Worshipful Company of Musicians Silver Medal. Since 2016, she has been an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music.
Accordionist Borut Zagoranski was born 1980 in Ptuj, Slovenia. His music education started at the music school in his hometown and continued at the Conservatory of Music and Ballet in Maribor, Slovenia. He graduated in 2002 from the Academy of Music at the Juraj Dobrila University of Pula, Croatia, receiving at the same time the Rector's Award for Best Student. He then enrolled for the Postgraduate Advanced Diploma in Performance at the Royal Academy of Music and completed his final concert diploma in 2006. His mentors include Marjetka Babić, Slavko Magdić and Owen Murray, as well as other eminent musicians and accordion teachers.
Zagoranski has won numerous national and international accordion competitions. As the Slovenian representative, he reached the finale of the 1998 Eurovision Young Musicians competition in Vienna. He was the 2006 recipient of the prestigious Friends of the Royal Academy of Music Wigmore Award.
He has participated in many renowned international festivals, such as ISCM World Music Days, Highgate International Chamber Music Festival and Glasbeni September Maribor, and has appeared as a soloist with orchestras including the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta and Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra. He has played under the baton of Dennis Russell Davies, Lalo Schifrin, Pablo Zinger and Marko Letonja, and appeared at distinguished concert venues across the world, such as Wigmore Hall, Wiener Konzerthaus and Benaroya Hall.
Zagoranski is a jury member at international accordion competitions, reviewer of specialised publications and author of university-level accordion curricula. He is professor both at the Academy of Music at the Juraj Dobrila University of Pula and at the Academy of Music at the University in Ljubljana, where he is Head of Chamber Music. Since 2014, he has been an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music.