Robbie Jacobs studied music at King’s College, Cambridge, where he was the senior choral scholar, and holds a Masters in Choral Conducting from the Royal Academy of Music. He is the Co-Artistic Director of contemporary vocal ensemble, Reverie, and has held positions as Acting Artistic Director of the London Youth Choir, Chorus Master of the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, Musical Director of The Resonance Project, and a lecturer in Choral Skills at the Royal Academy of Music. Jacobs was the inaugural conducting scholar for Genesis Sixteen, where he studied with Harry Christophers and Eamonn Dougan. As an educator, he has worked extensively in the UK, with the Royal Opera House, Three Choirs Festival, The Rosehill Theatre and Ledbury Poetry Festival, and is an ambassador for the Teach First program. He is currently the Director of Artistic Programming for Boston Children's Chorus.
Olivia Jageurs graduated from the Royal Academy of Music’s Master’s course in 2014 after completing an undergraduate degree at the University of Manchester.
Following the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s competitive Foyle Future Firsts scheme, she has gone on to play with the UK’s major orchestras, including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Sinfonia Cymru, Rambert, London Philharmonic Orchestra and The Hallé.
In 2017, Jageurs’s harp-writing resource, 15 Second Harp, was shortlisted for a Royal Philharmonic Society Award. The RPS awards, presented in association with BBC Radio 3, are the highest recognition for live classical music in the UK. That year, Jageurs also founded Bach’n Eggs, London’s first series of classical-music brunch concerts, which is regularly listed as one of London’s top pop-up events.
Last year, Jageurs played at Glyndebourne with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the London Philharmonic Orchestra and performed Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols at Wigmore Hall with Tenebrae Choir.
From 2013 to 2019, Jageurs has played at the Wimbledon tennis championships, entertaining the guests of the royal box before and after the women’s and men’s finals.
Jageurs records remote sessions regularly from her home studio. Since the Covid-19 crisis, she has started a series of concerts every Friday called Harpy Hour, playing audience requests, which now has audience members in the UK, USA, Mexico, Singapore and Ireland.
Oliver Janes is currently Section Leader Clarinet with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO). He was born and brought up in Manchester and started his musical life learning the violin before taking up the clarinet at the age of fifteen. His grandfather, John Fuest, had been Principal Clarinet with the CBSO and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (RLPO) and convinced Oliver to give the instrument a go. The rest is history!
After two years of lessons with his grandfather, he went to Chetham’s School of Music to study with Rosa Campos-Fernandez. He followed this with four years at the Royal Academy of Music studying with Mark van de Wiel. At the age of twenty-three, Janes was appointed Section Leader Clarinet with the CBSO. While enjoying the variety of the CBSO schedule, he frequently appears as guest Principal with many of the UK’s leading orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra, John Wilson Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Hallé, Philharmonia, Aurora Orchestra, RLPO and BBCNOW. With a keen interest in contemporary music, he plays with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, with whom he has recorded numerous CDs, toured internationally and performed some of the clarinet’s most challenging repertoire. As a soloist, he has performed works by Debussy, Mozart, Strauss, Copland and Brian Ferneyhough’s La Chute d’Icare.
Janes plays on a pair of Buffet DG clarinets which were passed down to him from Angela Malsbury during his time at the Academy.
Karl Jenkins is one of the most performed living composers in the world. Educated at Gowerton Grammar School, Cardiff University and the Royal Academy of Music, The Armed Man: A Mass For Peace alone has been performed over 2750 times in 50 different countries since the CD was released while his recorded output has resulted in seventeen gold and platinum disc awards.
His style and integrity has transcended musical boundaries encompassing jazz-rock with Soft Machine, the global ‘crossover’ phenomenon Adiemus, soundtracks for Levis and British Airways, while stopping off along the way to score a Kiefer Sutherland movie, be a castaway on BBC Desert Island Discs, be featured by Melvyn Bragg on the ITV seminal South Bank Show and be awarded the Freedom of the City of London. Recordings include Requiem, Stabat Mater, Quirk, Stella Natalis and The Peacemakers, on Deutsche Grammophon Adiemus Colores, Motets and Cantata Memoria, and on Decca Symphonic Adiemus, a Piano Album and Miserere. He has composed music for HRH The Prince of Wales, Sir Bryn Terfel, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Dame Evelyn Glennie and the London Symphony Orchestra amongst many others.
A Doctor of Music, he holds Fellowships, Honorary Doctorates and Professorships at five universities or conservatoires, including the Royal Academy of Music, where a room has been named in his honour. In November 2009 he was given the Cymru For The World Award and in March 2010 was honoured with the Hopkins Medal given by the St. David’s Society for the State of New York.
In 2015 he was confirmed as the most popular living composer in Classic FM’s ‘Ultimate Hall of Fame’ and holds the Classic FM ‘Red f’ award for ‘outstanding service to classical music’. He was awarded a Knighthood in the 2015 Queen's Birthday Honours for 'services to composing and crossing musical genres' and his autobiography Still with the Music was published by Elliott & Thompson. His music is published exclusively by Boosey & Hawkes.
Firmly positioned as a leading exponent of his instrument, Miloš Karadaglić continues to top record charts and delight audiences worldwide. His first three releases on Deutsche Grammophon achieved major chart successes around the globe, prompting The Telegraph to declare that ‘classical music has a new guitar hero’. His 2014 recording of Joaquín Rodrigo’s concertos had the Sunday Times calling him ‘the king of Aranjuez’, while Blackbird: The Beatles Album was received with unanimous acclaim.
Karadaglić has appeared at almost all major concert halls and festivals around the globe. He is also the first-ever classical guitarist to have performed a solo recital at the Royal Albert Hall, returning in August 2018 with the BBC Symphony Orchestra to give the world premiere of Ink Dark Moon, an exciting new guitar concerto written specially for him by Joby Talbot. In 2019, he premiered Howard Shore’s guitar concerto, The Forest, commissioned for him by the National Arts Centre Orchestra Ottawa and Alexander Shelley. More recently, Karadaglić has been on tour with The Voice of the Guitar, performing solo and with various ensembles throughout the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia and the United States.
Karadaglić is a passionate supporter of music education and acts as a Patron of Awards for Young Musicians as well as Ambassador for Live Music Now, the London Music Fund and Wigmore Hall’s Learning programme. He has also appeared as a mentor for the nationwide talent competition Guitar Star on Sky Arts, in addition to co-presenting the 2014 BBC Young Musician competition and returning as a judge in 2018.
Born in Montenegro in 1983, Karadaglić first started playing the guitar at the age of eight and at 16 successfully applied for a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music. He was appointed a Fellow of the Academy in 2015. In 2016, BBC Music Magazine included him amongst six of the greatest classical guitarists of the last century.
Jonathan was born in 1969 and educated at Magdalen College School, Brackley, Northants, UK. He won a County Music Scholarship which enabled him to study with Helen Armstrong. While at school he played in the National Youth Orchestra and later in the European Community Youth Orchestra where he was the first recipient of the Mick Baines Award.
He studied history at Cambridge and then oboe with Celia Nicklin at the Royal Academy of Music where he won the President’s Prize. Further studies were undertaken in Paris with Maurice Bourge.
In 1991 he was appointed Principal Oboe in the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, under Simon Rattle, where he remained until 2003 when he was appointed Solo (Principal) Oboe in the Berliner Philharmoniker, also under Rattle.
One of today’s most successful pianists, Freddy Kempf performs to sell-out audiences all over the world. Exceptionally gifted with an unusually broad repertoire, he has built a unique reputation as an explosive and physical performer who is not afraid to take risks as well as a serious, sensitive, and profoundly musical artist.
Kempf has collaborated with conductors such as Petrenko, Davis, Sinaisky, Chailly, Tortelier, Sawallisch, Buribayev and Simonov, and has worked with some of the world’s most prestigious orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony, Philharmonia Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, La Scala Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, NHK Symphony Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and Dresden Philharmonic.
Most recent career highlights include his debut at the BBC Proms, an extensive Asian tour including Seoul Arts Centre and PyeongChang Chamber Music Festival in South Korea; Esplanade Concert Hall in Singapore; and concerto appearances with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Taiwan National Symphony, RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra and Bergen Philharmonic. A favourite touring artist, his recent tours include a play/direct tour across New Zealand with New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and an extensive twelve-date tour with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra across the UK for which he received critical acclaim.
A committed recitalist, Kempf has appeared in many of the world’s most important concert halls including the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire, Berlin Konzerthaus, Milan Conservatory, Sala Verdi, London’s Cadogan and Royal Festival Hall, Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall, Sydney’s City Hall and Tokyo’s Suntory Hall. This season’s recital highlights include appearances at the Birmingham International Piano Series, Moscow’s House of Music, and the Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory.
Born in London in 1977, he made his concerto debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the age of 8 and further came to national prominence in 1992 when he won the BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition. In 1998, his award of third, rather than first, prize in the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in Moscow provoked protests from the audience and an outcry in the Russian press, which proclaimed him ‘the hero of the competition’.
Elizabeth Kenny is one of Europe’s leading lute players. In 15 years of touring, she has played with many of the world’s best period instrument groups and experienced many different approaches to music making. She is a Principal Player and initiator of 17th-century projects with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Her solo CD, Flying Horse: The ML LuteBook, was released by Hyperion Records in 2009.
She has played with viol consort Concordia since its founding and has built chamber music and recital partnerships with a number of distinguished artists. She retains a strong international connection with William Christie’s Les Arts Florissants. Her research interests have led to critically acclaimed recordings of William Lawes, Henry Purcell and John Dowland, and to develop ideas such as The Masque of Moments, which she took to festivals in England and Germany during 2007 and 2008. With her group Theatre of the Ayre, she created a concert version of John Blow’s Venus and Adonis, which was released on the Wigmore Live label.
Kenny taught for two years at the Hochschule der Künste Berlin and is a Lecturer in Performance at Southampton University. She was one of the artistic advisory team for the York Early Music Festival from 2011 to 2013. In 2011, she was delighted to be awarded a Fellow of the Academy and was one of three shortlisted nominees for the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards in the Best Instrumentalist category.
South Korean-born New Zealand pianist Somi Kim has established herself as one of today’s most highly regarded young pianists with a string of competition successes and extensive concert experience.
Kim is an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music. She graduated with an Advanced Diploma in Performance and Master of Arts with Distinction, receiving the HRH Princess Alice the Duchess of Gloucester’s Prize, a DipRAM and the Christian Carpenter prize. Kim is the 2017 winner of the Royal Over-Seas League Accompanist Prize, and has received the Gerald Moore Award, AESS Patricia Routledge National English Song Accompanist Prize, Mozart Singing Competition Accompanist Prize, Bromsgrove International Musicians Competition Accompanist Prize, Vivian Langrish Memorial Trust Prize, Thomas Art of Song Accompanist Prize, Major Van Someren-Godfrey Prize for Accompanists, the Worshipful Company of Musicians’ Concordia Serena Nevill and Barthel Prizes, and the 6th Pettman/Royal Over-Seas League Arts International Scholarship. Kim made her debut with Chamber Music New Zealand in 2015.
Sought after as a chamber musician, song accompanist and répétiteur, Kim is an artist for the Kirckman Concert Society, Park Lane Group Music Trust and Concordia Foundation, and a Yeoman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians. She is a scholar on the Britten-Pears and Samling Artist Programmes, and Georg Solti Accademia, and is a staff pianist at The International Holland Music Sessions, International Vocal Competition ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Gisborne International Music Competition and New Zealand Opera School. Kim is the official pianist with the NZTrio, a piano trio recognised by the New Zealand Herald as ‘New Zealand’s most indispensable chamber ensemble’.
In recital, Kim’s recent and future appearances include at The Royal Concertgebouw, Slovak Philharmonic, Wigmore Hall, St John’s Smith Square, Cadogan Hall, The Bridgewater Hall and the Edinburgh Fringe, Ryedale, St Endellion and Oxford Lieder festivals.
Lauren Kinsella is an award-winning Jazz FM vocalist of the year, known as having ‘embraced an entirely new conception of vocal improvisation, touching on various traditions but also connected to the avant garde’ (The History of European Jazz).
Snowpoet, her band with multi-instrumentalist Chris Hyson, released Thought You Knew on Edition Records and was hailed by National Public Radio (USA) as one of the best albums of 2018. Their music regularly features on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 6 and RTE Lyric FM. Their next album is set for release in March 2021.
As a soloist, collaborator and band leader, she has performed worldwide at several European Festivals including Unerhört Jazz (Switzerland), InJazz (Netherlands), Cool Britannia (Vienna), Klaeng (Cologne), Down With Jazz (Ireland), Ankara International Music Festival (Istanbul), 12 Points (Porto), Dublin Literary Festival (Ireland), European Jazznights (Oslo), Jazzy Colours (Paris), Belfast Literary Festival (UK), Südtirol Jazz Festival (Italy), Cardiff Poetry Festival (Wales), Galway Jazz Festival (Ireland), Songlines Encounters and the London Jazz Festival (UK).
Awarded the Arts Foundation Fellowship (2017) she has performed with Tom Challenger, Dave Smith, Henry Lowther, Ruth Goller, Steve Beresford, Simon Jermyn, Matthew Jacobson, Laura Jurd, Liam Noble, Chris Batchelor, Phil Minton, Kit Downes, Julian Siegel, Elliot Galvin, Elias Stemeseder, Yves Roberts, Attila Csihar, Pat Thomas, Mark Sanders, Ingrid Laubrock, Hannah Marshall, Mark Lockheart, Hans Hassler, Olie Brice, Cleveland Watkiss, James Maddren, Julie Kjaer, Robin Finker, Josh Arcoleo, Matthew Halpin and many more.
Kinsella also collaborates with film composers, contemporary classical composers and writers, exploring the role of the voice in varying performance contexts including Cherry Smyth, Harry Escott, Ed Bennett and Sally O’Reilly.
Originally born in Dublin, Kinsella completed her masters at the Royal Academy of Music in 2013. There she was awarded the Gershon Ellenbogen / Maccabaen Award and The Kenny Wheeler Jazz Prize leading to the release of Blue-Eyed Hawk’s Under the Moon (Edition Records) which was awarded Best Jazz Album in the Irish Times Ticket Awards.
Matthew Knight is Co-Principal Trombone of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, where he also serves as Vice-Chairman, having been a member of the orchestra’s Board since 2015. He has performed with almost all of the UK orchestras, often as a Guest Principal with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Academy of St Martin in the Fields.
Knight graduated with a starred first in music from Cambridge University, where he was Senior Choral Scholar at Gonville & Caius College. From 2005 to 2008, he was a member of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music as a postgraduate, receiving a DipRAM for an outstanding final recital and the 2008 Principal’s Prize. In 2016, he was appointed an Associate of the Academy and now teaches the trombone at the Royal College of Music.
Along with fellow Academy graduate Simon Cox, Knight is Artistic Director of the brass septet Septura, described by trumpet virtuoso Alison Balsom as setting a standard ‘absolutely higher than brass playing has ever been before’. Currently Ensemble in Residence at the Academy, the group is recording a series of 10 discs for Naxos Records, each focused on a particular period, genre and set of composers. Septura has performed around the world, including tours to New Zealand, Japan and the USA, and has recently made its debut in the Chamber Music Season at Wigmore Hall.
An active composer, arranger and orchestrator, Knight has arranged music for nine of Septura’s releases so far, as well as arranging and orchestrating for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Classic FM.
Ross Knight studied under Patrick Harrild at the Royal Academy of Music and went on to be Tuba Academist at the Berliner Philharmoniker’s prestigious Karajan Academy, alongside the orchestra’s Principal Tuba, Alexander von Puttkamer. During this time, he also studied at the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover under Jens Bjørn-Larsen.
Knight has been Principal Tuba player of both the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester and European Union Youth Orchestra, and was named the 2012 BBC Radio 2 Young Brass Player of the Year. In April 2014, Ross was runner-up in the European Soloist Competition for Brass and Percussion and won the Best Tuba award. He is, to this day, the highest-placed tuba player in the history of the competition.
Knight has played with several of Europe’s top orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra, where he was on trial for one and a half years, Philharmonia Orchestra and Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich, among others. Since September 2016, he has been Solo Tuba of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in Geneva, Switzerland.
Knight has been successful as a soloist on many occasions. Recently, he was awarded second prize and overall winner of the category in the 2019 Aeolus International Competition for Wind Instruments. In the final round, he performed as soloist with the Düsseldorfer Symphoniker. Prior to that, he performed the Vaughan Williams Tuba Concerto with the Exeter Symphony Orchestra and has also appeared with the Whitehall Orchestra, Tayside Symphony Orchestra and at the RNCM Brass Band Festival with Tredegar Town Band.
Ross regularly gives masterclasses at the Royal Academy of Music, Conservatoire National Supérieur Musique et Danse de Lyon, Haute École de Musique de Genève and Escola de Música do Estado de São Paulo, among others. In July 2019, Ross was the tuba tutor of the Australian Youth Orchestra as part of their European and China tour.
Sholto Kynoch is a sought-after pianist who specialises in song and chamber music. He is the founder and Artistic Director of the Oxford Lieder Festival, which won a prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society Award in 2015, cited for its ‘breadth, depth and audacity’ of programming.
Recent recitals have taken him to Wigmore Hall, Heidelberger Frühling in Germany, the Zeist International Lied Festival in Holland, the LIFE Victoria festival and Palau de la Música in Barcelona, the Opéra de Lille, Kings Place in London, Opernhaus Zürich, Maison Symphonique de Montréal, and many other leading venues and festivals nationally and internationally. He has performed with singers including Louise Alder, Benjamin Appl, Sophie Daneman, Tara Erraught, Robert Holl, James Gilchrist, Dietrich Henschel, Katarina Karnéus, Wolfgang Holzmair, Jonathan Lemalu, Stephan Loges, Daniel Norman, Christoph Prégardien, Joan Rodgers, Birgid Steinberger and Roderick Williams, amongst many others.
Together with violinist Jonathan Stone and cellist Christian Elliott, Kynoch is the pianist of the Phoenix Piano Trio. The Trio’s recent CD, The Leipzig Circle, was described as ‘splendidly vibrant’ (BBC Music Magazine) and having ‘unaffected freshness and charm’ (Gramophone). They have commissioned a number of new works, and recorded Cheryl Frances-Hoad’s The Forgiveness Machine for Champs Hill and Philip Venables’ Klaviertrio im Geiste for NMC.
In recent years, he has curated several series of recitals around exhibitions at the National Gallery, including their Monet and Architecture exhibition in 2018, and a series for the British Museum.
He recorded, live at the Oxford Lieder Festival, the first complete edition of the songs of Hugo Wolf. Other recent and forthcoming recordings include discs of Schubert and Schumann lieder, the complete songs of John Ireland and Havergal Brian with baritone Mark Stone, recital discs with Martin Hässler and Anna Stéphany, and several CDs with the Phoenix Piano Trio.
In July 2018, Kynoch was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music. He studied Music at Worcester College, University of Oxford, before attending the Royal Academy of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. His teachers included Michael Dussek, Graham Johnson, Vanessa Latarche, Malcolm Martineau and Ronan O’Hora.
Elena Langer’s colourful, dramatic music has become increasingly familiar to audiences through her pieces operatic, vocal and orchestral. Her 2016 hit for Welsh National Opera, Figaro gets a Divorce, was described in The Telegraph as ‘that rare thing: a modern opera that exerts an immediate emotional impact’. Her Welsh National Opera follow-up, the 2018 vaudeville Rhondda Rips It Up!, was wildly popular with audiences across the UK, The Times calling it ‘bursting with irreverent joy’.
Langer studied piano and composition at the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory and in 1999 moved to London, continuing her studies at the Royal College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music. She began writing operas while Composer-in-Residence at the Almeida Theatre and her works have been performed at Opernhaus Zürich, Carnegie Hall, Grand Théâtre de Genève, Opera National du Rhin, Welsh National Opera, Shakespeare’s Globe, The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Theatre. She has released a CD of vocal and chamber pieces, Landscape with Three People.
Figaro gets a Divorce, with a libretto by David Pountney, premiered at Welsh National Opera in February 2016 and subsequently toured around the UK. In 2017, it was performed at the Teatr Wielki in Poznań and at the Grand Théâtre de Genève.
In March 2019, Boston Symphony Chamber Players performed Langer’s orchestral piece Five Reflections on Water. The Seattle Symphony performed a new orchestral suite from Figaro gets a Divorce in January 2020 and the suite received its UK première in Glasgow in February 2020, performed by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Elena’s song cycle It’s Not You, It’s Me, based on the poems of Glyn Maxwell, was performed at Wigmore Hall in October 2019.
Langer is currently working on an opera based on Nikolai Erdman’s play, The Suicide, to be performed at the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Academic Music Theatre in 2022.
Among the most proficient and accomplished bassists in the field of contemporary jazz, Orlando le Fleming's virtuoso technique, boundless creativity and powerful beat are those of a musician who has found himself occupying a space in the uppermost stratum of American improvised music.
His facility as an improviser and capacity as a team player were first honed not on the bandstand, nor in the practice room, but on the cricket pitch. Originally from the UK, Le Fleming seemed destined for an athletic career, and was briefly a professional cricketer, until he was granted a place at the Royal Academy of Music, and his lifelong passion for music won out.
His 2003 move to New York City was a timely one. Soon after arriving stateside, he joined Jane Monheit's band, consequently sharing the bass duties on her 2004 release Taking a Chance onLove with Ron Carter and Christian McBride; the year following, he recorded with jazz legend Jimmy Cobb on his Marsalis Music Honors release. In the years since, leaders as diverse as Branford Marsalis, Joey Calderazzo, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Bill Charlap, Billy Cobham, Ari Hoenig, Seamus Blake, Jeff “Tain” Watts and David Sanchez have relied on Le Fleming's firm beat and eloquent counterpoint to propel their rhythm sections forward.
While he succeeds as a sideman, it is as a leader that Le Fleming truly shines. From Brooklyn With Love is a living document of Orlando's original compositions, as performed by his 2010 quartet. Recorded in concert at storied Park Slope hangout Freddy's, it features saxophonist Will Vinson, guitarist Lage Lund, and drummer Antonio Sanchez. Riding the high acclaim of this initial release, Lund, Vinson, and Le Fleming would go on to form the drum-less OWL Trio, who’s eponymous 2013 debut was hailed by critics and listeners alike.
More recently, Le Fleming has become recognized as a keen doubler: 2016 brought a wide array of opportunities as an electric bassist, from accompanying Tony-winning vocalist Leslie Odom Jr. to navigating the shifting metrics of Wayne Krantz's legendary 55 Bar residency. His latest endeavour, Romantic Funk, presents a pastiche of classic fusion sounds and ideas, updated by Le Fleming's signature palette of polyrhythm and abstract exploration. 2020 will the see the release of Romantic Funk’s second album - The Unfamiliar, and also a new OWL Trio record featuring grammy-winning vocalist, Kurt Elling.
Simon Lepper read music at King’s College, Cambridge before studying piano accompaniment with Michael Dussek at the Royal Academy of Music and later with Ruben Lifschitz at the Fondation Royaumont. He is a currently professor of collaborative piano and a vocal repertoire coach at the Royal College of Music, London where he also in charge of the collaborative piano course. Since 2003 he has been an official accompanist for the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition.
Performance highlights have included an invitation from the Wigmore Hall to present a three concert project on the songs of Joseph Marx; recital tours with Stéphane Degout which have included the Ravinia and Edinburgh Festivals and the opera houses of Bordeaux, Dijon, La Monnaie, Lausanne and Lyon; his debut at Carnegie Hall, New York with Karen Cargill and at the Frick Collection with Christopher Purves; performances of the Schubert song cycles with Mark Padmore including at the Schubertiade, Hohenhems, recitals with Christiane Karg at Frankfrut Opera and the Rheingau Fesitval and recitals with Angelika Kirchschlager in Verbier and at the Wigmore Hall.
He has presented an all Schubert programme with Ilker Arcayürek in Barcelona, Zürich, New York (Park Armory), San Francisco and at the Wigmore Hall where further appearances have included recitals with Dame Felicity Palmer, Karen Cargill, Sally Matthews and Mark Padmore. With Benjamin Appl, he toured to India including recitals in Mumbai and Chennai and gave the opening performance for the highest concert hall in the world in Shenzhen with Aida Garifulina. Future highlights include a return to Carnegie Hall with Sally Matthews, the release of a CD of Ballads with Stéphane Degout for Hamonia Mundi with whom he will also give a European tour as well as recitals with young artists including Soraya Mafi, James Newby and Julien van Mellaerts.
His discography includes 2 volumes of Debussy Songs and a Strauss disc with Gillian Keith, a disc of Mahler songs with Karen Cargill, the complete songs of Jonathan Dove with Kitty Whately and a CD of contemporary violin works with Carolin Widmann which received a Diapason d’or. Recent releases include a song recital disc with Dame Felicity Palmer, a CD of Schubert songs with tenor Ilker Arcayürek and a live recital disc with Stéphane Degout which was a Gramophone magazine editor’s choice.
Simon writes about his time at the Academy:
'I came from university to study solo piano at the Academy before changing in my second year to piano accompaniment. It was this time, when I started lessons with Michael Dussek, that set me on a path of looking more deeply at the detail in any score. I was always a good sight-reader but Michael taught me how to practise. The lessons in the art of teaching also helped me develop skills in this area which I continue to use in my role as Professor of Collaborative Piano at the Royal College of Music.'
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. 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.
Felicity Lott was born and educated in Cheltenham, read French at Royal Holloway College, of which she is now an Honorary Fellow, and singing at the Royal Academy of Music, of which she is a Fellow and a Visiting Professor. Her operatic repertoire ranges from Handel to Stravinsky, but she has above all built up her formidable international reputation as an interpreter of the great roles of Mozart and Strauss. At the Royal Opera House, she has sung Anne Trulove, Blanche, Ellen Orford, Eva, Countess Almaviva and under Mackerras, Tate, Davis and Haitink, the Marschallin. At the Glyndebourne Festival, her roles include Anne Trulove, Pamina, Donna Elvira, Oktavian, Christine Intermezzo, Countess Madeleine Capriccio and the title role in Arabella. Her roles at the Bavarian State Opera, Munich include Christine, Countess Almaviva, Countess Madeleine and the Marschallin. For the Vienna State Opera, her roles include the Marschallin under Kleiber which she has sung both in Vienna and Japan. In Paris, at the Opera Bastille, Opera Comique, Chatelet and Palais Garnier she has sung Cleopatra, Fiordiligi, Countess Madeleine, the Marschallin and the title roles in La Belle Helene and La Grande Duchesse de Gerolstein. At the Metropolitan Opera, New York, she sang the Marschallin under Carlos Kleiber and Countess Almaviva under James Levine. She recently sang Poulenc’s heroine in staged performances of La Voix Humaine at the Teatro de La Zarzuela, Madrid, the Maison de la Culture de Grenoble and the Opera National de Lyon.
She has sung with the Vienna Philharmonic and Chicago Symphony Orchestras under Solti, the Munich Philharmonic under Mehta, the London Philharmonic under Haitink, Welser-Moest and Masur, the Concertgebouworkest under Masur, the Suisse Romande and Tonhalle orchestras under Armin Jordan, the Boston Symphony under Previn, the New York Philharmonic under Previn and Masur, the BBC Symphony Orchestra with Sir Andrew Davis in London, Sydney and New York, and the Cleveland Orchestra under Welser-Moest in Cleveland and Carnegie Hall. In Berlin, she has sung with the Berlin Philharmonic under Solti and Rattle and the Deutsche Staatskapelle under Philippe Jordan.
A founder member of The Songmakers' Almanac, Lott has appeared on the major recital platforms of the world, including the Salzburg, Prague, Bergen, Aldeburgh, Edinburgh and Munich Festivals, the Musikverein and Konzerthaus in Vienna and the Salle Gaveau, Musée d’Orsay, Opera Comique, Chatelet and Theatre des Champs Elysees in Paris. She has a particularly close association with the Wigmore Hall and received the Wigmore Hall Medal in February 2010 for her exceptional contribution to the hall.
Her many awards include honorary doctorates at the Universities of Oxford, Loughborough, Leicester, London and Sussex and the Royal Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow. She was made a CBE in the 1990 New Year Honours and in 1996 was created a Dame Commander of the British Empire. In February 2003, she was awarded the title of Bayerische Kammersängerin. She has also been awarded the titles Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and Chevalier de l’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur by the French Government. Most recently, she has been honoured with the 2015 Incorporated Society of Musicians Distinguished Musician Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2016 International Classical Music Awards.
Rob Luft is an award-winning jazz guitarist from London whose virtuosity has been compared to that of six-string legends John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola and Paco De Lucia. For performances with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra in 2015, The Times said he was destined ‘to achieve great things in the future’. He was subsequently the recipient of the 2016 Kenny Wheeler Prize from the Royal Academy of Music and received second prize in the 2016 Montreux Jazz Guitar Competition at the Montreux Jazz Festival. His debut album, Riser, was released on Edition Records in 2017 to widespread critical acclaim from the European jazz media; John Fordham wrote in The Guardian a ‘very sophisticated debut, but given Luft’s old-soul achievements since his early teens, we should have heard it coming’.
On the back of the success of his first album, Luft was nominated for a string of awards – Breakthrough Act in the 2018 Jazz FM Awards, Instrumentalist of the Year in the 2018 Parliamentary Jazz Awards and Instrumentalist of the Year in the 2019 Jazz FM Awards. In May 2019 he was selected as BBC New Generation Jazz Artist 2019-2021, an accolade granted to ‘some of the world’s most exceptional young musicians’. His eagerly-awaited second album on Edition Records, Life is the Dancer, was released in April 2020 to critical acclaim, with Chris May at All About Jazz describing it as ‘balm for the soul’ and ‘a garden of heavenly delights’.
Concert highlights for Luft are performances with Django Bates, Arve Henriksen, Loose Tubes and Dinosaur, Laura Jurd’s jazz/rock quartet. As well as leading his own quintet, Luft collaboratively runs several other projects, including a duo with the Albanian jazz singer and ECM recording artist Elina Duni, a mainstream jazz quartet with Dave O’Higgins and the tango quintet Deco Ensemble. He is also a regular member of some of London’s finest modern jazz groups, such as Byron Wallen’s Four Corners, Eddie Parker’s Airborn and the Chris Batchelor/Steve Buckley quintet. His playing has been documented on a wide variety of albums over the past five years, and he appears on the Sweet Sister Suite by Tommy Smith’s Scottish National Jazz Orchestra (SNJO); Liane Carroll’s album Seaside (Linn Records); two albums from Italian drum virtuoso Enzo Zirilli on Milanese label UR Records, Zirobop and Ten to Late; and the latest release from Misha Mullov-Abbado on Edition Records Cross-Platform Interchange.
‘Unmatched for podium presence’ (New York Classical Review) and with an ‘ability to create viscerally arresting performances’ (LA Times), Susanna Mälkki is one of today’s most sought-after conductors in the world.
Mälkki continues to guest-conduct at the very highest level, with recent appearances including return visits to the New York Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, London Philharmonic and London Symphony orchestras, and the Münchner Philharmoniker and Orchestre national de Lyon.
This is Mälkki’s fourth season as Chief Conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, with plans including premieres by leading national composers Kaija Saariaho and Lotta Wennäkoski and a new work by Felipe Lara. As part of her third season as Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Mälkki paid tribute to the late Oliver Knussen with his Violin Concerto. She was previously Principal Guest Conductor of the Gulbenkian Orchestra and Music Director of the Ensemble Intercontemporain.
A renowned opera conductor, Mälkki was to make her debut at the postponed 2020 Festival d’Aix en Provence, conducting the world premiere of Saariaho’s new opera, Innocence, having returned to the Opéra national de Paris to conduct Philippe Boesmans’ Yvonne, princesse de Bourgogne. In 2018, she debuted at the Wiener Staatsoper in Gottfried von Einem’s Dantons Tod; December 2016 marked her debut at The Metropolitan Opera for its premiere of Saariaho’s L’amour de loin.
A former student of the Sibelius Academy, Mälkki studied with Jorma Panula and Leif Segerstam. In June 2010, she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music and is also a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. Other awards include the Pro Finlandia Medal of the Order of the Lion of Finland, Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur, Musical America’s 2017 Conductor of the Year and the Nordic Council Music Prize.
Following a degree in Biochemistry, Christopher Maltman studied singing at the Royal Academy of Music. A globally-renowned Don Giovanni, he has sung the role in London, Berlin, Munich, Cologne, Salzburg, Amsterdam, Toulouse, San Sebastian, Beijing and Chicago, and adds New York and Edinburgh this year. Increasingly in demand for Verdi roles, he has sung Posa, Ford, Simon Boccanegra, Conte di Luna, Guy de Montfort and will soon add Don Carlo di Vargas, Rigoletto and Germont. He won the Lieder prize at the Cardiff Singer of the World early in his career and has continued to delight audiences with his sensitive and engaging song performances, many of which are documented in acclaimed recordings. His vast and varied discography, from Purcell to Ades includes John Corigliano’s Grammy award-winning Ghost of Versailles from Los Angeles Opera.
Matthew Martin is Precentor and Director of College Music at Gonville and Caius College Cambridge. He read music at Magdalen College, University of Oxford before studying with David Titterington at the Royal Academy of Music and with Marie-Claire Alain in Paris. From 2015 to 2020, he was Director of Music at Keble College Oxford and Artistic Director of the Keble Early Music Festival.
Martin spent much of his early life immersed in cathedral music and, in 2010, after six years as Assistant Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral, decided to focus more on composition. Since then, he has been commissioned to write music for The Tallis Scholars, the choirs of Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral, Gabrieli and The Sixteen. Martin won the Liturgical category in the 2013 British Composer Awards and the first disc of his choral music, Jubilate Deo, was recorded by Daniel Hyde and the choir of Magdalen College Oxford.
More recently, he has written for the Cheltenham Music Festival (Trumpet Sonata) and The Tallis Scholars (The Lamentations of Jeremiah), while A Rose Magnificat for Paul McCreesh and Gabrieli won the Choral category in the 2019 BBC Music Magazine Awards. Earlier in 2019, he was asked to write a festival anthem, In the midst of thy Temple, for the choir of Westminster Abbey, marking the 750th anniversary of its refounding, and a test piece for organ (St Albans Triptych) for the 2019 St Albans International Organ Competition.
Pianist Joseph Middleton specialises in the art of song accompaniment and chamber music and has been highly acclaimed in this field. Described in Opera magazine as ‘the rightful heir to legendary accompanist Gerald Moore’, he was the first accompanist to win the Royal Philharmonic Society's Young Artist Award and to be listed in the Evening Standard’s ‘The Progress 1000: London’s most influential people’.
Middleton is a frequent guest at major music centres including Wigmore Hall (where he has curated his own series), Lincoln Center, Park Avenue Armory, The Royal Concertgebouw, Muziekgebouw, Wiener Konzerthaus, Musikverein Wien, Zürich Tonhalle, Kölner Philharmonie, Oper Frankfurt, Gran Teatre del Liceu, Philharmonie Luxembourg, Musée d’Orsay, Oji Hall, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and Palau de la Musica. He is heard regularly at festivals across Europe, North America and South Korea, and made his BBC Proms debut in 2016 alongside Iestyn Davies and Carolyn Sampson, returning in 2018 with Dame Sarah Connolly, where they premiered recently discovered songs by Benjamin Britten and launched their much-lauded recital CD for Chandos.
Middleton has a special relationship with BBC Radio 3, frequently curating his own series, and was selected as the song pianist for Radio 3’s recent New Generation Artist 20th anniversary celebrations at Wigmore Hall.
He has a critically acclaimed, fast-growing and award-winning discography, which has resulted in an Edison Award and numerous nominations for Gramophone and BBC Music Magazine awards. His recordings on with Dame Sarah Connolly, Carolyn Sampson, Iestyn Davies, Ruby Hughes, Amanda Roocroft, Louise Alder, Mary Bevan and Christopher Maltman have been selected as Disc of the Year in The Sunday Times, American Record Guide, International Classical Music Awards and on Radio France. His interest in the furthering of the song repertoire has led Gramophone to describe him as ‘the absolute king of programming’.
He is Director of Leeds Lieder, Musician in Residence at Pembroke College Cambridge and a professor at the Royal Academy of Music, his alma mater, where he has had the title Fellow conferred upon him.
‘Joseph Middleton: rightful heir to legendary accompanist Gerald Moore’ - Opera Magazine
‘Joseph Middleton is a born collaborator...one of the brightest stars in the world of song and Lieder, performing with the likes of baritone Sir Thomas Allen and soprano Dame Felicity Lott’ - BBC Music Magazine
‘Middleton is outstanding, his reputation as a rising star among accompanists richly deserved...Middleton, as one might expect, is marvellously insightful, playing throughout with weight, as well as grace and subtlety...the absolute king of programming.’ - Gramophone Magazine
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 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.