Saxophonist and composer Trish Clowes has been described as ‘an improviser to be reckoned with’ (Downbeat Magazine) and ‘one of the most agile and original jugglers of improv and adventurous composition to have appeared in the UK in recent times’ (the Guardian). A BASCA British Composer Award winner and former BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist, Clowes works in a variety of settings and has received critical acclaim for all of her album releases.
Clowes’s band, My Iris (with Chris Montague, Ross Stanley and James Maddren), has toured worldwide and been hailed as ‘the jazz of the future’ (Augsburger Allgemeine). She has appeared either with her band or as a soloist at the Barbican, Toronto Jazz Festival, Rochester International Jazz Festival, Royal Festival Hall, Wigmore Hall, Celtic Connections (with BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra), Women in (e)motion Festival and National Opera House (Ireland), and made broadcasts for BBC Two Proms Extra, BBC Radio 3 and Radio Bremen. In 2019, Clowes premiered Joe Cutler’s saxophone concerto, Hawaii Hawaii Hawaii, with the BBC Concert Orchestra. Recent commissions include writing for the London Sinfonietta (a Sinfonietta Short for solo bass, and their Sound Out projects), BBC Concert Orchestra (BBC Radio 3) and Onyx Brass.
Born in 1984, Clowes was raised in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, and moved to London in 2003 to study at the Royal Academy of Music, notably with saxophonist Iain Ballamy and composer Pete Churchill. Clowes was later honoured as an Associate of the Academy in 2013. She is currently finishing her studies as a PhD candidate at Birmingham City University with a STEAM scholarship. Alongside her work as a performer and composer, Clowes has been curating her own new music project, Emulsion, since 2012, through which she has commissioned 17 new works. She is also passionate about her roles as professor at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and ambassador for the charity Donate4Refugees.
Valentina Peleggi is Music Director Designate of the Richmond Symphony (Virginia). Described by the BBC Music Magazine as a 'rising star', Peleggi has led orchestras from around the world, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Orchestra of Wales, Norrkoping Symphony (Norway), Orchestra della Toscana and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and will shortly release her first CD on Naxos.
Originally from Florence, Peleggi was the first Italian woman to enter the conducting program at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and more recently was honoured with the title of Associate. Currently a Mackerras Fellow with the English National Opera and Guest Music Director with the Theatro São Pedro in São Paulo, Brazil, Peleggi previously served as Resident Conductor of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra and Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of their professional symphonic chorus. She won the 2014 Conducting Prize at the Festival International de Inverno Campos do Jordão, received a Bruno Walter Foundation Scholarship at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in California, and the Taki Concordia Conducting Fellowship 2015-2017 under Marin Alsop.
Born in London, William Cole was awarded a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music with Duncan McTier and Graham Mitchell, graduating in 2012 with first-class honours. During his time at the Academy, he was also a Leverhulme scholar in his final year. After graduating, he began to work with some of the top symphony orchestras in the UK.
In 2015, Cole was appointed as Principal Double Bass in the Ulster Orchestra, where he also currently serves as a Player representative on the orchestra’s board, and has continued to work as Guest Principal in The Hallé, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and Singapore Symphony Orchestra. He has also coached the double bass section of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and was made an Associate at the Royal Academy of Music in London in 2018.
Aside from playing in symphony orchestras, Cole is a keen enthusiast for both chamber music, with performances in top venues such as Wigmore Hall, and contemporary music, having had numerous works written for him to premiere.
A multiple prize-winning and critically acclaimed conductor and accompanist, William Vann is equally at home on the podium or at the piano. He is the founder and Artistic Director of the London English Song Festival and Director of Music at the Royal Hospital Chelsea.
Born in Bedford, Vann was a chorister at King’s College, Cambridge, and a music scholar at Bedford School. He subsequently read law on a choral scholarship at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he was taught the piano by Peter Uppard. He then studied piano accompaniment at the Royal Academy of Music with Malcolm Martineau and Colin Stone.
His many prizes for piano accompaniment include the Wigmore Song Competition Jean Meikle Prize for a Duo with Johnny Herford, the Gerald Moore award, the Royal Overseas League Accompanists’ Award, a Geoffrey Parsons Memorial Trust award, the Concordia-Serena Nevill Prize, the Association of English Singers and Speakers Accompanist Prize, the Great Elm Awards Accompanist Prize, the Sir Henry Richardson Scholarship and the Hodgson Fellowship in piano accompaniment at the Academy.
Vann has collaborated across the world with a vast array of singers and instrumentalists, including Sir Thomas Allen CBE, Mary Bevan, Allan Clayton, Thomas Gould, Guy Johnston, Jennifer Johnston, Jack Liebeck, Aoife Miskelly, Ann Murray DBE, Matthew Rose, Kathryn Rudge, Brindley Sherratt, Nicky Spence, Toby Spence, Henry Waddington, Roderick Williams, Benyounes and Navarra Quartets, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Academy of Ancient Music and London Mozart Players. His discography includes recordings with Albion, Champs Hill, Chandos, Delphian, Etcetera, Navona and SOMM.
He is an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, a Trustee of the Ralph Vaughan Williams Society, a Samling Artist, a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, Co-Chairman of Kensington and Chelsea Music Society, Artistic Director of Bedford Music Club, Guest Conductor of the English Chamber Choir and a regular conductor and vocal coach at the Dartington and Oxenfoord International Summer Schools.
Vann writes of his time at the Academy:
'My three years at the Academy deepened, enriched and fine-tuned my musical experience and instincts in a way that I hadn’t previously realised was possible. Two years studying with Malcolm Martineau and Colin Stone gave me technical grounding, a palette of colours and the bravery to trust my musical gut within the context of my new-found musical knowledge. I was then immensely lucky to have the chance to continue at the Academy as Hodgson Fellow, through which I made a wealth of contacts with some superb artists, many of whom I continue to work with to this day. I owe a huge amount to a wide array of tutors and professors who influenced and taught me during those years; to Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, who continues to offer support and advice many years after I left the building; to Malcolm for his continued guidance and inspiration and to my fellow students who have become valued friends and colleagues.'
Xuefei Yang is hailed as a musical pioneer – her fascinating journey began after the Cultural Revolution, a period when Western musical instruments and music were banned. She was the first-ever guitarist in China to enter a music school and became the first internationally recognised Chinese guitarist on the world stage.
Yang’s first public appearance was at the age of 10 and received such acclaim that the Spanish Ambassador in China presented her with a concert guitar. Her debut in Madrid at the age of 14 was attended by the composer Joaquín Rodrigo and, when John Williams heard her play, he gave two of his own instruments to Beijing’s Central Conservatory of Music especially for her and other advanced students. Yang was the first guitar student to be awarded an ABRSM international scholarship to undertake her postgraduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music, where she studied under Professor Michael Lewin and won the Principal’s Prize on graduation.
Yang is one of the few guitarists whose artistry connects with audiences far beyond the guitar fraternity. Her international success has led her to be invited to play in more than 50 countries at numerous prestigious venues and she is frequently invited to play with the world’s leading orchestras and collaborate with artists such as Ian Bostridge, Rosalind Plowright and Sir James Galway.
Yang has made many a wide variety of acclaimed recordings for major labels, including solo, chamber and concerto albums. Her first on EMI Classics received a gold disc and her second was selected as Editor’s Choice in Gramophone magazine. Her next recording will be Sketches of China to be released in 2020 by Universal. She has appeared on numerous media channels including BBC Radio 4’s Woman's Hour, the BBC Proms and documentaries for the BBC and China Central Television.
Gramophone magazine praised Yang as one of the leading innovators of her generation for continuing to build the guitar repertoire, while Classic FM named her one of the 100 top classical musicians of our time.
Yevgeny Sudbin has been hailed by The Telegraph as “potentially one of the greatest pianists of the 21st century”. As BIS Records’ only exclusive artist, all of his recordings have met with critical acclaim and are regularly featured as CD of the Month by BBC Music Magazine or Editor’s Choice by Gramophone. His Scriabin recording was awarded CD of the Year by The Telegraph and received the MIDEM Classical Award for Best Solo Instrument Recording at Cannes. It was described by Gramophone as “a disc in a million” while the International Record Review stated that Sudbin’s Rachmaninov recording “confirms him as one of the most important pianistic talents of our time”. His 10th anniversary disc of Scarlatti Sonatas was received with equal rapture and not only hit No. 1 in the Classical Music Charts but was also nominated for the Gramophone Classical Music Award. Yevgeny was also nominated as Gramophone Artist of the Year in 2016.
Highly praised as a concert soloist, he has worked in recent seasons with the Philharmonia, Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, as well as Minnesota Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, Czech Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, National Center for the Performing Arts Orchestra and many others. He also performs regularly in many of the world's finest venues and concert series including the Queen Elizabeth Hall (International Piano Series); Tonhalle Zurich; Royal Festival Hall; Concertgebouw (Meesterpianisten, Amsterdam); Avery Fisher Hall (New York) and Davies Symphony Hall (San Francisco).
Sudbin was born in St Petersburg in 1980 and began his musical studies at the Specialist Music School of the St Petersburg Conservatory with Lyubov Pevsner at the age of 5. He emigrated with his family to Germany in 1990 where he continued his studies at Hanns Eisler Musikhochschule (Galina Ivanzova). In 1997 he moved to London to study at the Purcell School and subsequently the Royal Academy of Music where he completed his Bachelor and Masters degrees under Christopher Elton. In 2010, he was awarded a Fellowship by Academy and is now a Visiting Professor.