Rachel Staunton is Artistic Director of the London Youth Choirs (LYC), which she co-founded in 2012 with Suzi Digby. Having gained a first-class honours degree in music at Royal Holloway, University of London, Staunton continued her studies at the Royal Academy of Music with Patrick Russill, graduating with numerous awards and an LRAM in Choral Conducting. She held the post of Vocal Director for In Harmony Opera North (Classic FM’s Music Education Project of the Year 2014) and spent several years establishing the Opera North Children’s Chorus. Staunton has also worked as a conductor with the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain for over a decade. In 2014, she was made Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, in recognition of her contribution to choral music and work with young people. Staunton is passionate about using choral music to inspire young people from all backgrounds and dedicates her career to this mission.
Paul Stoneman is No.2 Percussion with the Philharmonia Orchestra. Born in South Wales, he started playing percussion aged 9 and was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Wales throughout his school years. After graduating from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with first class honours and the Eirwen Thomas scholarship prize, he entered the Royal Academy of Music for his postgraduate degree where he studied with Neil Percy and Simon Carrington. During his time at the Academy Stoneman won both the Zildjian and the James Blades percussion prizes and graduated with distinction in 2017.
After leaving the Academy, he freelanced as a percussionist and timpanist in London and around the UK, working with many of the country’s leading orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, John Wilson Orchestra, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
In early 2019 Stoneman accepted the position of Section Principal Timpani with the Royal Northern Sinfonia before being asked to join the Philharmonia Orchestra as No.2 Percussion in the summer. He started his job with the Philharmonia in October 2019 and is a Zildjian and Vic Firth artist.
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.
Matthew Truscott is a versatile violinist who shares his time between period instrument and ‘modern’ performance, appearing with some of the finest musicians in both fields. One of the leaders of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment since 2007, he has recently been appointed concertmaster of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, dual roles which he relishes equally.
In demand as a guest leader, engagements in this capacity have included projects with The English Concert, Le Concert d’Astrée, The King’s Consort, Arcangelo, Budapest Festival Orchestra, The Arctic Philharmonic, English National Opera, Dutch National Opera and the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra. He is also leader of St James’ Baroque, Classical Opera and the Magdalena Consort.
A keen chamber musician, recent recordings have included a set of Purcell Trio Sonatas with Retrospect Trio, a disc of Bach chamber music with Trevor Pinnock, Emmanuel Pahud and Jonathan Manson, and one of Haydn Piano Trios with Richard Lester and Simon Crawford-Phillips.
Matthew teaches baroque violin at the Royal Academy of Music in London.
Louisa Tuck is the Principal Cello of the Oslo Philharmonic, a position she took up in 2015. Prior to this, she spent eight years as Section Leader cello of the Royal Northern Sinfonia; at the time of her appointment, she was the youngest principal cellist of any UK orchestra at only 23 years old.
Tuck has collaborated for many years with pianist Anna Tilbrook, enjoying a varied programme of duo to larger ensemble repertoire. Other recent UK-based chamber music has been with The Nash Ensemble and folk artist Kathryn Tickell and her group, The Side.
A professor of orchestral cello studies at the Norwegian Music Academy and a tutor of cello at Barratt Due Institute of Music in Oslo, Tuck was awarded Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in 2011.
In 2019, she was soloist with the Oslo Philharmonic for a recording of Richard Strauss’s Don Quixote, named Gramophone’s Editor’s Choice in January 2020: ‘Her playing is beautifully integrated and superbly eloquent – the hush and tenderness of the final minutes is especially moving.’
Rachel Tucker is an Olivier-nominated actress who most recently starred in Come From Away at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on Broadway. Playing Annette/Beverley Bass, she originated the role here in London and received a nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical at the 2019 Olivier Awards and Best Supporting Actress in a Musical at the 2020 WhatsOnStage Awards.
Her debut solo album The Reason was released in 2013 at her first sell-out concert at the St. James Theatre, and she returned to the St. James with her one-woman show Rachel Tucker: Back from Broadway for which she won a West End Wilma Award in 2015. In 2017 Tucker launched her first solo tour, Rachel Tucker: Live in Concert, in London, UK and Ireland, alongside releasing a new album On the Road for which she also won the West End Wilma Award for Best Cabaret/Solo show.
Theatre credits: Elphaba in Wicked (West End, Broadway and the London 10th Anniversary Cast); Two by Jim Cartwright at the Bridge House Theatre; Meg Dawson in Sting’s musical The Last Ship directed by Joe Mantello (Neil Simon Theatre, New York and Bank of America Theatre, Chicago); Communicating Doors (Menier Chocolate Factory); Farragut North (Southwark Playhouse) and Meat in We Will Rock You (Dominion).
Television credits: Sharon Collins in Informer (BBC1/Neal Street productions); I’d Do Anything (BBC), where she reached the semi-final stages for the role of Nancy.
Workshops credits: The Baroness in Lempicka (Williamstown Theatre Festival, New York); Elly in Lazarus; Grace in T’Aint; Dusty Springfield in Dusty and Meg Giry in Love Never Dies.
Amy Turk is an arranger, composer, session artist and performer from the UK. She is the most-watched solo harpist on YouTube, attracting thousands of views to her ever-increasing list of video uploads. With special interests in percussion, video-game music, film music and popular music of all styles, Turk has created a unique career path through her presence online, pioneering arrangements for solo harp and ensembles.
Using YouTube as her main platform, Turk has created a worldwide audience for her work, taking the harp out of the concert hall and bringing it straight into people’s homes. Through the use of established and newly discovered extended techniques for harp, she has spearheaded the transformation of the harp into a percussive instrument, and found new ways to encompass a wider range of musical genres, from Vivaldi to Napalm Death. Her arrangements have been regularly broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and shared online through Classic FM.
Classically trained from an early age, Turk has been transcribing music she loves throughout her career, with her first pop arrangement for harp ensemble receiving a world premiere at the Royal Albert Hall when she was 15 years old. While studying for a Master’s degree at the Royal Academy of Music with Karen Vaughan, Turk elected to transcribe and perform JS Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor BWV 565 for her final recital, and a filmed performance of this piece subsequently became one of her first and most successful uploads to YouTube.
In addition to maintaining a regular video upload schedule, Turk writes and performs for remote recording sessions, collaborating with artists across the world from her living room studio space. Her first full-length album, Song of Time, a concept album featuring twenty five arrangements for harp, ocarina, percussion and voice from the classic 1998 video game The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, is available now for download and streaming.
Recently nominated by the Evening Standard as one of the most influential artists in London, British soprano Sarah Tynan is well established as one of the most exciting and versatile singers of her generation.
Recent operatic engagements include the title roles in Lucia di Lammermoor, Partenope and The Merry Widow, Rosina in The Barber of Seville, Romilda in Xerxes, Eurydice in Orpheus and Eurydice and Eurydice in Orphée by Glass for English National Opera; Despina in Così fan tutte for Opera Holland Park; Fiorilla in Il Turco in Italia for Garsington Opera; a staged production of Benjamin Britten’s Les illuminations with the Aurora Orchestra at Aldeburgh Festival; Pat Nixon in Nixon in China with The Royal Danish Opera and English National Opera; the Governess in The Turn of the Screw for Opera North; and the title role in Semele for the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston.
Tynan has performed in three world premieres: Dai Fujikura’s Solaris at Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Opéra de Lille and Opéra de Lausanne; Sharon Disney in Philip Glass’s The Perfect American at Teatro Real and English National Opera; and Megan in James MacMillan’s The Sacrifice for Welsh National Opera. She was also awarded the 2015 Wales Theatre Award for Best Female in an Opera Production for her portrayal of Manon Lescaut in Hans Werner Henze’s Boulevard Solitude at Welsh National Opera.
Equally in demand on the concert platform, Tynan has a wide concert repertoire including Brahms’s A German Requiem, Carmina Burana by Carl Orff, Mahler’s Symphonies No 2, 4 and 8, Haydn’s The Creation, JS Bach’s St Matthew Passion, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Handel’s Messiah, among many others.
Recent concert highlights include Vaughan Williams’s Symphony No 7 with the Philharmonia Orchestra; Beethoven’s Symphony No 9 at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino; Messiah with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, The Sixteen and at the Royal Albert Hall; and The Creation with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra at the Edinburgh International Festival.
Recordings include Carmina Burana with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and The Creation with the Handel and Haydn Society.
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.'
Philip Venables has been described as a ‘composer of ferocious dramatic instincts’ by The New Yorker and as ‘one of the finest composers around’ by the Guardian. His output covers opera, musical theatre, multimedia concert works, chamber music and song, in an eclectic range of styles and influences, with themes often concerning social politics, violence, gender and storytelling.
Venables's most recent opera, Denis & Katya, with director/dramatist Ted Huffman, won the 2019 Fedora Generali Prize for Opera. Critics have called it ‘an intimate, haunting triumph’ (The New York Times) and ‘a monumental, dramatically shattering event’ (Parterre Box).
Venables's first opera, 4.48 Psychosis, was the first-ever permitted adaptation of any of playwright Sarah Kane's work. It won the 2016 UK Theatre Award for Achievement in Opera, the 2017 Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award for Large-Scale Composition and the 2017 British Composer Award for Best Stage Work, and was nominated for an Olivier Award and Sky Arts South Bank Award.
Venables collaborates extensively in cross-media work, including with artist Douglas Gordon on Bound to Hurt; with drag/performance artist David Hoyle on Illusions, The Gender Agenda and a sound installation on Canal Street at Manchester International Festival; and with violinist Pekka Kuusisto on Venables plays Bartók. His debut album, Below the Belt, was released in 2018 to great acclaim: ‘music of forensic clarity and visceral force – but also great tenderness and generosity’ (BBC Music Magazine).
Venables was a MacDowell Fellow with director Ted Huffman in 2017 and participated in the Opera Creation Workshop at Festival d’Aix-en-Provence in 2019. He studied at Cambridge University and then with Philip Cashian and David Sawer at the Royal Academy of Music, which elected him Associate in 2016 for his significant contribution to composition. Venables completed his doctorate in 2016 while Doctoral Composer in Residence at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama with Julian Philips and James Weeks and the Royal Opera House.
Christopher Ventris has performed on the world’s most important stages, enjoyed enduring collaborations with many esteemed conductors and is considered internationally to be one of today’s finest tenors.
Ventris made a long-anticipated role debut in 2019 as Tristan in Wagner’s epic Tristan und Isolde under Alain Altinoglu at La Monnaie, with Operatraveller.com writing: ‘In the love duet, he sang with honeyed warmth, blending handsomely with Merbeth [Isolde] and the orchestra below.’ The same year brought further Tristan performances, this time at the Royal Danish Opera conducted by Lothar Koenigs, and 2020 saw a return to The Metropolitan Opera in a role debut as Tambourmajor in Wozzeck conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. In addition to concert performances of Die Walküre with the Dresdner Philharmonie under Marek Janowski, he joined Robert Carsen’s production at Teatro Real under Pablo Heras-Casado.
Ventris appeared as Peter Grimes at Opernhaus Zürich and Deutsche Oper Berlin, Florestan in Fidelio at Washington National Opera, Sergei in Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk in Geneva, Madrid, London and Brussels, and Jimmy Mahoney in Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny at both Staatsoper Berlin and Wiener Staatsoper. He has performed in Jenůfa for The Metropolitan Opera and Opernhaus Zürich, Der Freischütz at Teatro alla Scala and Palestrina at Bayerische Staatsoper. His role debut as Prince Andrey Khovansky in Khovanshchina at Wiener Staatsoper, conducted by Semyon Bychkov, was subsequently seen at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the 2017 BBC Proms.
An acclaimed debut at Bayreuther Festspiele as Parsifal led to a number of other appearances in the role, including at Wiener Staatsoper, Bayerische Staatsoper, Royal Opera House, Opéra national de Paris, San Francisco Opera and Opernhaus Zürich. Ventris has appeared as Siegmund in Die Walküre numerous times, including a live CD recording from Wiener Staatsoper with Christian Thielemann. He joined Philippe Jordan at Salzburger Festspiele in the title role of the lesser-performed Rienzi, made his role debut as Tannhäuser under Sir Mark Elder at Opéra national de Paris, and appeared as Lohengrin at Grand Théâtre de Genève, Teatro Real and The Dallas Opera.
Stephanie Wake-Edwards is a London-born mezzo-soprano. With her unique and impressive voice, she is attracting significant international attention from the highest levels. At only 26 years old, she has already secured engagements with several opera companies and orchestras, including Glyndebourne Festival Opera and the Royal Opera House, where she joined the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme in September 2019. In 2018, Marc Minkowski awarded Wake-Edwards a special recital in his Concours Bordeaux Medoc Lyrique. She was a finalist in the 2018 Kathleen Ferrier Awards and the Royal Academy of Music’s Richard Lewis Award.
Wake-Edwards is a Royal Academy of Music Bach Cantata/Kohn Foundation scholar, recipient of the Simon Fletcher Charitable Trust Award 2017, a member of the Academy’s prestigious Song Circle and is supported by the Josephine Baker Trust, Help Musicians UK and the Academy, where she holds a Blue Badge Style Award. She is also the recipient of the Sarah Walker CBE Mezzo Soprano Award and won second prize in the Isabel Jay Competition 2017.
In September 2019, she made her debut at the Royal Opera House as Käthchen in Werther, followed by more role debuts including Flora in La Traviata, Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, the Maid in Jenůfa and Second Maid in Elektra. In 2018, Wake-Edwards made her debut as Third Noble Orphan in Der Rosenkavalier at Glyndebourne Festival as well as joining their Chorus for Saul, Vanessa and Madama Butterfly. In summer 2019, she covered roles including Third Lady in Die Zauberflöte at Glyndebourne as part of the Jerwood Young Artist Programme.
Other operatic engagements include Dido and Aeneas for Leicester MusicFest; The Enchanted Pig, L’incoronazione di Poppea and Die Zauberflöte for Hampstead Garden Opera; Albert Herring and The Rape of Lucretia for Aspect Opera; and Peter Grimes for the Dartington International Summer School & Festival.
Wake-Edwards graduated from the University of York with the BA in Sociology with Social Psychology, and studied for a Master’s degree in Opera at the Royal Academy of Music with Alexander Ashworth and Jonathan Papp.
Sam Walton was a concerto finalist in the BBC Young Musicians competition in 1996 and bronze medal winner in the Shell/LSO Competition the same year, before embarking upon his studies at the Royal Academy of Music.
He has worked with many of the UK’s orchestras including the London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, Philharmonia and London Sinfonietta. In May 2012 he was appointed Co-Principal Percussion of the London Symphony Orchestra. Walton is also Principal Percussionist of the John Wilson Orchestra.
As a chamber musician, he is a member of the Colin Currie Group; has performed with violinist Viktoria Mullova; and pianists Martha Argerich, Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Cedric Tiberghien. He can be heard on numerous discs of repertoire by Reich and Bartok. He is also a member of the LSO Percussion Ensemble.
Solo appearances include concerto performances with the Orquesta de Castilla Y Leon, Gurzenich Orchester and Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra.
As a recording artist, Walton appears on many soundtracks for film and television, including the Harry Potter movies, Lord of the Rings, the Twilight Saga and Antman. He can be heard on albums by Seth Macfarlane and Gregory Porter. He also has been the percussionist for Howard Blake’s The Snowman stage show for 20 years!
Walton is currently a teacher at the Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music and Guildhall. He is also the percussion tutor for the European Union Youth Orchestra.
Internationally renowned and Olivier Award-winning conductor Mark Wigglesworth is one of the outstanding musicians of his generation, as much at home in the opera house as the concert hall. Through a broad repertoire ranging from Mozart to Boulez, he has forged enduring relationships with many orchestras and opera houses throughout the world.
Wigglesworth has enjoyed a long relationship with English National Opera (Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Cosi fan Tutte, Falstaff, Katya Kabanova, Parsifal, The Force of Destiny, The Magic Flute, Jenůfa, Don Giovanni and Lulu). Operatic engagements elsewhere include the Royal Opera House (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny) and The Metropolitan Opera (The Marriage of Figaro), as well as at the Bavarian State Opera, Semperoper Dresden, Teatro Real, The Netherlands Opera, La Monnaie, Welsh National Opera, Glyndebourne and Opera Australia. In 2017, he received the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera.
On the concert platform, highlights include performances with the Berlin Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
Wigglesworth’s recordings include a critically acclaimed complete cycle of the Shostakovich Symphonies with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic; Mahler’s Symphony No 6 in A minor and Symphony No 10 with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra; a disc of English music with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra; Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes with Glyndebourne; and the Brahms Piano Concertos with Stephen Hough.
He has written articles for the Guardian and the Independent, made a six-part TV series for the BBC, Everything to Play For, and held positions as Associate Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and, most recently, Music Director of English National Opera. He is currently Principal Guest Conductor of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. His book, The Silent Musician: Why Conducting Matters, was published in October 2018 by Faber & Faber.
Sioned Williams gained her Recital Diploma at the Royal Academy of Music in 1976, was awarded a Fellow of the Academy in 2003 and is now an Honorary Research Fellow there.
Williams has enjoyed a diverse career, from playing with the London Sinfonietta, London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra and Royal Opera House; creating her own BBC Radio 4 series, Affairs of the Harp; and playing light music in David Wood’s pantomimes and with the BBC Radio Orchestra; to performing with Richard Burton and Peter Jeffrey, and editing John Parry for Salvi and Bach for Oxford University Press. Appearances at Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room and Carnegie Hall were combined with many years of touring as soloist and with her duos and trios (both instrumentalists and singers).
As former Principal Harpist of the BBC Symphony Orchestra for nearly 30 years, she has worked with the greatest conductors and composers in hundreds of premières and in BBC Radio 3 and television broadcasts. As a concerto soloist, Williams has performed unusual works: a piece by Graham Fitkin with the BBC Symphony Orchestra on Camac Harps’s innovative midi pedal harp and a concertino by Amir Konjani with the London Symphony Orchestra on the soveida harp.
In recitals, Williams has collaborated with Michael Chance, Martyn Hill, Steven Isserlis, Neil Mackie, Aurèle Nicolet, Mark Padmore, Andrew Watts, Roderick Williams and Jeremy Huw Williams. She also performs with the BBC Singers, The Sixteen, Holst Singers, Cantamus, Tenebrae, Westminster Cathedral and Abbey, King’s College Cambridge, St Paul’s Cathedral, Winchester College Chapel Choir and Oxford Voices, and her extensive discography includes partnerships with James Galway, Lisa Milne, Anthony Rolfe Johnson, Frederica von Stade and Brodsky Quartet.
Williams is Emeritus Senior Fellow in Harp Studies at Trinity Laban, President of the United Kingdom Harp Association and she was the first Welsh board member of the World Harp Congress.
Welsh pianist Llŷr Williams is widely admired for his profound musical intelligence, and for the expressive and communicative nature of his interpretations. An acclaimed performer of Beethoven, he has several complete sonata cycles under his belt, including at Wigmore Hall and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, while in May 2020 a planned full cycle at the Festival Cultural de Mayo in Guadalajara, Mexico was recorded as live by Signum Records from his home in Wrexham and broadcast by the Festival.
In 2019 Williams returned to the Edinburgh Festival, as well as the Cowbridge festival where he is Artist-in-Residence, and the Gower Festival where he is a Patron. In 2020, prior to lockdown, he returned to the BBC National Orchestra of Wales for a recreation of Beethoven’s 1808 Vienna Concert, and gave all-Beethoven recitals in Moscow and St Petersburg, as well as for the Philadelphia Chamber Music society in the US. Following the completion of his Cardiff series Pictures in Music, in 2020/21 Williams will start of an all-Chopin series over two seasons and a five-recital Schubert cycle at Wigmore Hall.
Williams’s eclectic repertoire is reflected in his discography; his 12-CD Box set Beethoven Unbound, from the Wigmore Hall Beethoven cycle (Signum Records), was BBC Music Magazine’s Recording of the Month in August 2018. Other recordings by Williams include two solo albums for Signum, as well as William Mathias’s second Piano Concerto with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales on Welsh label Tŷ Cerdd.
Williams is a former BBC New Generation Artist and Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award recipient, and an Honorary Fellow and artist-in-association of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
Williams writes of his time at the Academy:
'When I arrived at the Academy I had a lot of musical knowledge and enthusiasm but not necessarily the means to put it across. It was during my time there that the foundations of my keyboard technique were developed, particularly working with Michael Dussek. There were many enriching opportunities to work with students from other departments, particularly the Vocal Faculty. I will always remember a concert I gave at the Duke's Hall of Wolf Lieder when I felt that my playing had really come together for the first time. It was events like this that gave me the confidence to start building up my career as a performer.'
Thomas Wilson has been Director of Music at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney since February 2010. Born in Hamilton, New Zealand, he held positions at both the Anglican and the Roman Catholic Cathedrals in that city before being appointed Director of Music at Wellington Metropolitan Cathedral at the age of 18.
In 2003 Wilson moved to the UK to study organ with Professor David Titterington at the Royal Academy of Music. During his studies, he made his debut performance in the Wigmore Hall accompanying cellist Stephen Isserlis and appeared as concert soloist with the Royal Academy Baroque Orchestra.
Wilson was appointed Organist and Assistant Director to the Choir of Ealing Abbey and subsequently Assistant Organist at Westminster Cathedral, where the famed cathedral choir sings daily Vespers and Mass. At Westminster he regularly accompanied and directed the choir, performed in the cathedral’s Grand Organ Recital series, toured with the choir and featured as organist on a recording of music by Victoria and Frescobaldi.
Since taking up his appointment at St Mary’s Cathedral, Wilson has established a regular schedule of daily choral liturgical services and has overseen the development of the busiest and most comprehensive cathedral music programme in Australia. The cathedral choir has appeared in concerts and festivals throughout Australia, Belgium, and Italy, broadcast on ABC television and radio, recorded several CDs and collaborated with some of Australia’s finest orchestras, choirs and solo artists.
In 2013 Wilson was elected Associate of the Royal Academy of Music.
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.
Award-winning conductor Felix Yeung currently combines his office as Director of Music at St John’s Cathedral and Provincial Music Director of Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui. He is also Music Director of Die Konzertisten, one of Hong Kong’s foremost chamber choirs. Yeung was given the Award for Young Artist (Music) in 2015 by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council and has been appointed Director of Music for the Lambeth Conference 2021.
Yeung has conducted Die Konzertisten in performances of JS Bach’s St Matthew Passion, Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Dietrich Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri, Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem, Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms and Anton Bruckner’s Mass No 2 in E minor, among others. In 2014, Yeung led the choir to perform with the world-renowned countertenor, Iestyn Davies. He has also prepared the choir for internationally acclaimed conductors such as Stephen Layton, Jonathan Cohen, John Butt and Chen Yun-Hung.
As Chorus Master of the Hong Kong Arts Festival Chorus and Die Konzertisten, Yeung has prepared these choirs for performances of Hector Berlioz’s Lélio with Les Siècles, Zhou Long’s Madame White Snake, Richard Wagner’s Das Liebesmahl der Apostel with the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and Male Choir, Claude Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, Bright Sheng’s Dream of the Red Chamber and Christophe Willibald Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride with Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch.
Yeung is an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, where he obtained an MMus with distinction under the tutelage of Patrick Russill and Paul Brough. He was awarded the Academy’s coveted DipRAM for outstanding performance in his final recital and has obtained the LRAM diploma in Choral Conducting. Upon finishing his graduate studies, Yeung became the first Pettman Organ Scholar at the London Oratory. Yeung read music at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he was also Music Director of the Hong Kong Youth Choir.
Amy Yule studied for her Master’s degree at the Royal Academy of Music, where she learned the flute with Michael Cox and Karen Jones as well as the piccolo with Pat Morris. She graduated in the summer of 2017 with distinction as well as several prizes, including the Chris Taylor Flute Award, Jonathan Myall Piccolo Prize, Woodwind Finalists’ Prize and the HRH Princess Alice The Duchess of Gloucester’s Prize. In 2016, Yule also won the Academy Patrons’ Award and performed the resulting recital at Wigmore Hall with pianist Seungwon Lee. Prior to this, Yule studied for her undergraduate degree at the Royal Northern College of Music with Laura Jellicoe, Jo Boddington and Richard Davis. Her studies were generously supported by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and the Martin Musical Scholarship Fund.
While studying at the Academy, Yule participated in several orchestral projects, including the side-by-side scheme with the Philharmonia Orchestra. During her final year of study, she was offered the position of Principal Flute with the Royal Northern Sinfonia, which she held for two years before taking up the same position with The Hallé. She has also recently appeared as Guest Principal Flute with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, London Philharmonic Orchestra and London Symphony Orchestra.
Chamber music was another subject Yule was able to explore and, while at the Academy, she joined the Moriarty Winds quintet. The ensemble enjoys delivering a variety of performances and educational workshops around the country and its members were Chamber Music Fellows at the Academy for the 2017-18 academic year. Yule’s chamber music engagements also include performing at Lars Vogt’s Spannungen festival in Heimbach and working with Ensemble 360. As well as chamber and solo commitments, she enjoys engaging with young musicians and has recently worked with students at Leeds College of Music, Durham University and both the National Youth Wind Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.
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.
Fabio Zanon came to international prominence in 1996, when he was the first prize winner of two of the most prestigious international guitar competitions — the 30th Francisco Tarrega Prize in Spain and the 14th Guitar Foundation of America (GFA) Guitar Competition in the USA — in a space of a few weeks. These were followed by a successful tour of 56 concerts in the USA and Canada and by the launching of his first three CDs, which established his reputation as one the most all-embracing talents in the international guitar scene. His debut with a major orchestra was in March 1998, when he stepped in at short notice for a performance of Piazzolla’s Guitar Concerto with the London Philharmonic.
He was born in Brazil where he had his formal music training, first with his father and later with Antonio Guedes and Henrique Pinto. He gave his first concert at the age of 16, and his debut as an orchestral soloist two years later in Sao Paulo. By the age of 20 Zanon had been a top prize winner at many international competitions but, dissatisfied with his playing, he decided to carry on with studies with Michael Lewin at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He returned to the stage in 1995 with a successful concert at Wigmore Hall in London.
His vast repertoire includes all the major pieces written for the guitar and more than 20 concertos. He is also an inspirational teacher and gives masterclasses at many prestigious universities, conservatories and festivals in North America, Europe and Brazil.
Over recent years a busy schedule has involved him in solo and ensemble recordings, tours of the USA and Canada, a return to the Wigmore Hall, and performances in South America, the Middle East and throughout Europe, particularly in 2009–10 to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of his compatriot Villa-Lobos, as well as the release of a CD of Sonatas by Scarlatti.
Loosely connected to the jazz world but realistically inhabiting her own realm, vocalist, violinist, and composer, Alice Zawadzki, is a distinctive presence on the European creative scene. Her rich musical background and “whimsical hyper-creativity” (MOJO Magazine) draw upon her early exposure to New Orleans jazz and gospel, an extensive classical training as a violinist, and a continuous exploration of improvisation, poetry, and folk music from diverse traditions, “all propelled in a voice of velvet suppleness and gutsy emotional power” (The Arts Desk). She performs extensively as a soloist and a collaborator internationally, having played in Canada, USA, Brazil, Europe and the Far East. Her 2019 release, Within You Is A World Of Spring (Whirlwind Recordings) was met with warm critical praise, being made Contemporary Album of the Month by The Guardian newspaper, and described by Jazzwise Magazine as "Tender in spirit and defiantly anti-genre... A cornucopia of delights." Her debut album China Lane was made Album of the Week by BBC Radio 3, had numerous radio and live appearances, was described by The Guardian as “a genuine original” and led to her being nominated for vocalist of the year by both Jazz FM and the Parliamentary Jazz Awards. As an interpreter of new and unusual works, she has premiered several large-scale works both in the UK and internationally. She trained in Jazz voice and composition at the Royal Academy of Music and in violin at the Royal Northern College of Music, with scholarships from the Musicians Benevolent Fund, and the Hilda Collens Prize.