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Hsin-Yun Huang viola
Violist Hsin-Yun Huang has forged a career performing on international concert stages, commissioning and recording new works, and nurturing young musicians. Highlights of 2016-2017 included performances for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, the 92nd Street Y, Chamber Music Columbus, and the Seoul Spring Festival. The 2017-18 season includes performances as soloist under the batons of David Robertson, Osmo Vänskä, Xian Zhang, and Max Valdés in Beijing, Taipei, and Bogota; she is also the first solo violist to be presented in the National Performance Center of the Arts in Beijing. She has commissioned compositions from Steven Mackey, Shih-Hui Chen, and Poul Ruders. Her 2012 recording, titled Viola Viola, for Bridge Records won accolades from Gramophone and BBC Music Magazine. Her next recording will be the complete Unaccompanied Sonatas and Partitas of J.S. Bach, in partnership her husband, violist Misha Amory, to be released by Bridge Records in 2017.
Ms. Huang first came to international attention as the gold medalist in the 1988 Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition. In 1993 she was the top prize winner in the ARD International Competition in Munich, and was awarded the highly prestigious Bunkamura Orchard Hall Award. A native of Taiwan and an alumna of Young Concert Artists, she received degrees from the Yehudi Menuhin School, The Juilliard School, and the Curtis Institute of Music; she now serves on the faculties of Juilliard and Curtis.
Edvard Pogossian cello
Edvard Pogossian (cello) is a senior studying with Natasha Brofsky at The Juilliard School. As the recent winner of the Juilliard Concerto Competition, Edvard performed the Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations at David Geffen Hall in New York and at the Harris Theater in Chicago with the Juilliard Orchestra under the direction of Itzhak Perlman. The Chicago Tribune praised Edvard’s performance for his “astonishing musical and technical maturity,” as well as his “winning lightness of touch to everything he played, combined with a velvety tone.” In the summer of 2016 he performed the Rococo Variations with the Boston Pops in Symphony Hall on the annual “Armenian Night at the Pops” concert. He was also the winner of the inaugural Los Angeles Philharmonic Young Artists Competition, giving him the honor to play the Saint-Saens Cello Concerto with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra in Walt Disney Hall. Edvard’s other notable performances include appearances at Carnegie Hall, Zipper Hall, and on NPR’s From the Top radio show. Edvard is a long time participant of the Apple Hill Chamber Music Festival in New Hampshire, and has also attended Yellow Barn, Perlman Music Program’s Chamber Music Workshop, and Kneisel Hall. He has studied in Los Angeles with Paul Cohen and Rick Mooney, and later spent two years studying with Ronald Leonard at the Colburn Young Artists Academy. Dedicated to chamber music, Edvard is a founding member of the Zelda Piano Quartet, a group currently a part of the Juilliard Honors Chamber Music Program. He represented the Juilliard School at various high profile occasions, including the recent performance for the First Lady of China, and is a proud recipient of a Kovner Fellowship from the Juilliard School.
Mark Steinberg violin
Mark Steinberg is first violinist and founding member of the Brentano Quartet, in existence since 1992. With the quartet he has performed extensively in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, as well as in Japan, Israel and Colombia. The quartet is ensemble in residence at Yale University having previously had that position at Princeton University for 15 years. The group has won many awards, such as the Naumburg Chamber Music Award, the inaugural Cleveland Quartet award and the Royal Philharmonic Society award for best debut in the UK. With pianist Mitsuko Uchida, Steinberg presented the complete Mozart sonata cycle in London’s Wigmore Hall and has also recorded for Philips. Mr. Steinberg has been soloist with the London Philharmonia, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Auckland Philharmonia. He has performed often on period instruments and in new music ensembles. Mark Steinberg holds degrees from Indiana University and The Juilliard School and has studied with Louise Behrend, Josef Gingold, and Robert Mann. Currently on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music and The Graduate Center at CUNY, he has taught often at the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Aspen Festival and the Taos School of Music and has given master classes at the Eastman School of Music, the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Britten-Pears Institute in Aldeburgh, and numerous other schools. He has been a jury member at the Banff String Quartet competition, the London String Quartet competition and the Mozart String Quartet competition in Salzburg.
Dénes Várjon piano
His sensational technique, deep musicality, wide range of interest have made Dénes Várjon one of the most exciting and highly regarded participants of international musical life. He is a universal musician: excellent soloist, first-class chamber musician, artistic leader of festivals, highly sought–after piano pedagogue.
Widely considered as one of the greatest chamber musicians, he works regularly with pre-eminent partners such as Steven Isserlis, Tabea Zimmermann, Kim Kashkashian, Jörg Widmann, Leonidas Kavakos, András Schiff , Heinz Holliger, Miklós Perényi, Joshua Bell. As a soloist he is a welcome guest at major concert series, from New York’s Carnegie Hall to Vienna’s Konzerthaus and London’s Wigmore Hall. He is frequently invited to work with many of the world’s leading symphony orchestras (Budapest Festival Orchestra, Tonhalle Orchestra, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Russian National Orchestra, Kremerata Baltica, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields). Among the conductors he has worked with we find Sir Georg Solti, Sándor Végh, Iván Fischer, Ádám Fischer, Heinz Holliger, Horst Stein, Leopold Hager, Zoltán Kocsis. He appears regularly at leading international festivals from Marlboro to Salzburg and Edinburgh.
He also performs frequently with his wife Izabella Simon playing four hands and two pianos recitals together. In the past decade they organized and led several chamber music festivals, the most recent one being „kamara.hu” at the Franz Liszt Music Academy in Budapest. In recent years Mr. Várjon has built a close cooperation with Alfred Brendel: their joint Liszt project was presented, among others, in the UK and Italy.
He has recorded for the Naxos, Capriccio and Hungaroton labels with critical acclaim. Teldec released his CD with Sándor Veress’s “Hommage à Paul Klee” (performed with András Schiff, Heinz Holliger and the Budapest Festival Orchestra). His recording “Hommage à Géza Anda”, (PAN-Classics Switzerland) has received very important international echoes. His solo CD with pieces of Berg, Janáček and Liszt was released in 2012 by ECM. In 2015 he recorded the Schumann piano concerto with the WDR Symphonieorchester and Heinz Holliger, and all five Beethoven piano concertos with Concerto Budapest and András Keller.
Dénes Várjon graduated from the Franz Liszt Music Academy in 1991, where his professors included Sándor Falvai, György Kurtág and Ferenc Rados. Parallel to his studies he was regular participant at international master classes with András Schiff. Dénes Várjon won first prize at the Piano Competition of Hungarian Radio, at the Leó Weiner Chamber Music Competition in Budapest and at the Géza Anda Competition in Zurich. He was awarded with the Liszt, with the Sándor Veress and with the Bartók-Pásztory Prize. Mr. Várjon works also for Henle’s Urtext Editions.
Huw Watkins piano / composer
Huw Watkins was born in Wales in 1976. He studied piano with Peter Lawson at Chetham’s School of Music and composition with Robin Holloway, Alexander Goehr and Julian Anderson at Cambridge and the Royal College of Music.
In 2001 he was awarded the Constant and Kit Lambert Junior Fellowship at the Royal College of Music, he now teaches composition at the Royal Academy of Music.
Huw is one of the UK’s foremost composer-pianists, in great demand with orchestras and festivals including the London Sinfonietta, Britten Sinfonia, the BBC orchestras, and Aldeburgh and Cheltenham Festivals.
Strongly committed to the performance of new music, Huw has recently had piano concertos written for him by Philip Cashian, Helen Grime and Tansy Davies.
A favourite partner for chamber collaborations, Huw Watkins performs regularly with his brother Paul Watkins, as well as Tamsin Waley-Cohen and Mark Padmore.
Recent appearances include Wigmore Hall, Birmingham Town Hall, Kettle’s Yard Cambridge, Saffron Walden and West Cork Chamber Music Festival. Further afield Huw has toured extensively all over Europe, and performed in Canada, Mexico and the USA.
He has also featured as both Composer in Residence and pianist at festivals including, Presteigne Festival and Lars Vogt’s ‘Spannungen’ Festival in Heimbach, Germany.
He is currently composer-in-association with BBC NOW and won the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center 2016 Elise L. Stoeger Prize in recognition of significant contributions to the field of chamber music composition.
Navarra String Quartet
Magnus Johnston – violin
Marije Johnston – violin
Simone van der Giessen – viola
Brian O’Kane – cello
Formed in 2002, the Navarra Quartet has built an international reputation as one of the most dynamic and poetic string quartets of today. Selected for representation by the Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) from 2006 to 2010, they have been awarded the MIDEM Classique Young Artist Award, and a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship. They have appeared at venues including the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Royal Festival Hall, Wigmore Hall, Sydney Opera House, Luxembourg Philharmonie, Berlin Konzerthaus, the Laeiszhalle in Hamburg, and at international festivals such as Rheingau, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Aix-en-Provence and Bergen.
Highlights in 17/18 include performances at the Southbank Centre’s International Chamber Music Series, Wigmore Hall, Newcastle Chamber Music Society, Lakeside Arts Nottingham, Leeds International Chamber Music Series, and a BBC Lunchtime Concert in Perth. The quartet make their US debut at the Lincoln Center NY as part of the ‘Complimentary Classical’ series in February 2019. Projects include tours as the Mendelssohn Octet with the Elias Quartet; recording of Pēteris Vasks’ String Quartets 4 & 5; and directing the fifth edition of the Weesp Chamber Music Festival. In December 2017, the Quartet was awarded the prestigious Dutch Kersjes Prize at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw.
The Quartet plays on a Hieronymus II Amati violin, a Jean-Baptistery Vuillaume violin (kindly loaned to Marije by a generous sponsor through the Beares International Violin Society), an unknown, old English viola, and a Grancino cello made in Milan in 1698, generously on loan from the Cruft – Grancino Trust which is administered by the Royal Society of Musicians.
Britten Sinfonia is acclaimed for its virtuoso musicianship, and inspired programming. Britten Sinfonia breaks the mould by not having a principal conductor, instead collaborating with the finest guest artists.
Britten Sinfonia is an Associate Ensemble at the Barbican in London with residencies in Norwich, Cambridge and Saffron Walden, and performs chamber music at Wigmore Hall. Britten Sinfonia also appears at major UK festivals including the Aldeburgh Festival and BBC Proms. The orchestra has toured extensively and made its debut in China in May 2016.
Founded in 1992, and inspired by Benjamin Britten’s ethos, Britten Sinfonia offers world-class performances, programmes where old meets new, and a commitment to bringing outstanding music to concert halls and local communities alike. Central to this ethos are creative learning projects including the youth ensemble Britten Sinfonia Academy, and competitions for unpublished composers. Britten Sinfonia is a BBC Radio 3 broadcast partner and records for Harmonia Mundi and Hyperion.
In 2017–18, Britten Sinfonia collaborates with: Thomas Adès, Sir Mark Elder, Jeremy Denk, Elizabeth Kulman, Nicolas Hodges and Ailish Tynan, with premieres from composers including Emma-Ruth Richards, Leo Chadburn and Nik Barsch. Britten Sinfonia was awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Ensemble Award in 2013. Britten Sinfonia recordings have received a BBC Music Magazine Award, Gramophone Award, and an ECHO/Klassik Recording Award. In 2014 Britten Sinfonia with the Richard Alston Dance Company was nominated for an Olivier Award.
Sam Glazer composer
Sam Glazer is a composer, cellist and creative leader. He is co-creator of Spitalﬁelds Music’s RPS-shortlisted Musical Rumpus, making operas for babies and toddlers, touring London, nationally and internationally (2012-2017). His choral score for circa’s Depart (LIFT/ Spitalﬁelds Music/ Hull UK City of Culture 2017/ LeftCoast/ Brighton Festival) premiered in an East London Victorian woodland cemetery, and toured the UK in 2017. In 2012 he was commissioned by Create Arts to compose a community song cycle, which was performed in Rochester by over 100 young and adult singers.
Sam has led projects for The Sixteen, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Sinfonia Viva and developed creative learning programmes for the Florestan Festival at Peasmarsh, the Winchester Chamber Music Festival and the Mid-Wales Music Trust. He has devised and presented schools concerts for the Britten Sinfonia, Sinfonia Cymru and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Sam has been involved for over ten years with Wigmore Hall’s pioneering Music for Life project, working in care homes with people with dementia, and subsequently went on to co-found Raise Your Voice Opera, Glyndebourne’s group for people with dementia and their carers living in the community. Since 2005 he has been teaching at the Royal Academy of Music, mentoring young musicians who are studying Music in the Community, and he is currently lead mentor for Spitalﬁelds Music’s Trainee Music Leader programme. Sam plays and sings with the groundbreaking band ﬁreﬂy burning, who released their latest album Skeleton Hill in Spring 2015 and are currently working on a new album with support from Snape Maltings.