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Soloists

LAURA SINNERTON - Viola

From Ballymena, Co Antrim, violist Laura Sinnerton enjoys a varied career across the United Kingdom and Ireland.

SoloistSince 2009 she has been a member of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, and continues to develop a freelancing career with many of the UK’s top orchestras. As a chamber musician she has performed at venues such as the Concertgebouw Kleinezaal, the Wigmore Hall, The Forge, Camden, and live on Radio Wales.

Laura has a strong interest in music education and is a member of staff at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama Junior Conservatoire, teaching viola and coaching chamber music.

Laura plays on a modern viola by Manchester based maker Helen Michetslager.

 

ALICE NEARY- Cello


Alice enjoys a distinguished performing career, as both chamber musician and soloist. She has played concertos with many leading orchestras including Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Liverpool Philharmonic, Israel Symphony and Baltimore Symphony.

In addition to being a member of the Gould Piano Trio, Alice regularly plays with the Nash Ensemble and has appeared as guest cellist with Ensemble 360 and Endellion, Elias, Heath, Sorrel, and Bingham quartets. She collaborates with pianists Benjamin Frith, Gretel Dowdeswell and Daniel Tong. Regular visits to International Musicians Seminar at Prussia Cove provide on-going inspiration, playing with such artists as Anthony Marwood, Lesley Hatfield and Daniel Phillips.

As winner of 1998 Pierre Fournier Award, Alice made her debut at the Wigmore Hall, launching her career in the UK and abroad. Familiar to listeners of BBC Radio 3, she has performed at major festivals including Bath International, Santa Fe (USA) and Manchester International Cello Festival. Other competition successes include 2001 Leonard Rose (USA) and 1997 Adam (NZ) International Cello Competitions, the Silver Medal in 1994 Shell/LSO competition and 1996 Royal Over-Seas League String prize.

Recording is also an important part of her career, both with the trio and as soloist. Drawing particular satisfaction from the rediscovery of neglected works, Alices discography includes Tovey's cello concerto and sonatas and John Ireland sonata. In the more mainstream, future plans include a CD of Mendelssohn Cello Sonatas. Other highlights of 2014 include Elgar concerto with the orchestra of Welsh National Opera, a performance of Protecting Veil as part of John Tavener's 70th birthday celebration and recording Howells Cello Concerto. The Gould Piano Trio's busy schedule includes a new commission by James MacMillan.

Alice studied with Ralph Kirshbaum at Royal Northern College of Music and, as a Fulbright scholar, with Timothy Eddy at Stonybrook, USA. Now much in demand as a teacher, Alice has been tutor in cello at Royal Northern College of Music and Royal College of Music, and is at present based at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, in her home city of Cardiff.

Alice comes from a musical family; her father is the organist and choir director, Martin Neary, and she is married to violinist David Adams. They have three lively children.

Alice plays an Alessandro Gagliano cello of 1710

 

JOHN MILLS

John began studying the violin in Southampton in 1990 and in 1996 he gained a place at the Hamshire Specialist Music Course and joined the National Youth Orchestra. Two years later John gained a place at the Royal College of Music where he studied as a scholar under professor Rodney Friend, one of the great orchestral leaders, for five years. He also participated in master-classes with Hugh Bean CBE, Ida Haendel and Zvi Zeitlin. He became a Making Music (National Federation of Music Societies) recommended artist in 2003-2004.

John is well known as a chamber musician and is the leader of the highly acclaimed Tippett Quartet, performing, and broadcasting widely across the UK and worldwide. He has recorded extensively with the quartet for EMI, Naxos, Signum, Classic FM, Dutton and Guild record labels.

John is the co-leader of the English Chamber Orchestra and is in demand as an orchestral leader, including a trial with the Bournmouth Symphony Orchestra and guest work with the London Mozart Players, Rambert Dance Company and others.

John is gaining a fine reputation as a soloist, performing and broadcasting the major violin concerti across the UK and abroad, including the Liszt Hall in Hungary and concerts in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, New Zealand. He has also appeared as soloist with the English Chamber Orchestra and will be appearing with them next year in a performance of the Bach Double violin concerto.

John Plays on a 1735 Januarius Gagliano violin.

 

PAUL McKENZIE

Paul McKenzie is currently studying for a Master's Degree in Piano Accompaniment at the Royal College of Music with Simon Lepper, generously supported by a Drapers' music award. Previously he studied at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, with a scholarship, under the tutelage of Michael Young; during which time he won the Jacobson Prize and the Eric Hodges Beethoven Prize. He also achieved success in the Cardiff Violins Chamber Music Prize with his piano trio. He was twice selected to represent the college in the Sheepdrove Piano Competition in 2011 and 2012. Before undertaking Further Education, Paul studied privately with Rob Colley: and at the Birmingham Conservatoire Junior Department, where he won the concerto competition twice, and his piano trio were twice section winners in the National Chamber Music for Schools Competition.

Paul has performed many concerts across England and Wales as a soloist and as a chamber musician; and made his concerto debut in Birmingham Symphony Hall with Addinsell's Warsaw Concerto.

 

MADELEINE MITCHELL - Violin

...is one of Britain's liveliest musical forces and foremost violinists' (The Times), performing in over 40 countries as soloist with major orchestras, including Bruch Violin Concerto with the Royal Philharmonic, recitals and broadcasts. Her acclaimed discography includes works written for her by many of the UK's best known composers, as well as the popular Violin Songs and Messiaen with Joanna MacGregor.

 

CATHERINE LORD - Violin

Catherine Lord won an Associated Board Scholarship at the age of 16 and studied at the Royal College of Music with Hugh Bean and Jaroslav Vanacek. She gave many concerto and recital performances at this time, also winning all the prestigious prizes at the RCM including the Stoutzker Prize and the prize for the most outstanding string player. In 1979 she was awarded six scholarships to study with Ivan Galamian at the Juilliard School in New York. After graduation she worked as a concerto soloist both in Britain and the USA and after a period as Associate Concertmaster of the New Orleans Symphony Orchestra and Professor of Violin at the University of New Orleans, Catherine returned to London to continue her performing career.

She has performed many of the great Violin Concerti with orchestras such as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra and with the eminent conductors: Sir Charles Groves, Norman Del Mar, Richard Hickox and Christopher Adey. Leading American composer Eric Funk has written a new Violin Concerto for Catherine to be recorded with the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra and she has recently performed the Sibelius and Szymanowski concertos with orchestra. Catherine is also a founder member of Duo Concertante with solo double bassist, David Heyes, and the duo has commissioned many new works from several major composers as well as performing across the UK.

Alongside chamber music and solo recitals Catherine has taught at the Royal College of Music (JD) and the Guildhall School of Music and is presently Senior Violin Tutor at Wells Cathedral School - one of the four Specialist Music Schools in England.

 

DAVID HEYES - Double Bass

David studied at the Royal College of Music in London and later in Prague with the renowned soloist Frantisek Posta (Principal Bass, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra). He is in demand as a soloist and teacher and has performed in 11 countries over the past five years. He was a juror at the 11th Gregora Double Bass Competition (Kromeriz), was the UK juror at the Brno Double Bass Competition in 2003 and was Jury Chairman for the 2008 Brno International Double Bass Compeition, held at the Janacek Academy of Music & Drama.

David teaches double bass at Wells Cathedral School and was Performer-in-Residence at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, having also taught at the Royal Academy of Music (JD). He is a founder member of Basso Bravura! (Soprano, Double Bass & Piano) and Duo Concertante with solo violinist, Catherine Lord, and has performed at leading venues and festival throughout Great Britain. David is a recipient of a prestigious award from the David Walter Charitable Trust of New York for his pioneering work as a soloist, teacher, publisher and commissioner of new music for double bass. He is particularly interested to expand the double bass repertoire, by commissioning new works and by rediscovering forgotten ones, and since 1990 more than 350 works have been written for him.

David has given recitals, masterclasses and workshops throughout Britain and abroad including America (University of Montana, University of North Texas), China (Central Conservatory, Beijing), Norway (Norewegian Academy of Music), Netherlands (Rotterdam Conservatoire), Spain (Palma Conservatoire, Inca School of Music), Portugal (Escola Superior de Musica, Porto) and Denmark (Carl Nielsen Academy). In recent years he has performed many new concertos with orchestra including works by Kevin Malone, Eric Funk, Tony Osborne, Judith Bailey, Stephen Latham and Miloslav Gajdos, and in recital has premiered works by Tony Osborne, David Ellis, Philip Cannon, Arthur Butterworth, John Alexander and Teppo Hauta-aho.

Concert and masterclass invitations in 2010/11 include America, Malaysia, China, Poland and Denmark.

 

SALLY STOCKS - Flute

Sally was born in England. She participated in several masterclasses given by James Galway and was a pupil of Elena Duran before entering the Royal College of Music at the age of seventeen, where she studied flute with Christpher Hyde-Smith and Graham Mayger and piano with Ruth Gerald.

Having embarked on a career as a soloist and a chamber musician, Sally emigrated to Australia where she was appointed Professor of Flute at the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music. She has broadcast for the Australian Broadcasting Commission and Classic-FM (UK), recorded for AvanGuard  'Rhapsody for Flute and Organ' (with Philip Matthias) and Guild 'Back to Bach' (with Hugh Webb-Harp).

She left Australia having been appointed Principal Flute in 'La Orquesta Filarmonica de Gran Canaria' and also performed with various chamber ensembles throughout her stay in the Canary Islands.Since her return to England in 1992 she has performed regularly with other international chamber musicians and as a soloist in various concerto performances.

Premieres include works by Martin Ellerby (British Music Information Centre), John Marson (Purcell Room) and Augusta Read-Thomas (St John's, Smith Square). Following a critically acclaimed Wigmore Hall concert with the same programme, her CD 'Cantilena' with pianist Paul Turner has been released on the Prologue label.

 

COSTAS FOTOPOULOS - Piano

Costas is based in London and works internationally as a concert and silent film pianist, and as a composer and arranger for film, the stage and the concert hall. He studied piano with Hamish Milne at the Royal Academy of Music, graduating with First Class Honours and also obtaining a Master's Degree with Distinction. For the third year of his Bachelor's Degree he studied with Oxana Yablonskaya at the Juilliard School, New York. He has given many solo and chamber performances in this country as well as in Austria, Italy, America, Australia, New Zealand and Nigeria. His debut solo piano album was released in February 2009 under the JCL Records label, and features works by Rachmaninov as well as his own Toccata. He has also recorded solo and chamber repertoire for BBC Radio, as well as the piano solo work, Cross hands, for a CD of music by British composer Nicholas Sackman, released on the Metier label.

Costas regularly provides live improvisations to silent films at BFI Southbank and he has also accompanied films at other major British venues as well as in New York, Warsaw and northern Italy. In 2007 he provided a piano improvisation to sections of the Budget Speech, aired on BBC Radio 4.

In 2002 Costas completed his Master's degree in the composition of music for film, television and multimedia at the Royal College of Music, passing with Distinction. Since then he has been composing original music for British short films, and has spent time working as an assistant to film composer Trevor Jones.

Costas continues to expand his portfolio of concert compositions: his new choral work, St Paul's, is due to receive its world premiere at Guildhall, London in October 2009. Past performances include his Three Impressions (for accordion and piano), premiered at St. Martin-in-the-Fields on Christmas Eve 2004, and his Elegiac Romance (for cello and piano) performed at the Wigmore Hall.

For more information about Costas please visit www.costasfotopoulos.com.