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Dominic John (piano) - 25 November 2001

Born in 1980, British pianist Dominic John began piano lessons with his mother. A versatile musician, he has given numerous solo performances as well as being a member of various chamber ensembles and accompanist to a wide variety of instrumentalists and singers. Venues have included St. John’s Smith Square, St. Martin-in-the-Fields and the Barbican Hall, where he gave the European Premiere of an early piano work by Stephen Sondheim in two special celebration events which were recorded on TER Classics.

This year he received first prize in the 22nd Robert William and Florence Amy Brant Piano Competition and was the winner of the prestigious Chappell Gold Medal piano prize at the Royal College of Music. Other prizes have included Worthing Concerto Competition and Sheffield ISM Piano Competition. He has taken part in many masterclasses, notably those by Stephen Hough and Pierre Laurent Aimard. This provided an opportunity to concentrate on slightly unusual areas of the piano repertoire: the works of York Bowen and Ligeti in particular.

In 2001, he appeared as soloist in Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 at the Chichester Festival and was one of the pianists in Stravinsky’s Les Noces at the Bath International Music Festival. Next March he will be performing Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Litolff’s Sherzo with the Alassio Concerto Orchestra in Worthing. He is currently completing his Undergraduate study at the Royal College of Music, where he is a foundation scholar, studying with John Barstow.

Katherine Spencer (clarinet) - 17 March 2002

Katherine Spencer has embarked on a diverse career, playing on both modern and period instruments. In 1999, she received a “Star” award from the Countess of Munster Musical Trust to pursue her studies privately with Hans-Rudolf Stalder and Keith Puddy. During this season, she will be performing in many European concert halls as soloist and chamber musician. Previous engagements have included four concerto appearances at the Royal Festival Hall, solo performances at the Birmingham Symphony Hall, Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall, a BBC Radio 3 concerto broadcast live from the Free Trade Hall, a 60-minute live broadcast on Classic FM and a lecture recital for the BBC on period instruments, entitled “Women in Music”.

At the age of 12, Katherine became the youngest-ever finalist in the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition, going on to win a prize in the Concertina Praga International Wind Competition and subsequently touring the former Yugoslavia and Austria before commencing a 5-year duo recording contract with pianist Philip Moore for Hessiche Rundfunk. Awards include the prestigious 1997 scholarship from the Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe, a Royal Philharmonic Award and the Frederic Bulgin Medal presented by the Worshipful Company of Musicians. With pianist Sam Haywood, she recorded her first solo CD of the Brahms Sonatas on the Oxford Classics label and she and Sam joined up with cellist Martin Storey for the Beethoven Trio. Her most recent recording in the complete works of Patterson, with her wind quintet the Galliard Ensemble. Future recordings with the ensemble include wind chamber music by Birtwistle and the complete wind quartets of Rossini.

As a chamber musician, Katherine has performed the Mozart Clarinet Quintet with the remaining players from the Amadeus Quartet and has worked with ensembles such as the Belcea and Emperor Quartets. Her chamber ensembles, the Ragnaroks and Galliard Ensemble, have performed in the BBC Proms, at the Wigmore Hall as winners of the Maisie Lewis Award, at the Purcell Room as winners of the Park Lane and Fresh Series, at the Bridgewater Hall as part of the Manchester Midday series and a BBC Radio 3 broadcast as part of the Young Artists Forum. During this season, the Galliard Ensemble will be touring Scandinavia and Portugal. Having a keen interest in contemporary music, Katherine has commissioned and premiered works ranging from double piano/clarinet concerti to harp and clarinet duos, in venues such as St. John’s Smith Square and on Israeli State Radio as well as collaborating in the formation and running of the Galliard Composition Competition, which has over 300 entries each year, from all corners of the world, and is currently in its fourth year.

Marisa Gupta (piano) - 19 May & 13 July 2002

Marisa Gupta (23) is American and is presently studying at the Royal Academy of Music and formerly was a student of Nancy Weems at the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston in Texas from where she received her Bachelor of Music with a major in piano performance in May 2000. After receiving a Fulbright Scholarship Award, she began her studies at the RAM for a Master of Music degree under the tutelage of Christopher Elton. She has studied with Veda Kaplinsky at the Bowden Summer Music Festival and with Ann Schein and John Perry at the Aspen Music Festival and has been taught by Christopher Elton, Alexander Satz, John Weems and Horacio Gutierrez.

Even before beginning her college-level studies, Marisa had already distinguished herself in many important competitions during her High School years, resulting in several performances as concerto soloist with orchestras throughout the U.S. She continued to garner awards, scholarships and performances during her tenure at the Moores School and firmly established herself as one of the most outstanding and stellar students at that time.

Her interests as a performer were not confined to the solo venue alone, as she was also in great demand as an accompanist and collaborative performer on the campus and in the city of Houston. Some of her collaborative experience included performances with the Houston Symphony Orchestra and the Houston Symphony Chorus, as well as numerous performing groups in the Moores School of Music. Marisa has also performed with the Lamar Chamber Orchestra, the Montgomery Symphony, the Corpus Christi Symphony and the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra. Earlier this year, she performed with Stephen Kovacavich and Raphael Wallfisch at the U.S. Embassy in London.

Alex Redington (violin) - 8 June & 21 July 2002

Alex Redington (19) was born in Botesdale on the Norfolk and Suffolk border. He started playing the violin at the age of 6 years. His first teacher was Elizabeth Crooke of Wortham. At the age of 12, he continued his studies with Pamela Spofforth of Leiston in Suffolk. In 1996 he won the Norfolk Young Musicians Competition. Alex was educated at Hartismere High School until he was 16. After completing his GCSEs, he took his place at the Purcell School, London on a Government Music and Ballet Award scheme.

In September 2000, Alex was awarded a scholarship place at the Royal College of Music where he studies the violin with Prof. Itzhak Rashkovsky. Whilst a student at the Purcell School, Alex made his solo début at the Purcell Room on London’s South Bank. At the end of his first year at the Royal College of Music he was awarded The Ricketts Prize for gaining the highest marks for his solo performance assessment. He is also a member of the newly named Doric Quartet previously The Pro Corda Quartet, which recently won the inaugural Bristol Millennium Chamber Music Competition. Since their live performance on BBC Radio 3, the quartet has enjoyed considerable success at many prestigious venues around the country.

Alex is playing an Italian 1730 violin on loan from an anonymous collector. Alex is a recipient of a Martin Trust Award and has attended the Bowdoin Summer Music Festival 2001 in Maine, U.S.A. for three weeks in July. Alex performs regularly in East Anglia.

Sarah Field (saxophone) - 7 July 2002

Sarah Field was born in Canterbury, Kent. She studied trumpet and saxophone at the Royal Northern College of Music and graduated with Professional Performance Diplomas in both woodwind and brass, the first musician ever to do so. Following this success, the Royal Academy of Music gave Sarah a scholarship for postgraduate study, along with support from the Countess of Munster Musical Trust Award, Ian Fleming Charitable Trust and Martin Scholarship Musical Fund.

Her teachers have included John Harle (saxophone), Howard Snell and John Wallace (trumpet). In 2000, Sarah won both the Royal Over-Seas League Competition Main Solo Award for Woodwind and Brass and the Making Music (NFMS) Award for Young Concert Artists. These accolades brought her into the limelight, leading to broadcasts on Classic FM and performances live on BBC Radio 3’s “In Tune” from Edinburgh and London. Performances at major festivals in 2001 included invitations to the Cheltenham International, Edinburgh Fringe, Newbury, Brighton and Ryedale Festivals. As a concert soloist, Sarah has made numerous appearances this year (Glazunov, Coates, Ibert and Binge), definitely widening the appeal and knowledge of the classical saxophone repertoire. Recently, she was featured in The Times in an article (“Magnificent Seven”) which featured young artists “most likely to succeed”, who had appeared in the Edinburgh Festival 2001.

Notable performances include her 2001 debut at the Purcell Room (showcase by the Concordia Foundation for outstanding artists) and previous appearances at the Wigmore Hall (RAM Wigmore Award Finalist), St. John’s Smith Square (with pianist John Lill) and the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Sarah has also been soloist on both trumpet and saxophone with the BBC Concert Orchestra live on BBC Radio 2. In addition, for the past three years, Sarah has been an educator and performer on Yehudi Menuhin’s ‘Live Music Now!’ scheme, touring throughout England and abroad. Future engagements include a recital in the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester and exciting collaborations with composers (individual and SPNM) on new works.

Asuka Sezaki (violin) - 10 July 2002

Asuka Sezaki (24) was born in Japan and currently attends the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique et Dance du Paris and studies with Professor Regis Pasquier. She has previously studied with Chikashi Tanaka, Seiji Kageyama and Masafumi Hori. When she was fifteen, she gave a solo recital in Cultural Hall, Tokyo and in 1994, she won the Fukushima Prize at Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music and the Cultural Distinguished Service Award from Chiba City. She won First Prize at the Japan Music Competition and Third Prize at the Leopold Mozart International Competition in 1994. She also won Fourth Prize at the Henryk Wieniawski International Competition in 1996.

Asuka graduated with honours from Tokyo University in 1999 and that same year, she broadcast a recital on NHK-FM Radio, performed Schnittke’s Concerto Grosso No. 1 with the Japan Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra and Bartok’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with Tokyo City Philharmonic. She was also a scholarship winner at Nagano Aspen Music Festival and attended the Aspen Music Festival in America. In 2000, Asuka participated in the International Holland Music Sessions and performed a solo recital in the Concertgebouw, Holland. She has collaborated with many orchestras in Japan and played with Poznan Philharmony Orchestra (Poland), Munich Broadcasting Symphony Orchestra (Germany) and Bretagne Orchestra (France).

Denis Bouriakov (flute) - 17 July 2002

Denis Bouriakov (19) is currently a student at the Royal Academy of Music, where his teacher is William Bennett. The Royal Academy of Music has awarded him a full scholarship for 2000/2001 and he has been accepted as a special student. Denis began studying music at the age of 6. A natural gift allowed him to learn the piano, violin and accordion very easily, to master the basics of composition and to start writing small pieces of his own. However, the flute has become the favourite instrument of the young musician. From 1991 to 2000 Denis had been a pupil of the Central Secondary Special Music School attached to the Moscow State Conservatoire (named after P.I. Tchaikovsky), studying the flute with Y.N. Dolzhikov, Professor of the Moscow Conservatoire and Honoured Artist of Russia.

He has been awarded prizes by the programme “New Names” and the Vladimir Spivakov’s Fund. The name of Denis Bouriakov has been entered in the Golden Book “Young Talents of the 20th Century to the 21st Century”. 1993 - the First Prize at the competition of the “Classic Heritage” association, 1994 - the First Prize at the international competition “Music and the Earth” in Bulgaria, 1998 – the First Prize at the international competition “Concertino – Praga”.

He has already played in Russia’s premier concert halls – the Bolshoi Theatre, Rossiya Concert Hall, Moscow Conservatoire, Tchaikovsky Hall. By invitation of Vladimir Spivakov, Denis has often performed with the orchestra “Virtuosos of Moscow”. The flute of Denis Bouriakov has also been heard at concerts given in France, Malta, Italy, Germany, Greece, Austria, Romania, Bulgaria, Columbia, Costa-Rica, Indonesia, Switzerland, England, USA, Spain, Turkey, South Korea, Poland, Israel, Hungary, Japan, Chezh Republic and Macedonia. Denis was a participant at master-classes of James Galway (Switzerland, 1995), Patric Galuois (Germany 1995) and William Bennett (England 1999).

He took part at festivals in Ludvigsbourg (Germany 1994), Frankfurt (Germany 1995), in festival dedicated to Okeg Kegan in Kroight (Germany 1998). Denis also took part at Vladimir Spivakov’s festival in Calmar (France 1994) and at the World Economic Forum in Davos (Switzerland 1995). The young musician has been honoured to play in the residences of the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Aleksy II and of Pope John Paul II and was blessed by these Church Fathers.

Kevin Hill (conductor)

Kevin Hill was born in 1962 and studied at the Royal College of Music with Brian Hawkins (viola), John Russell and John Barstow (piano). In 1984 he joined the Hallé Orchestra, playing viola for a year. Since then he has appeared regularly with many of the UK’s top orchestras including the London Philharmonic, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra and Royal Scottish National Orchestra and has appeared as guest-principal viola with the Orchestra of St. John’s Smith Square. For a number of years he was the regular guest-principal viola with the orchestra of London City Ballet.

He completed a post-graduate course at the Royal College of Music in 1988, having been awarded the RCM Conducting Scholarship, studying with Norman Del Mar. He has conducted the English Northern Philharmonia, Young Musicians’ Symphony Orchestra (YMSO), Merseyside Youth Orchestra and numerous youth and amateur orchestras. He has also conducted the Edinburgh University Chamber Orchestra on a highly successful concert tour of the Republic of Ireland. In 1987, he was selected to participate in the European Conductors’ Seminar and made his debut on BBC Radio 3 conducting the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. The following year he was a finalist in the British Reserve Conducting Competition and also made his conducting debut at St. John’s Smith Square.

From 1984 he regularly conducted rehearsals for the YMSO and acted as off-stage conductor for performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 and Strauss’ Alpine Symphony, at London’s Royal Festival Hall. He prepared YMSO for concerts and tours conducted by Serge Baudo and Lord Menuhin. Following one of the concerts with YMSO and Beckenham Chorale, The Kentish Times commented “It (YMSO) played well. Credit for this must go to Kevin Hill, whose clear and restrained direction was admirable”. On another occasion, The Delius Society Journal noted “Hill’s credentials as one-time pupil of Norman Del Mar became inspiringly manifest”.

Recent published compositions include Reflections for saxophone and piano (Emerson Edition), Quintet for saxophone and string quartet (Comus Edition), Momentum for 8 cellos (Comus), Four Pieces for Organ (Animus) (“It is pleasing to recognise old-fashioned craftsmanship – more from this pen, please”...Organists’ Review), Sinfonia 10 (Goodmusic) and an orchestral arrangement of 6 Songs Without Words by Mendelssohn (Goodmusic). In January 2001, Momentum was given its first performance by the cello section of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. His Trumpet Concerto will be published later this year (Comus). Kevin Hill has been conductor of Haverhill Sinfonia since its inaugural concert in November 1986. In June 2000 he was awarded the MBE for services to Music, in The Queen’s Birthday Honours.