It was a buzzing, exciting and high-spirited evening at Breinton. We welcomed four very young performers: Dylan Price (piano); Katarina Davies (cello); Erika Smith-Gordon (violin); and James Cobb (tenor). Each performed with confidence and own style, bringing out their best for the audience.
First up was pianist Dylan Price. Within a limited allocated time (each performer was given 25 minutes), his programme introduced a broad range of composers from different periods. The Bach’s Partita and Beethoven’s early Sonata were tastefully performed before an apparent mood change of a short piece by the living composer Carl Vine. Everyone held their breath with the dynamic Finale of Ginastera’s Sonata No. 2 before bursting into a full applause.
Despite her very young age, cellist Katarina Davies was technically assured and extremely well set-up. Cassado’s Preludio-Fantasia was bold and frank, sincerely played. The dramatic Saint-Saen’s cello Concerto was presented with such musicality, which was eagerly received by the audience. It was amazing to see that she showed not a slightest hint of difficulty in performing this demanding concerto.
Erika Smith-Gordon performed all four movements of Brahms Sonata No. 3 in D minor. Her love of this Sonata was clear, her performance was exhilarating and deeply engaged. From a slight whistling to dynamic fortissimo, every note was played with care. I noticed that for the both string players (Katarina and Erika), albeit on different instruments, their bow engagement with the strings was very secure, creating deep and connecting sounds. It meant real business, no scraping around! Their vibratos were effective as well, adding musical expressions and voicing.
Tenor singer James Cobb added another layer of pleasure to the evening. James possessed an excellent grip of his beautiful voice, having everything – volume, depth, breath, texture and expression – under control. With his naturally likeable character, he made the audience at ease.
Needless to say this concert was not possible without the expertise of pianist Rosie Richardson, who accompanied Katarina, Erika and James. And we thank Ronan Thomas very much for page turning during the entire evening.
Dylan Price, piano
- Bach: Partita No. 4 in D, BMV 828: Sarabande
- Beethoven: Sonata in F, Op. 10, No. 2
- Carl Vine: Bagatelle No. 3 from Five Bagatelles
- Ginastera: Piano Sonata No. 2: Finale
Katarina Davies, cello *
- Cassado: Preludio-Fantasia from Cello Suite
- Saint-Saens: Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op. 33
Erika Smith-Gordon, violin *
- Brahms: Sonata No. 3 in D minor
James Cobb, tenor *
- Caccini: Amarilli mia bella
- Bellini: Vaga Luna
- Schubert: Fruhilingsglaube
- Schubert: An die Musi
- Purcell: Music for a While
- Gurney: Salley Gardens
- Warlock: Sleep
- Warlock: Pretty Ring Time
* soloists accompanied by Rosie Richardson on piano.
Dylan has been playing the piano since the age of five, but has recently come to prominence after winning Pianist of the Year (or equivalent) awards at the Woking, Hatfield and Richmond music festivals. He also recently participated in the Emanuel Piano Competition, Woking Young Musician of the Year and performed Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 2 last year to widespread acclaim.
Particularly notable is Dylan’s concerto performance in the Royal Festival Hall, and his performances in Cadogan Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Haus der Musik (Vienna), Chetham’s School of Music, Westminster Hall (in front of the Royal Family at the Diamond Jubilee Lunch with the National Children’s Orchestra) in addition to a master class with Stephen Hough. A recent recital at the Hamburg Steinway factory also attracted media interest.
He currently studies at the Junior Royal Academy of Music, where he has developed a passion for composition, having numerous pieces being performed by Academy ensembles; future projects include a performance of his own piano concerto.
Katarina Davies, age 13, lives in Woking and studies at the Junior Royal Academy of Music under the tutelage of Robert Max. Additionally, at the JRAM, she is taught the piano under David Alexander and the oboe under Philip Harmer.
Katarina has given 12 solo recitals in the UK and 3 in the US. In November 2012, she was a soloist for the Remembrance Day Progamme, London, and in May 2014 she played in a cello octet with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Cambridge. She is a member of Stoneleigh Youth Orchestra in Wimbledon and is a former member of the National Children's Orchestras and the Surrey Youth Choir in Woking.
In 2015, she was the U13 winner of the North London Music Festival, performed at the Wokingham Music Festival, as we as participated in MusicWorks Chamber course. Future engagements in 2016 include a solo recital at Lea Barn, Berkshire, and as a soloist with the Marryat Players String Orchestra, Wimbledon.
Erika Smith-Gordon, 15, studies violin privately with Lucy-Ellen Spencer. She is a music scholar at Wellington College, where she is a member of the school orchestra, chamber orchestra and string quartet. In 2015, Erika gave a recital at Soirees at Breinton, Guildford Concert Society at URC and St Paul’s Church, Grove Park, and had an opportunity to perform with the Guildford Symphony Orchestra. In an effort to reach out to new audiences, Erika has been actively involved in performing classical music to the local community and around, performing at elderly people’s homes, at the Royal Brompton Hospital and at a primary school in London. She started the 2016 year with a wonderful recital opportunity at Riverhouse Arts Centre, Walton-on-Thames.
James Cobb is a 17 year old tenor from the Woking area. He studies with Veronica Veysey-Campbell at the Royal College of Music Junior Department. As well as performing as a soloist, James also sings in various choirs. He is a member of the National Youth Training Choir of Great Britain and has sung with them at various locations and performed solos at Tonbridge Chapel and Truro Cathedral. Despite being offered a sixth form place at Wells Cathedral School, James decided to remain as an academic and music scholar at Reeds School Cobham. With the school choir, James has performed at the Royal Festival Hall, St. Paul's Cathedral and will be performing in St. John's Smith Square this spring.
As part of the RCMJD choir, James has sung twice at the Royal Albert Hall and is looking forward to touring abroad with the choir later this year. This is the first time James has performed at a Breinton Soiree but over the summer holidays he was happy to join Kumi and Erika to sing both at the Royal Brompton Hospital in Chelsea and at an elderly care home in Guildford. This was as part of Breinton Soirees work in the community. James also competes in the local Woking Music Festival and has won first prizes over the last two years in both the Folk Song and Lieder categories. James is very excited about performing a selection of songs from his repertoire this evening and hopes you enjoy the performance.
Since graduating from the class of Professor Joan Havill at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with a Masters in solo performance, Rosie Richardson has become well known for her work with some of the most talented young cellists currently emerging.
In her capacity as a collaborative pianist, Rosie has given recitals most recently at Milton Court, the Wigmore Hall, the Purcell Room, Bridgewater Hall and the 1901 Arts Club in addition to music societies around the country and recent overseas engagements have taken her to Portugal, Switzerland, the United States and Austria.
Rosie is a faculty pianist for the String Department at the Guildhall and the class pianist for Head of Strings, Professor Louise Hopkins.