Local Young Performers Recital
Sophie Kauer, cello
Hanae O'Neil, viola
James Cobb, tenor
Amber Li, piano
Alison Rhind, piano accompanist
Her Worship, The Mayor of Woking, Cllr Anne Murray
It is always a pleasure to invite young performers; they bring energy, enthusiasm and passion. This was our third annual concert for local teenage musicians, many of whom are aspiring to be professional in the future.
Sophie Kauer from Godalming was the youngest of all the performers this evening. She played Dvorak’s Silent Wood with a warm affection and beautiful vibrato, capturing a profound sense of inner feeling. In Manuel de Falla’s Suite Populaire Espagnole, Sophie portrayed the characteristics of each Spanish folk theme: El pano moruno maintained a pleasant tempo, Nana demonstrated a mysterious singing tone, and Polo was joyful.
Hanae O’Neil chose to play Prelude from Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1. I was personally very pleased for myself, and also for the audience, to hear this unaccompanied piece performed on the viola. It was performed with calmness but I thought the way she accelerated momentum leading up to the climax was clever and effective. Hoffmeister’s and Walton’s Concertos could not be more contrasting, which were appreciated by the audience.
Pianist Amber Li brought a delightful programme of works by Bach, Faure, Ravel, Rachmaninov and Stravinsky. Each work requires a different technique and style, which Amber skilfully demonstrated. She kept the tone warm and agreeable throughout. I noticed her feet were completely off the pedals for the Bach! Despite no pedals the notes were beautifully connected. Ending the programme with a lively and fast-tempo Etude by Stravinsky (particularly after hearing a dark Rachmaninov study) was very effective.
For James Cobb, it was his second appearance at Breinton. James, despite being only 18 years old, sang with unfazed confidence, which immediately put the audience at ease. He was blessed with naturally beautiful voice, which he could expand and sustain. I thought he had rhythms, pitches, breathing and lyrics totally under his control for all the songs. He put all his heart into his singing, and for us it was lovely to see his ‘unstoppable’ love of it.
All the instrumentalists were accompanied by Alison Rhind, an indispensable part of our success for this evening. Our thanks also to Her Worship the Mayor of Woking, Councillor Anne Murray for attending and for her kind remarks at the end of the evening.
Sophie Kauer (cello)
- Antonio Vivaldi: Cello Sonata in E Minor RV40 No. 5
- Antonin Dvorak: Waldesruhe Op. 68 B.173
- Manuel de Falla: Suite Poplaire Espagnole (El paño moruno, Nana, Canción, Polo, Asturiana, Jota)
Hanae O’Neil (viola)
- J S Bach: Prelude from Cello Suite No. 1
- Franz Anton Hoffmeister: Viola Concerto in D, 1st movement
- William Walton: Viola Concerto, 1st movement
Amber Li (piano)
- J S Bach: Allemande from Partita No. 2 BWV826
- Gabriel Fauré: Barcarolle Op. 66, No. 5
- Maurice Ravel: La Valle des cloches from Miroirs, No. 5
- Sergei Rachmaninov: Etude-Tableaux Op. 33, No. 3
- Igor Stravinsky: Etude Op. 7, No. 4
James Cobb (tenor)
- Gurney: Under the Greenwood Tree
- Quilter: Now sleeps the crimson petal
- Vaughan Williams: Silent noon
- Walthew: O Mistress Mine
- Gurney: Salley Gardens
- Handel: Total eclipse
- Handel: Where're you walk
- Handel: Dove Sei?
James Cobb is an 18-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 sings in various choirs. He is a member of the National Youth Training Choir of Great Britain and has sung with them at many locations and performed solos at Tonbridge Chapel and Truro Cathedral. James is in his final year at Reed's School Cobham, where he is an academic and music scholar. With the school choir, James has performed at the Royal Festival Hall, St. Paul's Cathedral and St. John's Smith Square. In 2015/2016, James won the "Most Promising Young Singer" award at the Woking Music Festival and also won a summer school bursary from the committee. The bursary allowed James to attend a vocal course in Aberystwyth which is offered by invitation only. Here James had lessons with singers of all ages and at different stages of their careers which he found inspirational.
Sophie Kauer is 15, lives in Godalming and is a Year 10 Music Scholar at Guildford High School. She began cello lessons at 8 and achieved her Grade 8 Distinction aged 11. She attends the Junior Department of the Royal Academy of Music where she won the 2015 Junior Lower Strings Prize and is currently Principal Cello of the Sinfonia. Sophie recently became a private pupil of Melissa Phelps and Maria Zachariadou.
Recent highlights have included being chosen by Guy Johnston as the winner of the ‘Musicale Search for a Cello Soloist’ competition and making her debut as a soloist with orchestra at the 2015 Harpenden Music Festival. She was also the recipient of the 2016 Guildford Spring Music Festival Bursary for musical promise and was offered a scholarship to attend the 2016 Astona International Summer Music Academy in Switzerland.
Amber Li is 18 and currently a second-year music scholar at the Farnborough Sixth Form College. She started learning the piano at the age of 6 and has been studying with Julia Freeman since the age of 9. Amber has been taking part in local music festivals regularly since starting to learn the piano and has won many awards, including Woking Junior Young Musician of the Year (twice) and Surrey Heath Young Musician of the Year. In 2015, Amber was awarded the Godalming Rotary Young Musician of the Year and, consequently, she progressed into the National Rotary Young Musician of the Year 2016 Competition.
She also participated in the Woking Young Musician of the Year 2016 Competition.
Amber enjoys visiting museums and art galleries. She hopes to study History of Art at university.
Hanae O'Neil began playing the violin at age 8 and took to it straightaway. While developing her abilities on the violin, Hanae participated in many local music festivals at Charterhouse, Godalming, Farnham and Woking. These provided valuable opportunities to develop her performing skills. She also joined Guildford Cathedral choir. Singing in regular services and performances (often with little time to prepare!) helped Hanae to develop not only her sight reading ability, but also the expression and emotion that she can use instrumentally.