on Saturday 11 February 2023

  • Megan Clarke, cello

    Megan Clarke, cello

  • Megan Clarke, cello

    Megan Clarke, cello

  • Will Everitt, trumpet

    Will Everitt, trumpet

  • Will Everitt, trumpet and Alison Rhind, piano

    Will Everitt, trumpet and Alison Rhind, piano

  • Rhia Thomas, violin

    Rhia Thomas, violin

  • Rhia Thomas, violin and Alison Rhind, piano

    Rhia Thomas, violin and Alison Rhind, piano

  • Stefanija Nikolich, piano

    Stefanija Nikolich, piano

  • Stefanija Nikolich, piano

    Stefanija Nikolich, piano

  • Our Local Young Performers with His Worship the Mayor of Woking, Councillor Saj Hussain

    Our Local Young Performers with His Worship the Mayor of Woking, Councillor Saj Hussain

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Photographs courtesy of David Hogg of Horizon Imaging.

Our Local Young Performers Soirée, a highly anticipated event now in its seventh year, took place last night and did not disappoint. The evening was filled with standout performances from some of the best young musicians in the area.

Megan Clarke, the youngest performer of the evening, opened the soirée with Chopin’s Cello Sonata. Megan's technical proficiency was on full display as she expertly navigated this challenging sonata. Her powerful and resonant playing brought the dramatic passages to life, while the sentimental moments sparkled with beauty. Megan's rich, beautiful sound on the lower register was particularly noteworthy.

Will Everitt, a trumpeter, added a unique touch to the evening with this rare trumpet and piano recital. He performed pieces by Enescu, Piazzolla, and Arutiunian, proving that the trumpet can be a nuanced instrument, not just a loud one. With his performance of Oblivion, Will demonstrated subtle sounds that seemed to come from far away, which almost resembled human voice. There was also tasteful spontaneity, perhaps revealing a hint of Will’s composer side. The Concert Scherzo by Arutiunian was pure fun, showcasing the energetic interplay between the trumpet and piano.

Rhia Thomas, a violinist, offered a captivating rendition of Romance by Dvorak. Her simple, unadorned approach to the beautiful melody, without excessive decoration, vibratos or artificial pacing, allowed the true jewels of the piece to shine through. Rhia also performed two rarely heard Mazurkas by Ysaÿe, displaying her adventurous spirit and her ability to bring to life the contrasting dynamics and nuances of these challenging pieces.

Stefanija Nikolich closed the night with an all-Chopin program, performing four Etudes from Op. 10 and the Ballade No. 1. Stefanija's beautiful touch on the piano was notable, as she moved effortlessly from delicate to powerful playing. Her melodic lines were excellently voiced, while she paid careful attention to the supporting passages in the left hand, sometimes adding subtle accents. The emotional drama, mood changes, and lyrical beauty of the Ballade No. 1 made it the perfect piece to close out the fantastic evening.

The success of the concert was due in no small part to the accompanists, Alison Rhind and Craig White, who provided expert support to the soloists and showed a deep understanding of the repertoire. The event was also graced by the presence of His Worship the Mayor of Woking, Councillor Saj Hussain, who was guest of honour and took the time to congratulate the musicians at the end of the evening.

Megan Clarke

Megan Clarke was born in 2006 and is a music scholar at the Lady Eleanor Holles School. She has attended the Royal College of Music Junior Department since the age of 8 where she is currently studying the cello with Leandro Silvera and the piano with Clara Rodriguez. Megan gave her debut solo recital in the Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall at the RCMJD in 2014 and in the same year she was invited to her first of many performances in Italy.

Will Everitt

Will Everitt is an 18-year-old trumpeter and composer, performing and writing in both classical and jazz mediums. He began playing cornet with his local brass band at age 6, and attended the Junior Guildhall School of Music from age 12. He has previously played with the National Children’s Orchestra, and enjoyed performances at Cadogan Hall and the Hideaway Jazz Club as a music scholar at Reed’s School, Cobham.

Stefanija Nikolich

Pianist Stefanija Nikolich started studying with Ruth Nye at age 11.  Two years later, in 2017, she joined the Yehudi Menuhin School, graduating in July before embarking on a gap year.  In the past 5 years, Stefanija has taken part in three tours of Scotland, the Amsterdam Piano Duo Festival in 2018, and the Augustin Aponte Piano Competition.  She played at the Menuhin Leavers concert at Wigmore Hall in 2019 and won the 2022 Woking Young Musician of the Year competition.

Rhia Thomas

Rhia Thomas, 18, is a sixth form student and music scholar at Guildford High School. She started playing violin at the age of 4, having heard her brother play amazing pieces that she wanted to play too! Rhia continues to study the violin with her inspirational teacher, Lucy Ellen Spencer. 

Alison Rhind is recognised as one of the leading collaborative pianists specialising in the repertoire for piano and strings. Her ability to accompany was recognised and nurtured at an early age whilst still at Chetham’s School of Music and she became increasingly in demand throughout her time at Oxford University where she read Music at Wadham College. Chetham’s invited her back immediately she had finished her degree but she completed her studies with Edith Vogel at the Guildhall School of Music before returning there.

Craig White

Craig White is a versatile and highly acclaimed chamber musician with a focus on both instrumental and vocal repertoire. After his studies at St Catherine’s College, Oxford he completed a Postgraduate Diploma at the Royal Academy of Music in London, studying with Michael Dussek and Diana Ketler. Craig has since been based as Fellow in Piano Accompaniment at the Royal College of Music and now works with the string department at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

  • Megan Clarke, cello
    with Craig White, piano
    • Chopin: Cello Sonata Op. 65
  • Will Everitt, trumpet
    with Alison Rhind, piano
    • George Enescu: Legende
    • Astor Piazzolla: Oblivion
    • Alexander Arutiunian: Concert Scherzo
  • Rhia Thomas, violin
    with Alison Rhind, piano 
    • Dvorak: Romance Op. 11 for violin and piano
    • Eugene Ysaye: Mazurkas Op. 10: No. 1 Dans Le Lointain and No.2
  • Stefanija Nikolich, piano
    • Chopin: Etudes Op. 10: No. 1, 2, 5 and 6
    • Chopin: Ballade No. 1