Emma Abbate

The Neapolitan pianist Emma Abbate enjoys a demanding career as a piano accompanist and chamber musician. Described as "an amazingly talented pianist" by the leading Italian magazine Musica, she has performed in duo recitals for international festivals and concert societies in Austria, Portugal, Italy, Poland and USA, and at UK venues such as the Wigmore Hall, Southbank Centre, Royal Opera House, St John’s Smith Square, St George’s, Bristol and at the Aldeburgh Festival, in addition to broadcasts on BBC Radio 3.

Jess Gillam

Aaron Akugbo is a versatile and talented trumpet player who freelances with the UK’s leading orchestras as well as having a successful chamber and solo career. Having just finished his Bachelor of Music, with honours, at the Royal Academy of Music, Aaron is currently trialing as principal trumpet with the Philharmonia Orchestra and English National Opera, as co-principal trumpet of BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and as second trumpet with London Symphony Orchestra whilst also freelancing regularly as principal and tutti trumpet with BBC Symphony Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, Sinfonia of London and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Jess Gillam

Described as a "profoundly gifted artist" by Gramophone Magazine, Katya Apekisheva has earned her place as one of Europe's most renowned and gifted pianists.

Born in Moscow, into a family of musicians, she attended the Gnessin Music School for exceptionally gifted children making her stage debut at the age of 12. She continued her studies in Jerusalem at the Rubin Music Academy and later at the Royal College of Music in London.

Gilly French and Jeremy Gray

Bampton Classical Opera was founded in 1993 by its artistic directors, Gilly French and Jeremy Gray.  Their well-established national reputation is founded on a policy of breathing new life into little-known works of the classical period, in lively and accessible productions of exceptional musical standards, with some of the best of the country’s young singers.  The staged operas are always sung in English, often in their own lively new translations.

Jess Gillam

The pianist Mariam Batsashvili gained international recognition at the 10th Franz Liszt Piano Competition in Utrecht 2014. Her musicianship seems to connect directly with one’s heart and her colours of sound, thoughtful interpretations and stupendous touch move and delight her audiences. As BBC New Generation Artist, she made her debuts at the Cheltenham Festival, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and with the Ulster Orchestra at the BBC Proms. The summer of 2019 saw the release of her first album for Warner Classics and her second album has already been recorded.

Jess Gillam

As a young hornist from Edinburgh, Robyn Blair has made her mark in chamber music through playing in the Connaught Brass quintet. She has recently gained funding towards a solo horn commission from the renowned trombonist and composer John Kenny, and aims to put on a trilogy concert of his solo brass works in Edinburgh alongside fellow ex-students of St Mary’s Music School. In February she will be performing and recording a premier of Hornpiece Solo by Luke Bedford.

Jess Gillam

Chris Brewster began playing the baritone aged 7, keen to eventually play the tuba. He quickly moved onto the euphonium and eventually started to play the trombone aged 12.

Having gained a first class honours degree at the Royal Academy of Music, he is now continuing his studies as a Post Graduate student and scholarship holder at the same institution. He studies trombone with Matt Gee, Ian Bousfield and Pete Moore, and euphonium/bass trumpet with James Maynard.

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.

Jess Gillam

From Anglesey, North Wales, Jâms Coleman is a pianist who enjoys a rich and varied musical life performing as a soloist, chamber musician, and vocal accompanist.

In 2022, Jâms looks forward to collaborating with BBC NOW, and Britten Sinfonia; instrumentalists David Adams, Hélène Clément, Simon Crawford-Phillips, Ben Goldscheider,  Laura van der Heijden, Steffan Morris, John Myerscough, Alice Neary, Amy Norrington, Elliot Perks, Robert Plane, Timothy Ridout, Colin Scobie, Jonathan Stone, and Maria Włoszczowska; singers Gwilym Bowen, Helen Charlston, Anna Dennis, Gwyn Hughes Jones, Nicholas Mogg, and Nardus Williams, and Yuriy Yurchuk; and the actor Benedict Cumberbatch.

Jess Gillam

A “thrilling young ensemble at the start of what is sure to be a major international career” (Great Birmingham Brass Fest), Connaught Brass are quickly making a name for themselves as a fresh talent in the chamber music world. Already set to perform at London’s Wigmore Hall and in the Lucerne Festival Debut Series, the ensemble’s ability to manipulate and unify sound earned them 1st Prize in the Inaugural Philip Jones International Brass Ensemble Competition 2019. Vibrant, spirited and bold, Connaught Brass place emphasis on their friendship with one another to showcase their individual musical personalities within a unique collective sound.

Jess Gillam

Praised for ‘playing of compelling conviction’ (The Daily Telegraph) and ‘astonishing mutual feeling, understanding and responsiveness’ (Seen and Heard International), Foyle-Štšura Duo was formed in 2012 and won the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe Duo Competition and the Salieri-Zinetti International Chamber Music Competition in 2015.

Jess Gillam

Emma Abbate and Julian Perkins have given duet recitals at many prestigious venues including the Royal Opera House, St George’s Bristol, St John’s Smith Square, Hatchlands Park, the Russell Collection and for the Mozart Society of America. Hailed for their 'impressive playing' by BBC Music Magazine, they have recently released Carl Maria von Weber's complete piano duets on an original Viennese fortepiano for Deux-Elles, and have previously recorded Mozart’s complete sonatas for keyboard duet on period instruments over two discs for Resonus Classics.

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.

Susanna Fairbairn

Susanna Fairbairn is increasingly in demand for operatic and solo work nationally and internationally. Recent engagements include the role of Donna Elvira/Don Giovanni for Diva Opera (touring UK, France and Jersey), Bess Foster/Georgiana for Buxton International Opera Festival, and her Deutsche Oper Berlin début as Agathe in the world première of a new opera entitled Wolfsschlucht at the Tischlerei. Recent concert highlights have included Verdi’s Requiem in Coventry Cathedral for Remembrance Day, appearances as soloist with the Philharmonia Orchestra at the Three Choirs Festival in Handel’s Israel in Egypt, Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem at Middle Temple Hall, and Carmina Burana in St. John’s, Smith Square.

Jess Gillam

At the age of 30 Michael Foyle is already proving to be a violinist of great class and elegance on the concert platform. His total commitment to the musical integrity of each score combines with a constant pursuit of beauty of expression, resulting in a powerful communication style that has won over audiences internationally. Praised for playing of ‘compelling conviction’ (The Daily Telegraph) and performances ‘full of sparkling detail, with tonal beauty and incisive rhythmic clarity, balancing wit and poetry’ (The Strad), Michael launched his career by winning The Netherlands Violin Competition 2016.

Jess Gillam

Founded in 2010, Trio Gaspard are one of the most sought-after piano trios of their generation, praised for their unique and fresh approach to the score. Trio Gaspard are regularly invited to perform at major international concert halls, such as Wigmore Hall, Berlin Philharmonie, Essen Philharmonie, Grafenegg Castle Austria, Salle Molière Lyon, NDR Rolf- Liebermann Hall, Hamburg and Shanghai Symphony Hall as well as making appearances at festivals such as Heidelberger Frühling, Mantua Chamber Music Festival, Boswiler Sommer and PODIUM Festival Esslingen. Important engagements over the past year include recitals in Belfast, Trieste, Naples, Bern, Heidelberg, Grafenegg Festspiele as well as at Berlin’s Pierre Boulez Saal. A highlight of 2018 was performing Beethoven triple concerto twice in Switzerland under the baton of eminent musician and conductor, Gabor Takács-Nagy.

Jess Gillam

Born in London into a musical family, cellist Vashti Hunter is currently based in Berlin and enjoys a versatile career as soloist and chamber musician, being invited regularly to play in some of the world’s leading music festivals and concert halls. She is the first British cellist ever to be awarded a prize at the International Cello Competition ‘Prague Spring’ in its 65 year history.  Next season’s highlights include performances at the Wigmore Hall and LSO St.Lukes in London, a tour of the USA and a return to the Barbican Hall, where she will play Haydn Cello Concerto in C Major. She will also make appearances at the Lockenhaus Festival in Austria and at the Essen Philharmonie in Germany with BBC Young Generation Artist, soprano Katharina Konradi.

Jess Gillam

Jonian Ilias Kadesha has Greek-Albanian roots and lives in Berlin. The young musician not only speaks Greek, Albanian, German and English but also has a keen interest in philosophy and rhetoric.  His playing is characterized by stylistic accuracy in the interpretation of early to contemporary works, and in the exactness of his articulation. With boundless imagination of sound, Kadesha is always in search of something new.  He is a prizewinner of the Deutscher Musikwettbewerb, Windsor International and the Leopold Mozart Violin Competitions.

Jess Gillam

Aled Meredith-Barrett, originally from Pembrokeshire, is a tuba player and scholarship holder currently studying at the Royal Academy of Music (RAM), London, with Lee Tsarmaklis (London Philharmonic Orchestra). He recently graduated with BMus (Hons) from RAM in September 2020.

Aled started playing the tenor horn at the age of 7 and quickly joined the Goodwick Brass youth band. Aled progressed through the ranks and joined the senior band in 2009, winning the 1st section national title in 2015.

Stefanija Nikolich

Pianist Stefanijia 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, Stefanijia 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 convert at Wigmore Hall in 2019 and won the 2022 Woking Young Musician of the Year competition.

Jess Gillam

Established in 1987, The Octavian Singers have gained a justifiable reputation for achieving high musical standards and producing ambitious and popular musical events in Woking, Surrey and the surrounding areas.

Our repertoire includes a wide variety of music from baroque to 21st Century, madrigals to major choral works.

Julian Perkins

Shortlisted for the 2021 Gramophone Award, Julian Perkins is Artistic Director of Cambridge Handel Opera and Founder Director of Sounds Baroque. He has performed at the Salzburg Festival, Edinburgh International Festival and BBC Proms, and featured as soloist in concertos with the Royal Northern Sinfonia, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Florilegium and Orchestra of The Sixteen.

Julian Perkins, conductor

Julian Perkins enjoys a busy and varied career as both conductor and keyboard player. Described as 'exuberantly stylish' by the Sunday Times, he loves bringing his experience as a leading performer on period instruments to his work with both period instrument ensembles and modern orchestras and to singers of varied performing backgrounds. He is Artistic Director of Cambridge Handel Opera and the Founder Director of Sounds Baroque. 

Jess Gillam

Harry Plant, born in Eastbourne East Sussex, graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2020 with a first-class honours degree studying classical trumpet performance. He started learning cornet at the age of 3, taught by his father, Marcus Plant. Throughout his childhood, he attended many of the local music service ensembles, as well as many of the local brass bands. As well as being classical trained as a trumpet player, Harry also has a vast amount of experience in the folk, jazz and pop genre, on trumpet and flugelhorn. 

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.

Jess Gillam

Timothy Ridout, a BBC New Generation Artist and Borletti-Buitoni Trust fellow, is one of the most sought-after violists of his generation. This season he appears as soloist with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at BBC Proms, Orchestre de chambre de Paris, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the Hallé Orchestra and makes his Viennese solo debut at the Wiener Konzerthaus with the Graz Philharmonic. In 2020 Ridout won Hamburger Symphoniker’s inaugural Sir Jeffrey Tate Prize and joined the Bowers Program of the Chamber Music Society of the Lincoln Center in 2021.

Jess Gillam

German-English pianist Nicholas Rimmer is passionately committed to exploring the piano in all its musical contexts, whether as solo instrument, in a large array of chamber music formations, accompanying voices or as a vehicle for improvisation. His musical training began as a child at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester studying piano, organ and conducting as a teenager, from where he went on to read Music at Clare College, Cambridge. There he held an organ scholarship and worked with conductors including Ivor Bolton, John Eliot Gardiner, René Jacobs and John Rutter. After moving to Germany he developed his studies with a wide range of musicians including Wolfram Rieger, Hatto Beyerle, the Alban Berg Quartet, Ferenc Rados whilst embarking on a successful career as a pianist with a particular focus on chamber music.

Emma Stannard, mezzo soprano

Cumbrian mezzo-soprano Emma Stannard trained at the Royal Northern College of Music and on the Royal Academy Opera Course.  Upcoming engagements include Olga in Eugene Onegin (Opera Holland Park), Fileno in Clori, Tirsi e Fileno (Bampton Classical Opera) and alto soloist in Mozart Requiem (Really Big Chorus).

On the operatic stage, Emma has performed Idamante Idomeneo and Enrico Elisabetta I (English Touring Opera), Flora La Traviata (Opera Holland Park YAP), Mother Amahl and the Night Visitors (Bampton Classical Opera), Selene Berenice (La Nuova Musica), Minerva Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria and Pepa Goyescas (The Grange Festival).

Jess Gillam

Maksim Štšura is an Estonian pianist, composer and music scholar based in London. He performs extensively as soloist and chamber musician in the prestigious concert halls across the United Kingdom, including St Martin-in-the-Fields, Purcell Room and the Wigmore Hall.  He received his Master of Music degree from the Royal College of Music in 2013, studying under Gordon Fergus-Thompson and has also completed the prestigious Artist Diploma course with him in 2014. He previously graduated from the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre where he studied with Ivari Ilja. In 2008-09, he participated in an Erasmus exchange at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg, where he worked with Volker Banfield.

Caroline Taylor, soprano

Winner of the 2021 Emmy Destinn Young Singers Awards, Caroline Taylor studied as an Oglesby Scholar at the Royal Northern College of Music, generously supported by a Help Musicians UK Maidment Award. She is a recent British Youth Opera Serena Fenwick Young Artist and Emerging Artist at Longborough Festival Opera, a member of the Wigmore Hall French Song Exchange and an Oxford Lieder Emerging Artist for 2022/2023. She studies with Susan Roberts and Louise Winter.

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. 

Jess Gillam

Described by The Observer as the ​“definition of virtuosity” Japanese pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii (Nobu), who has been blind from birth, won the joint Gold Medal at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2009 and has gone on to earn an international reputation for the passion and excitement he brings to his live performances.