Christian Blackshaw, piano

A deeply passionate and sensitive performer, Christian Blackshaw is celebrated for the incomparable musicianship of his performances. His playing combines tremendous emotional depth with great understanding and, in the words of one London critic, “sheer musicality and humanity”. Pianist magazine, reviewing his performance of Schubert’s great B Flat Sonata D.960 at the Queen Elizabeth Hall wrote that the work “has become the calling card of many a pianist wishing to declare themselves a musician’s musician and Blackshaw most certainly belongs to this category”.

Following studies with Gordon Green at the Royal College Manchester and Royal Academy, London and winning the gold medals at each, he was the first British pianist to study at the Leningrad Conservatoire with Moisei Halfin. He later worked closely with Sir Clifford Curzon in London. Christian Blackshaw has performed with many leading orchestras including London Philharmonic, Hallé, City of Birmingham Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National, BBC Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, St Petersburg Philharmonic, Moscow Philharmonic, Mariinsky Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, Dresden Staatskapelle, Rotterdam Philharmonic and RAI Torino. Conductors with whom he has collaborated include Sir Simon Rattle, Valery Gergiev, Gianandrea Noseda, Yuri Temirkanov and Sir Neville Marriner. He has given chamber concerts in London with the principals of the London Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra of Europe and festival engagements have taken him to Stars of the White Nights St Petersburg, Prague, Dubrovnik, Helsinki, Stresa, Britain in Greece Festival Athens, Bath, Orford (Canada) and the BBC Proms.

Recent notable appearances include South Bank International Piano Series, Berliner Philharmoniker, Tokyo, Montreal, Aldeburgh Festival, Bamberg Symphony, RAI National Symphony and Mariinsky Orchestra with Valery Gergiev. In May 2016 he completed his sold out debut recital tour in China, including memorable appearances at the National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing and Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Hall.

His hugely acclaimed Wigmore Hall complete Mozart sonata series concluded in early 2013 and subsequently Wigmore Hall Live have issued all four volumes. Critics have been unanimous in their praise, describing these “landmark” recordings as “captivating”, “magical” and “masterful”. Volume 4 is named as one of the Best Classical Recordings of 2015 in the New York Times.

Máté Szücs, viola

Like many players of the viola, Máté Szücs first learned the violin. He completed his violin studies with Ferenc Szecsödi at the conservatory in Szeged, changing to the viola in 1996 and becoming a pupil of Ervin Schiffer, who taught him at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels and at the Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth in Waterloo. This was followed by studies from 2000 to 2005 with Leo de Neve at the Royal Conservatory in Antwerp, completed by Máté Szücs with distinction.

In 2003 he began his career as an orchestral musician and principal violist. It has taken him from the Royal Flemish Philharmonic Orchestra in Antwerp by way of the Bamberger Symphoniker, Dresden Staatskapelle and Frankfurt Radio (hr) Symphony Orchestra to the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen (Principal Viola from 2008 to 2012) and the Berliner Philharmoniker. Máté Szücs, who appears in concert throughout Europe as a soloist and chamber-music player, also teaches at the Thy Chamber Music Festival in Denmark and is joint Artistic Director of Hellensmusic.

Maya Iwabuchi, violin

Maya Iwabuchi began violin lessons at the age of two.  Her main influences who remain integral to her working life are Professors Alice Schoenfeld and Rodney Friend.  Since her first concert at age five, Maya has enjoyed an international career as a solo violinist, chamber musician and orchestral leader.

Her performances have taken her to major concert halls world-wide such as the Royal Festival Hall and Wigmore Hall in London, Musikverein in Vienna, Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Lincoln Centre and Carnegie Hall in New York City and Suntory Hall in Tokyo to name a few.  Highlights for Maya as soloist include appearances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic and the Philharmonia Orchestra, and she has appeared in numerous renowned music festivals such as the BBC Proms, Aldeburgh, Bath and Chichester festivals, and the International Musicians Seminar in Prussia Cove.  The Strad has hailed her playing as ‘simply brilliant’ and the Times ‘gorgeous’, and she continues to receive praise from the press.

A committed chamber musician, Maya has been a member of Mobius Ensemble since 2004, and she has also collaborated with artists such as the Vellinger Quartet, Steven Isserlis and Gil Shaham.  Her recordings as part of Vikram Seth’s ‘An Equal Music’ CD compilation are regularly broadcast by the BBC and Classic FM.

Maya  has garnered much admiration in her role as leader from artists and critics alike and has been regularly invited to lead orchestras such as the Royal Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Bournemouth Symphony, Ulster Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Orquestra Cadaqués and the John Wilson Orchestra.

After 18 distinguished years, Maya ended her tenure as Leader of the Philharmonia Orchestra in 2012, having led for major conductors such as Sir Andrew Davis, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Gustavo Dudamel, Lorin Maazel, Riccardo Muti, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Kurt Sanderling.  Since 2011, she devotes her time as Leader of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra whilst taking much pleasure from a renewed life in Scotland with her husband and many pheasants!

Markus Däunert, violin

Markus Däunert is highly regarded as a director, guest leader, soloist and chamber musician. From 1997–2005 he co-led the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, with which he also appeared as soloist, under conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Daniel Harding, Iván Fischer, Kurt Masur, Bernhard Haitink, Trevor Pinnock and Philippe Herreweghe. He has been guest leader with orchestras such as Scottish Chamber Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Ensemble Modern and Münchener Kammerorchester. Däunert is a frequent guest with the Berliner Philharmoniker and is a founding member of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Lucerne Festival Orchestra and Aldeburgh Strings.

As a chamber musician, soloist and teacher he has been regularly invited to Schleswig Holstein Musik Festival, Aldeburgh Music, Dartington Summer School, Mantua Festival, Festival Domain Forget, New England Conservatory, Manhattan School of Music NYC and El Sistema schemes in Venezuela, Colombia and Brazil. He is a lecturer at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Frankfurt.

He has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician with pianists such as Alexander Lonquich, Gianluca Cascioli, Christian Zacharias, Steven Kovachevich, Daniel Adni, Michaela Ursuleasa, Benjamin Frith, Herbert Schuch, Christian Blackshaw and Ricardo Castro, as well as Nicolas Altstaedt, Máté Szűcs, Danusha Waskiewicz and Bruno Delepelaire.

He has appeared at several major music festivals, including Wiener Festwochen, Wien Modern, Salzburger Festspiele, BBC Proms, Menuhin Festival Gstaad, Rheingau Musik Festival, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Berliner Festspiele, Lucerne Festival and Ruhrtriennale.

Däunert plays on a model made by the German violin maker Christoph Götting (Wiesbaden).

Bruno Delepelaire, Cello

Bruno Delepelaire owes the fact that he became a cellist to his grandmother, an enthusiastic amateur cellist. As a five-year-old, he also wanted to learn the instrument. The cello lessons with his first cello teacher Erwan Fauré were formative experiences for him. Bruno Delepelaire later studied at the Paris Conservatoire under Philippe Muller. In 2012 he went to Berlin to continue his training under Jens Peter Maintz at the University of the Arts and under Ludwig Quandt at the Orchestra Academy of the Berliner Philharmoniker. He also attended master classes with Wolfgang-Emanuel Schmidt, François Salque, Wen-Sinn Yang and Wolfgang Boettcher.

Bruno gained orchestral experience with the Verbier Festival Orchestra, the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra, and as a student of the Orchestra Academy of the Berliner Philharmoniker. As a soloist, he has performed with the Münchner Rundfunkorchester and the Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen. The cellist has won several awards, including the first prize at the “Karl Davidoff International Cello Competition” (2012) and the Markneukirchen International Instrumental Competition (2013). Bruno Delepelaire has been principal cellist with the Berliner Philharmoniker since 2013. He is a member of the string quartet Quatuor Cavatine, of the Berlin Piano Quartet and of the 12 Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic and plays a cello made by Matteo Goffriller, on loan from the Karolina Blaberg Foundation.

Matthew Hunt, clarinet

“Throughout the piece the out-of-this-world clarinettist shone star-like from above” Salzburg Festival

‘The clarinettist played so beautifully it was as though he wished to make the very air melt”  Tokyo Times

One of Europe’s leading clarinettists, Matthew Hunt is a distinctive musician, renowned for the vocal quality of his playing and his ability to communicate with audiences. Matthew enjoys an international career as both soloist and chamber musician, and currently holds the position of Solo Clarinettist of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, Bremen,

As a soloist, Matthew has recently collaborated with the conductors Paavo Jarvi, Trevor Pinnock, Clemens Schuldt, Alexei Ogrintchuok and Reinhard Goebbel, and with orchestras including the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, the Georgian Chamber Orchestra, the Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra, the Estonian Festival Orchestra and as a guest of the Berlin Philharmoniker in their series at the Berlin Philharmonie Kammermusik Saal.

A distinguished chamber musician, his partners include the Meta4, Chiarascuro, Pavel Haas and Elias quartets, as well as Pekka Kuusisto, Alina Ibragimova, Thomas Adès, Emily Beynon, Nicholas Aldstaedt, Antoine Tamestit, Cedric Tiberghien, Steven Isserlis, Tine Thing Helseth, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Alexander Lonquich and the Jazz Pianist, Iiro Rantala. He has appeared at many of Europe’s most prestigious venues and festivals, and as far afield as Bolivia, India and China.

Plans for next season include festival appearances in Holland, Finland and America, a trio tour of China, performances of the Mozart concerto with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, concerto performances in Australia with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Pekka Kuusisto, and performances of Magnus Lindberg’s clarinet concerto in Columbia with Andrew Gourlay.

As a recording artist Matthew has broadcast for radio and television as well as featuring on many film scores; he was the solo clarinettist on the score for the hit film ‘Love Actually’. His CD recording for the ASV label of Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet was given five stars by BBC Music Magazine and acclaimed as: “the benchmark recording of this much recorded work”.

Omar Massa, bandoneon

Omar was born in 1981 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He began his musical studies at the age of five, studying piano with Violeta Hemsy de Gainza. At seven, he made his debut at the Cafe Tortoni a famous tango house in Buenos Aires- playing Astor Piazzolla’s music.

He entered the National Conservatory of Music when he was 12 years old and studied bandoneon with renowned Maestros like Rodolfo Mederos, Marcos Madrigal, and Julio Pane. He was also a disciple of Maestro Alejandro Barletta, who later introduced him to the academic and concert repertoire.

In March 2011, Omar accompanied Placido Domingo before 120.000 people, in an acclaimed public concert on Buenos Aires most famous avenue, 9 de Julio. On that same occasion, he performed together with soprano Virginia Tola and the Buenos Aires Philharmonic Orchestra under the conduction of Eugene Khon, as well as conducted the ensemble of bandoneons with which Placido Domingo decided to finalize his concert in Argentina.

That same year, Omar was invited to perform as a soloist with the Asturias Symphony Orchestra (Spain), directed by Maestro Joan Amargos, to celebrate “European Music Day”.

Since then he performed as a bandoneon soloist with the Symphonic Orchestra and Choir of the National University of Brasilia, the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Mexico City, the Camerata San Juan, the University Chorus Of Mendoza, the Romanian National Radio Orchestra, the Philharmonic Moldova Iasi, the Philharmonic Stat Sibiu, the Transylvania State Philharmonic Orchestra, the Brasov Philarmonic, the State Philharmonic of Targu Mures, the Kamerata Kronstadt, the Ploiesti Philarmonic, the Symphactory Orchestra Bucharest, the Philharmonic Banatul Timisoara and the Meccore String Quartet.

Omar has played in several important concert halls and theatres in Europe, Asia, and América. Among these, he has performed at the Lincoln Center (New York – USA), the National Concert Hall (Dublín – Irlanda) and the National Theatre La Castellana (Bogotá – Colombia). He has also presented baroque music repertoire in main auditoriums in Mexico, like the Palace of Fine Arts, the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary, the National Museum of Arts, National Autonomous University of Mexico, and the Museum of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. Omar´s last tour has been declared as one of ‘Cultural and Artistic importance to the country of Argentina’ by the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs.As a composer, he has written several ensemble works, among which his Suite Patagonia and Concertango were premiered in the Chamber Music Season of the Palace of Fine Arts of Mexico in 2013. He has also written incidental music for Argentinian films, theater, and television.

In addition to his artistic endeavours, Omar has conducted courses and masterclasses on bandoneon and on Astor Piazzolla’s music in private institutes and universities, such as the National Conservatory of Music, Higher School of Music and National Autonomous University of Mexico.

In 2014 Omar was nominated for the Gardel Music Awards (most important award in the recording industry in Argentina) for his CD ‘”Tribute to Piazzolla” with Quatrotango Ensemble, and Leopoldo Federico as a special guest.

In 2015, 25 years after Astor Piazzolla’s death, Astor Piazzolla’s family invited him to play on Piazzolla’s bandoneon.

Bela Farkas, violin

Béla Farkas was born into a musical family and started playing the violin at a very early age. He was greatly influenced by his father Béla Farkas Sr, an important gypsy violinist in Hungary. Béla is a member of the Szeged Symphony Orchestra and the leader of the Giovani Artisti string quartet.

Olga Sitkovestky, piano

Olga Sitkovetsky has been part of the Hellensmusic Masterclass Programme’s team as an accompanist since 2014, backing students in their individual classes as well as in their Sunday concert.

A distinguished accompanist, she has performed alongside many of today’s leading interpreters. Originally from Russia, she moved to the UK in 1991 at the request of Lord Menuhin, who invited her to work at the Yehudi Menuhin School of Music in Surrey. She has toured extensively with many of her former students, performing in venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Concertgebouw, the Salzburg ‘Mozarteum’ and the Vienna Konzerthaus.