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.
“With over 80 concerts a year, Nicolas Dupont (°1992) is one of the most active Belgian chamber musicians of his generation.” (El Diario Montanes)
As a member of the Kugoni Trio, the Malibran Quartet, the Urban Piano Quartet, the Argenta Trio and the Duo Andaluza, he has performed in venues such as Wigmore Hall, St Martin-in-the-Fields, King’s Place, Colston Hall (UK), BOZAR, Flagey, AMUZ, deSingel (BE).
Based in Brussels since 2017, Nicolas frequently travels as a soloist, in duo with the pianists Olga Kirpicheva, Yunus Tuncalı and Giulio Potenza, or with his trio and quartet colleagues across Europe and Asia. His ensembles are ambassadors for contemporary music and have commissioned over fifty pieces in close collaboration with composers.
Nicolas Dupont took part in the festivals Musica Mundi, Festival van Vlaanderen, Klarafestival (BE), Encuentro de Musica de Santander (SP), Pablo Casals Festival (FR), Eckelshausener Musiktage (DUI), Norfolk & Norwich, Chipping Campden, Brighton, Windsor and Winchester Festivals (UK) and Buma Classical (NL), performing with Yuzuko Horigome, Justus Grimm, Máté Szűcs, Annelien Van Wauwe, Mihaela Martin, Pascal Moragues, Rohan De Silva, Michel Arrignon, Marie Hallynck, Gaby Van Riet, Michel Béroff, Lucas Blondeel, Daniel Blumenthal, Roeland Hendrikx and Valentin Erben.
Although he has consciously avoided taking part in violin competitions, he was the recipient of a number of distinctions in recent years; the Kugoni Trio won first prizes at the Supernova (2013) and Forte Limburg (2015) competitions and was awarded the Fuga Trophy (2018) for the promotion of Belgian music. In april 2015, he was given the ‘Kolonel en Mevrouw Bisschop-Matthijssen’ prize by the Brussels Conservatoire for outstanding students and in London he was a laureate of the ‘Royal Academy of Music Club Award’ (2016), the ‘Sir Karl Jenkins Music Award’ (2016), and the ‘Concordia Foundation Artists’ Fund’ (2017). With the Urban Piano Quartet, Nicolas Dupont won the Supernova chamber music competition for the second time (2019).
Nicolas Dupont has made several recordings for the BBC3, the Belgian radios Musiq3, Klara, the Swiss Radio Suisse–Romande, the Dutch Radio 4, the Italian RAI3 and Radio Vaticana and has appeared on Belgian national television (Stingray Brava and Canvas).
Despite his young age, Nicolas’ discography includes around ten CD’s with music by Astor Piazzolla, Josef Suk, Leoš Janáček as well as Belgian music by Wilfried Westerlinck, Jan Van Landeghem, Jan Van Damme, Piet Swerts, Wim Henderickx, Mathias Coppens, Pieter Schuermans and Jeroen d’Hoe.
Over the course of the 2019-2020 season, he will record four new CD’s with the Kugoni Trio, the Duo Andaluza, the Urban Piano Quartet as well as a CD dedicated to the music of Emil Hartmann with Elisabeth Zeuthen Schneider, Tony Nys, Justus Grimm and Daniel Blumenthal.
After playing for several years in the Brussels Chamber Orchestra and the English Chamber Orchestra, Nicolas currently plays with the Young European Strings Camerata. With these chamber orchestras, Nicolas has performed in major European concert halls, such as the Liszt Academy in Budapest, the Musikverein of Vienna, the Barbican in Londen,… and in the USA. As a concertmaster he has been invited to work with Symfonieorkest Vlaanderen, Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, SymphoniaASSAI,… under the baton of Trevor Pinnock, Krzystof Penderecki, Patrick Davin, Michel Tabachnik, Peter Csaba, Wouter Lenaerts and Dirk Vermeulen.
Nicolas Dupont started studying violin with Dejan Mijajev at the age of four. After having gained solid technical bases, and the love of music and the violin from this great pedagogue, Nicolas continued his education with Yuzuko Horigome at the Royal Conservatoire of Brussels and with Rodney Friend at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He obtained both Master degrees with the highest honours for violin. Both professors deeply inspired Nicolas, helped him to develop his technique and musicality, and shaped the musician he is today.
In the meantime, he specialised in chamber music at the CNSM of Paris in the class of concert pianist Itamar Golan, who strongly influenced his musical view and approach to music. As a duo with pianist Olga Kirpicheva, he graduated from this school with ‘mention très bien à l’unanimité’.
Throughout his studies, Nicolas has worked on several occasions with Zakhar Bron and Mihaela Martin and he has participated in Master classes with Maxim Vengerov, Pierre Amoyal , Philippe Graffin, Ana Chumachenko,… and for chamber music with A.R. El Bacha, Paul Badura-Skoda, Rudolf Buchbinder, Bruno Canino, Ralph Kirshbaum, Walter Boeykens,…and with quartets such as Talich, Chilingirian, Prazak, Danel, Enesco, Fine Arts, Ebène, Alban Berg etc.
“Nicolas Dupont plays with an unprecedented flexibility and musicality.” (Radio Klara)
Nicolas is very grateful for the support that was given to him during his studies abroad. Apart from his family’s and friends’ support, his musical development was generously made possible by the RotaryClub of Antwerp, Delen Private Bank, the Robus, Inspiratum, SWUK and Jovaro foundations and in the UK the Sir Richard Stapley Trust, the Stephen Bell Trust , the Drake Calleja Trust and the Albert Cooper Music Charitable Trust.
Passionate about teaching, Nicolas serves –after teaching the violin for two years at King’s College London- as the assistant to Mrs Yuzuko Horigome at the Royal Conservatoire of Brussels.
Nicolas Dupont plays on a Giuseppe Pedrazzini violin, generously on loan by a sponsor
“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”.
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!
Guy Johnston is one of the most exciting British cellists of his generation. His early successes included winning the BBC Young Musician of the Year, the Shell London Symphony Orchestra Gerald MacDonald Award and a Classical Brit. He has performed with many leading international orchestras including the London Philharmonic, Philharmonia, Ulster Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, NHK Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony, Britten Sinfonia, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, Orquestra Sinfonica do Estado de Sao Paulo, Moscow Philharmonic and St Petersburg Symphony.
Recent and forthcoming seasons have included concertos with BBC Philharmonic (Ilan Volkov), BBC Symphony Orchestra (Sakari Oramo), Philharmonia, Aurora Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia and Rheinische Philharmonie. Guy continues to play chamber music and recitals at prestigious venues such as Wigmore Hall, Queen Elisabeth Hall, Louvre Museum and the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory and in festivals across Europe and is presenting programmes with Sheku Kanneh-Mason and Melvyn Tan.
A prolific recording artist, Guy’s recent recordings include Howells’ Cello Concerto with Britten Sinfonia (a piecehe also gave the premiere of) and a celebration disc of the tricentenary of his David Tecchler cello, collaborating with the acclaimed Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, where the cello was made. The 2018/19 season saw the release of his recording Themes and Variations with Tom Poster, comprising works by Beethoven, Grieg, Chopin, MacMillan, Schumann and Martinu.
Guy is a passionate advocate for contemporary composers regular commissioning, performing and recordingnew works. He gave the premiere of Charlotte Bray’s ‘Falling in the Fire’ at the BBC Proms in 2015 and will begiving the Netherlands performance of a new cello concerto by Gerald Barry at the Cello Bienniale Amsterdam in 2020. He has recently commissioned works by composers such as David Matthews, Mark Simpson and Joseph Phibbs.
In addition to a busy and versatile career as an international soloist, chamber musician and guest principal, Guy is an inspiring leader of young musicians as a patron of several charities which promote music education for school children and young people including Music First and Future Talent. He is a board member of the Pierre Fournier Award for young cellists.
He is Artistic Director of the Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival and a founder member of the award- winning Aronowitz Ensemble. He is Associate Professor of Cello at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York and a guest Professor of Cello at the Royal Academy of Music, where he was awarded an Hon. ARAM in 2015.
Guy plays a 1714 David Tecchler cello, generously on loan from the Godlee-Tecchler Trust which is administered by The Royal Society of Musicians.
French pianist Julien Quentin has established himself as a versatile and sensitive musician, exhibiting great maturity and poise. His remarkable depth of musicianship and distinct clarity of sound coupled with flawless technique, make him an artist in demand as both soloist and chamber musician.
He has made successful recital debuts in Paris (Salle Cortot), Geneva Conservatoire Hall and Bargemusic in New York. He has appeared as soloist with the Wroclaw, Qatar and Córdoba Philharmonic Orchestras under such conductors as Tommaso Placidi, Paul Biss, and Han-Na Chang. Regularly invited to numerous international Festivals, Quentin’s appearances in Europe include Verbier, Lucerne, Gstaad, Montreux, Zermatt, Dresden, Braunschweig, Schwetzingen, Ludwigsburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Beethovenfest Bonn, Radio France Montpellier and Saint Denis. A regular performer in North America, he has appeared at the Ravinia, La Jolla and Mostly Mozart Festivals in the United States. He has broadcast in Canada, United States, Japan and in countries across Europe.
Julien Quentin is a keen chamber musician and has collaborated with artists such as Nicolas Altstaedt, Emanuel Ax, Lisa Batiashvili, Gautier Capuçon, Corey Cerovsek, Martin Fröst, Sol Gabetta, David Garrett, Nelson Goerner, Ilya Gringolts, Gary Hoffman, Angelika Kirchschlager, Lawrence Power, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Sayaka Shoji, Kirill Troussov, and István Várdai.
Touring internationally in America, Australia, Japan, the Middle East and throughout Europe, he has appeared at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Wigmore Hall in London, the Louvre in Paris, the Baden-Baden Festspielhaus, the Berlin Philharmonie, the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, the Konzerthaus in Vienna, in Avery Fisher, Alice Tully and Carnegie Halls in New York. He has recorded for EMI, Channel Classics and Sony RCA.
He also performed on the harpsichord, appearing in concert with Sarah Chang and the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra, as well as with Thomas Quasthoff and under the baton of Leonidas Kavakos.
Born in Paris, Julien Quentin started his studies at the Geneva Conservatory with Alexis Golovine. In 2002, he completed his Artist Diploma under the tutelage of Emile Naoumoff at Indiana University, where he held a one-year teaching position as Assistant Instructor and was a recipient of the Presser Award. In 2003, he received his Graduate Diploma from the Juilliard School, where he studied with György Sándor. He has also worked with Paul Badura-Skoda, Nikita Magaloff, György Sebök and Earl Wild.
Julien Quentin now lives in Berlin. With ‘Musica Litoralis’ at Piano Salon Christophori, he has managed to create an increasingly successful concert series reminiscent of the salons of the Roaring Twenties. With visual artists, he explores new artistic visions bringing various art forms together. He also pursues his interest in other genres of music through his collaboration with pianists Kelvin Sholar and Francesco Tristano, or producers Guti, dOP and Cesar Merveille in projects ranging from improvisation to producing electronic music.
“Never mind the superb technical accomplishment of his playing, it’s the musical and interpretative achievement that is so impressive here.” wrote the International Record Review about the young Czech violinist Josef Špaček, who is fast emerging as one of the most accomplished violinists of his generation. He has been guided by highly regarded pedagogues, including Ida Kavafian and Jaime Laredo at the Curtis Institute of Music and Itzhak Perlman at the Juilliard School. In May 2012 he was finalist of the International Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels; in 2009 Josef won the Michael Hill International Violin Competition (New Zealand) and both Third Prize and the Young People’s Jury Prize at the Carl Nielsen International Violin Competition in 2008. He currently combines a flourishing solo career with the position of concert master of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.
Future and recent highlights include solo performances with the Czech Philharmonic conducted by JiříBělohlávek and Jakub Hrůša (including concerts in Prague, his debut in the Musikverein in Vienna in March 2015, a 5 concert tour in the UK in April 2015, and concerts in the USA and Australia), the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra and Alondra de la Parra, the Essener Philharmoniker and TomášNetopil in June 2015, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Luxembourg and JiříBělohlávek in December 2014, the Tonkünstlerorchester Niederösterreich and Jun Märkl in June 2015, the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra and Giordano Bellincampi in January 2015, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and JiříBělohlávek, the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and Thomas Søndergård and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestras in the 2015/16 season, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra and Jakub Hrůša in the 2016/17 season, as well as recital appearances throughout Europe (including at the Rudolfinum in Prague, the Konzerthaus in Vienna and at SchloßElmau), Asia and the USA (among others Kennedy Center, Washington).
Josef has previously appeared with among others the Philadelphia Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Prague Philharmonia, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, National Orchestra of Belgium, Czech Chamber Orchestra, Brno Philharmonic, Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic, Janáček Philharmonic, Erkel Chamber Orchestra, Prague Symphony Orchestra and the Russian Chamber Philharmonic.
So far he has worked with conductors including JiříBělohlávek, Jakub Hrůša, Christoph Eschenbach, Manfred Honeck, James DePreist, Asher Fisch, Roy Goodman, Eliahu Inbal and Rossen Milanov.
A regular at music festivals, Josef has performed at the Dvorák Prague Festival, Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, Ravinia Festival, Bohuslav Martinu Festival and the Moravian Autumn Music Festival.
In April 2013 the Supraphon label released Josef’s first recital recording which has been garnering excellent reviews. Together with pianist Miroslav Sekera he performs works by Janáček, Smetana and Prokofiev. In October 2014 he recorded his second CD for this label, to be released in early 2015: the violin concertos of Dvořák and Janáček, as well as Suk’s Fantasy, with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and JiříBělohlávek. His 2010 recording of various works by H.W. Ernst was released on Naxos in March 2013. In 2006 he recorded his debut CD featuring the complete sonatas for solo violin by Eugène Ysaÿe.
The Forbes Magazine in the Czech Republic included Josef Špaček in their 2014 list of most influential “30 under 30”people.
Josef Špaček plays a violin made in 1855 in the workshop of Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume.
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.
Luke has never played the violin. At age 5 he began to study viola with his father Robert Turrell and in September 2000 joined the Yehudi Menuhin School where his teachers included Maciej Rakowski, Suzie Mezaros, and Berent Korfker.
Luke went on to study at the Universität der Künste in Berlin with Hartmut Rohde and then with Wilfried Strehle. In 2010 he won the prize for “The Most Promising British Competitor” at the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition. In 2012 Luke joined the Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic where he studied with Mate Szücs.
Luke joined the Sächsische Staatskapelle in Dresden in 2015 and in 2020 moved to the Gewandhaus in Leipzig as 1st Principal viola.
Since 2015 he has been playing on a viola from Ragnar Hayn modelled on an instrument from Giaccomo Gennaro from 1695.
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.