Kimi Makino began playing the violin at the age of three, and the viola
at the age of fifteen. She studied at the SOAI high school of music,
Osaka, Japan, and the SOAI University of Music as a special fellow
After graduating, Kimi earned a master of concert degree in 2011 at the Haute Ecole de Musique in Geneva where she was awarded the “Pierre Fernex” prize for an outstanding exam. She was then awarded a further Master’s degree in 2013 under the tutelage of Nobuko Imai and Miguel Da Silva. Kimi is currently studying at the Royal Northern College of Music under the tutelage of Garth Knox and has also studied chamber music with Gábor Tákacs-Nagy.
Kimi has won numerous awards, including 3rd prize in the 2nd Tokyo International Viola Competition and the Kyoto Aoyama Music Award. She has performed as a soloist with the Japan Century Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, Soai Orchestra and TOHO-Gakuen Orchestra. She has participated in several festivals including the Viola Space festival, Verbier Festival Academy, ManiFest IRCAM in Paris, Festival Groba, Les Estivals de Megève and Lucerne Festival Academy.
Between 2009 and 2012 Kimi was the recipient of the ROHM Music Foundation Scholarship.
Kimi Makino appears by kind permission of the RNCM.
British violinist Charlotte Dowding was born in Preston, England and has
performed throughout the UK, Europe and North America. She has appeared
as concerto soloist on many occasions.
Charlotte attended Chetham’s School of Music for 10 years, giving countless performances as soloist, concerto soloist and in her last year she led the Chetham's Symphony Orchestra. At 13, she was the youngest ever violinist to be selected to play in the 1st violin section of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. Whilst at Chetham's she was awarded both the Graucob and the Ida Carroll bursaries.
Having attended many International courses, she has participated in masterclasses with many great teachers including: James Ehnes, Atis Bankas, Louis Kaplin, Edward Grauch, Yair Kless, Gordon Back and Burkhard Godhoff. After Chetham's, Charlotte decided to continue her studies at the Royal Northern College of Music. Upon taking her place, she was given the college’s scholarship as well as being made a Leverhulme Scholar. At college she has had an active role playing with and also leading various orchestras.
Charlotte was selected by the BBC Philharmonic onto their Professional Access Scheme, where she was mentored by players in the orchestra as well as acting as a fully functioning member of the orchestra, rehearsing and playing in concerts. Last year, under the guidance of Petr Prause, cellist of the Talich Quartet, the Dowding Quartet was founded. Charlotte's quartet was the recent winner of the Weil Prize and finalist in the Christopher Rowland Chamber Music Award.
Charlotte also enjoys session music and she plays and records various styles of rock, pop and alternative music. She has contributed to tracks on commercial CDs for composers such as Andrew Keeling and Tim Bowness.
Charlotte plays on a c1750 Italian Violin, which is on loan from the Benslow Trust.
Charlotte Dowding appears by kind permission of the RNCM.
Adele Xiang is currently a student of Hannah Roberts at the Royal
Northern College of Music. She is an international ABRSM Scholar
studying on a full scholarship.
Adele was born in Melbourne, Australia and started learning the cello when she was 6, studying with Nelson Cooke. In 2010, she was accepted as a student at Chetham's School of Music and continued her studies there with Nicholas Jones.
Adele performs regularly in the UK and abroad, both as a soloist and as a chamber musician. Concerto performances include Shostakovich’s first cello concerto with the Maroondah Symphony and Rococo Variations with Preston Symphony Orchestra and the Queensland Youth Orchestra. Adele is the recipient of the The Raphael Sommer Music Scholarship Trust Award (2014).
She has had the privilege of playing in masterclasses with Miklos Perenyi, Frans Helmerson, Ralph Kirshbaum, Gary Hoffman, Jian Wang, Jens Peter Maintz and Natalie Clein. She has also taken chamber masterclasses with the Sitkovesky Trio, Pavel Fischer, Jeremy Young, Petr Prause, Christoph Richter and Markus Fleck from the Casals Quartet.
Adele Xiang appears by kind permission of the RNCM
Oliver is a violin student at the Royal Northern College of Music, where
he is taught by Ben Holland. He has played for violinists such as
Henning Kraggerud, Alina Pogostkina, Andrey Baranov and Sophia Jaffé,
and has travelled to Saint Petersburg to study with the eminent Russian
teacher Savely Shalman. He is the winner of the 2015 Helen Porthouse
Paganini Prize, and was a finalist in the 2017 Norman George Violin
Over the past year Oliver has given performances across the UK, including a recital at the Northern Aldborough Festival and concerto appearances with the Vacation Chamber Orchestra. Upcoming concerts include a performance of Beethoven's Triple Concerto in York.
As a chamber musician, Oliver has given numerous performances across the UK with the Sullivan Quartet. The highlight of this was participating in the Salisbury International Arts Festival, where the quartet gave both a recital and a masterclass. He is regularly asked to play in the RNCM Chamber Music Festivals, where he has played works by C.P.E Bach, Beethoven, Dvořák, Schumann, Mendelssohn and Kurtag.
Outside the RNCM, Oliver often plays with the Hallé and is on the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra's Professional Experience Scheme. In 2015 he was invited to Malta to direct youth orchestra workshops and play with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra during the Malta International Arts Festival.
Oliver plays on an 1850 Honoré Derazey violin and is a recipient of the Peter Chase Award for Young Musicians.
Oliver Baily appears by kind permission of the RNCM
Midori was born in Japan in 1981 and started her musical education at the age of five. In 1997, she entered the Toho Gakuen School of Music where she studied with Kenji Kobayashi.
Whilst studying in Japan, Midori attended many masterclasses with eminent musicians including Z Bron, T Brandis, C Tetzlaff, S Mintz, K Takezawa, and D Schwarzberg. Midori was also awarded a special prize in the Japan Classical Music Competition and performed Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with a variety of different professional orchestras including the Sendai Philharmonic Orchestra and Hiroshima Symphony Orchestra.
Midori graduated from the Toho Gakuen School with honours in March 2000. She then entered the Royal Northern College of Music Postgraduate course in September 2003 where she currently studies with Yair Kless. Midori has been awarded several prizes for her achievements at the college, including the Salon Prize, the Norman George Prize, and the Helen Porthouse Paganini Prize. She already got the highest Diploma in Professional performance with distinction in March 2004. Midori has participated in many masterclasses with renowned professor Donald Weillerstein, David Finkel and lan Brown.
Midori has taken part in many International Music Festivals including Sachsischer Mastercourse for violin (Germany), Bowdoin International Music Festival (United States of America) and Keshet Eilon International Violin Mastercourse and had a Masterclass with Maestro Ida Haendel (Israel) with scholarship recipient.
Midori performed Brahms violin concerto with the RNCM Symphony Orchestra this month and will give a recital at Manchester’s prestigious Bridgewater Hall in March 2005.
Midori appears by kind permission of the Principal, Royal Northern College of Music.
Sadie Fields performs frequently throughout the UK and in her home country of Canada. Since being invited at the age of fourteen by conductor Victor Feldbrill to perform as soloist in Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Sadie has been featured as guest soloist with many Canadian orchestras, such as the Windsor Symphony, the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Orchestra, the National Festival Symphony Orchestra, the Canadian Chamber Academy, and the Toronto String Orchestra. Sadie has also been featured as guest soloist with a number of orchestras throughout the UK, recently playing the Beethoven concerto, Bruch G minor concerto, Mendelssohn concerto, Alban Berg concerto, and Vaughan Williams Lark Ascending. Upcoming performances include Chausson Poeme with the Manchester Beethoven Orchestra, and Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy with the West Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra.
Sadie appears regularly in solo recitals, and has been featured in the Guelph Musicfest, Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society Series, the Caskey Recital Series, and the Guelph Spring Festival. Sadie has performed for the Prime Minister of Canada and for the late Pope John Paul II, and she has been featured in a national broadcast by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation playing works by Sarasate. In the UK, Sadie has appeared at many important music festivals including the Windsor Festival, the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, the Newbury Spring Festival, and the Halifax Young Musicians’ Showcase. Sadie has also performed Stravinsky’s Soldier’s Tale at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall, and has appeared in London at Goldsmith’s Hall and St. Bride’s Church. Sadie has attended the Bowdoin International Music Festival, the International School for Musical Arts, and most recently, the Salzburg Mozarteum Summer Academy, where she was selected to perform for a former president of Germany. Sadie has also been invited to perform at the Mendelssohn on Mull Festival in 2008.
Sadie has won major awards from the Countess of Munster Musical Trust, the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund, the Leverhulme Trust, the Zochonis Charitable Trust, and the Edward Johnson Music Foundation. She was also a first prize winner of the Canadian Music Competition, a winner of the Edward Johnson Music Competition, winner of the Kitchener-Waterloo Concerto Competition, and winner of the RNCM Eleanor Warren Prize and the Weil Prize.
Prior to her studies at the RNCM, Sadie received a full scholarship to attend the Young Artists Performance Academy in Toronto, where she studied with Atis Bankas. In addition, Sadie has had lessons and masterclasses with many of the most distinguished violin pedagogues, including Victor Danchenko, Aaron Rosand, Marucio Fuks, Almita Vamos, Paul Kantor, Ivry Gitlis, Zvi Zeitlin, and Nelli Schkolnikova. Sadie won a full scholarship to study at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, UK, where she now studies with Prof. Yair Kless. Sadie plays on a 1677 violin by Francesco Ruggieri, kindly on loan from the RNCM.
Sadie Fields appears by kind permission of the Royal Northern College of Music.
Sarah, who is now in her third year at the Royal Northern College of Music, began playing the violin at the age of four. She was taught by her mother Jean, and then from the age of thirteen went on to study with Nina Martin in Sheffield.
Sarah led the youth orchestra in her home town of Doncaster for five years and performed the Bruch Violin Concerto, Beethoven's Romance in F and Mozart's Concerto No 4 with them. She was a member of the National Youth Orchestra for four years which took her on a European tour, playing in a number of the most famous concert venues in the world.
Sarah has gained many prizes in music festivals throughout the UK. She won the Sheffield Young Musician of the Year in 1994 and reached the regional final of the BBC Young Musician of the Year. Twice she won the Music For Youth competition as part of a violin quartet. This led to a number of concerts at the Royal Albert Hall and Royal Festival Hall.
Last summer Sarah was invited to participate in the International School for Musical Arts in Toronto, Canada, with her professor at the RNCM, Wen Zhou Li.
Sarah Fletcher appears by kind permission of the Principal, Royal Northern College of Music
Sebastien was born in La Rochelle, France in 1979. He began studying the cello at the age of nine at the Conservatoire of La Rochelle and obtained a gold medal three years later. In 1996 he entered the Shola Cantorum of Paris in Erwan Faure's class and won the Virtuosity and Concert Diploma the same year.
In June 2003 Sebastien was awarded First Prize in M. Gamard's class at the Conservatoire Superieur National de Musique de Paris and for Chamber Music with the pianist Pamela Hurtado in Rena Scherechevskaia's class. He came to the Royal Northern College of Music in 2004 to undertake postgraduate studies with Karine Georgian.
Sebastien has performed in masterclasses with several great musicians including Arto Noras, Raphael Sommer, Alexander Rudin in the Pablo Casals Festival, Karine Georgian at the Musikhochschule Detmold, Daria Hovora in the Quinte Plus Festival in Paris. He has also performed widely throughout France and has appeared in notable festivals including St Jean Cap Ferras, Flaine, Cordes sur ciel and Deauville. He has worked with the pianists Denis Pascal and Daria Hovora and with the violinist Boris Garlitsky.
In Paris, Sebastien performed all the suites of Bach for the Festival "Musique et Patimoine" in the St Ephren Church. He has performed as soloist with the O.E.C. orchestra conducted by Yan Pascal Tortelier in the great Hall of the Cite de la Musique de Paris. He also performed Haydn's concertos at the National theatre of La Rochelle with the conductor Patricia Kieffer.
Sebastien Hurtaud appears by kind permission of the Principal, Royal Northern College of Music.
Born in 1986, Japanese/Australian cellist Yoshika Masuda started playing the cello at the age of five. He studied with Ryouichi Hayashi in Japan, Georg Pedersen at the Sydney Conservatorium and having been spotted by the cellist Ralph Kirshbaum, he is currently studying with Hannah Roberts at the Royal Northern College of Music, UK, on a full scholarship assisted by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. He has also frequently participated in masterclasses given by Richard Aaron, Alexander Baillie, Thomas Demenga, Steven Isserlis, Ralph Kirshbaum, Philippe Muller and Uzi Wiesel amongst others.
Yoshika has gained his A.Mus.A and L.Mus.A diplomas (AMEB) passing both with distinction, which has led to a solo performance at the Sydney Town Hall to a packed audience. He has won numerous awards previously including two silver medals at the 2000 & 2001 Sydney Cello Award, finalist in the National Youth Concerto Competition and was a recipient of the 2005 Big Brother Scholarship. He has also performed solo with the SBS TV & Radio Youth Orchestra, Queensland Youth Symphony and the CHS Orchestra, and has appeared on ABC Classic FM Australia-wide and 4-MBS FM. Since his arrival in the UK Yoshika has won second prize in the UK's J & A Beare Solo Bach Competition and was awarded the Amy Lindley Cello Prize and has given recitals throughout England, Australia and Japan. He has also just recently appeared at the XVI Festival Amfiteatrof on the coast of Levanto, Italy, alongside Thomas Demenga in a solo recital at the historic Saint Andrea Church.
Orchestrally, Yoshika has performed frequently with the Australian Youth Orchestra, Sydney Sinfonia, Tasmanian and the Sydney Symphony Orchestras and continues to play in the Sydney Symphony when home in Australia.
This coming year sees Yoshika performing in the UK, the south of France and Croatia.
Yoshika Masuda appears by kind permission of the Royal Northern College of Music, www.rncm.ac.uk
The German-born cellist Julian Metzger started his cello studies at the age of four. Since 1990 he has been living in England, where he studied with Dr. Ioan Davies, former cellist of the Fitzwilliam String Quartet. In 1992, he entered the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he studied with Stefan Popov. During his four-year honours degree course, Julian Metzger won several prizes and bursaries and performed as far afield as Hong Kong, where he also recorded for Radio Television Hong Kong.
Since graduating from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Mr. Metzger has been continuing his studies with Raphael Wallfisch. His duo partner is his wife, the pianist Gitanjali Ram, with who he performs regularly in Hong Kong, England, France and Germany.
Future concerts include concertos with the South-Westphalian Philharmonic, the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong and the Herts Philharmonic, as well as duo recitals and further recordings for RTHK.
Desmond Neysmith received his Bachelors at the Royal College of Music under Professor Steven Doane and was subsequently offered the position of Teaching Assistant at the University of Akron, Ohio, where he studied with the first assistant principal of the Cleveland Orchestra, Richard Weiss.
Over the years Desmond has participated in many festival, including Aspen, Dartington and most notably at Bowdoin Summer Music Festival as both the Performing Associate and Teaching Assistant to Steven Doane. This has provided Desmond with invaluable teaching experience. He was recently invited to give a masterclass and recital at NOCCA (New Orleans Centre for the Creative Arts).
After winning first prize in the Texaco Sphinx Competition for Black and Latino String Players in March 2001, Desmond gave his US Concerto debut with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and following that was invited to give solo performances with Hartford, Louisiana and New World Symphony orchestras. Many of these performances were broadcast nationally on television and radio.
Further afield, Desmond has been tireless in promoting classical music in ethnic minorities. Due to his Caribbean background he has found himself in great demand as a performer and representative of an all too insignificant number of classically trained black musicians. He has given interactive workshops at inner city schools in many US cities including New York, Baltimore, Louisiana, Hartford and Miami. Most notably he was recently given the honour of being the soloist with Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in their first ever performance at the Ebeneezer Baptist Church (the birthplace of Dr Martin Luther King's Civil Rights movement) on the national holiday given his namesake.
Desmond is currently at the Royal Northern College of Music pursuing his postgraduate studies under the tutelage of Karine Georgian. He is kindly supported by awards from The Countess of Munster Musical Trust, The Musicians Benevolent Fund, Myra Hess Fund, The Emanuel Herwitz Chamber Music Charitable Trust and the KPMG Martin Musical Scholarship Fund.
Desmond plays on a Giovanni Grancino cello circa 1600 on kind loan from J & A Beares of London.
Desmond Neysmith appears by kind permission of the Principal, Royal Northern College of Music.
Oliver Nelson was born in Glasgow in 1972 and began learning the violin at the age of 6. At 12, he was awarded a music scholarship to Canford School studying violin with Richard Studt, and at 17, he was awarded an Exhibition to study violin with Xue-Wei, and conducting with Denise Ham, at the Royal Academy of Music. During this time, he was leader and soloist with the Academy String Orchestra, winning first prize in a concerto competition, thereby beginning his solo career. Orchestras which he has played with range from Gli Amici Della Musica, Dorset Youth Orchestra, Wilmslow Symphony Orchestra, Da Vinci Ensemble, Christchurch Sinfonia, Linoi Ensemble and Dorset Chamber Orchestra.
He has held teaching posts at Hindhead School of Music and currently at Sherborne School. He is a regular recitalist with Zoe Solomon and Peter Croser and has a particular specialisation in the unaccompanied repertoire. He is the leader of the Sorrentino Quartet and the Linoi Ensemble and is a familiar soloist with orchestras across the country with forthcoming performances of the Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Beethoven concerti in venues ranging from Dorset, Winchester to London
Helena Roques was born in 1980 and began learning the violin at the age of 4. In 1991 she decided to continue her studies at Wells Cathedral specialist music school where she was funded by a DFEE scholarship. Helena was awarded an entrance scholarship to continue her studies at the RNCM in 1998, where she received tuition from Richard Ireland whom she continues to study with now. Helena graduated from the RNCM with a First Class Honours Degree in 2003.
Helena is an active chamber musician as second violin in the Stillman Quartet. She was a finalist in the Royal Overseas League Chamber Music Competition and winner of the RNCM Barbirolli prize. The quartet also performed in the RNCM Beethoven and Schubert and Mendelssohn festivals.
Helena is also a founder member of the Roques Piano Trio who perform regularly throughout the UK and further afield, including recitals for the Lake District Summer Music Festival, Peterborough Festival, Romiley Music Club and Bishop Auckland Music Society. The Trio also performed at the RNCM's highly acclaimed SchubertFest and have taken part in masterclasses with Renna Kellaway and members of the Chilingirian and Sorrel Quartets. The Trio were winners of the audience prize in the RNCM Granada Prize Competition.
Having led both the RNCM Chamber and Symphony Orchestras, Helena now freelances with various orchestras in the North, including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Manchester Camerata and the Northern Chamber Orchestra. She continues to play with her trio and quartet and hopes to continue her studies abroad next year.
Helena Roques appears by kind permission of the Principal, Royal Northern College of Music.
Alan Smale is one of Ireland's best known and respected musicians. He is Leader of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, former Leader of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and is renowned as a soloist and chamber music player.
Originally from Devon, England, Alan studied privately with Harold Petts, a pupil of the great English violinist Albert Sammons, before moving to Leeds and then to London, to the Royal Academy of Music, for four years study with Clarence Myerscough, violin, and Sidney Griller, chamber music. On moving to Ireland in 1977, Alan was appointed co-leader of the then RTÉ Symphony Orchestra, quickly gaining a reputation as a soloist in his own right, and building up a repertoire of some thirty major concertos. In his early career Alan also freelanced with orchestras including Orchestra of the Royal Ballet, Bournemouth Sinfonietta, Scottish Opera and the London Symphony Orchestra.
On being appointed Leader of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra in 1984, Alan became well known to a wider audience in many solo appearances on television, as well as directing and leading his own chamber group, the 'Degani Ensemble', (re-formed and currently undertaking tours of Ireland for the Music Network) and working with Ireland's premier contemporary ensemble, 'Concorde'. He was a frequent guest leader of the Ulster Orchestra in the 80's and 90's, and began building up an impressive list of credits on Irish and international films as Leader of the Irish Film Orchestra since 1993, a role that continues to this day.
Alan was appointed to his present position in 1994. With the RTÉNSO he has recorded the solos from Richard Strauss's tone poems 'Ein Heldenleben' and 'Don Quixote' for Naxos, and two contemporary Irish concertos, by Raymond Deane and James Wilson, (the latter written for and dedicated to him) for Marco Polo. In the current 2011-12 season, Alan is performing the Deliius Concerto for Violin and 'Cello with the RTÉNSO in February. In May 2011 he premiered the concerto by Jerome De Bromhead, which was dedicated to him, and he will record this work commercially in the near future as part of RTÉ's 'Irish Music Recording Project'.
Future plans include performances of a new concerto by Irish composer Frank Corcoran, in November 2012, and the Hindemith Concerto in 2013, as well as a major chamber music series with the Degani Ensemble in 2012. Alan had the honour of performing for Ireland's President Mary McAleese, the RTÉNSO's patron, on many occasions, and he was Leader of the orchestra for the concert marking the historic visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second to Ireland in May 2011, when he was presented to the Royal Party on stage in the National Convention Centre, Dublin.
Alan gained a Master of Arts Degree with first class honours in 2003. He plays on a Venetian violin by Eugenio Degani, dated 1896.
Martin, born 1975, studied Cello under the direction of Anna Shuttleworth, a former student of Pablo Casals, Andrew Shulman, Principal Cello – The Philharmonia, and the British Soloist Alexander Baillie.
In 2000, he joined the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and moved to Dublin, where he has subsequently been appointed Section Leader (2004). In January 2008 Martin made his Irish debut as a soloist with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, performing Saint-Saëns Concerto No. 1 in A minor Op.33. He is due make his fifth appearance as soloist with the RTÉ NSO in February 2012 with Delius Double Concerto for Violin and ‘Cello, alongside the Orchestras Leader, Alan Smale.
As a soloist, Martin has given performances of Concerti by Robert Schumann, Joseph Haydn, Lalo, Saint-Saëns, Sir Michael Tippett, Corelli, J Ibert, Beethoven’s Triple Concerto and Richard Strauss’s finest tone poem for ‘cello and orchestra ‘Don Quixote’ op.35. Several of his recitals over the past seasons have been critically acclaimed - most notably a recital of four world premieres for solo cello at the Hugh Lane Gallery - all pieces have been commissioned (with the support of the Arts Council, Ireland) from Irish Composers.
Martin has performed throughout Europe, China and the USA. 2010 saw performances on a Chinese Tour with the National Chamber Ensemble of Ireland featuring performances at the Shanghai World Expo. This tour led to the formation of Altissimo Quintet – a string quintet with two violas. Altissimo has given several concerts and has begun a recording cycle with Producer Ronan O’Reilly focussing on viola quintets by Dvorak, Brahms, Mendelssohn and Vaughan-Williams. To broaden the repertoire, Altissimo has commissioned several new works from contemporary Irish composers, including some cross-genre compositions. www.facebook.com/AltissimoQuintet
In much demand as an orchestral musician, Martin is also a regular Guest Section Leader with orchestras in the UK, recently including Opera North and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Welsh National Opera. In 2006, in recognition of his orchestral work, Martin was invited to become a member of the World Philharmonic Orchestra. More recently Martin has collaborated with Irish Composer Brian Byrne and Singer Sinead O’Connor for the title track to Glenn Close’s newest film Albert Nobbs – The song Lay Your Head Down has been nominated for at the 2012 Golden Globe Awards.
Later in 2012 Martin will give performances of Elgar’s ‘Cello Concerto in E minor with Ireland’s Hibernian Orchestra and recitals which will include the Delius ‘Cello Sonata as part of the 150th Delius Anniversary celebrations.
Martin plays a fine cello by Thomas Kennedy of London c.1810