The Rupa Ensemble – a new vocal octet – announce their first concert dates

Announcing the launch of The Rupa Ensemble: an octet of outstanding, stylistically agile singers especially adept in singing the music of Julian Marshall and with a focus on presenting highly engaging performances of mixed musical programmes to the highest professional standards.

Inaugural concerts take place on:

Saturday 27th October at St Michael’s Church, Framlingham, Suffolk IP13 9BJ. 7.30

Thursday 1st November at St Giles’ Church, Cripplegate, EC2Y 8DA. 7.30

Ticket prices for both events are £15, £5 for under 26 year olds and free for unwaged. Tickets are available now from Eventbrite:
The programme will include new work by Julian as well as by Stravinsky, Byrd, Messiaen and Purcell.The Rupa Ensemble aim to make their concerts as open inclusive as possible. Flexible ticket pricing (whenever possible), innovative audience reach, education and outreach are all central to their philosophy. Details available soon.

Here’s an e-flier. Feel free to use at will.

A short introductory video with Julian Marshall

Julian Marshall

Following education at Dartington Hall School and The Royal College of Music, Julian found international chart success with the bands Marshall Hain, The Flying Lizards and Eye to Eye.

A new chapter as a mature composer of longer-form work (Out of the Darkness, The Angel in the Forest) began in 2009 and today composition takes a central position in his creative life.

Julian has a wealth of experience as a songwriter, composer, teacher, lecturer, mentor/coach and musician. He is currently a Teaching Fellow at ICMP, London and he divides his time between teaching there, running a thriving creative coaching/mentoring practice and composing.

Julian has a long-held passion for engaged philosophical and spiritual enquiry.  This has taken form via particular interests in transformational theory and techniques, religious philosophy, integral theory, Zen Buddhism, psychotherapy and non-dualism.

His new venture The Rupa Ensemble (inaugural concerts Autumn 2018), an octet of outstanding, stylistically agile singers especially adept in singing Julian’s music, offers a vehicle for bringing all Julian’s primary interests together.

He is published by Novello and Co.

Julian is married to glass artist Arabella Marshall, they have two adult children, Gabriel and Solomon, and they live in Suffolk, England.

Further information
The singers

Miranda Ostler
Lucinda Cox

Mel Sanders
Guy James

Will Wright
Josh Cooter

Edmund Saddington
Simon Gallear

For all information please contact:
Miranda Ostler:
Julian Marshall

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New Digital Download Release – “Mystra – Songs from Byzantium” by ESBE – PRESS RELEASE

Title: Mystra – Songs from Byzantium
Artist: Esbe Composer: Esbe
Catalogue No.: MMC119 Bar Code: 5065001668197
Release Date: 28th September 2018
Format: Digital Only Release Price Point:Full

Mystra; Invocation; Run With Me; Someone, Somewhere; Living Death; Arcanum; When the Love Has Gone; Dream of Constantine; Voyage of Byzas; Whisper; Will You Still Be Waiting; He’s My Saviour

Artist Information


Esbe is a composer, producer, and singer from London. Her music is an eclectic blend of many influences, from her pure classical roots, but uniquely drawing on contemporary, world music and film scoring. After graduating from the Royal Academy of Music, where she gained an LRAM and won the prestigious ‘Julian Bream Prize for Guitar’, Esbe performed as a guitarist and singer in concerts around the UK. She particularly enjoyed singing Dowland and other early composers and this soon developed into composition and setting poetry to music.

As the first collection of songs, which were only performed live, were heavily influenced by North African and Middle Eastern music, she engaged a line-up of musicians to reflect this. The group was named ‘Shai’, meaning ‘gift’ in Hebrew, reflecting her part Jewish/Arabic origins. An ongoing interest in ‘World Music’ then took her to India, and on her return Esbe wrote songs in homage to Qawaali singers – the great Nustrat Fateh Ali Khan being a particular favourite – which she performed with British Indian musicians.

An association with several recording studios, brought a variety of work from string arrangements to session work as both vocalist and guitarist. And she has always taught classical guitar privately, coaching students to Grade Eight and Diploma level.

Five years ago, she developed the rare and debilitating condition of Musicians’ Focal Dystonia. This affects just 3% of musicians, and there is no cure. Although there is a great sadness at losing the ability to play, the time she would have spent practising was used to pursue an art career alongside her studio recording. She exhibits with galleries and at art fairs around the UK, mainly working with glass, with a style influenced by Pop Art and Art Deco, and these can be seen in the elegant line drawings she created for the album art work.

Esbe has composed and recorded a great variety of music, each project with its own inventive mix of styles, and she has just completed a similarly unusual set of songs for an animation film. Esbe’s musical influences are drawn from the classical world where she began her creative life, and arrangements and orchestrations display this. But, intriguingly, she is equally happy to encompass flavours from around the world. As well as writing her own lyrics, Esbe has set an eclectic choice of poems, from Gerard Manley Hopkins to the nonsense poet Mervyn Peake.

Project Information


This project is the second of four distinct new album projects that will be appearing over the coming months, bringing the work of this multifaceted composer, singer, musician, producer and artist to the outside world. “Desert Songs – Memories of Rumi” was released commercially in April 2018 as a digital only release (MMC120).

Mystras in the Peloponnese is one of the most romantic places Esbe has ever visited, with its ancient churches and monasteries nestling on a lush, sleepy hillside. Once inside the monumental stone structures, your eyes become accustomed to the dark as the walls reveal their sumptuous frescoes and gilded icons. These are what’s left of the magnificent Byzantine Empire which reigned for 1500 years.

This second album doesn’t tell a story, but it does reflect some, having a loose narrative. Invoking images of Medieval knights peering through the slits in their walled citadels, olives being picked in the fields below, and pigments newly mixed in little bowls waiting to bring to life some of those gorgeous paintings. Again, Esbe’s eclectic vocal weaves melodies drawing on scales from Eastern Europe and the Troubadours, set against a contemporary arrangement of sampled sounds, conventional orchestral arrangements and folk instrumentation. Inspired by her tour of the Peloponnese and stay in the romantic medieval city of Mystras, she conjures up stories based on both the known and imagined characters who would have lived there in times past. Sometimes she explores a phonetic language, ‘these ‘words’ just flowed as I wrote – there’s a liberation in just singing syllables.’, she says. But Esbe is also comfortable writing new text and lyrics, which she blends with a strong rhythmic sense and electronic grooves, all bound together by her forte of classical instrumentation.

‘Run With Me’ has already been picked up by the folk scene with radio play around the country and on the BBC, but several other tracks will surprise and enchant. Her multi-vocal-tracked, ‘Someone, Somewhere’, is a paean to love with simple words in Turkish, and harmonies reminiscent of the ‘Voix Bulgares’. ‘Dream of Constantine’ is an emotional, wordless vocal conjuring up the glorious scenery similar to the ‘Songs of the Auvergne’. And ‘Will You Still be Waiting for Me?’, which could easily be taken for a traditional English folk song arranged by Vaughan Williams, explores nuances of harmony and orchestration, before seamlessly morphing into a North African groove taking the listener to a distant Berber wedding. Esbe’s strong visual memory permeates all she produces, with tracks such as the cinematic title track, and ‘Arcanum’, bringing the distant past to life, as if on screen.

The cover art is designed by Esbe. This serene face was partly inspired by the ancient art that also influenced two of her artistic heroes, Picasso and Modigliani.

This second album was recorded and produced in Esbe’s studio in North London, separated in both time and distance from the historic city of Mystra, but each track draws the listener into a world of intrigue, and life, love, and death.

Marketing/Press Activity

This release will receive a full service to press and media. Advertising is in process of being confirmed.

Though a digital only commercial release, some physical copies have been manufactured for promotional use only (.wav files can be supplied if preferred).

For review copies, interview requests and any further information, please contact Music & Media/MMC Recordings (via, which is a division of Music and Media Consulting Limited.

Previous Release

MMC120           “Desert Songs – Memories of Rumi”

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The Four Seasons – 28 Danish Songs – Danish National Vocal Ensemble – CD & Download Release Information for Press & Media


“The Four Seasons – 28 Danish Songs”
Danish National Vocal Ensemble conducted by Bo Holten
Catalogue No.: 8.226911 Bar Code: 636943691120
Single CD/Digipak/Full Price
Release Date 3rd August 2018 (UK Physical Distribution via Select)


FORÅR (Spring) 1 Vandring i skoven H.C. Andersen/Trad. langelandsk melodi 2 Nu lyser løv i lunde Johannes Jørgensen/Carl Nielsen 3 Det er i dag et vejr Ludvig Holstein/Poul Schierbeck 4 Den blå anemone Kaj Munk/Egil Harder 5 Den kedsom vinter Ambrosius Stub/ Henrik Rung 6 Vintergæk er brudt af mulden Johannes V. Jensen/Knud Jeppesen 7 For alle de små blomster (Opvåvni) Mads Hansen/Hans Hansen

SOMMER (Summer) 8 Jeg ser de bøgelyse øer Laurits Christian Nielsen/Thorvald Aagaard 9 En yndig og frydefuld sommertid (Kærlighedsrosen) Trad. dansk folkevise 10 Se dig ud en sommerdag Jeppe Aakjær/Carl Nielsen 11 Nu går midsommer ind (Midsommersang) Leo Estvad/Svend S. Schultz 12 Yndigt dufter Danmark Ulf Hoffmann/Svend S. Schultz 13 Hvor smiler fager Johannes V. Jensen/Oluf Ring 14 Hvor sødt i sommer-aftenstunden Adam Oehlenschläger/Carl Nielsen 15 Danmark, nu blunder den lyse nat Thøger Larsen/Oluf Ring 16 Stille, hjerte, sol går ned Jeppe Aakjær/Thomas Laub

EFTERÅR (Autumn) 17 Det lysner over agres felt Ludvig Holstein/H. Balslev 18 Det løvfald, som vi kom så altfor nær Frank Jæger/Tony Vejslev 19 Septembers himmel er så blå Alex Garff/Otto Mortensen 20 Blæsten går frisk over Limfjordens vande Erik Bertelsen/Povl Hamburger 21 Sig nærmer tiden Steen Steensen Blicher/Oluf Ring 22 Hvor klart dog stjernen ses i nat Poul la Cour/Povl Hamburger

VINTER (Winter) 23 Der er ingenting i verden så stille som sne (I) Helge Rode/Thomas Laub 24 Vintertid  Lisbet Torp/Kurt Larsen 25 Spurven sidder stum bag kvist  Jeppe Aakjær/Thorvald Aagaard 26 Det er hvidt herude  Steen Steensen Blicher/Thomas Laub 27 Sneflokke kommer vrimlende  Jeppe Aakjær/Thorvald Aagaard 28 Der er ingenting i verden … (II)  Helge Rode/Povl Hamburger

Concept Overview

Following a series of military and economic defeats in the early 19th century, an enterprising group of teachers, pastors and writers set about to revive the Danish national spirit. Out of this environment the unique Danish tradition of the “folkehøjskole” (“Folk High School”) was born. The lofty goal of these institutions was to provide life-long popular education, a sense of national pride and civic responsibility for the common person. The movement’s chief architect, the poet, philosopher, and pastor, N. F. S. Grundtvig knew full well the value of singing for creating a sense of community, so naturally, a new demand for Danish songs was created. In 1894, the first Højskolesangbogen (High School Songbook) was published. A substantial revised edition was published in 1922, including many melodies by the famous composer Carl Nielsen. Today the collection includes 572 songs with 2.4 million copies sold and is the most popular songbook in the country to this day.

Artist Biographies

The natural choice for performing this Treasury of Danish Song is, the internationally acclaimed Danish National Vocal Ensemble, the elite choir of the Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR). With two Grammy nominations and the prestigious German ECHO Award for the CD The Nightingale, (recorded with recorder virtuoso Michala Petri), the French Diapason d’Or de l’année, in addition to a host of other national and international accolades, their luminous sound provides the perfect frame for these simple, heartfelt expressions of the Danish soul.

Marketing and Press

This new recording will be fully serviced to all UK press and Media. Review copies can be requested from – interviews can be quickly arranged if required.

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Complete Louis Spohr Violin Duets (Volume 1) – Jameson Cooper & James Dickenson released on NAXOS – Information for Press & Media


Tracklisting & CD Information

Louis Spohr (1784 – 1859): Three Duets for Two Violins, Op. 67 (1824) No. 1 in A minor; No. 2 in D major; No. 3 in G minor; from Three Duets for Two Violins, WoO 21 (?1796), No. 3 in E flat major

Catalogue Number 8.573763 Bar Code 747313376377
Single CD/Standard Jewel-case Release Date July 2018

Project Overview

The leaders of two international Quartets, the Villiers and Euclid Quartets announce a CD of Spohr duos and a new project, never completed before, to record all the violin duets, some six hours of music, by Spohr on a major label.

One of the giants of music-making in the nineteenth century, Louis Spohr excelled as a composer, violin virtuoso, conductor and teacher. His concertos for the violin (Nos. 6, 8 and 11 can be heard on Naxos 8.570528) demonstrate a romantic temperament framed in a Classical style, but he was equally adept in smaller forms.

This first CD contains one of Spohr’s most famous duos, Opus 67 No. 2, as well as the other duos from Opus 67, and a previously unrecorded early work from WoO 21. The Duets for Two Violins, Op. 67 reveal a perfect sense of architecture, the two instruments frequently exchanging roles, as well as a majestic command of melody.

Spohr’s Opus 67 duos are amongst some of his most virtuosic and his renewed interest in this medium was sparked by his students of the time, one of whom was Ferdinand David who famously went onto premier the Mendelssohn violin concerto. Dubbed the German Paganini, Spohr pushed the boundaries of the violin and violin technique to create music that seems beyond its resources in sound, texture and colour.

Composer & Repertoire Information

Louis Spohr was born on 5th April 1784 in Braunscheig, Lower Saxony, and spent his early years in the small town of Seesen in the Herz Mountains. It was here that he received his early tuition and where he composed his first pieces. At the age of fifteen he secured a position in the court orchestra of Duke Karl William Ferdinand. He rapidly became one of the leading violinists of his time taking up positions and giving concerts in Austria, Italy and Britain as well as Germany.

Spohr’s Violin Duos WoO 21 (written when he was 12 years of age) are his earliest surviving compositions and are mentioned in his autobiography. Over subsequent years Spohr composed more Violin Duets – Op. 3 (1805), Op. 9 (1807), Op. 39 (1816), Op. 67 (1824), Op. 148 (1856), Op. 150 (1856), Op. 153 (1857 or 1858) and a further two which were not given formal opus numbers WoO 22 and WoO 30. Two CDs featuring the Opus 3 and 39 duos are set for release in 2019.

For forty years Spohr was central to music of Germany and England, and although history has rather forgotten his input, it was unparalleled. The inventor of the chin rest and the first composer to use letters to signal starting points in music manuscripts, Spohr was the object of extravagant adulation as both a violinist and composer. As P. H. Lang noted in 1953 “If we persist in consigning the dim figures behind Beethoven to complete oblivion we shall never understand why Brahms developed as he did, while Berlioz, Chopin and Liszt went their own way. Spohr is undoubtedly one of the most significant of those figures.”

Artist Information

The multi-faceted performer and teacher, Jameson Cooper, was Born in Sheffield, England. He studied at the Royal Northern College of Music, at the Aspen Music Festival with Dorothy DeLay and Masao Kawasaki, and later with Roland and Almita Vamos. He holds master’s degrees in violin performance and in orchestral conducting from Kent State University.  As a founding member of the Euclid Quartet, Cooper has won numerous competition prizes and performed to high acclaim throughout the US, in ensembles and as soloist. He is the dedicatee of several new works and has performed many premieres.  Cooper has given masterclasses at universities and colleges throughout the US and regularly serves as an adjudicator and coach. As a senior lecturer at Indiana University South Bend, Cooper teaches violin, chamber music, conducting and is musical director of the IUSB Philharmonic. An active recording artist, Cooper has albums covering a wide range of repertoire to critical acclaim.

He plays a violin made by Gregg Alf.

James Dickenson studied both in the UK and the US and lists Lydia Mordkovitch, Danny Phillips, Jerry Horner, Wen Zhou Li, and Christopher Rowland as some of his many teachers and mentors. After graduating from the Royal Northern College of Music, Dickenson left the UK to lead the Degas Quartet in the US. With this quartet, Dickenson gave concerts all over the US, in Carnegie Hall and at the Aspen Music Festival, and held various residencies in over ten universities. Since 2010 he has played with the Villiers Quartet, Resident Quartet at Oxford University. A keen Dounis advocate, Dickenson is a regular contributor to articles published by the European String Teachers Association.

He plays a violin made by Sergio Perreson in 1976.

Marketing, Promotion and Further information

This new CD will be fully serviced to UK press and media. Advertising will include appropriate classical magazines both in print and online.

Interview requests can be accommodated quickly, either in person or by telephone. Please request an advance review copy of the CD from your local NAXOS distributor – or if this is not feasible from:

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New CD and Download from Melinda Hughes “Weimar & Back” – on Nimbus Alliance PLUS news of Melinda at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2018

New Release Information for Press and Media.

Nimbus Alliance NI6367- Single CD/Standard jewelcase – Mid Price
Available NOW

Melinda Hughes presents Margo at JW3 London and Edinburgh Fringe Festival and releases her second CD “Weimar & Back” on Nimbus Alliance.

Weimar & Back is a collection of satirical songs by Hollaender, Spoliansky, Heymann and Hughes & Limb, which have been updated to reflect many current social issues, and ties in with 100 years since the Weimar Republic was formed.

Margo,  is a new work about the life of Margo Lion, a celebrated cabaret star, which explores the darker backdrop of Weimar culture The show will be premiered at JW3 London on 19 June, before travelling to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival on 2 August – for a total of 15 performances.

Berlin was an important hub for artists, musicians, intellectuals, and innovators from all backgrounds during the Weimar republic years. Though the political and social climate was turbulent, Berlin welcomed new ideas in all areas, and encouraged the work of wide-ranging people including Theodor Adorno, Walter Gropuis, Kurt Weill and Alban Berg.

This thriving cultural climate also saw the rise of cabaret, which has become iconic in the English-speaking world through works such as Christopher Isherwood’s Goodbye to Berlin (later adapted into the musical Cabaret).

This CD combines material that survived because the music and text was timeless in itself, with material that re-emerged years later. Contemporary social justice issues and movements such as ‘Me Too’ and LGBT rights resonate in songs such as “Chuck all of the Men out of the Reichstag” or “Das Lila Lied”.

CD Tracklisting

In Berlin; Berlin im Licht; We’ve Been here before; Monotonous night; Illusions; Das Lila Lied/The Lavender Song; All the best men are gay; I loves my man; Where a Stolperstein stands; Youkali (Tango Habanera); Chuck all the men out of the Reichstag; Britannia waives the Rules; Please don’t invite me to your country estate; Der mensch muss eine Heimat haben

Project Overview from CD booklet notes by Michael Haas

There’s the view that cabaret started off in the 19th century as “the salon of petty criminals and prostitutes”. In place of gilded drawing rooms were smoky dives and rather than offering a venue for artistic transcendence, it offered shaky boards on upturned crates or beer barrels. These boards, in German “Brette” were further parodied in the diminutive as “Brettel” – or “little boards”, offering a name to the songs performed on such makeshift stages. It soon became fashionable for urban bohemians to frequent such low-life dives bringing a certain gentrification in their wake. In Berlin, Paris, Vienna and Barcelona, the bawdy songs that would have been more typical of English sea-side music halls were replaced by social satire, often pulling heavy political punches. Yet if there’s a single difficulty about Cabaret, it would be its inability to transcend locality, time and place. Cabaret like operetta, is essentially local, and rarely even survives into the following week or year. Its pre-war material was the equivalent of the satirical television programs of today – enormously entertaining while being “to the minute” relevant, making references to issues or people everyone recognized. Less entertaining is returning to the same material a year or a decade later. Events, politicians and social mores have moved on. Yet some elements survived either because the music and text were timeless in themselves, or emerged decades – or indeed, a century later, as provocatively contemporary. Struggles for social justice such as “Me Too” or “Black Lives Matter” are embryonically echoed in songs such as “Chuck all of the Men out of the Reichstag” or “Das Lila Lied”. Even today, we return to music to poke fun at society while making serious political points as a viable tool of passive resistance. True geniuses such as Hollaender, Spoliansky, Heymann and yes, Hughes & Limb could move the genre beyond supporting amusing texts with four-square accompaniments to true musical brilliance.

Melinda Hughes

Lyric soprano Melinda Hughes has sung in more than forty countries. An accomplished opera singer, recitalist and cabaret singer, her sparkling personality, stage presence and wit make her very much in demand as a performer.

Hughes is a graduate from the Maastricht Conservatory of Music and the Royal College of Music. She attended The Brussels Opera Studio then toured Europe for three years as a soloist with the André Rieu Strauss Orchestra. Melinda then went on to sing more than thirty different main operatic roles. Opera roles performed include: Aida (Dorset Opera), Tosca, Madame Butterfly (CAMI, Diva, Longborough, Gubbay), Rachel (La Juive), Fiordilgi, Mimi, Violetta, Donna Anna, The Countess, Pamina, Nedda, Marcelline, Ninnet (l’amour des trios Oranges) Konstanze, Frasquta, Gilda and Euridice.

A specialist in Weimar Cabaret Melinda formed her satirical group Kiss & Tell with co-writer Jeremy Limb, performing at The Al Bustan Festival Beirut, Hay Literary Festival, Edinburgh Fringe, Cadogan Hall, Holders Festival Barbados and The Metropolitan Room New York. Her CD ‘Smoke and Noise’ (Nimbus NI6139) received rave reviews and they appeared on BBC Radio 3 many times and on BBC Radio 4 with Barry Humphries on a programme about Weimar Cabaret.

Jeremy Limb read music at Queen’s College, Oxford then spent three years at the Royal College of Music where he won the 1993 Millicent Silver Brahms Prize and the 1995 Frank Merrick British Music Prize. In 1997 he won first prize in the Robert William and Florence Amy Brant National Piano Competition. He also writes and performs comedy, appearing regularly at the Pleasance (Edinburgh Fringe), and has had material used on BBC 1 by Harry Enfield. He was nominated for the LWT New Comedy Writing Award 1998 for his play Play Wisty for Me -The Life of Peter Cook (UK tour and Melbourne Comedy Festival 2002.) Jeremy has recorded for the Naxos & Nimbus labels. He writes and performs regularly with Melinda.

Additional note for media

Review requests for the CD should be directed to – as should enquiries about availability for interview.

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Concert Information from pianist JULIAN JACOBSON

Artist Information
One of Britain’s most creative and distinctive pianists, Julian Jacobson is acclaimed for the vitality, colour and insight he brings to his enormous repertoire ranging across all styles and periods.

Julian Jacobson was born in Peebles, Scotland. His father Maurice Jacobson had had some piano lessons with Busoni while his mother, pianist and composer Margaret Lyell, had studied in Berlin with Else Krause, daughter of Liszt’s pupil Martin Krause. Julian studied in London from the age of seven with Lamar Crowson (piano) and Arthur Benjamin (composition) and had published four songs by the age of nine. From 1959 to 1968 he studied at the Royal College of Music where his principal teachers were John Barstow and Humphrey Searle. On graduating with the Sarah Mundlak Piano Prize in 1968 he took up a scholarship to read Music at Queen’s College, Oxford. At this time, he was also a founder member of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra.

After further studies with Louis Kentner he made his London debut at the Purcell Room in 1974. This was followed immediately by the first of five appearances in the Park Lane Group’s annual Young Artists series and his Wigmore Hall debut as both solo recitalist and chamber musician. During the 1980s he established himself as a fine duo and ensemble pianist, partnering artists such as Zara Nelsova, Sandor Vegh, David Geringas, Christian Lindberg and Manuela Wiesler as well as many leading UK instrumentalists including Nigel Kennedy, Steven Isserlis, Moray Welsh, Colin Carr, Alexander Baillie and Philippa Davies. His appointment in 1992 as Head of Keyboard Studies at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama led to an increasing concentration on solo work.

In 1994 he embarked on his first cycle of the complete 32 Beethoven sonatas; he has now presented the cycle eight times, the last two in a single day (apparently being only the second pianist to attempt this). His 2003 marathon at St James’s Church Piccadilly attracted worldwide media coverage and raised over £6000 for WaterAid.

Julian Jacobson has performed as soloist with orchestras including the London Symphony, BBC Symphony and City of Birmingham Symphony, the English Chamber Orchestra, London Mozart Players, London Sinfonietta, Bournemouth Sinfonietta, Bucharest Philharmonic, Icelandic Symphony Orchestra and Royal Omani Symphony Orchestra, with conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle, Tamas Vasary and Jane Glover.

His many festival appearances as soloist and chamber musician include Edinburgh, Aldeburgh, Bath, Brighton, Cheltenham, Dartington, Glasgow, Huddersfield, Norwich and Prussia Cove on tour. He has appeared in more than forty countries on five continents, with tours of the USA, South America, the Middle and Far East (where he gave what appears to have been the Chinese premiere of Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier” Sonata in 1994), South Africa and Australia as well as throughout Western and Eastern Europe.

An ongoing commitment to contemporary music has led to many commissions and premieres. In 1987 he gave the critically acclaimed UK premiere of Ligeti’s now famous Etudes Book One; a subsequent recording for BBC Radio 3 was highly praised by the composer. A longlist of composers who have written for him includes Robert Saxton, Simon Bainbridge, Benedict Mason, Philip Cashian, Daryl Runswick, Keith Tippett, Charles Camilleri and Robert Keeley; Michael Nyman wrote the piano trio “Time Will Pronounce” for his ensemble the Trio of London.

A large and varied discography for labels including Meridian, Chandos, Hyperion, Decca Argo, BIS, Continuum and Metier includes albums of Schumann, Dvorak and Balakirev, the complete sonatas of Weber, the Carnival of the Animals with the London Symphony Orchestra, Martinu’s “Sinfonietta Giocosa” with the Bournemouth Sinfonietta under Tamas Vasary, and violin and piano music by Enescu, Dvorak, Vaughan Williams, Fricker and Rawsthorne with Susanne Stanzeleit. His album “Classical Flute à la Jazz” with Judith Hall contains his own jazz waltz, “Waltz for Judy”, published by Bardic Edition together with several other waltzes. Other compositions include five film scores, including ‘To the Lighthouse’, ‘Hard Travelling’ and ‘We Think the World of You’. In ‘The Fourth Protocol’ he made a screen appearance conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra. In February 2007 he conducted the premiere of his “Vers la Valse” for flute and orchestra with Ileana Ruhemann and the Syred Sinfonia.

Julian Jacobson is currently a professor of piano and chamber music at the Royal College of Music. He was Artistic Director of the Paxos International Festival, Greece, from 1988 to 2004, is Artistic Director of “Rencontres Musicales à Eygalières” and teaches regularly at Cadenza Summer School at the Purcell School, North London. He has given masterclasses in Germany, Paris, Budapest (Franz Liszt Academy), Spain, Sweden, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, the Middle East, and on many occasions in Dartington.

Peter Robinson is one of the UK’s most experienced and versatile opera conductors. His repertoire ranges from baroque to contemporary, with a special interest in Italian opera of the 19th and early 20th centuries. His appointments have included Resident Conductor of The Australian Opera, Assistant Music Director of English National Opera, and Artistic Director of British Youth Opera. He also coaches and teaches at many of the UK’s conservatoires and Young Artist Programmes.

Peter studied music at St John’s College, Oxford and began his operatic career as Chorus Master at Glyndebourne, followed by several years as Head of Music Staff and Resident Conductor with The Australian Opera in Sydney. He returned to London to become Assistant Music Director at English National Opera, where his repertoire included Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Otello, Rigoletto, Carmen, Maria Stuarda, Orfeo, Hansel & Gretel, The Turn of the Screw, and all the major Mozart operas.

Recent performances in the UK and elsewhere have included L’amore dei tre re, Norma, I Gioielli della Madonna and Falstaff (Opera Holland Park), Aida and La Fanciulla del West (Opera Queensland), a triple bill of Massenet and Martinu (Guildhall School), and the 25th anniversary revival of Jonathan Miller’s ENO production of The Mikado, of which he was the original conductor.

Further credits include Madama Butterfly, Tosca, Aida and Carmen (Royal Albert Hall), Andrea Chénier and La Traviata (Opera Queensland), Die Zauberflöte (Opera Zuid), and Falstaff (Scottish Opera). Peter has worked with most of the major British orchestras and has appeared many times with the BBC Concert Orchestra.

For television, he has conducted Jonathan Miller’s productions of Così fan tutte and The Mikado, and, for Channel 4, The Marriage of Figaro. For eight years he was Artistic Director of British Youth Opera, for whom he most recently conducted Paul Bunyan, The Bartered Bride, The Rake’s Progress and Malcom Williamson’s English Eccentrics.

In addition to his work as a performer, he teaches and coaches singers regularly at the National Opera Studio, the Royal Opera House’s Jette Parker Young Artists’ Programme, and the Guildhall School, as well as the Royal College of Music, and the Royal Academy of Music where he was recently elected Hon ARAM.

Recent Projects included Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades for Opera Holland Park and English Eccentrics by Malcolm Williamson for British Youth Opera. He also co-conducted ENO’s Marvellous Miller, celebrating Jonathan Miller’s productions spanning 40 years at the London Coliseum.

In spring 2017, Peter prepared students on the GSMD Opera Course for performances at Milton Court, London and in Fontainebleau, France. During the summer season he made his fifteenth consecutive appearance at Opera Holland Park, conducting Leoncavallo’s Zazá, followed by Verdi’s Requiem in aid of the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire. In September, Peter conducted the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra for the Finals of The Grange Festival International Singing Competition in Hampshire.

As well as its renowned work in the UK, the Brandenburg Sinfonia is also in great demand abroad and has, in recent years visited France, USA, Bermuda, the Channel Islands, Barbados, Cyprus, Malta and St Petersburg.

The varied range of activities undertaken by the orchestra include a major concert series at St Martin-in-the- Fields and a major Classical Music cruise on the QE2. One of the recent highlights was an International Opera Gala conducted by Richard Bonynge in the presence of HRH Prince Charles.

A large number of artists of international standing have worked with the orchestra including Richard Bonynge, Yvonne Kenny, Emmanuel Hurwitz, Lesley Garrett, John Georgiadis, John Wallace, Emma Kirkby, James Bowman and Gordon Hunt.

Its repertoire ranges from Bach to Lloyd Webber and its members give over one hundred performances of orchestral, chamber choral and operatic music during the year.

The Brandenburg Sinfonia is delighted to perform at the Thaxted Festival as resident orchestra. 

The orchestras for several touring companies are formed from members of the Brandenburg Sinfonia including Central Festival Opera, First Act Opera, London City Opera, and English Pocket Opera.

Ticket Booking Information
£26 Premium (reserved area front rows, incl programme & glass of wine); £20 Unreserved. £10 Students & Under 18s; BOOK ONLINE:  (booking fees apply); More information: 07778 313479
Further information for journalists, editors and broadcasters
Requests for interviews (which can be accommodated quickly) and/or press tickets for the concert can be directed to

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New CD/Download from ANGELA BROWNRIDGE on Challenge Classics

c1Tracklisting & CD Information

Piano Sonata No. 2 Op. 35 (Grave. Doppio movimento (04:55); Scherzo (06:36); Marche funèbre: Lento (08:49); Finale. Presto. Sotto voce e legato (1:45); Ballade No. 1 Op. 23 (8:28); Ballade No. 2 Op. 38 (6:41); Ballade no. 3 Op. 47 (7:25); Ballade No. 4 Op. 52 (10:03); Fantaisie Op. 40 (12:19)

c2Challenge Classics CC72728 SACD [Bar Code 0608917272826]; Released on 10th February 2017.

Standard CD Jewel Case with card sleeve. Single CD released at Full Price. Simultaneous digital release through all download and streaming services.
Repertoire Information

This disc represents the second release from Angela Brownridge on Challenge Classics. Following on from her disc of Beethoven Sonatas (3, 23 & 30) from different periods, Angela continues to survey romantic masterpieces and presents here some of the cornerstones of Chopin’s creative output.

Sleeve notes are by eminent critic Bryce Morrison.

An interview with Angela Brownridge about this project can be viewed via


Artist Information

Hailed as a major star in classical music Angela Brownridge has been compared with such pianists as the legendary Solomon, Rachmaninov, Cherkassky, and Bolet. She began her life in an atmosphere of freedom and individualism virtually impossible to find today. Under the guidance of Maria Curcio, who had been a pupil of Schnabel for many years, she absorbed the ability to produce every nuance of the piano, and to present music flexibly and persuasively instead of concentrating on a single method of technique or continual displays of brilliance, learning to deal with the differing requirements of a varied range of composers which recalls Cortot in his prime. Indeed, by realising that many pianists of a bygone age played with far more individuality, magic, and inspiration than has become the fashion, she was able to develop her own unique personality.  In an age which has become over-fascinated with mere technique, and which seeks the degree of ‘perfection’ offered by over-edited CDs, Angela’s playing restores spontaneity, character, and beauty of sound to the platform.

A child prodigy, equally talented in composition, extemporisation, and technically brilliant, Angela first performed in public at the age of seven, and a year later had several pieces published. By the age of ten she had given her first concerto performance, and in her early teens was appearing regularly as a recitalist and concerto performer throughout Great Britain and abroad. She later won a piano scholarship to Edinburgh University, and after graduating B. Mus. was awarded a further scholarship for a two-year period of study in Rome with Guido Agosti. As the winner of several competitions she was able to continue her studies with Maria Curcio in London, where she now lives.

Since then Angela has appeared in all the major London concert halls, and has visited Eastern and Western Europe, the USA, Canada, the Far East and Australia, as well as performing extensively in the UK. She has been a soloist with many leading orchestras and conductors, and Festival engagements include Bath, Edinburgh, Warwick, Newport Rhode Island, Bratislava, Brno, Hong Kong, and Maastricht.
Her recorded repertoire is very varied, including some first ever collections of the complete piano music of Barber, Gershwin, Kenneth Leighton and the complete piano concertos of Saint-Saëns.

Her recordings have received worldwide critical acclaim, several being voted “Critics’ Choice” by Hi-Fi News and Record of the Year by the Absolute Sound magazine of America. She has also appeared on BBC TV in programmes which have involved her in discussion about the music she has performed. She often gives lecture recitals and master classes, and maintains her love of improvisation which has led her on occasions into the world of jazz.

Concert Activity

Angela has the below detailed concerts in her diary – many of which will feature some of the repertoire included in this new disc.

January 20th                 Oldham Town Hall
January 26th/27th        Masterclass at Loughborough Endowed Schools/Recital the following day
February 17th               Dr. Challoner’s School for Girls. Little Chalfont, Buckinghamshire.
February 24th               Dorset County Museum
March 4th                      Trinity Hall, Ringwood
March 25th                    Tincleton Gallery, Dorchester, Dorset
April 8th                         St. Mary’s Church, Barnes, South London
April 30th                       Cadogan Hall, London
May 16th                        Grange Park, Winchmore Hill, London. (Lunchtime)
May 30th                        Wesley’s Chapel. Old Street, London. (Lunchtime)
July 26th                        Chichester Cathedral.

Marketing, Promotion and Further information

Angela’s new CD will be fully serviced to UK press and media. Advertising will include appropriate classical magazines both in print and online.

Interview requests can be accommodated quickly, either in person or by telephone. Please request a review copy of the CD from

Angela Brownridge - Chopin Four Ballades - Press Release (470.4 KiB)

Israeli Soprano VARDA KOTLER announces London debut concert on 14th January

conway-hall vardaIsraeli soprano Varda Kotler will be making her London debut on Saturday 14th January 2017 at Conway Hall, commencing at 7.30pm.

Varda will be presenting a melodic song recital designed to present two sides of each composer – poetic and lyrical styles in contrast with humour and satire.

Featured Concert Repertoire

varda1Mahler: Ich ging mit lust/Lob des Hohen Verstand; Schubert: Du bist die Ruh/Versunken; Brahms: Lerchengesang/Vergebliches Ständchen; Poulenc: Deux poems by Louis Aragon; Pauline Viardot: Hai Luli/Les Deux Roses; Debussy: Jane/Mandoline; Richard Strauss: Ständchen/Hat Gesagt, Bleibt’s Nicht Dabei; Andre Caplet: Le Corbeau et le Renard/Viens! Une flute invisible; Hugo Wolf: Die Bekherte/Ich hab in Penna   

Varda Kotler will be accompanied by pianist Israel Kastoriano. In addition, actor Simon Mitelman ( will recite excerpts from the translations of the original source poems and texts.
Full details about the concert, together with a link to book tickets can be found by visiting:

Several of the pieces featured in the concert have been recorded and are available on Varda Kotler’s recently released CD “L’Heure Romantique” (on Forlane/Disques Dom).

Track Details

romantique Pucell: Music for a while; Mahler: Ich ging mit lust durch einen grünen wald/Ich atmet’ einen linden Duft/Liebst du um Schönheit; Schumann: Abend lied/Der Nussbaum/Du bist wie ein Blume/Die Meerfee/Erstes Grün; Bizet: Ma vie a son secret/Sonnet/Rose d’amour/Tarantelle/Guitare; Caplet: Le Corbeau et le Renard; Ravel: Vocalise-Étude (en form de Habanera); Paul Ben-Haim: Ariozo/Ballad (Songs without Words): A. Boskovitch: How beautiful you are (song of birds); Canteloube: Chorietan buruzagi/la pastura als camps/Lo fiolaire; Mozart: Parto, parto ma tu ben mio; Meyerbeer: Nobles Seigneurs, Salut!
Playing Time 73.10

CD Information

UK physical release of “L’Heure Romantique” is via Discovery. Catalogue Number FOR16878 [Bar Code 3254870168781]. This single CD comes in a standard jewelcase and would be classed as mid-price. Booklet notes on the repertoire are by Varda Kotler and are in English. The lyrics for each piece are reproduced in the booklet in the language of performance along with a translation into English.

Biographical Details

Varda Kotler is a native of Tel Aviv and a graduate of the Rubin Academy of Music at Tel Aviv University. She studied voice with Netania Dovrat and continued her studies with Vera Roze in London and Rita Patane in New York and Italy.

She has sung at festivals, opera-houses and concerts in Israel and Europe (particularly in France) with the conductors: Pinchas Steinberg, Siegfried Kohler, Lawrence Foster, Kees Bakels, Arthur Fagen, Steven Sloan, Mendi Rodan and in New York with Hugo Weisgall and the New York Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra. Among her performances are: Mozart’s Mass in C minor, Requiem Mass in D-minor and the Vesperae Solennes. Bach’s Magnificat, Handel Cantatas, Berlioz Les Nuits d’été, and Berio’s Folk Songs. Varda sang the operatic roles of Cherubino, Siebel, Rosina, Stephano and Flora. Recitals, operas and concerts have taken her to: Paris, Monte-Carlo, Vienna, Zurich, Geneva, Lausanne and Messina Italy).  She has received good reviews in the New York Times, Die Presse, Wiener-Zeitung, Der Standard, The Jerusalem Post, Giornale di Sicilia, Maariv, Yediot Aharonot and Haaretz.

Varda Kotler’s first CD Recital appeared in 1999 and the CD – “Melodies Londonienne” by Charles Gounod appeared in 2001 both on the French label REM Numerique Digital. The discs both received good reviews in Le Monde de la Musique, Repertoire, Chronique Musical, Opera International, L`Education Musicale and others. Her third CD “Melodies Londonienne” won the prize Victoires de la Musique Classique for 2002. The CD “BEN-HAIM Melodies” won the prize Victoires de la Musique Classique for 2005.

Israel Kastoriano was born in Istanbul, Turkey, where he began his piano studies. He subsequently studied at the Rubin Academy of Music, Jerusalem, Israel and the Mannes College of Music, New York, where he graduated with highest honours in both piano and orchestral conducting. During his seven year stay in the USA Kastoriano appeared in solo recital and chamber music concerts for radio and television as well as at the Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. He was assistant conductor to Mr. Leon Barzun at the National Orchestral Association. At the Tanglewood Festival he won first prize in piano with citations from Gunther Schuller and Seiji Ozawa. He was also a finalist in the Bolzano piano competition, Italy.

Kastoriano is pianist and keyboard player of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and as such has collaborated with great conductors including Zubin Mehta, Leonard Bernstein and Kurt Masur. He regularly tours with the orchestra. He is active as a solo and chamber musician, appearing regularly with the very best of Israeli and foreign musicians. He performs in a four-hand piano duo with Anat Sharon and has also performed extensively with cellists Michael Haran and Michel Strauss, flautist Yossi Arnheim, violinists Yigal Tuneh and Gerard Poulet, and clarinettist Richard Lesser, to name but a few. He regularly tours South and North America, Europe and Turkey as a chamber musician and recitalist.

His involvement with voice accompaniment brought him into collaboration with the New Israel Opera. He received a special invitation from Placido Domingo to serve as principal pianist and assistant conductor at the singing competition in Madrid. He was also the principal pianist at the Leonard Bernstein singing competition in Jerusalem, Israel.

Further Information

If required a telephone interview with Ms Kotler in advance of her arrival can be quickly arranged.

Review copies of the CD are available on request from

Varda Kotler - L'Heure Romantique - Press Release (42.0 KiB)

Villiers Quartet present Peter Fricker String Quartets – New Recording on NAXOS

vq3Tracklisting & CD Information

String Quartet No. 1 Op. 8 (1948-9); String Quartet No. 2 Op. 20 (1952-53); String Quartet No. 3 (1976) *; Adagio and Scherzo (1943) *

*World Premiere Recording

Composer & Repertoire Information

frickerPeter Racine Fricker was undoubtedly one of the UK’s finest composers, sadly neglected and rejected by the English Establishment, in 1964 he moved to California where he took up a teaching position at UCSB. He continued to compose prolifically, returning to England occasionally.

Born on 5th September 1920 to parents who met during their service in the Mediterranean theatre of World War I, Fricker’s interest in music took root while he was a student at St Paul’s School. He was especially interested in organ performance, studying with Henry Wilson and Ralph Downes; he also formed an enduring friendship with fellow student Dennis Brain. Fricker entered the Royal College in 1937, continuing his study with Wilson and with Ernest Bullock. This training was thoroughly conservative in outlook, with reverent and obsessive attention paid to counterpoint that would forever remain a hallmark of Fricker’s musicianship, however much he may have strayed into new directions. At this time, his interest in composition vied with his interest in organ performance; he continued to consider a career as a concert organist until the late 1940s. He entered military service in 1941, maintaining his musical interests as best he could through the remainder of the war, most frequently composing piano music.

The “Adagio and Scherzo” for string quartet remains the most thoroughly developed work from this time. They were written in the summer of 1943, and were probably intended as the central movements of a formal quartet.

With the end of his military service, Fricker set about resuming his career in music straight away. Determined now to be a composer, he sought out the fervent environment at Morley College. It was here that he met his mentor, Matyas Seiber, (whom he later called “the greatest teacher of the 20th century”) and Michael Tippett. Among so many stimulating influences, Fricker began producing publishable work. His first important success was the Wind Quintet, Op. 5, which took the Clements Prize of 1947 which Dennis Brain took into his repertoire with great and lasting enthusiasm. Fricker then turned to the string quartet in the summer of 1948 as he sought to build a solid base for his catalogue, and successes accumulated at a breathtaking pace. His Op. 8 was started on 14th July and finished on 5th November. He submitted it for the Edwin Evans Prize: though he lost to Elizabeth Maconchy, the committee made honourable mention of him.

His First Symphony, Op. 9, completed in February 1949, was awarded the 1949 Koussevitzky Prize, and was scheduled for a première performance at the 1950 Cheltenham Festival thereby heightening awareness of Fricker as a serious composer. The Op. 8 String Quartet received its première in London in September followed by the Amadeus Quartet’s performance on 11th October and they featured it the following summer on European tour to much critical acclaim. The quartet is cast in one movement, but within this casing an unusual organization of three-movement form may be felt.

A steady flow of compositions followed – mostly concerti. Fricker followed Tippet as Director of Music at Morley College, a post he held for 12 years. By the summer of 1952 Fricker was writing another quartet at the Amadeus’s behest, which he completed in 1953. Despite the warm reception that the Second Quartet received, Fricker would not revisit the medium for twenty years – at the time there was a lack of enthusiasm from publishers for the quartet genre. Elliott Carter’s Third String Quartet changed this view: Fricker dedicated his own Third Quartet to Carter “in admiration”, writing without a commission, and completing it at the end of 1976. Sadly enough, the Quartet went un-played until he suggested it for the 1984 Cheltenham Festival. Fricker was delighted with the very successful performance by the Chilingirian Quartet on 19th July.

Though he began thinking about a Fourth Quartet in the summer of 1989, he was, by then, stricken with terminal cancer and struggling to finish the commissions he had at work. He died in Santa Barbara on 1st February 1990.

Artist Information

The Villiers Quartet was the winner of the 2015 Radcliffe Chamber Music Competition, and holds the position of Quartet-in-Residence at Oxford University’s Faculty of Music. Named after Villiers Street in London’s colourful musical epicentre, the Villiers Quartet encompasses the grand and iconic spirit of the extraordinary music tradition in London. One of the most charismatic and “adventurous” quartets of the European chamber music scene, the Villiers Quartet has developed an international reputation for its performances of English composers including Elgar, Britten and Delius. The Quartet has been featured in numerous festivals including the North York Moors Chamber Music Festival, the Brit Jazz Fest, the Hungerford Arts Festival and the British Music Society. Their internationally acclaimed VQ New Works Competition encourages audiences to interact with contemporary music performance online, and supports the creation of new works for string quartet. Known for championing the works of English composers, the VQ has presented master-classes at Dartmouth College, the University of Nottingham, Syracuse University, Goshen College, and the Indiana University South Bend. The VQ is also Quartet-in-Residence at Nottingham High School, where they oversee an extensive chamber music programme for young students. Their début recording for Naxos, Robert Still’s The Four String Quartets (8.571353), won high praise from Gramophone and received five stars in Classical Music Magazine. The VQ was the featured quartet on the soundtrack to the BBC television drama Lady Chatterley’s Lover, and they have been featured extensively on BBC Radio 3 in live performance and on the programme “In Tune”.

Marketing, Promotion and Further information

  • This new CD will be fully serviced to UK press and media. Advertising will include appropriate classical magazines both in print and online.
  • Please request a review copy of the CD from
  • Interview requests with Villiers Quartet can be accommodated quickly, either in person or by telephone
  • A promotional video is available to be viewed via


Press/Media Launch Event

To mark the release of this auspicious recording, the Villiers Quartet would like to invite the recipient of this email to a launch event on Monday 13th February 2017 at The Liberal Club in London (1 Whitehall Place SW1A 2HE) at 6.00pm. To confirm acceptance please email

VQ - Fricker Quartets - Press Release (476.3 KiB)

New CD/Download from OUR Recordings – Organ Music of Axel Borup-Jorgensen

ourrecordingsCD Copies for review are available from

Axel Borup Jorgensen - ORGAN MUSIC (1.7 MiB)