Tuesday, 4th December 2012 @ 7.30pm

Stephen Kovacevich and friends

Venue : Hampstead Parish Church

Stephen Kovacevich, piano • Tamsin Waley-Cohen, violin • Mandhira de Saram, violin (of the Ligeti Quartet) • Krzysztof Chorzelski, viola (of the Belcea Quartet) • Laura van der Heijden, cello (BBC Young Musician 2012 winner) • Matan Porat, piano.


Mozart: Piano Quartet in G Minor, K 478
Brahms: Sonata for Violin & Piano No 2 in A Major, Op 100
Shostakovich: Piano Quintet in G Minor, Op 57

Stephen Kovacevich

photo: David Thomson EMI Classics

Stephen Kovacevich

Stephen Kovacevich is one of the most searching interpreters.  As a pianist he has won unsurpassed admiration for his playing of Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart and Schubert.  In addition to his long and distinguished career as a soloist he has conducted for many years, winning warm praise for his work with orchestras throughout the world in repertoire from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

On 17 October 2010 Stephen Kovacevich celebrated his seventieth birthday with a concert at the Wigmore Hall, a venue he performed in for the first time over fifty years ago. Artists taking part in the concert included Martha Argerich and the Belcea Quartet.

Born in Los Angeles, Stephen Kovacevich made his concert debut as a pianist at the age of eleven.  When he was eighteen he moved to England to study with Dame Myra Hess.  His international reputation has been built both on his concert appearances, renowned for their thoughtfulness and re-creative intensity, and on the highly acclaimed recordings he has made throughout his career.

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Kovacevich has enjoyed two long-term relationships with recording companies, first Philips and then EMI.  Great projects of his work with EMI were a compelling series of Schubert Sonatas and a set of the 32 Beethoven Sonatas completed in 2003, hailed as one of the most authoritative ever recorded.  One critic described The Hammerklavier as: an unflinching, sometimes combative view of a titanic masterpiece, and a version to be spoken of in the same breath as those of Brendel, Gilels and Pollini...Kovacevich announces the music's potency from the first bar.
Kovacevich has recently released to unanimous critical praise Beethoven's Diabelli Variations for Onyx Classics, exactly forty years after his first recording of the work for Philips in 1968. The Financial Times wrote,…a temperamental, almost explosive approach that resonates with rhythmic and nervous energy but also leaves room for elegance, wit and introspection. Kovacevich's journey is always engrossing and never less than Beethovenian. This recording won the 2009 Classic FM Gramophone Editor's Choice Award.

Stephen Kovacevich has appeared with many of the world's finest orchestras and conductors including Colin Davis, Hans Graf, Bernard Haitink, Kurt Masur, Simon Rattle and Georg Solti.

Stephen Kovacevich is a committed chamber music player whose partners include Steven Isserlis, Gautier Capuçon, Renaud Capuçon, Kyung-wha Chung, Truls Mørk, Emmanuel Pahud and Anna Larsson.  Future concerts include partnerships with Alina Ibragimova (Brahms and Takemitsu - Wigmore Hall), Philippe Graffin (Brahms's Trio - Wigmore Hall), Khatia Buniatishvili (Wigmore Hall) and the Belcea Quartet (Brahms's Piano Quintet at the Bath MozartFest).

stephen's website

Tamsin Waley-Cohen

Tamsin Waley-Cohen

Described by The Times as a violinist "who held us rapt in daring and undaunted performances"  and by The Guardian as a performer of "fearless intensity", Tamsin Waley-Cohen performs as a soloist with orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra of St John's, London Concert Orchestra and London Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of the Swan, and the Brighton Philharmonic, under conductors including Andrew Litton, Jose Serebrier, Shlomo Mintz and Nicolae Moldoveanu. She has played at the Cadogan, Queen Elizabeth and Barbican halls in London, Symphony Hall Birmingham, Bridgewater Hall Manchester,  and in venues across the UK and the Continent. 

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This season will see performances at the Wigmore Hall and King's Place in London, as well as concerto and chamber music concerts in Italy, Holland, Germany, Spain, and Belgium, besides a CD recording for the  Champs Hill labels, with music based on 'Americans in Paris' in the twentieth century. For the 2012-2013 season she will be the Associate Artist with Orchestra of the Swan.

In demand as a recitalist, Tamsin's partners include Huw Watkins and Simon Crawford-Philips. She also regularly plays with cellist Gemma Rosefield, and has worked with artists such as Andreas Haefliger, Heinz Holliger and Anssi Kartonnen. She has premiered works by composers including Torsten Rasch and Richard Causton; recently she gave the premiere of a new "Concertino" written for her by Huw Watkins. She is also values her experience as a chamber musician and has formed the Honeymead Ensemble, now resident at the Tricycle Theatre in London as well as the Honeymead Festival on Exmoor. In its first four years it has included Adrian Brendel, Guy Ben-Ziony, Leon McCauley, Thomas Carroll, and Sarah-Jane Bradley. Tamsin has performed in many festivals - Cheltenham, Academia San Felice, Florence Chamber Music, The Red Violin, The Two Moors, Stift and Presteigne, three years ago making her American debut with the Mendelssohn Concerto in the Bowdoin Festival. This year she will be artist in residence at Frome Festival.

Tamsin Waley-Cohen was born in London in 1986. She became a Foundation Scholar, studying with Itzhak Rashkovsky, at the Royal College of Music where she won all available awards, including - twice - the concerto competition, and was their String Player of the Year in 2005. Numerous competition successes include winning the 2005 Royal Overseas League String Prize and the 2007 J&A Beare Bach competition.

Tamsin has been a regular participant at the International Musicians' Seminar at Prussia Cove since she was 16. She has also participated in master classes given by Ida Haendel, Igor Ozim, and Ruggiero Ricci, the latter describing her as "the most exceptionally gifted young violinist I have ever encountered."

From 2011 she has been the Artistic Director of London's Tricycle Theatre's Chamber Music Series, and of Music at the Bargello Chamber Music Festival in Florence, Italy.

Tamsin on the web

Mandhira de Saram

Mandhira de Saram

Mandhira de Saram  was born in London. After completing her primary education in Sri Lanka, she was awarded a music scholarship to North London Collegiate School where she completed her secondary education. She was also a Leverhulme Scholar at the Junior Royal Academy of Music where she performed both as a violinist and pianist, also taking classes in composition and conducting. Her violin teachers have included Igor Petrushevsky, Howard Davis and Levon Chilingirian.

Mandhira graduated with first class honours from the University of Oxford with a high first in performance and was the winner of the Worcester College Arts Prize for the highest result in an arts subject. Here she was the leader of several orchestras and chamber groups including Ensemble Isis which specialises in contemporary music.

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Working professionally as a freelance violinist, she appears frequently as soloist, chamber musician and orchestral violinist around the UK and abroad. 2011 saw international solo/duo tours in the USA, India and her country of origin, Sri Lanka. Other significant performances include venues such as the Sheldonian Theatre and Holywell Music Rooms in Oxford, Wotton House Series, Swaledale Festival and at various venues in London such as Cadogan Hall, The Forge Camden, Queen’s Gate Terrace Concert series, Rosslyn Hill Chapel and the Handel Room at the Foundling Museum. She also gave a recital of unaccompanied violin music at the Garden Court Barristers’ Chambers of Lincoln’s Inn. Her repertoire is varied consisting  of standard classical works as well as new and experimental repertoire often  involving collaborations with contemporary composers such as  Nirmali Fenn,  Gabriel Prokofiev  and  Deborah Pritchard.  She also collaborated with film/theatre composer  Jessica Dannheisser  and  Metta Theatre  on a multimedia installation (12 Dancing Princesses) commissioned by the Victoria and Albert Museum and recently recorded the soundtracks (composed by Dannheisser, scored for violin, cello, piano and synthesized sounds) for two short films which were released in spring 2011.

Mandhira is the founding member of the recently formed  Ligeti Quartet, a string quartet which is devoted to promoting 20th and 21st century music. They also specialize in improvisation and multimedia projects.

In the 2011-12 season, Mandhira has scheduled several performances within the UK and a busy schedule with her string quartet including tours in South-East China and Hong Kong.

mandhira's website

Laura van der Heijden

Laura van der Heijden

At the age of 15, cellist Laura van der Heijden was awarded the title of BBC Young Musican 2012, performing Walton's Cello Concerto with Kirill Karabits and the Northern Sinfonia at The Sage, Gateshead. 

Born in England as the youngest daughter of a Dutch father and a Swiss mother, Laura's musical studies started on recorder at the age of four. After learning with Marina Logie on cello, Laura had grade 8 distinctions on both cello and piano by the age of ten. 

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In 2005 Laura joined the Junior Department of the Royal College of Music, where she learns piano with Emily Jeffrey and participates in many ensembles. Since 2008 Laura has been a student of the renowned British-Russian cellist Leonid Gorokhov. In 2011 they performed together at the Brighton Festival and in Germany.

In 2010 she won "Erster Preis mit Auszeichnung" (full marks) and a special prize in the final of the Swiss National Youth Music Competition, which led to her performing the Boccherini Cello Concerto in G with the Zurich Kammer Orchestra at the Zurich Tonhalle in January 2011. She was also the 2011 winner of the Marjorie Humby competition at the Royal College of Music, 2011 Beckenham Musician of the Year and 2012 Woking Young Musician of the Year.

Laura's first public performance as a cellist was at the age of 9 with the Jupiter Chamber Orchestra. Since then, she has given many recitals and played with various orchestras. Recent performances include Elgar's Cello Concerto with Worthing Symphony Orchestra and Dvorak's Cello Concerto with Somerset County Youth Orchestra. 

Future engagements include performances of Walton's Cello Concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in Cadogan Hall and Dvorak's Cello Concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Colchester, Worthing and Woking Symphony orchestras, alongside recitals in London (Elgar Room, Royal Albert Hall) and Ashdown Music Festival. 

Laura plays a 1987 cello by Colin Irving.

laura's website

Krzysztof Chorzelski

Krzysztof Chorzelski

Krzysztof Chorzelski enjoys a diverse career as a performing musician that has taken him all over the world.

In 1992 he won the Wronski Solo Violin Competition in Warsaw and has performed as a recitalist and concerto soloist in Europe as well as made several radio recordings for the Polish Radio and the BBC. In 1996 he became the violist in the Belcea Quartet. He performs as guest with many other ensembles, such as the Alban Berg, Ysaye and Pavel Haas Quartets and his other chamber music partners include Stephen Kovacevich, Piotr Anderszewski and Natalie Clein.

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He is a viola professor at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama and regularly gives masterclasses in the UK, US, his native Poland and Israel.His viola and piano recital disc with Katya Apekisheva is due to be released next year on the Champs Hill Records Label.

Krzysztof is also pursuing a conducting career. His recording of Ittai Shapira’s Violin Concerto “Concierto Latino” with the London Serenata Orchestra and the composer as soloist has been released in May 2011 on the Champs Hill Records label.

krzysztof's website

Matan Porat

photo: Micha Kirshner

Matan Porat

Matan Porat’s artistic activity encompasses a wide spectrum of work as a pianist and composer. 

Matan Porat studied with Emanuel Krasovsky, Maria João Pires and Murray Perahia. He obtained his Master’s degree from the Juilliard School. Winner of the 2009 Prime Minister Award for composers, Porat studied composition with Ruben Seroussi and George Benjamin.

An avid chamber musician, Porat has participated in many distinguished festivals including the Marlboro, Ravinia, Verbier, Salzburg and Delft Festivals and the Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival. Other chamber appearances include performances with the Ysaÿe and Jerusalem Quartets, Dorothea Röschmann, Kim Kashkashian, Emmanuel Pahud and members of the Guarneri Quartet.

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Porat has appeared as soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and with all major symphony and chamber orchestras in Israel. He has also performed at such venues as Carnegie Hall in New York, Auditorium du Louvre in Paris, the Barbican in London, and the Alte Oper in Frankfurt. His varied concert programme includes Bach’s Goldberg Variations and 6 Partitas, as well as the two monumental Ives sonatas. A passionate performer of contemporary music, Porat has premiered works by Matthias Pintscher, Philippe Schoeller and Gideon Lewensohn, among others. In the 2010/11 season, Porat toured with Peter Brook’s production of Mozart’s Magic Flute, in a version for piano solo and 7 singers.

Porat’s works have been commissioned by Maria João Pires, Kim Kashkashian, Elena Bashkirova and the Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival, and the AICF’s Spring Competitions, with premieres at the Montpellier, Schleswig-Holstein and Menuhin Gstaad Festivals. David Orlowsky’s CD, featuring Porat’s “Lux Aeterna,” won the ECHO award in 2011; Porat’s piece „Whaam!“, recorded by David Greilsammer for Sony, was released in 2012. Among his performed pieces are an opera, “Animal Farm”; a Requiem; a mandolin concerto; and a musical theatre trilogy for an actor and ensemble based on stories by Kafka, Orwell and Thomas Mann.

Highlights of the 2012/13 season include performances at the Wigmore Hall in London and Kennedy Center in Washington, DC with Sharon and Ori Kam, two US tours with Musicians from Marlboro, and solo recitals in Paris, Verona, Japan and at La Roque d’Anthéron.

This season, Porat will record his debut CD - “Variations on a theme by Scarlatti,” a 60-minute programme of pieces from Couperin to Boulez which relate to Scarlatti’s Sonata K. 32 - for the Mirare label.

matan's website

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