Behn Quartet

Kate Oswin and Alicia Berendse – violins, Lydia Abell – viola, Ghislaine McMullin – violoncello

The Behn Quartet stayed with us just before Easter in March 2016.

"All women together ought to let flowers fall upon the tomb of Aphra Behn which is, most scandalously but rather appropriately, in Westminster Abbey, for it was she who earned them the right to speak their minds.” (Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own)

The Behn Quartet is a newly-founded string quartet made of four players from England, Wales, The Netherlands, and New Zealand. Their commitment to each other extends far beyond the practice room, creating highly engaging and emotionally-involved performances. The quartet wanted to take the name of an inspiring and strong female figure, and for them Aphra Behn, the seventeenth-century playwright and poet, philanthropist of the arts, feminist, spy and political activist, was the perfect choice.

Currently studying at the Royal Academy of Music, 2015/16, the Behn Quartet combines an intense passion for chamber music with a love of exploring new perspectives across centuries of music. Recent engagements include working with Oliver Knussen on a CD of works centred around Stravinsky, to be released on Linn Records early next year. They have filmed for the NHK World (Japan) lecture series on Mozart, working with Professor Timothy Jones, and have taken part in masterclasses with the Fine Arts Quartet, Doric Quartet, Levon Chilingirian, and their principal mentor Martin Outram of the Maggini Quartet. They were also part of the official 40th Anniversary celebrations of Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, featured on the BBC and in other news outlets worldwide, including a glowing review in Rolling Stone magazine.

Upcoming performances include recitals at the Guiting Music Festival, Norfolk & Norwich Festival, and West Cork Chamber Music Festival, as well as for the Freemasons Guild, and an ongoing partnership with Christ Church Library, Oxford.

Concert Friday 25 March 2016

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Divertimento in F KV138

Ludwig van Beethoven: String Quartet No. 10 in E flat major, Op. 74 ‘Harp’

Maurice Ravel: String Quartet in F major

The Brel Song Academy

Amanda Roocroft (soprano), Joseph Middleton (piano)

In 2016 pianist Joe Middleton teamed with soprano Amanda Roocroft to run a Lieder Course for young singers and pianists at Brel. For this pilot project three sopranos and two pianists attended daily one-to-one sessions to improve technique and build repertoire.

Belgian soprano Charlotte Schoeters just finished at the Royal Academy Opera in London with Lillian Watson and James Baillieu. In September (2016) she sang the role of Ms. Julian in the 2016 British Youth Opera production of Benjamin Britten’s Owen Wingrave at the Peacock Theatre in London.

After finishing her diplomas in piano performance (Conservatoire de Strasbourg) and musicology (CNSMDP), Juliette Sabbah completed her masters in accompanying at the Royal Academy of Music in London with James Baillieu and Malcolm Martineau. Last summer she was the répétiteur for a production of Ravel’s L’heure espagnole and Humperdinck’s Hansel und Gretel.

Regina Gössel studied singing in Leipzig at the Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdi Hochschule für Musik, and then sang for many years at the opera chorus in Zwickau Gewandhaus. In the UK she has performed principal roles in operas with semi-professional organisations, and a number of concerts in churches.

Lucinda Scott is from the Wirral in England and grew up learning the violin, piano, oboe and eventually singing. She has recently graduated with a first class honours degree from Birmingham Conservatoire and is now contining her studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Concert Saturday 9 July 2016

Britten: Tell me the truth about love

Schumann: Widmung, Erstes Grün, Melancholie, Die Spinnerin,    Singet nicht in Trauertönen  

Strauss: Allerseelen

Poulenc: Mon cadavre est doux comme un gant, Violon, Fleurs

Fauré: Clair de lune

Schubert: Liane, Ellens Zweiter Gesang

Mompou: Damunt de tu nomes les flors

Schumann: Zigeunerliedchen I & 11, Kennst du das Land

Grieg: Solveigs Lied     

Walton: Three Edith Sitwell Songs - Daphne, Through Gilded Trellises, Old Sir Faulk

Ravel: Cinq melodies populaires grecques, Chanson de la mariee, Là-bas, vers l’église, Quel galant m’est comparable, Chanson des cueilleuses de lentisque, Tout gai!          

Emily Garland, Julien van Mellaerts & Gamal Khamis

Emily Garland (soprano), Julien Van Mellaerts (baritone), Gamal Khamis (piano)

English soprano Emily Garland is from Somerset and has studied at the Royal Academy of Music, and Royal Academy Opera, where she has sung the roles of Suor Angelica (Suor Angelica), and the Countess (Le Nozze Di Figaro). She was a Ferrier semi-finalist this year. Most recently, she appeared on Radio 3’s ‘In Tune’ singing Liszt songs and promoting the Richard Lewis Song Circle recital at Wigmore Hall, in which she performed.

New Zealand baritone, Julien Van Mellaerts is in his first year of the Royal College of Music International Opera School. Before moving to London, Julien studied music and languages at the University of Otago. This summer he performed the role of Schaunard in La Boheme at Opera Holland Park.

Gamal Khamis studied mathematics at Imperial College London, and then music at the Royal College of Music. He first performed at the Wigmore Hall at the age of 10, and now pursues a varied career as a soloist and chamber musician. He is a member of the Lipatti piano quartet.

Concert Tuesday 2 August 2016

Fauré: Nell, Automne

Ravel: Le Paon

Debussy: Ballade de Villon à s’amye,  Ballade des Femmes de Paris

Strauss: Four songs op 27

Chopin: Ballade No 3 op 4

Mahler: Two songs from Das Knaben Wunderhorn

Britten:  On this Island

Korngold: Mein Sehnen, mein Wähnen, from Die Tote Stadt

Verdi: Pace mio dio, from La Forza del Destino

Brel Opera House Party

Kate Valentine (soprano), Jonathan Gunthorpe, Damian Thantrey (baritones), Caroline Dowdle (piano)

Kate studied singing in Glasgow and at the National Opera Studio. She has performed regularly at English National Opera, Glyndebourne, and Opera North. It is her birthday today (as well as her fourth appearance at Brel), so she will be giving a euphonium recital during drinks.

Jonathan studied English and Russian at Leeds, and then music at the Royal College and the National Opera Studio, before singing roles at Covent Garden, La Scala, and La Monnaie in Brussels. He is a dab hand in the kitchen and is partial to a Negroni.

Damian read Law at Cambridge before seeing the light and studying at the Royal College of Music. He has a wide repertoire, performing at Covent Garden, the Chatelet in Paris, and for Opera North. He supports Liverpool Football Club, but this has no bearing on the final item tonight.

Caroline was born in South Africa, but studied music in the UK at the Royal Northern College. She is much in demand as an accompanist and vocal coach, working at the Royal Opera House, the Royal College, the Verbier Festival, and the Samling Foundation. Again, this is her fourth appearance at Brel, having co-founded the Academy of French Song and Opera, which has held a course here in each of the last 3 years. She is an accomplished knitter.

Concert Friday 12 August 2016

Ravel: Réveille-toi

Dvorak: The Cuckoo

Butterworth: When I was one and twenty, Is my team ploughing?          

Finzi: Fear no more the heat o’ the sun     

Musgrave: Man in the mune, Bairn’s prayer at nicht

Vaughan Williams: Silent Noon               

Ravel:  Don Quichotte à Dulcinée

Puccini:  O mio babbino caro

Kern: The way you look tonight

Lehar: I’m off to chez Maxime, Love unspoken

Novello: And her mother came too

Lerner: I could have danced all night

Offenbach: The bold gendarmes

Mozart: Ah taci ingiusto core, from Don Giovanni

Emma Stannard and Keval Shah

Emma Stannard (mezzo soprano), Keval Shah (piano)

Cumbrian mezzo-soprano Emma Stannard, after studying at The Royal Northern College and spending two years in the Glyndebourne chorus, is now with Royal Academy Opera. This year she has sung Poppea in L'Incoronazione di Poppea (Monteverdi), and next year will perform in Alcina (Handel) and Orfee aux Enfers (Offenbach). She also looks forward to Minerva in performances of Il ritorno d'Ulisse (Monteverdi) at the Grange Festival. 

Keval Shah is a pianist from London He was awarded a first class degree at Cambridge, and now studies with Michael Dussek and Audrey Hyland at the Royal Academy of Music. He was a finalist in the 2016 Royal Overseas League Competition, and won the Accompanist Prize at the 2016 Elena Gerhardt Lieder Competition. This autumn Keval will make his debuts at St Martin in the Fields and at the Oxford Lieder Festival.

Concert Thursday 25 August 2016

Maurice Ravel: Kaddisch

Eduard Grieg: Sechs Lieder

Robert Schumann: 5 Gedichte von Königin Maria Stuart, op 135

Manuel de Falla: Siete Canciones populares Españolas

Copland: Old American Songs (Long Time Ago, Ching-a-ring Chaw)

The Ferio Saxophone Quartet

Huw Wiggin (sop), Ellie McMurray (alt), José Bañuls (ten), Shevaughan Beere (bar)

The award-winning Ferio Saxophone Quartet is emerging as one of the leading British saxophone quartets among the new generation, receiving enthusiastic reactions from audiences and critics. Winners of the 2015 Royal Over-Seas League’s Ensemble Competition, the Quartet has been awarded several other awards, including the Philharmonia Orchestra/Martin Musical Scholarship Ensemble Award 2015, Tunnell Trust 2014, Park Lane Group Artists 2016, and St John’s Smith Square Young Artists 2017.

In 2016 Ferio will be making appearances at the Edinburgh Fringe, Brighton, Newbury and Petworth Festivals and debuts at Wigmore Hall and St John's Smith Square, London. Next year they will be at Lichfield and Church Stretton festivals.

The quartet have been working closely with composer Guillermo Lago on his collection of 'Ciudades' pieces and are the first quartet to record his new compositions “Köln” and “Tokyo". Ferio released their debut album in January 2016 featuring the music of Lago, Bach, Elgar, Français, Grieg and Tchaikovsky. This first recording from Ferio brings together original works for saxophone quartet and transcriptions of familiar works by prominent classical composers.

Concert Friday 2 September 2016

J. S. Bach: Prelude and Fugue in G Minor (arr. Ferio)

Gabriel Pierné: Introduction and Variations

Michael Nyman: Two movements from String QuartetNo 2 (arr. Roach)

Isaac Albéniz: Cádiz (arr. Ferio)

Jean Rivier: Grave et Presto

Ferenc Farkas: Old Hungarian Dances

Jean Françaix: Petit Quatuor

Willem van Merwijk (Guillermo Lago):Three movements from Ciudades

Maxwell Quartet

Colin Scobie, George Smith (violins), Elliott Perks (viola), Duncan Strachan (cello)

Hailed as “one of the front-runners” in young UK ensembles (Classical Music Magazine, 2013) the Maxwell Quartet are rapidly emerging as a dynamic and exciting force in the chamber music world.

The quartet, comprised of British musicians, was formed in 2010 at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where its founding members met as postgraduate students.  Upon winning the major chamber music prizes, in 2011 they were selected as the Royal Conservatoire's first ever Young Artists in Residence/Junior Fellows in Chamber Music. They have since been selected as Park Lane Group Young Artists, Tunnell Trust Artists, and Quartet in Residence at St.Anne's College, Oxford. Their busy concert diary has included performances at the Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room, St.Martin-in-the-Fields, and a series of the late Schubert Quartets at Perth Concert Hall in Scotland. 

Recent collaborations have included working with the acclaimed Canadian cinematographer, Herman Kolgen and a producing a co-choreographed performance with the Royal Ballet School and the London Studio Centre Ballet, culminating in performances at Sadler's Wells in June 2016.

Concert Wednesday 21 September 2016

Joseph Haydn: String Quartet in B flat, Op.76 no.4, "Sunrise"

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: String Quartet in D major K575 "Prussian"

Ludwig Van Beethoven: String Quartet in E Flat Op.127 Maestoso - Allegro