The Zorya Guitar Duo was founded in 2014 while Antonio Persak and Borna Kuca were both studying in Croatia at the prestigious Varazdin School of Music. Antonia and Borna quickly cultivated a musical chemistry that has resulted in a dynamic and exciting performance style.
Brass Ensemble from Germany
Praised for her ‘flawless and accomplished’ performances (Peterborough Telegraph) and ‘honest and genuine music-making’ (D’Addario Competition), Gillian Blair enjoys a varied career as a classical saxophonist, chamber musician and educator.
Restarting our Friday Lunchtime season we welcome back Simon and Philip. Just £5 on the door at 12:30. Come along and be part of our musical tradition!
Savva's most recent performances include a concert with the Halle orchestra at Manchester's Bridgewater Hall, performance with the RNCM symphony orchestra in Montepulciano, Italy, and other concerts with orchestras throughout the UK.
Yorkshire pianist and composer Neil Crossland began playing the piano at the age of six and studied at the Royal College of Music, where he won major prizes in both piano and composition. Since then he has performed extensively at home and abroad, and written pieces in all genres.
Anna graduated at the Royal College of Music in 2018, and studied with Natalia Lomeiko. During her studies at RCM, she regularly participated in chamber masterclasses and orchestral concerts, with conductors such as Bernard Haitink and Vladimir Ashkenazy.
Formed in 2013, the Meraki Duo enjoys exploring the diversity of repertoire available to the flute-guitar pairing while contributing arrangements of their own.
Maria Stratigou was born in Athens. She began her piano studies at the age of seven with Sofia Mouratoglou,later with Christos Papageorgiou, and then at the Conservatory of Athens with Aliki Vatikioti-Farrant.
She graduated in June 2007 winning the first prize of the Conservatory. She continued her postgraduate studies at the RSAMD with Jonathan Plowright (PGDip in Performance with Distinction) and Fali Pavri (MMus in Performance), being a scholar of the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation. In 2010, she finished the PGDip Advanced Accompaniment Course with Distinction under the guidance of Fali Pavri.
Maria is currently a first year PhD in Performance student at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) under the supervision of Dr Barbara Kelly, Dr David Jones and Dr Simon Clarke, with scholarships from the RNCM and the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation
Mezzo soprano Imogen Garner is increasingly in demand as an operatic and concert performer. Most recently she covered Paulina in The Winter’s Tale at English National Opera. In 2016 she covered Lulu’s mother in Berg’s Lulu and sang the role of the Mother in a workshop performance of Nico Muhly’s Marnie at ENO. In previous years Imogen has covered 2 roles in Martinu’s Julietta and has sung excerpts of the lead role in a new Opera written by James Ellis and Louis de Bernieres at the Hay Festival on behalf of ENO. She joined the Extra Chorus of ENO in The Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and The Mastersingers of Nuremburg.
Imogen will shortly be returning to the Buxton Festival for her fourth year to cover Florence Pike in Britten’s Albert Herring. She has previously covered Orfeo in Orfeo, Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor and Irene in Tamerlano. In 2015 she sang the roles of Elise, La Glaneuse and La Premiere in Charpentier’s Louise at the Festival and she has sung the mezzo soprano solos in the BBC Radio 4 Morning Service broadcasts for the past three years.
Imogen has performed very regularly with Heritage Opera singing the following roles Third Lady in The Magic Flute, Giovanna in Rigoletto, Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Annina in La Traviata and Marcellina in The Marriage of Figaro.
In 2014 Imogen toured with Swansea City Opera and Young Opera Venture singing Marcellina in The Marriage of Figaro. She returned to Scottish Opera to join the Chorus in a concert performance of Turandot. She has previously performed Madama Butterfly and Lucia di Lammermoor with SO. Imogen sang Lucia in Cavalleria Rusticana for Opera Seria at the RNCM and in 2013 she played Mrs Grose in The Turn of the Screw for Steel Opera and Martha in The Flying Dutchman for Focus Opera.
Imogen sings regularly with Choral Societies all over the UK and has performed alongside the Manchester Camerata. She is an accomplished recitalist and has performed widely in the North including at the Bridgewater Hall. A graduate of Economics from Sheffield University, Imogen studied as a postgraduate at the RNCM.
Born in 1998, Fangbin Xia is a classical pianist currently in her third year of study at the Royal Northern College of Music under the tutelage of Sally Ann Macleod.
Fangbin regularly appears in festivals and concert series across the U.K, e.g. New Music North West in RNCM, Manchester King Street festival, Manchester Histories festival, Piano duet concert in Cross street Chapel, Viola duo concert in sheffield Cathedral, She has also Given recital in Manchester Cathedral, Stokesley Methodist Church,and Edinburgh St.Giles’Cathedral.Her Performances has been published on many of websites and newspaper such as CHLNews and Mancunian matters.
Fangbin loves to play different genres of music. As well as classical music she has also performed jazz, contemporary piano and pop keyboard.
Sarah graduated with a first class degree and performance diploma from the Royal Northern College of Music and Manchester University where she studied the flute as a scholarship student. She studied with Richard Davies (BBC Philharmonic), Linda Verrier and Jo Boddington (Hallé).
As a chamber musician, Sarah is a member of The Sterling Trio (flute, clarinet and piano) with whom she has performed throughout the UK since 2006, including giving recitals in London at St. James’s Piccadilly, St. Martin-in-the-Fields and Queen Elizabeth Hall, for Leeds International Concert Season, the Association of European Conservatoires and for the Concordia Foundation. Sarah also plays in the Da Capo Duo (flute and classical guitar), which, since 2003, has given over 100 concerts for many of Britain’s music clubs and societies including Oundle International Festival and Lake District Summer Music. Between 2010-11 the Duo was also part of the prestigious Countess of Munster’s Recital Scheme.
Freelance performing work frequently includes performing with orchestras including the British Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Mozart Orchestra and Skipton Camerata as well as music theatre companies. Sarah has also performed at the Houses of Parliament as well as being filmed for the Real Housewives of Cheshire!
Sarah works more broadly as a musician, leader, composer and teacher in variety of fields including music in healthcare, music in the community, music in education, music in criminal justice and collaborative cross-art form projects with organisations including Manchester International Festival, Manchester Camerata, Streetwise Opera and Music in Prisons. As the Creative Director of Tram Tracks - a creative composition project conceived by Sarah and delivered in partnership with the Bridgewater Hall - Sarah engaged nearly 100 community and education groups across Greater Manchester for the 25th birthday of the tram network. Sarah also lectures at The University of Manchester and the RNCM, and designs and delivers artist development training for TiPP and Chetham’s School of Music.
Lauren Turner completed her Undergraduate and Postgraduate studies at the Royal Northern College of Music where she studied solo piano and piano accompaniment with John Gough. A former pupil of Chetham’s School of Music, Lauren now performs regularly throughout the country as a soloist, accompanist and chamber musician.
As a member of The Sterling Trio (flute, clarinet and piano – www.thesterlingtrio.com), Lauren was a finalist in the Tunnell Trust Music Club Awards Scheme and with UK Young Artists. The Trio were also finalists in the Park Lane Group Young Artists Concert New Year Series and as part of this, gave a recital at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London. Recent performances have included recitals at St. James's Piccadilly London, The Leeds International Concert Season and a tour through Enterprise Music Scotland. Committed to expanding the repertoire for their instrumental combination, the Trio has collaborated with distinguished British composer Howard Blake OBE, to create and première a selection of new works at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London, as artists with the Concordia Foundation.
Programme includes works by Charles Trenet arr. Roland Dyens , Astor Piazzolla, arrangements by Craig Ogden, Legnani , Albeniz and Rodrigo
Sam Rodwell completed his undergraduate at The Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester with a first class honours degree under the tutelage of Craig Ogden. Sam went on to complete his Masters in performance also at the RNCM with a distinction. The college subsequently appointed him as an 'Associate Guitar Teacher' after excelling over a six year period . In his very first term as an undergraduate he won the String Department 'Salon Prize' making him the first guitarist to win this competition for nearly 30 years. Also during his first year at music college Sam was offered the opportunity to perform on guitar, banjo and ukulele in Shostakovich's rarely performed ‘Paradise Moscow’. In his fourth year he went on to attain a place as a finalist in the highly prestigious ‘Gold Medal’ competition. He has similarly appeared as a finalist in the Ivor Mairants Guitar Competition and The Royal Overseas League strings sectional.
Sam has given many recitals in some of the most recognised concert halls in the U.K. including a solo performance for 1500 people at the De Montford Hall (Leicester), St Martins-in-the-Fields, Bridgewater Hall, RNCM Concert Hall, Buxton Pavilion and many more. He has also featured at many festivals including the 'World Saxophone Congress' in Zagreb, Croatia, where he premiered a new work with his Saxophone and guitar duo (Duo Antipodes), a solo recital at 'Hellys international Guitar Festival', The Cardiff Guitar Festival, Craig Ogden's Big Guitar Weekend, Winchester Festival, World Youth Guitar Festival and RibFest. In 2016 he made his television debut on Sky Arts whilst taking part in ‘Guitar Star’ making it to the final 8 and being featured in 6 out of 9 episodes. Sam has also been an ambassador for Yamaha (U.K.) in promoting their classical guitar range. He has performed in masterclasses for artists including David Russell, Mark Ashford, Chris Stell, Milos Karadaglic, Gary Ryan, Michael Lewin, Gordon Crosskey and Julian Byzantine.
Sam's love of chamber music has led him to perform with many different ensembles, covering repertoire from the renaissance to the 21st century. He has had notable success performing many concerts with the ‘Roth Guitar Duo’ with Emma Smith. Sam has performed with a number of British orchestras, including the Manchester Camerata featuring a performance with the world famous accordionist Martynas Levickis.
Sam plays a 2006 Christopher Dean guitar.