Norwegian cellist Jonathan Aasgaard is one of UK’s most versatile cellists, as soloist, chamber musician, studio musician, orchestral principal, teacher and explorer of new music.
Jonathan was appointed Principal Cello of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in 1999 and has since performed more than 40 works for cello and orchestra with the RLPO. He is regularly invited as a guest principal with several leading British and European orchestras and is principal cello of the John Wilson Orchestra. A dedicated teacher, Aasgaard is Professor of Cello at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.
Chamber music performances have taken him around Europe, the Middle East, Japan, South Korea and the USA including a range of leading festivals collaborating with artists such as violinists Nigel Kennedy, Henning Kraggerud and Julian Rachlin, violist Laurence Power, cellists Yo Yo Ma and Giovanni Sollima, pianists Simon Trpceski, Boris Giltberg, Joanna Mac Gregor and clarinettist Martin Fröst. He’s a member of the exiting UK based Pixels Ensemble and the Ulster based chamber group the Fews.
His recordings include an album of transcriptions for cello and piano with Ian Buckle (MSR Classics); the CD 'From Jewish Life' (Avie) with the RLPO and Gerard Schwarz, which includes music for cello and orchestra by Bloch, Bruch, Schwarz and David Diamond; an album of music by Carl Davis for cello and orchestra with the Philharmonia; a recording of Brahms' cello sonatas with Martin Roscoe (Avie) which was ‘Editor’s Choice’ for chamber music in the Gramophone Magazine; the 3 Debussy Sonatas with the Pixels Ensemble (Rubicon) and the Korngold Sextet with the Sinfonia of London Chamber Ensemble (Chandos). Future recording projects include the Elgar and Walton cello concertos and the third violin sonata and the cello sonata by Grieg.
He has given numerous premieres, including the world premiere of Carl Davis' Ballade for cello and orchestra, the European premiere of Giovanni Sollima's double cello concerto, the UK premiere of Weinberg’s cello concerto, the US premiere of concertos by Franz Neruda and Emil Hartmann and world premieres of dozens of solo pieces of which many are written for him.
Jonathan plays a cello by Celeste Farotti, made in Milan in 1926.
Born in Moscow, into a family of musicians, she attended the Gnessin Music School for exceptionally gifted children making her stage debut at the age of 12. She continued her studies in Jerusalem at the Rubin Music Academy and later at the Royal College of Music in London.
From these auspicious beginnings she went on to be a Prize-winner of the Leeds International Piano competition and has gone on to enjoy a career performing with many of the world’s leading orchestras, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Halle Orchestra, the Moscow Philharmonic, the Jerusalem Symphony, the English Chamber Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, working with renowned conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle, David Shallon, Jan Latham-Koenig and Alexander Lazarev.
As a recording artist, Katya has received widespread critical acclaim for her interpretations from Gramophone Magazine’s Editor’s Choice award and International Piano Magazine’s Critics’ choice to Classic FM’s CD of the week as well as a Classical Brit award to name but a few. Katya’s discography includes solo and chamber works by Mussorgsky, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Dvorak and Rachmaninov.
Recent and future highlights include performances in Russia, Norway, Japan, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, Germany, Australia and at home in the UK, notably at Wigmore Hall where she is a regular presence. Her intense artistry and delicacy makes Katya a most sought after collaborative pianist, working with artists such as Janine Jansen, Natalie Clein, Maxim Rysanov, Jack Liebeck, Boris Brovtsyn, Alexei Ogrinchouk and Nicholas Daniel and she appears regularly at major chamber music festivals around the world. Katya also has a highly successful and personally rewarding piano duo partnership with Charles Owen, performing regularly at festivals worldwide. . Together they are co-Artistic Directors of the London Piano Festival which began in 2016.
The French viola player Hélène Clément has performed at a variety of world-renowned venues. These include the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Wigmore Hall in London, Carnegie Hall in New York, the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, the Gardner Museum in Boston, the Konzerthaus in Berlin, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Salle Cortot and the Cité de la Musique in Paris, and many other venues throughout Europe.
Her chamber music partners have included Nicolas Altstaedt, Jonathan Biss, Brett Dean, Richard Goode, Alina Ibragimova, Marie-Elisabeth Hecker, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Mitsuko Uchida and Peter Wispelwey, as well as the Brentano String Quartet and the Nash Ensemble.
Since September 2013, she has been the viola player of the Doric String Quartet. Recent highlights include performances at the Amsterdam Muziekgebouw, the Vienna Musikverein, Frankfurt Alte Oper, Hamburg Laeiszhalle and De Singel, and regular performances at the Wigmore Hall, and in many festivals such as Aldeburgh, Carinthischer Sommer, Delft,
Edinbrugh, Grafenegg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Musica Viva Sydney, Risør, Schwetzinger and West Cork Festivals. Further afield they have toured to Japan, Israel, Australia, America and New Zealand. Since 2010 the Quartet has recorded exclusively for Chandos Records.
Hélène is a regular guest at the prestigious Marlboro Music Festival in America, and Prussia Cove in England. She teaches viola and chamber music at the Royal Academy of Music in London.
She plays on Benjamin Britten’s viola made by Guissani in 1843, generously given on loan from the Britten-Pears Foundation
Simone van der Giessen
Simone van der Giessen was born in Amsterdam and moved to the UK in 2002 to continue her violin studies with Jan Repko at the Royal Northern College of Music. It was in Manchester, that as a founding member of the Navarra String Quartet, chamber music became the centre of her musical life. In 2004 she began studying viola with Predrag Katanic and after graduating in June 2006 with First Class Honours she won the RNCM’s CecilAronowitz Prize for viola and performed Walton’s concerto for viola with the RNCM Symphony Orchestra.
With the Navarra quartet, Simone has performed internationally for 16 years. There have been many highlights in her years with the Navarra quartet, a few of them performing in the Sydney Operahouse, playing at the Esterhazy castle, and studying with Ferenc Rados.
They have been awarded the MIDEM Classique Young Artist Award, a Borletti- Buitoni Trust Fellowship, a Musica Viva tour and prizes at the Melbourne, Florence and at the Banff International String Quartet Competition.
Simone is now a member of the Elias quartet. This quartet is steadily building a recording catalogue that has been met with widespread critical acclaim. They have recorded the Schumann and Dvorak piano quintets with Jonathan Biss, a Britten Quartets disc for Sonimage, a Mendelssohn disc for ASV Gold and most recently Schumann string quartets for Outhere. Their two mixed programme recordings for Wigmore Live were praised unanimously, the first winning a BBC Music Magazine Newcomers award. The final volume of their complete Beethoven Quartet Cycle had just been released. In 2020 they will return to the US with a Beethoven cycle apart from fulfilling a busy concert schedule across Europe.
Outside of the quartet, Simone is in much demand as a chamber musician and is frequently invited to perform with various musicians and ensembles such as the Nash ensemble, Britten Sinfonia, Ensemble 360, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.
Tim spends much of his time playing solo and chamber recitals throughout the UK and Europe and has played recitals many times in major London venues including Wigmore Hall, St John’s Smith Square, QEH, Cadogan Hall and Purcell Room. Following his most recent
Wigmore Hall recital Tim’s playing was described as “... compelling in every respect: probing, virtuosic and yielding by turns – a true example of outstanding musicianship.” (Musical Opinion).
He has recorded chamber music CDs for various labels, including recently for Deutsche Grammophon, Naxos, Chandos and Champs Hill. Tim is the cellist of the Rossetti Ensemble as well as a regular guest in other groups and collaborations. As an orchestral player Tim is Guest Principal Cello with major UK orchestras including the English Chamber Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, The John Wilson Orchestra and the Sinfonia of London.
Tim is Artistic Director of York Chamber Music Festival which he founded in 2013. He has collaborated with musicians such as Steven Isserlis, Angela Hewitt, Anthony Marwood and Philip Glass (recording the opera The Trial).
Tim is Cello Professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where he has a large class and also coaches chamber music. He teaches and coaches regularly on courses and festivals throughout the UK and Europe.
He plays a cello made by Carolus Tononi in Bologna in 1716.
In his orchestral playing John works as a guest leader with the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, BBC Concert Orchestra, London Mozart Players, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, RTE Concert Orchestra among others, notably as one of the leaders of the recently re-formed Sinfonia of London, conducted by John Wilson.
John is well known as a chamber musician and for 20 years has been the leader of the highly acclaimed Tippett Quartet, performing, and broadcasting across the UK and worldwide. He has recorded extensively, releasing 40 discs with the quartet for EMI, Decca, Somm, Naxos, Signum, Classic FM, Dutton and Guild record labels. Recent releases include highly acclaimed discs of Vaughan Williams and Mendelssohn string quartets for Somm, and Gorecki and Penderecki or Naxos.
As a concerto soloist John performs and broadcasts the major violin repertoire. Highlights include appearing with the English Chamber Orchestra and performing double concerti with Maxim Vengerov, and with Stephanie Gonley. Other solo appearances around the UK, include projects playing the Brahms, Elgar and Glazunov concertos. His global reach as a soloist includes performances at the Liszt Hall in Budapest and concerts across New Zealand, Other recent performances include Erollyn Wallen’s concerto grosso with the Refugee Orchestra.
John is leader of the major studio orchestras with whom his work includes leading soundtrack sessions for The Batman, Jurassic World, Nightmare Alley, Mathilda, Disney’s Little Mermaid and many others. John has worked closely with composers including Michael Giachinno, Marc Shaiman and Alan Menken. The Tippett Quartet is heavily featured on the soundtrack for the movie Knives Out by director Rian Johnson.
John plays on a c1720 violin by Francesco Goffriller of Venice.
British violinist Jonathan Stone is an internationally acclaimed chamber musician, soloist, concertmaster and director.
Jonathan was a member of the Doric String Quartet for 13 years. In this time, the quartet grew to become one of the world’s leading ensembles, recording 16 discs for Chandos Records and performing in most of the world’s finest concert halls such as New York’s Carnegie Hall, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Vienna Musikverein, Hamburg Elbphilharmonie and, closer to home, regular concerts at Wigmore Hall. He has collaborated with artists including John Adams, Nicolas Altstaedt, Jonathan Biss, Andreas Haefliger, Chen Halevi, Alina Ibragimova, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Richard Lester, Anthony Marwood, and Peter Wispelwey.
Jonathan is a founder member of the Phoenix Piano Trio. Described as ‘exquisitely sensitive’ by BBC Music Magazine, the Trio have recently commissioned and recorded Cheryl Frances-Hoad’sThe Forgiveness Machine for the Champs Hill label and Philip Venables’ Klaviertrio im Geiste for NMC Records. Acclaimed for their honest and insightful interpretations which span the entire genre, in 2019 the Trio will release the first in a series of recordings capturing the intense musical output from Leipzig in the 1840s that connected composers such as Mendelssohn, Brahms, the Schumanns and Niels Gade.
He is leader of the French orchestra Le Cercle de l’Harmonie which specialises in classical and early romantic repertoire performed on period instruments. Jonathan is in demand as guest leader and director in the UK and Europe. This season includes concerts as guest leader of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and guest Principal 2nd of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.
Jonathan’s violin was crafted by Raffaele and Antonio Gagliano of Naples in 1830 and he plays with bows made by Luis Emilio Rodriguez Carrington and Eugène Sartori.
William (Billy) Cole
William (Billy) Cole is Principal Double Bass (Section Leader) of The Hallé.
Billy was awarded a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music with Duncan McTier and Graham Mitchell, graduating in 2012 with first-class honours. During his time at the Academy, he was also a Leverhulme scholar in his final year. After graduating, he began to work with some of the top symphony orchestras in the UK.
In 2015, Cole was appointed as Principal Double Bass in the Ulster Orchestra. He worked as as Guest Principal in The Hallé, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and Singapore Symphony Orchestra. He is now the Principal Double Bass of The Hallé.
He has also coached the double bass section of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and was made an Associate at the Royal Academy of Music in London in 2018.
Aside from playing in symphony orchestras, Cole is a keen enthusiast for both chamber music, with performances in major venues such as Wigmore Hall. He is also a keen advocate of contemporary music, having had numerous works written for him to premiere.