George Ireland is a recent graduate of the University of Birmingham where he read music and majored in solo performance. He has studied under Trevor Cordwell in Colchester and Alexander Boyd in Birmingham, and is now training as an accompanist under Joseph Middleton in London.
He began to play the piano from scratch, self taught, at the age of fourteen, achieving grade five with distinction in two years and grade eight with distinction two years later. Soon after he was giving concerts throughout East Anglia, including in Braintree, Clacton, Colchester, Felixstowe and Long Melford. Notably before going to University he performed Schubert’s Fantasia in F Minor and Mozart’s rare Sonata for Two Pianos with Trevor Cordwell. In 2013 he won his local Rotary Club's Young Musician Competition and as a result gave his Concerto debut with the Clacton Concert Orchestra, performing Mozart’s 27th Piano Concerto. In 2014 he performed Mozart’s 25th Piano Concerto in Colchester with the St Botolph’s Music Society Orchestra to great acclaim, and in 2016 he won the University’s concerto competition, performing the Grieg Piano Concerto with the University Symphony Orchestra.
George became first choice of accompanist amongst staff and students in Birmingham, acting as repetiteur for the Summer Festival Opera during all three years of his degree as well as accompanying many student recitals, platforms and masterclasses. He accompanied all of the University’s choirs, including the University Chorus under Julian Wilkins, a position held for two years. He has also enjoyed a fruitful relationship with professional and community groups in Birmingham, including the CSBO Chorus and Youth Chorus, and Birmingham Opera Company. For two years he was, by invitation, the orchestral pianist in the CBSO Youth Orchestra as well as the University Philharmonic and Symphony Orchestras under conductors Cristian Măcelaru, Daniele Rosina, Michael Seal and Jac van Steen, and gave performances in Birmingham’s Symphony Hall and Town Hall. In London he accompanies the East London Chorus and has on occasion accompanied the award-winning chamber choir Pegasus.
In September George will begin studying a masters degree at the Royal College of Music, specialising in piano accompaniment.
Rachel Fright is currently a Junior Fellow in Accompaniment at the Royal Northern College of Music, a role that she started in September 2017. Previously, she studied solo piano and accompaniment at the RNCM as a postgraduate student, after having completed a degree in Music at Pembroke College, Oxford, where she held the Instrumental Scholarship. During the course of her studies, Rachel was supported by the Helen Mackaness Award and studied with Stephen Savage and David Jones. Whilst at the RNCM, she won several prizes for accompaniment; the Stella Bradshaw Memorial Award, the Frost/Brownson Award for Accompaniment. the Clifton Helliwell Memorial Award, the Brodsky Prize, the Alexander Young Prize and the James Martin Oncken Song prize.
Rachel has a particular interest in vocal accompaniment, and has received regular song duo coaching from Julius Drake and performed with singers in venues across the country, including the Bridgewater Hall ‘Introducing’ series, the Leeds Lieder Festival, Buxton International Festival, the Stoller Hall, Didsbury Coffee Concerts, and the Sowerby Music concert series. In May 2015, she performed live on BBC Radio 3 as part of a Young Artists’ Day concert, and in October 2016 she was chosen to represent the RNCM at the prestigious Gerald Moore Award at the Henry Wood Hall, London.
Rachel is an alumna of the Oxford Lieder Festival Mastercourse, which she attended in October 2015, receiving tuition from Roger Vignoles, Imogen Cooper, Robert Holl and Ann Murray. Rachel is currently a musician for Live Music Now with duo partner Charlotte Badham (mezzo-soprano). She has been selected as a Leeds Lieder Young Artist for the 2018 Leeds Lieder Festival.
Appears at: Cheltenham
Composer Louis Mander studied at The Royal College of Music and The University of Birmingham. Making a name as an opera and film composer, Mander's inaugural double-bill The Mariner and The Clown of God was well reviewed at its premiere in Islington in 2011. Scenes from his full-length opera The Life to Come, to a libretto by actor and writer Stephen Fry based on an EM Forster short story, were performed to considerable acclaim at the Britten Theatre, London in July 2013.
In 2013 he was commissioned by Opera@Chilmark, Salisbury to write an English Folk Opera Wild Edric based on the 11th Century hero, using traditional folksongs and the opera received its premiere in August of this year.
His first ballet score, The Tarot received its US premiere in October 2013 given by Sarasota Ballet, Florida, for whom it was commissioned. He was commissioned by Cantata Dramatica, alongside two other composers to provide a triptych of cantatas to celebrate the building and consecration of Ely Cathedral, which was premiered in Grantham in September 2014 and will be performed again in 2016 in Ely.
Mander provided the soundtrack for the film My Beautiful White Skin, by award winning director Stuart Gatt for 6th International Films in Summer 2014, which is set for release in 2015.
The Austrian Cultural Forum in London commissioned Mander to compose a song cycle to commemorate the anniversary of the First World War, by setting the AustrianWar Poet, Georg Trakl's verse to music, which was premiered in November 2014.
Mander provided the score to an operatic interpretation of M. R James' evocative ghost story Oh, Whistle and I'll come to you, my lad which was premiered at the Tête à Tête Opera Festival 2015, Kings Place, London.
His three act opera Beowulf was received to great acclaim in August 2016 in a collaboration between Opera at Chilmark and Cantata Dramatica, who commissioned the work in 2015. Mander's comic opera The Dowager's Oyster was produced at the Arcola Theatre in August 2016 and then for an unprecedentedly successful second London run in November at the So & So Arts Club Theatre, starring Dr. Evadne Hinge in the title role.
In June 2017 Belsize Opera produced Mander's First World War opera double-bill The Fallen Soldier, setting Ivor Gurney's poetry to music, at St. Peter's Belsize Park, London. It was subsequently toured to the Cheltenham Playhouse in July.
Surrey Opera produced Mander's two act opera The Life to Come, (based on a short story by EM Forster) with libretto by actor and writer Stephen Fry in a world premiere touring production on September 28th 2017 which received many plaudits from critics and audience alike. The opera was also produced by the Oslo Opera Festival at the Oslo Opera House in October 2017.
Appears at: Moffat
Katharine Durran has developed highly acclaimed parallel careers as solo pianist, exponent of new music, chamber musician and song accompanist.
She gave her first concerto performance in Edinburgh at the age of 11. After reading Music at St Catharine's College, Cambridge, she studied at the Royal College of Music under Kendall Taylor and Geoffrey Parsons. More recent studies have been with Joyce Rathbone.
For ten years she was pianist of the award-winning group Tapestry. Her other ensembles include Onyx (clarinet, 'cello and piano) and the Giovanni Piano Trio.
Highlights of recent seasons have included trio concerts with former BBC Young Musicians of the Year David Pyatt and Rafal Zambrzycki-Payne, recitals with violinists Madeleine Mitchell and Gina McCormack and the complete Beethoven 'cello sonatas with Sebastian Comberti.
She has had a duo partnership with ‘cellist Veronica Henderson since their childhood together in Edinburgh. Her recital programme with Stephen Stirling, The Romantic French Horn, has proved a popular favourite, as has her Two Piano Duo KDKDK with Kirsteen Davidson Kelly, performing programmes including works such as Holst’s The Planets, Debussy’s En Blanc et Noir, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.
Other recent projects include performing late Beethoven alongside J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations and the commissioning of three new extended settings for mezzo and piano of the poetry of Friedrich Rückert. Her groundbreaking enterprise with Alison Smart of the BBC Singers, New French Song, has involved working with twenty of Britain’s leading composers, and has resulted in the creation of a whole new song recital repertoire for the 21st century.
Her many CD recordings with singers have been highly acclaimed. Her debut solo album was a much praised recording of the complete Toccatas of J.S.Bach, and led to her featuring in three Piano Magazine symposiums, discussing J.S. Bach, British piano music and issues relating to women pianists of today.
As the commissioner of new works for solo piano and for ensembles she has performed numerous premières on BBC Radio 3 and on television, as well as discussing the rôle of song accompanist in today’s musical society. Tracks from her CDs have often been featured on BBC radio programmes, including Night Waves, Composer of the Week, In Tune, Midnight Oil and Private Passions.
Kate is also an accomplished choral conductor. She has a busy teaching practice in her home town of Moffat, as well as running choirs and singing groups for all ages.
Appears at: Inverness
Robin was born and brought up in Edinburgh, and read music at the University of Edinburgh, graduating with a first class BMus degree and studying piano with Audrey Innes and Richard Beauchamp. Moving to London as a postgraduate, Robin studied on the highly regarded piano accompaniment course at the Royal Academy of Music, also obtaining an LRAM in instrumental teaching. Whilst at the Academy, Robin was taught by Michael Dussek, Malcolm Martineau and Graeme Humphrey, and was awarded one of the prestigious Musicians Benevolent Fund prizes for accompanists.
Since returning to Scotland in 2006, Robin has developed a varied career as pianist, teacher, conductor and church musician. He has worked widely as a pianist for auditions, workshops, and festivals for such organisations as NYCOS, NYOS, Scottish Opera Education, and Cappella Nova, and as a founding member of the chamber trio Vocali3e, was featured in Creative Scotland’s curated showcase “Made in Scotland”, later commissioning, premiering, and recording Jennifer Margaret Barker’s Burns song cycle, A Lassie’s Love. Having fulfilled a long-held dream to move to the Highlands, Robin formed Cairngorms Music in 2016. He continues to perform throughout the UK, and has recently played at the Royal National Mod, and for festivals in Inverness, Badenoch and Strathspey, and Lochaber. Also in demand as a writer, Robin has authored programme notes for the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, National Youth Orchestras of Scotland and the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra.
Choral music has played a central role in Robin’s working life over the past decade.He is a former musical director of Eastwood Choral Society, Cumbernauld Choir and Cunninghame Choir, and in addition to conducting numerous works from the main canon of sacred choral music, he has become known for his innovative approach to concert programming and has shown a notable commitment to contemporary music in performances of large-scale pieces by composers such as Bob Chilcott, Peter Maxwell Davies, Karl Jenkins and Will Todd. He directed the world premiere of Maciej Granat’s Requiem in Ayrshire in May 2015. Robin is currently Organist and Choirmaster at Old High church in Inverness, and musical director of two thriving community groups, The Inverness Singers and Ness Sinfonia. As a keen cyclist and
outdoors obsessive, as well as an art-song fanatic, he is delighted to be playing a part in Song Cycle 2018, and looks forward to performing alongside David Jones on the Inverness leg of his end-to-end journey.
Appears at: Perth
Juliette Philogène was awarded the highest Prize at Virtuoso level at 16, performing Beethoven First Concerto at Pian'Austral International Piano Competition. Two years later, in 2005 she achieved her Scientific French Baccalauréat and obtained her Licentiate of the Royal Schools of Music with Distinction.
She then studied with French pianist Désiré N'Kaoua's at Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris. She was simultaneously offered a full scholarship at the RSAMD (now RCS) in Glasgow.
Juliette obtained her Bachelor of Music with Honours of the First Class in 2009 after studying with Philip Jenkins then Jonathan Plowright. She performed in masterclasses with Steven Osbourne, Jean-Philippe Collard, Professor Zolinsky, Professor Gruzman from Leipzig Conservatory, John Thwaites, Aaron Shorr and Fali Pavri.
Juliette was accepted on the prestigious Live Music Now! Scotland scheme in 2009. She performs regularly around Scotland, England and Wales, on tour, in festivals, universities and varied recitals.
In 2010, Philogène was invited by the WAM Foundation to work in Mumbai schools over the Summer. She graduated her Masters in Music performance in July 2011 with Distinction.
Her regular contact with several audiences - including children and adults with complex needs, severe mental and physical disabilities - through Live Music Now! and through an enriching trip to India inspired Juliette to strengthen her knowledge on music and its effects. Eager to feed her passion for psychology and bridge music together with science, she enrolled the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Masters in 2011; Philogène graduated in July 2013 and obtained the Masters of Science as a Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapist with Distinction.
Philogène is committed to new music, having premiered and recorded several contemporary composers' works: Rory Boyle's Pour Béatrice, Jennifer Martin's By-cicle commissioned by LMN! Scotland for Philogene and Langton duo. She was a member of the RCS Music Lab which took part in the ecat festival playing Stockhausen Aus Dem Sieben Tagen in Edinburgh at the McEwen Hall.