CATRIN FINCH – HARP
"Catrin has done more than anyone in harp history to bring her instrument to a wider public. She is a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon who has such a mastery of her instrument, combined with deep musical insight, that others pale in comparison.” - Andrew Wright, project director Fletching
International Welsh harpist, Catrin Finch, is one of the most accomplished harpists of her generation, delighting audiences with her performances in the UK and worldwide. Inspired to learn the harp at the age of five, her rise to prominence started almost immediately when, studying under Elinor Bennett, she achieved the highest mark in the UK for her Grade 8 exam at the age of nine. After studying at the Purcell School, Catrin went on to graduate from the Royal Academy of Music in 2002 where she studied with Skaila Kanga and received the Queen’s Award for the most outstanding student of her year. In 2000 – 2004, she had the honour of reviving the ancient tradition of Royal Harpist to H.R.H, the Prince of Wales, last held in 1873.
Since then, she has appeared with the world’s top orchestras around the world and recorded for most of the major international recording companies. Since her first recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations for the Deutsche Grammophon label in 2007, she has recorded three further albums for the label including the best selling ‘Blessing’, which featured her own composition ‘Celtic Concerto’ and works by multi-award-winning composer John Rutter.
In 2013 Catrin Finch collaborated with Senegalese kora player Seckou Keita on a record celebrating the harp traditions of Wales and West Africa, which won the 20114 Album of the Year in both Froots and Songlines magazines, and sitting atop the World Music charts for a number of weeks. Catrin and Seckou toured the album, entitled ‘Clychau Dibon’, in Europe and the U.S. to rave reviews.
2015 saw the release of Catrin’s new self-composed album entitled ‘Tides’ on her new label ‘Acapela’. This new release marks the first time Catrin’s own compositions have appeared as a body of work on stage and on record, revealing a new side to her exceptional musicality, including her piano skills for the first time on this album. Growing up on the West coast of Wales, Catrin cites her childhood by the sea as her main influence on her creativity. She has recently started supporting the International Development charity Water Aid, and has gifted Changing Tides, one of the tracks on her new album, to support the organization’s work to bring safe water and sanitation to some of the world’s poorest communities.
Known for her work within the community and with the younger generation, Catrin is committed to promoting the harp and classical music in general to a new and wider audience. Her now successful annual Academi Catrin Finch Academy Summer Harp School and Annual Harp Fun Day give students from around the world the opportunity to study and play with Catrin and her former harp teacher Elinor Bennett. Catrin’s latest project, the Catrin Finch Classical Café, is an opportunity to listen to young, emerging classical artists from all over the world, in a relaxed environment.
Catrin lives in Cardiff, Wales with her two young daughters and husband, with whom she runs a successful concert venue and recording space – Acapela.
BENJAMIN GOLDSCHEIDER - HORN
“I was so moved... I couldn’t believe what I was hearing”. Alison Balsom, International Trumpet
“What came out of that bell, out of that musician... was truly incredible.” Sarah Willis, Berlin Philharmonic
"A real risk taker on stage that paid off in spades". Huw Humphreys, Director of Music, Barbican Centre
Described as “a musical Bear Grylls, fearlessly leaping through dangerous terrain” (Huffington Post, May 2016), 18-year-old Ben has quickly emerged as one of the most exciting horn players of his generation. Winner of the Brass Category Final in the 2016 BBC Young Musician, Ben went on to reach the concerto finals at London’s Barbican, where he performed Strauss’ Horn Concerto No. 2 with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Mark Wigglesworth.
Keen to promote the horn as a solo instrument, that summer Ben recorded his debut CD with Willowhayne Records in a programme of music for unaccompanied French horn, coupled with pieces for French horn and piano. The album includes music from the 18th to the 21st centuries. In the autumn, Ben took up a sought-after place at the Barenboim-Said Academy in Berlin, where he is the only horn student of his hero Radek Baborák. In December 2016 Ben performed a concert in Geneva with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and Daniel Barenboim. 2017 concerto highlights include Strauss with the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra and Mozart with the European Union Chamber Orchestra.
Born into a musical family, Ben began playing the horn at the age of nine, and commenced studies with Susan Dent at the Royal College of Music Junior Department two years later. At the age of 13, Ben was appointed principal horn of the National Youth Chamber Orchestra and, in 2014, principal horn of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain where he was awarded the John Fletcher Brass Prize for his contribution to the orchestra. In 2012, he was the youngest participant in the London Symphony Orchestra Brass Academy. Ben has also played with the Philharmonia and collaborated with Dame Shirley Bassey on her 2015 Christmas Single.
Ben is grateful for support from Awards for Young Musicians, Dorothy Croft Trust for Young Musicians and EMI Music Sound Foundation. He is a June Emerson Wind Music Young Artist. As a result of his success in the BBC Young Musician competition, Ben receives career guidance and diary management from the Young Classical Artists Trust.
In the longer term, Ben is determined to make a go of becoming a professional solo horn player, despite the lack of precedent – and the lack of music. “I’d like to have a big focus on contemporary music and I would love composers to write music for me, so that when my career is over I can leave something for other people.... I just love the sound of the instrument. To me, it’s obvious that it should be a solo instrument. I want to spread the word and the joy of the horn. We are very lucky to have four Mozart concertos and a couple of Strauss concertos, but compared to other instruments that is very limited. I would like to add to the repertoire and show off what the horn can do. I want people to know it more as a solo instrument and appreciate its versatility.”
In Fowey Ben will be playing some solo pieces, but he will also perform with violinist and pianist friends.
CALLUM SMART - VIOLIN
“Smart combines brilliant technique with the confidence to take risks... The audience was privileged to listen to a prodigiously gifted performer whose rhythmic alertness and purity of intonation is to be admired.”
“…the sincerity of Smart’s singing line is cause for celebration, and the recital is quite outstanding in its unique sequence and profile of a superb young player.” International Record Review
Callum Smart attracted wide public attention at the age of thirteen having won the strings category of the 2010 BBC Young Musicians Competition. In the same year he went on to become the top European prizewinner at the Menuhin Competition held in Oslo.
Since then Callum has appeared at a large number of European festivals. In March 2016 Callum gave recital performances with the pianist Richard Uttley in Birmingham, London’s Wigmore Hall, the Konzerthaus Berlin and the Auditorium du Louvre in Paris. Other UK recitals have included the Cheltenham Festival, Glasgow, Leeds, the Lichfield Festival, Manchester and Perth.
Following his recent debut with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, this season sees Callum make his debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Further afield Callum has performed with the Polish Chamber Orchestra and in 2013 made his North American debut with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra under Grant Llewellyn.
March 2016 saw the release of Callum’s second recital disc on the recording label Orchid Classics with pianist Richard Uttley. This follows the critical acclaim of his first recital disc with pianist Gordon Back, when he was named as a BBC Music Magazine Rising Star: Great Artists of Tomorrow.
Callum began his studies with Maciej Rakowski whose tutelage continued alongside his studies at Chetham’s School of Music. As the recipient of the Premier Young Artist Award, Callum studies with Mauricio Fuks at the Jacobs School of Music in Indiana. Callum plays a c. 1730-35 violin by Carlo Bergonzi.
RICHARD UTTLEY - PIANO
“…seizing the music with amazing decisiveness… I would never have imagined a mere piano could have captured that world, but Richard Uttley’s tumultuous performance soon persuaded me.” - The Daily Telegraph
“Some of the day’s most arresting moments came in a recital by Richard Uttley. I was enthralled by his composure, lyricism and ability to hold a moment without forcing it.” - The Guardian
“… evangelical enthusiasm … assiduous clarity … lyrical poise … a brilliant recital.” - The Times
Richard is noted for the integrity and breadth of his musicianship as soloist, chamber musician and recording artist. His playing is regularly broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and has featured on BBC Two, BBC Four and Sky Arts. In 2011 Richard was selected for representation by the Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT).
Recent highlights include solo recitals at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (HCMF) and Cité des Arts, and concertos by Mozart, Brahms and Grieg. In collaboration with violinist Callum Smart, last season Richard released a CD of French music on Orchid Classics (La voix, selected as a Recommended Recording by The Strad magazine) and gave recitals in Wigmore Hall, Auditorium du Louvre and Konzerthaus Berlin. This season includes a solo recital tour in China, return visits to the HCMF and Saffron Hall (solo recitals), Wigmore Hall with Savitri Grier, tours of China and Columbia with Peter Moore, Multi-Story with Kate Whitley, and live radio broadcasts with Mark Simpson.
Richard has released three solo discs to critical acclaim.
A passionate advocate of new music, Richard won the British Contemporary Piano Competition in 2006 and has made several recordings for NMC.
Born in Bradford, Richard studied piano with Ian Buckle, then Music at Clare College, Cambridge (graduating with a Double First in 2008), and at Guildhall School with Martin Roscoe. He was mentored by Rolf Hind through the RPS/YCAT Philip Langridge Mentoring Scheme. In 2014, Richard was invited to attend Open Chamber Music at IMS Prussia Cove.
Richard is on the teaching staff at Guildhall School and City University, and is a trustee of New Dots, a charity supporting emerging composers and performers.