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2016 Performers

Learn more about the 2016 singers, orchestras, special appearances and musicians...


NORTHAMPTON CONCERT BAND
This is the Northampton Concert Band's second year at the Festival.   The Band was formed in 1919 by a group of ex-servicemen who wished to continue their musical interests in civilian life. The band was originally called the Northampton Military Band but in 1976 changed its name to the Northampton Concert Band to reflect the increase in membership of younger musicians and the wider repertoire of music played.  The Band has won awards at numerous national competitions including the top award for Wind Bands in 1993 and in 2008 a Gold Award at the National Wind Band Festival. The band is currently directed byGraham Tear.

NORTHAMPTON CHAMBER ORCHESTRA

The Northampton Chamber Orchestra began over twenty years ago to fulfil a need for local amateur and semi-professional players to meet and play a wide repertoire of music classified as chamber music, from Bach to Beethoven and beyond, into the contemporary field. Today, the orchestra meets several times a year and consists mostly of local instrumental teachers and music college students slotting in rehearsals around their busy schedules. The orchestra is delighted to be performing again with their director and founder, Graham Tear, in the Brixworth Festival.


AN EVENING OF POETRY AND SONG - Fast becoming one of the most enjoyable evenings of the Festival, we are so lucky to have these gifted performers living locally:


Chloe Willson-Thomas– Soprano graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and has sung recitals all over the country both as a soloist and with her husband Gwion Thomas. Chloe is now Rector of Brixworth and Holcot and is a co-founder of the Festival.

Gwion Thomas  - Baritone has been an opera and concert soloist for many years after graduating with distinction from the Royal Northern College of Music. He has sung principal roles for Welsh National Opera, Scottish Opera and many others companies and has made a particular name in the field of contemporary music theatre. Gwion is a co-founder and Joint Artistic Director of the Festival.

Kay Soteriou– Mezzo-Soprano studied opera at the Guildhall School of music and has played leading roles in London based opera companies and in West End musicals. She has recorded for the BBC and given many concerts and oratorio performances here and abroad.

Paul Shelley is a professional film actor who has worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre. He has appeared on television in popular series including Morse, Midsomer Murders and Heartbeat, and he records audiobooks and voice-over commentaries.  He lives in Brixworth and is married to the actress Paula Stockbridge.

Jonathan Frenchstudied Piano at Chetham’s school of Music in Manchester and then at Birmingham Conservatoire where he won numerous keyboard prizes. Jonathan has given many solo recitals and concerto performances at prestigious venues including Symphony Hall Birmingham, Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall, and the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester. He is very much in demand as both a soloist and accompanist and currently combines a busy performing career with teaching and coaching at the Birmingham Conservatoire.

The John Clare Wind Quintet members all hail from Northamptonshire where they formed whilst working for Northamptonshire Music Trust. The ensemble has given concerts to great acclaim across the UK and has taken part in the Brixworth Music Festival since its inception, last year performing the world premier performance of Vivienne Olive's "Crazy Birds". Their music ranges across the whole spectrum of the wind quintet repertoire from easy listening to the more avant garde.  The players are; Graham Tear (flute),  Kathy Roberts (oboe), Peter Dunkley (clarinet), Lyndon Hilling (bassoon) and Ruth Allen (horn).  Peter Dunkley was the head of the Music Trust (NMPAT) and the architect of its current success until his retirement, Lyndon Hilling was the head of the woodwind department and Graham Tear the deputy head. Ruth Allen ran the very successful Wellingborough Music Centre until her recent retirement and Kathy Roberts with her husband ran the Corby music Centre for many years.

OKSANA KING is a Russian born pianist and piano teacher who lives here in Brixworth. Oksana was educated at St. Petersburg Conservatoire, where she completed her Performance Diploma with Distinction.  She has performed as a soloist throughout Russia and the Czech Republic. In the UK, Oksana has played solo recitals at Stowe Music School (as part of the Chung Steinway concerts) and at All Saints Church in Brixworth.   Oksana is engaged as a pianist with theMarket Harborough Choral Societywhere she plays solo pieces during their concerts, as well as providing accompaniment for the choir.

THE TEDESCA QUARTET

This is a rare opportunity to see this Midlands based String Quartet. The Tedesca Quartet began rehearsing in January 2011 and gave its first concerts later that year, at Benslow Summer Music Festival and in the beautiful St. Thomas' church in Stourbridge. The four members, Clare Bhabra (Violin), Richard Muncey (Viola) and Jenny Curtis (Cello) were brought together by violinist and conductor Nic Fallowfield. Together they share many years experience of music-making at the highest level.

IRENE URBACH

A virtuoso accordion player, Irene started learning the accordion at the age of seven and during the 1970's she successfully competed in competitions for “Young Musicians” in Germany. Hers was a pioneering course, as the accordion was not considered a "concert" instrument at the time. Other competition successes followed in which she was awarded first prize as a soloist. Since 1999 she has been professor of accordion at Nuremberg Academy of Music. She regularly performs as a soloist and has made numerous radio recordings and is a Judge in both district and national “Young Musician” competitions.


BRIXWORTH U3A SONGSTERS

The Brixworth University of the Thrid Age Songsters were founded in 2012 and perform regular concerts throughout the year.   The choir loves to sing stirring, contemporary songs and favourites include, 'You  Raise Me Up' and 'Rhythm of Life'.  They have performed at a number of local venues including Hunsbury Abbey Centre, St Giles Church and the Brixworth Music Festival and Nativity.


FIORI MUSICALI CHOIR
Founded in 1984, Fiori are one of the UK’s principal providers of classical and early music concerts outside London. Fiori’s passion is to bring to life the music of the past, making it accessible to all. The Choir comprises 20-25 singers and is renowned for clarity and purity of voice. Director, Penelope Rapson enjoys pursuing an unusual repertoire and the Fiori Choir sings everything from mainstream Haydn and Schubert to risqué madrigals by Gesualdo.