Conductors & Piano

Thomas Adès CBE

Renowned as both a composer and a performer, Thomas Adès works regularly with the world’s leading orchestras, opera companies and festivals.

Thomas appears regularly with, among others, the Los Angeles, New York and London Philharmonic Orchestras, the Boston, London, BBC and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestras, and last season making his debut conducting the Czech Philharmonic. In opera, he recently conducted his latest opera The Exterminating Angel at the Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera House and at the Salzburg Festival.  The piece was awarded World Premiere of the Year at the 2017 Opera Awards.

This season Thomas will give solo recitals in London, Paris, Lisbon and the Czech Republic, and will partner with Kirill Gerstein in recital at Carnegie Hall and Tanglewood. His other engagements this season include conducting the London and Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras, the Finnish Radio and Boston Symphony orchestras, as well as the Orchestre de Paris, the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester and Britten Sinfonia.

David Afkham is Principal Conductor of the Spanish National Orchestra and Chorus. He is in high demand as a guest conductor with some of the world’s finest orchestras and opera houses, and has established a reputation as one of the most sought after conductors to emerge from Germany in recent years. His first season at the helm of the Spanish National Orchestra in Madrid, featuring a Brahms symphony cycle, Brahms’s Requiem, and concert performances of Wagner’s Fliegende Holländer, was unanimously acclaimed by the press. In Summer 2014, David Afkham made a noted opera debut with Verdi’s La Traviata at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, later reviving the production with Glyndebourne on Tour.

Highlights of recent seasons have included debuts with the Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony, Cleveland and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin as well as return engagements with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, Gothenburg Symphony and the Orchestra of Accademia Santa Cecilia.

Born in 1983 in Freiburg, Germany; David studied at the Freiburg University of Music and the Liszt School of Music in Weimar. David Afkham was the first recipient of the ‘Bernard Haitink Fund for Young Talent’ and assisted Maestro Haitink in a number of major projects including symphony cycles with the Chicago Symphony, Concertgebouw Orkest and London Symphony Orchestra. He was the winner of the 2008 Donatella Flick Conducting Competition in London, resulting in him becoming the Assistant Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra for two years. In 2010, David Afkham was the inaugural recipient of the ‘Nestle and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award’, and was Assistant Conductor of the Gustav Mahler Jungendorchester 2009- 2012.

Born in Milan, Giovanni studied at the Civica Scuola di Musica and at the Centre de Musique Ancienne in Geneva. He is a founder member of the Baroque ensemble “Il Giardino Armonico”, which he has led since 1989. With this ensemble, he has appeared as conductor and soloist on the recorder and Baroque transverse flute in Europe, United States, Canada, South America, Australia, Japan and Malaysia. He is Artistic Director of the Wratislavia Cantans Festival in Poland and Principal Guest Conductor of the Mozarteum Orchester and Kammerorchester Basel.

He has performed with many prestigious artists including Cecilia Bartoli, Isabel Faust, Viktoria Mullova, Giuliano Carmignola, Giovanni Sollima, Sol Gabetta, Katia and Marielle Labèque, Sumi Jo, Kristian Bezuidenhout and Emmanuel Pahud. Renowned for his refined and innovative interpretation of the classical and baroque repertoire, Antonini is also a regular guest with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Concertgebouworkest, Tonhalle Orchester, Mozarteum Orchester, Orquesta Nacional de España and Leipzig Gewandhausorchester.

His opera productions have included Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Handel’s Alcina and Idomeneno at Teatro alla Scala in Milano and Opernhaus Zurich, Handel’s Giulio Cesare and Bellini’s Norma with Cecilia Bartoli at Salzburg Festival.  In the 2018/19 season, performances include debuts with Yomiuri Nippon Symphony and Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, return visits to Kammerorchester Basel for concert performances of Fidelio and Don Giovanni, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment for Mozart symphonies and Gluck & Mozart arias with Magdalena Kozena, as well as Handel’s Orlando at Theater an der Wien.

Giovanni  is artistic director of the Haydn 2032 project, created to realise a vision to record and perform with Il Giardino Armonico and Kammerorchester Basel, the complete symphonies of Joseph Haydn by the 300th anniversary of the composer’s birth. Volumes 1-6 have been released on the Alpha Classics label with two further volumes planned for release each year in the future.

Piano & Conductors

Daniel Barenboim

Daniel Barenboim was born in Buenos Aires in 1942, and studied piano under his parents. At age 11, he took part in conducting classes in Salzburg, under Igor Markevich

In 1954, Daniel began his recording career as a pianist. In the 1960s, he recorded Beethoven’s Piano Concertos with Otto Klemperer, Brahm’s Piano Concertos with Sir John Barbirolli, and the Mozart piano concertos with the English Chamber Orchestra, this time serving both as pianist and conductor.

Ever since his conducting debut in 1967 in London with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Daniel has been in great demand with leading orchestras around the world. Between 1975 and 1989, he was principal conductor of the Orchestre de Paris, and he held the position of Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra between 1991 and 2006. Since 1992, Barenboim has been General Music Director of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, where he was also artistic director from 1992 to August 2002. In 2000, the Staatskapelle Berlin appointed him Principal Conductor for Life, and in March 2003, he and the Staatskapelle were honoured with the Wilhelm-Furtwängler-Preis.

Beside his great classic-romantic repertoire, Daniel continues to focus on contemporary music.

Born in 1960, George Benjamin began composing at the age of seven. In 1976 he entered the Paris Conservatoire to study with Messiaen, after which he worked with Alexander Goehr at King’s College, Cambridge.

When George was only 20 years old, Ringed by the Flat Horizon was played at the BBC Proms by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Elder. George’s first operatic work Into the Little Hill, written with playwright Martin Crimp, was commissioned in 2006 by the Festival d’Automne in Paris. Their second collaboration, Written on Skin was premiered at the Aix-en-Provence festival in July 2012 and has since been performed by 20 international opera houses. A new collaboration with Martin Crimp, Lessons in Love and Violence, was premiered at the Royal Opera House in May 2018, under the composer’s baton.

As a conductor George has a broad repertoire and has conducted numerous world premieres, including important works by Rihm, Chin, Grisey and Ligeti. He regularly works with some of the world’s leading orchestras, amongst them the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, London Sinfonietta and Ensemble Modern.

Since 2001 George has been the Henry Purcell Professor of Composition at King‘s College, London and was made a Fellow of the College in 2017. George was made a Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2015 and was knighted in the 2017 Birthday Honours.

His works are published by Faber Music and are recorded on Nimbus Records.

Internationally renowned as an opera and concert conductor of distinction, Harry Bicket is especially noted for his interpretation of baroque and classical repertoire and in 2007 became Artistic Director of The English Concert, one of the UK’s finest period orchestras. He became Chief Conductor of Santa Fe Opera in 2013 and from 2018 assumes the Music Directorship. Productions at Santa Fe in recent seasons have included Fidelio, La Finta Giardiniera, Romeo et Juliette, Alcina and Candide. Born in Liverpool, he studied at the Royal College of Music and Oxford University.

Plans for the 2018/19 season include return visits to Metropolitan Opera (The Magic Flute), Lyric Opera of Chicago (Ariodante), Cleveland Orchestra, Santa Fe Opera (Cosi Fan Tutte and Strauss’ Four Last Songs with Renee Fleming), Prague Philharmonia featuring Beethoven’s The Creatures of Prometheus, and whilst in Chicago also conducts Music of the Baroque. Plans with The English Concert include Harry’s own arrangements of Mozart works for mechanical clockwork organ, Bach Cantatas for Advent and Wayne Eagling’s Remembrance ballet, set to Handel’s Ode to St Cecilia’s Day, at the English National Ballet Theatre. The orchestra continues their Handel opera series with performances of Semele in Europe and the United States including Theatre de Champs Elysées, Barbican Centre and Carnegie Hall.

French-born Alexandre Bloch assumed the position of Music Director of Orchestre National de Lille at the start of the 2016/17 season and has been Principal Guest Conductor of Düsseldorfer Symphoniker since September 2015. Admired for his musicality, enthusiasm and energy, his First Prize at the 2012 Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition attracted international attention and brought him the opportunity to serve as Assistant Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra.

The 2018/19 season includes debuts with Tiroler Landstheater Orchester Innsbruck and Gurzenich-Orchester Köln and his stage debut for Opera de Lyon to conduct George Benjamin’s Lessons in Love and Violence. Plans with Orchestre National de Lille include a Mahler cycle, Stravinsky’s Petrushka and recordings. He also returns regularly to Düsseldorfer Symphoniker.

Violin & Conductors

Guy Braunstein

Violinist Guy Braunstein was born in Tel Aviv and studied under the guidance of Chaim Taub and later in New York with Glenn Dicterow and Pinchas Zuckerman.

He started performing as an international soloist and a chamber musician at a young age and has since performed with many of the world’s greatest orchestras and conductors.  His chamber music collaborations have included projects with Issac Stern, András Schiff, Zubin Mehta, Maurizio Pollini, Yefim Bronfman, Daniel Barenboim, Sir Simon Rattle, Mitsuko Uchida and Angelika Kirschlager to name a few.

He was the youngest person ever to be appointed concertmaster of the Berliner Philharmoniker in 2000, a position he held for twelve years before leaving to pursue his solo career.

Recent highlights include the position of Artist-in-Residence with the Trondheim Symphoniker for the 17/18 season which showcased Guy’s multi-faceted musicianship with projects as both conductor and soloist. Further highlights include concerto debuts with Maggio Musicale Fiorentino & the Tampere Philharmonia. Recent conducting highlights include debuts with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra as well as returns to the Pierre Boulez saal for recital performances at the Elbphilharmonie with the Hamburger Symphoniker, where he holds the position of Associate Artist. Highlights in 18/19 include return concerts as both soloist and conductor with the Trondheim Symphoniker and Hamburger Symphoniker as well as a concerto debut with the Ulster Orchestra. Guy will also debut with the Israel Chamber Orchestra as both soloist and conductor in the same concert.

Guy plays a rare violin made by Francesco Roggieri in 1679.