Leo Popplewell (cello) and Ionel Manciu (violin)
A dynamic young cellist who plays with “full-blooded commitment” and “delicious dancing grace” (Telegraph), Leo Popplewell studied at Clare College, Cambridge, and later at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
In 2017 he formed the multiple award-winning Mithras Trio. They were selected as Kirckman Concert Society Artists in 2019, and BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists for the 2021-23 seasons. In 2022 he joined the London Mozart Players as co-principal cellist.
His studies have been generously supported by the Countess of Munster Musical Trust, Help Musicians UK, and the Craxton Memorial Trust.
Described as an ‘energetic and agile violinist’ with ‘bold, passionate colours’ Ionel Manciu is quickly building a reputation as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral leader.
Recent highlights include recordings of Chausson’s Concert and Bosmans’ Violin Sonata for BBC Radio 3. Ionel was appointed First Concertmaster of the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra. Moreover, he regularly collaborates as Guest-Concertmaster all around the world.
He is a sought-after chamber musician, and as a founding member of the Mithras Trio he won the 10th Trondheim International Chamber Music Competition and 67th Royal Over-Seas League Competition. They are currently BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists, Kirckman Music Society Young Artists and members of the Countess of Munster Trust Recital Scheme.
Julian Godlee (bass baritone) & Brenda Blewett (piano)
Julian was a chorister at King’s College Cambridge before deciding that a career in medicine called. Now living in Norfolk he regularly performs with Brenda Blewett and will be singing a selection of English songs by Britten, Vaughan Williams, Michael Head and Gerald Finzi.
Brenda recently retired as joint head of accompaniment at Chetham’s School in Manchester and now concentrates on her career as a concert accompanist.
Joo Yeon Sir (violin) & Irina Andrievsky (piano)
Described by The Strad as “exuberant… seductive… with bravura and oodles of personality”, prize-winning violinist and composer Joo Yeon Sir has appeared as a soloist with the Royal Philharmonic, Philharmonia, and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestras, at venues including the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Wales Millennium Centre, and Liverpool Symphony Hall.
Joo Yeon’s extensive repertoire incorporates a substantial span of works, from Bach to the modern day. Her own compositions can be heard in concert, as well as being broadcast on the BBC, and Scala Radio. Notable compositional collaborations include her work with guitarist Laura Snowden, with whom Joo Yeon gives regular composition and education workshops.
She has performed recitals at Wigmore Hall and Bridgewater Hall, with pianist Irina Andrievsky, and is regularly featured on the BBC, Classic FM, Scala, RTE, and France Musique Radios.
Irina was born in Upha, Russia. She received her first piano lessons at the age of seven, winning first prize in the Ufa piano competition at the age of 10. At the age of 11 she went to Moscow to study at the Central Music School for Specially Gifted Children, a branch of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, where she would later graduate with distinction and receive her doctorate. In 1991 Irina emigrated to Israel and continued her music career, mainly performing solo recitals and chamber music. For the past 14 years Irina has developed an impressive career as a piano teacher in Israel, raising a generation of promising young pianists.
Since moving to the UK, she has participated in master courses and festivals in France, UK, Russia, and Israel, and has given solo and duo recitals with different instrumentalists; she possesses a very broad duo and accompaniment repertoire for violin, viola and cello. At present Irina is actively associated with Royal College of Music in London.
Wild Men of the Baroque (recorder and harpsichord)
Piers Adams (recorders) & David Wright (harpsichord)
Piers Adams and David Wright, co-members of Red Priest, bring all of the energy and freedom of the super-group into their duo recitals. With an astonishing, larger-than-life range of virtuoso techniques and expressive colours they walk boldly through the wild side of the baroque, and as natural raconteurs, they lead the audience through the unchartered landscape of the era with fascinating insights into the music and instruments – and some spicy anecdotes about the lives of the composers.
From the earliest sonatas of the Italian school to the bizarre meanderings of Heinrich Biber this music never ceases to amaze the innocent bystander! From here the duo moves into the more familiar territory of the High Baroque with virtuoso music by Corelli, Handel, Vivaldi and others. A must-hear programme for cognoscenti as well as those new to early music.
The Victoria String Quartet with Leon Bosch (double bass) and Peter Hewitt (piano)
violins: Benedict Holland & David Greed viola: Heather Wallington cello: Jennifer Langridge
In demand since its formation in 2017, the Victoria String Quartet has gone on to perform for chamber music societies and festivals throughout the UK and has been hailed as an ensemble ‘brim full with pedigree and wide experience’ (Buxton International Festival), performing at venues including Kendal (Lake District Summer Music), Pinner and Buxton Festivals, London, Manchester (Bridgewater, RNCM and Stoller halls), north Norfolk, north and west Wales and the Scottish Borders.
In addition to gathering return invitations to chamber music societies and festivals, the Victorias are curating an ongoing programme of creative projects: a collection of short chamber works about (and by) Sir John Manduell (Divine Arts), a recording of the Weber, Cooke and Brahms clarinet quintets, and a CD of string chamber music by Richard Pantcheff (to be released 2024 Prima Facie), with BBC Radio 3 presenter Tom McKinney. A recent autumn residency at Marchmont House in the Scottish Borders saw the Quartet performing and recording a collection of string chamber works by Scottish composer Helen Leach. Enthusiasts for lost and undiscovered works, in 2022 the Quartet gave the first public performances of Elgar’s Six Fragments for String Quartet and are looking forward to recording them in 2024. Since its inception, the Quartet has also enjoyed sharing the concert platform with eminent colleagues such as the quartet, Quatuor Danel, Peter Hewitt and Irina Andrievsky (piano), Leo Popplewell (cello), Richard Simpson (oboe) and John Bradbury, (Clarinet).
Photo: Tim Williams
Having worked with the finest conductors for 30 years as a member of groups such as the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Philharmonia and Hallé, Leon learnt the repertoire and conductor’s craft from inside the orchestra, and finally made the transition to the podium in 2015, when he left Academy of St Martin in the Fields and went to study in St Petersburg with Alexander Polishchuk. Since then he has conducted orchestras across the UK, Europe, India, South Africa and Mozambique.
During his playing career, he performed concertos around the world and served as a guest with ensembles such as the Lindsays, Brodsky Quartet and Zukerman Chamber Players. He is professor of double bass at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in
London and gives masterclasses in the US, Europe, South Africa and the Far East.
British pianist, Peter Hewitt, is a masterful musician who has attracted great critical acclaim for his exceptional performances which combine a flawless technique with intense natural musicality and a searching intellect.
His latest video recording of Piano Suite Number Two by Jeffrey Joseph (a composer at Trinity Laban Conservatoire) is available on Youtube. Peter describes the work as “a fun and quirky composition which is very straightforward to listen to and has very interesting harmonies and sounds”
Ben Horden (organ)
Equally at home at the organ, piano, harpsichord, and forte piano, Ben regularly collaborates with both instrumentalists and singers as an accompanist, and as an ensemble and continuo player has worked with several notable groups; The Royal Northern Sinfonia, Yorkshire Baroque Soloists, The Sixteen, and the BBC Philharmonic amongst them.
Ben combines a selective freelance career as an accomplished conductor and keyboardist with his role as Associate Artist Manager at James Brown Management. Additionally, and in partnership with Matthew Searles, Ben leads Affiné Creative, a boutique creative consultancy.
Ben’s debut solo album showcases the dance-inspired organ music of Johann Sebastian Bach and Dieterich Buxtehude, recorded at Ben’s alma mater, The University of York.
The Litmus Trio
Hannah Lang (flute), Peter Adams (cello) & Peter Hewitt (piano)
The Litmus Trio was formed in 1997 and since then has enjoyed a busy schedule of concerts each season playing for numerous music festivals and clubs and at major venues around the UK
The unusual combination of flute, cello and piano has a surprising number of fine works written for it, and the Litmus Trio have performed works by Bach, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert and Mendelssohn, to name some of the greats. As well as this their repertoire also contains fascinating, rarely heard works by lesser known composers such as Weber and Martinu. The Litmus Trio have also made a significant number of lighter arrangements of popular works ensuring that this trio is always in demand.
Henriette Poos (harp)
Henriette enjoys herself as a soloist, an orchestral, and a chamber musician and has widely performed across England, Germany, Poland, Spain, and China both as a soloist and as an accompanist with several of her performances recorded or broadcast live by radio and television. She also has recorded at well-known venues like the Abbey Road Studios in London. As a soloist and in ensembles Henriette has played and/or recorded more than a dozen world premieres.
Among Henriette’s competition successes are First Prize at National Level in the German ‘Jugend musiziert’ competition, ‘Norfolk Young Musician of the Year 2014’ runner-up, and winner of the East Anglia Harp Festival three years running. She won joint first prize in the RCM’s 2019 harp competition.
Benedict Holland (violin)
As a chamber musician, Benedict was a founder member of the Matisse Piano Quartet and the Music Group of Manchester, and is currently a member of the virtuoso chamber ensemble I Musicanti and together with friends David Greed, Heather Wallington and Jen Langridge, of the Victoria Quartet.
As an experienced orchestral leader, he has guest-led many of the UK’s major orchestras, including the Hallé, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Northern Sinfonia, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Ensemble, Orchestra of Opera North and BBC Philharmonic and until 2023, he was the violinist and occasional violist with the contemporary ensemble Psappha.
James Smith (piano)
Born in Norwich, James Smith started playing piano at the age of 6, and has now just finished his second year of undergraduate studies at the Royal Northern College of Music with the world-renowned tutor, Stephen Savage PhD. He has performed extensively during his time at the RNCM so far, Mozart, Chopin and Debussy. During his time at the RNCM he has been involved with several different projects, such as playing in orchestras which are dedicated to performing new compositions and taking part in masterclasses with world class performers such as Kathryn Stott and Stephen Hough. Having just performed his third-year recital, James has received high praise for his powerful, emotive and intuitive playing. He is looking forward to performing in more projects in the years to come both as a soloist and chamber musician.
Cabinet Shuffle (a cappella ensemble)
Cabinet Shuffle have been delighting audiences across Britain for many years with their humour and close harmony. The six members sing a cappella music ranging from Tallis to Billy Joel, and Purcell to Tom Jones.
Their music has been heard on BBC Radio and BBC Television, as well as on Friday Night is Music Night. They have sung for Royalty and in venues as diverse as Claridges, Blenheim Palace, The Royal College of Surgeons and The Cannes Film Festival.
Red Priest (early music ensemble)
Piers Adams (recorders), Julia Bishop (violin), Angela East (cello) & David Wright (harpsichord)
Recently described in the New York Times as ‘the wildly virtuosic little band’ – the ensemble has been at the cutting edge of baroque music performance for over a quarter of a century. Formed in 1997 by recorder virtuoso Piers Adams, together with violinist Julia Bishop, cellist Angela East and the late Julian Rhodes, harpsichord (a role now filled by David Wright) – and named after the original ‘red priest’ Antonio Vivaldi – the quartet has developed a truly unique style, combining high-energy performance, boundary crossing arrangements and theatrical presentation, delighting audiences across the globe.
Norwich Phoenix Male Voice Choir
The Phoenix Male Voice Choir was established at a public meeting in Norwich in February 2010. Since that Inaugural Concert in July 2010, Norwich’s Phoenix Male Voice Choir has gone from strength to strength with a hard-working Musical Team and Committee, and the enthusiasm of its Singing Membership.
They have also been pleased to share the concert stage with guest talented local musical groups and ensembles, other visiting and touring Male Choirs and, in turn, to accept invitations from festival groups and churches to perform our songs, and to visit our new Male Choir friends at their invitation. They are a friendly and enthusiastic group of singing men led ably by the talented Musical Director, Sarah Grimes