Leonore Piano Trio, Orchestra Nova & George Vass

Biography Leonore Piano Trio, Orchestra Nova & George Vass

Leonore Piano Trio, Orchestra Nova & George VassLeonore Piano Trio, Orchestra Nova & George VassLeonore Piano Trio, Orchestra Nova & George Vass

Leonore Piano Trio
Formed in 2012, the Leonore Piano Trio brings together three internationally acclaimed artists whose piano trio performances as part of Ensemble 360 were met with such enthusiastic response that they decided to form a piano trio in its own right. The Trio has since given concerts both at home and in many other parts of the world, combining a comprehensive repertoire of works by the celebrated classical and romantic composers; an unrivalled exploration of lesser-known and forgotten pieces from the 19th century; exciting and innovative performances for young audiences and a range of contemporary and new works.

"You’ll be purring with satisfaction at this exemplary new release from the Leonore Piano Trio. Enthusiasm isn’t always enough to prevent recordings of unfamiliar music from sounding raw but these performances feel fully matured—fresh, intelligent and strikingly stylish; edgy when they need to be and opening out generously when Parry’s romantic impulse demands it" (Gramophone Magazine)

In 2015 the trio performed the complete Beethoven Piano Trios at Kings Place, London, as well as an even broader project including all his duo sonatas for piano with violin and cello. In 2019 they finished a complete cycle of trios and duos for Music in the Round, Sheffield.

The members of the Leonore Trio are keen exponents of contemporary music and have performed works by distinguished composers including Harrison Birtwistle and Huw Watkins. They gave the first performance of Holkham Beach, a piece written for and dedicated to the Trio by Simon Rowland-Jones. Their recording of the complete piano trios by David Matthews, for Toccata Classics, was hailed by the composer as "definitive".

As part of their commitment to education and outreach, the trio commissioned a narrated work for young audiences from Rachel Leach, based on the book by Steven Isserlis Why Beethoven Threw the Stew. It has proved to be an entertaining introduction to the music of Beethoven and the power of chamber music for all ages. Highlights for 2022 include the release of a new recording for Hyperion of Trios by Bargiel, to tremendous critical acclaim, and the premier of a new Trio from Hugh Watkins, jointly commissioned by Wigmore Hall, Music in the Round and the Presteigne Festival​.

Leonore Piano Trio records for Hyperion and has released eight recordings for the label in as many years, including unjustly neglected or forgotten works, receiving praise and critical acclaim both nationally and internationally.

Benjamin Nabarro
has performed throughout Europe, North America, Africa, and the Middle and Far East, as a violin soloist, director and conductor. He has performed with the BBC Symphony, BBC Scottish Symphony, English Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Philharmonia, among others.

Since 2009, Benjamin has been first violin of Ensemble 360. He also plays regularly as first violinist of the Nash Ensemble where he has appeared in concerts world-wide. He has made numerous recordings for Hyperion and Dutton. Concerto engagements include performances of works by Elgar, Glazounov, Mendelssohn, Mozart and Brahms, Watkins, James Francis Brown, Piazzola, Barber, Vivaldi and Bach. He has regularly been invited to the festivals of Cheltenham, BBC Proms, Aldeburgh, Bath, Presteigne, Schleswig Holstein, Mecklenberg-Vorpommern and Nuremberg, where he also made his conducting debut in 2012. In 2016 he conducted and played as soloist with the European Sinfonietta in a concert to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday in Gibraltar.

Rachel Roberts
is one of Europe’s leading violists and performs internationally as a soloist and chamber musician.

As a soloist she has collaborated with conductors Christoph von Dohnanyi, Andras Schiff and Richard Hickox, performing concertos with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Koln Kammerorchester, Kammerphilharmonie Graubunden in Switzerland and the Manchester Camerata Chamber Orchestra amongst others. She was the featured viola soloist in the BBC TV documentary ‘The Passions of Vaughan Williams’ with Richard Hickox and the Philharmonia Orchestra, and has performed Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante alongside violinists Christian Tetzlaff, Antje Weithaas and Benjamin Schmid in Germany, Switzerland and London.

Rachel enjoys a busy schedule of chamber music. She has appeared as chamber musician at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, the Musikverein (Grand Saal) Vienna, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Wigmore Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Cadogan Hall, St John’s Smith Square and King’s Place in London. She is a regular guest at international chamber music festivals such as Salzburg Festival, Wiener Festwochen, Schubertiade in Schwarzenberg, Heimbach “Spannungen”, Mecklenburg Vorpommern, Hamburg “Oestertone”, Lofoten in Norway, and Stift in Holland.

Rachel is the violist of award-winning chamber music group Ensemble 360, with whom she gives frequent performances at Sheffield’s Crucible Playhouse as well as other venues across South Yorkshire. She regularly performs and records with Wigmore Soloists and Nash Ensemble, involving regular appearances at London’s Wigmore Hall, and has appeared with other celebrated ensembles such as the Tetzlaff String Quartet. Prizes for her chamber music recordings include thrice being awarded the coveted Diapason d’Or (2009, 2021, 2023), BBC Chamber Choice in BBC Music Magazine, and CD of the month in Fonoforum magazine, Germany. She has recorded chamber music for Hyperion, Champs Hill Records, Signum Classics, cAVI, Deutsche Rundfunk and BIS Records.

Following the success of her second solo CD (Schubert, Britten and Shostakovich) with pianist Lars Vogt on the cAVI label, Rachel Roberts has frequently joined Lars Vogt, Christian Tetzlaff, Antje Weithaas and Isabelle Faust for further chamber music collaborations, both in Germany and the UK.

Building on their highly successful collaboration at Wigmore Hall, in 2021 Rachel joined Christian Tetzlaff, Florian Donderer, Marie Elisabeth Hecker and Tanja Tetzlaff in Germany, to record and perform Schubert’s String Quintet in C major, D. 956. The resulting disc was released on the Alpha Classics label to critical acclaim.

Rachel is also a member of Trio Meister Raro alongside pianist Tim Horton and clarinettist Robert Plane, performing a selection of acknowledged masterpieces and fascinating curiosities, with a particular focus on themes of storytelling and fantasy.

Rachel Roberts is Professor of Viola at Guildhall School of Music and Drama and is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She has given masterclasses in the UK, Europe and Scandinavia. She holds the Institute of Education qualification: Professional Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher and Professional Education and many of her students are now enjoying professional careers in the UK and abroad.

George Vass
Described by BBC Radio 3 as ‘the saviour of contemporary classical music’, respected English conductor George Vass studied at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and the Royal Academy of Music, London. He was appointed Artistic Director of the internationally renowned Presteigne Festival in 1992, having served the Hampstead and Highgate Festival in a similar capacity from 2004 until 2009. Vass made his professional conducting debut at St John’s Smith Square in 1979 and, as Artistic Director of the Regent Sinfonia of London and later Orchestra Nova, has appeared at many of the UK’s major concert halls and festivals.

As a guest conductor he has worked with ensembles including the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the Bournemouth Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National and Ulster orchestras, Amsterdams Promenade Orkest, Konzertensemble Salzburg, London Mozart Players, Malmö Opera Orchestra, the choirs of Royal Holloway, Merton College Oxford and Schola Cantorum Oxford. He has broadcast for BBC Radio 3 and Channel 4 television.

Vass has made over thirty commercial recordings for Dutton, Champs Hill, Guild, Lyrita, Naxos, Resonus Classics, SOMM and Toccata Classics. His discography encompasses the music of Alwyn, Rodney Bennett, James Francis Brown, Elgar, Delius, Dodgson, Handel, Holbrooke, Holst, Hurd, Thomas Hyde, John Joubert, Leighton, Maconchy, Mathias, David Matthews, McCabe, Cecilia McDowall, Stephen McNeff, Paul Patterson, Purcell, Tovey, Vaughan Williams and Warlock.

Founder Artistic Director of Nova Music Opera, he premiered Thomas Hyde’s That Man Stephen Ward (Hampstead and Highgate Festival, 2008; revival for Nova Music Opera, 2015) and, for Nova Music Opera, Sally Beamish’s Hagar in the Wilderness (2013), Stephen McNeff’s Prometheus Drown’d (2014), Cecilia McDowall’s Airborne (2014), Charlotte Bray’s Entanglement (2015) and Joseph Phibbs’ Juliana (2018). He has also conducted Britten’s Curlew River (Hampstead and Highgate Springfest, 2009; Nova Music, 2013) and Holst’s Savitri (Nova Music, English Music Festival, 2010).

Over the last quarter century he has commissioned and premiered new work from such eminent composers as Sally Beamish, Martin Butler, Gabriel Jackson, Paweł Łukaszewski, David Matthews, John McCabe, Cecilia McDowall, Paul Patterson, Joseph Phibbs, Robert Saxton, Peter Sculthorpe, Huw Watkins and Hugh Wood.

A great advocate of community music-making, Vass is currently music director of Bushey Symphony Orchestra, St Albans Choral Society, and enjoys associations with the Blaze Ensemble and the Royal Tunbridge Wells Symphony Orchestra, having also conducted performances at the 2016 and 2017 Dartington International Summer School.

Recent highlights include a critically acclaimed recording of James Francis Brown’s choral and orchestral music for Resonus Classics, Sweeney Todd at Dartington and the much-lauded premiere of Joseph Phibbs’ chamber opera Juliana at the Cheltenham Festival.

George Vass is an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, was chair of the British Arts Festivals Association from 2014-18, being presented with the 2018 BAFA Exceptional Service Award for his outstanding contribution to the festival sector. From 2016-2019, he served the Royal Society of Musicians of Great Britain as a governor and treasurer, and in 2017 was given a BASCA Gold Badge Award marking his support for the UK songwriting and composing community.

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