Graham Fitch (Piano) studied with Stephen Savage, Peter Wallfisch and Roger Vignoles at the Royal College of Music during the late 70s. At the RCM, he was awarded the Borwick Prize, Hopkinson Gold Medal and Sydney and Peggy Shimmin Prize for piano playing, and a Belgian government scholarship to participate in harpsichord masterclasses with Kenneth Gilbert in Antwerp. In 1982, Graham was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, A Countess of Munster Musical Scholarship and a BUNAC award to complete his studies in the United States with Ann Schein and Nina Svetlanova. He established himself in New York and stayed for seven years, becoming Mme. Svetlanova’s teaching assistant at the Mannes College of Music.
He has played in masterclasses by Leon Fleisher, András Schiff, Tamás Vásáry, Jeffrey Siegel, the Beaux Arts Trio (chamber music) and Kenneth Gilbert (harpsichord). From 1990 to 1997, Graham taught piano at the Purcell School, Centre for Young Musicians and St. Paul’s Girls’ School in London, as well as commuting monthly to New York to teach privately. In the 90s, Graham studied further with Edith Picht-Axenfeld in Germany, and with piano guru Peter Feuchtwanger, making a study of his special exercises.
As a performer, Graham has a wide-ranging repertoire but has specialised in the music of the high Baroque, Haydn, Mozart, Chopin and Schumann. He gave all-Bach recital programmes in the Bach year, all-Chopin recitals in the Chopin year, and all-Mozart solo and chamber programmes in the Mozart year.
As a teacher, Graham was in high demand in the early 1990s at the Purcell School, privately in London and New York, and later as a piano professor at the University of Cape Town (1997-2008). He is now very busy in London as a private teacher. He has extensive experience as an adjudicator and as a national and international competition jury member. He has given masterclasses in the UK (including at the Royal Academy of Music, where he also deputised for Christopher Elton and took the Performers’ Class, Chetham’s School of Music), USA, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
Graham is the author of a popular blog, www.practisingthepiano.com which had led to a series of ebooks on piano practice and to the recent launch of the Online Academy, an online resource for pianists and piano teachers. Graham is a regular contributor to Pianist Magazine, with an ever-growing library of video demonstrations on YouTube. Graham is a principal tutor on the Piano Teachers’ Course (EPTA) UK, as well as a tutor on the Summer School for Pianists and at Jackdaws.
Andrew Hansford (Piano) is an experienced teacher, examiner and adjudicator who has worked extensively in UK Festivals. A full cv will be included in the Programme.
Jane Salmon (Bowed Strings) is one of the UK’s leading cellists and is especially well known as a chamber musician. Her work has taken her to more than 45 countries across the world and has involved her in more than 60 CD recordings, numerous broadcasts for radio and television, festivals and performances in many major venues.
Jane is cellist of the Schubert Ensemble of London, winner of the Royal Philharmonic Prize for Chamber Music and a leading exponent of music for piano and strings for over 30 years. Highlights of 2015 were tours to the USA, Holland and Italy and a mini series at the Wigmore Hall. In March the group record another disc for Chandos of French repertoire and begin a Piano Quintet series at Kings Place in the autumn.
As a recitalist Jane has premiered solo works on BBC Radio 3 and in concerts on London’s South Bank and Wigmore Hall. Recital tours have included two visits to India. She is a founder member of the chamber ensemble Endymion, and has played with many other ensembles as well as appearing as guest principal cello for Scottish Chamber Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra and London Sinfonietta.
Jane is a graduate of Cambridge University, and studied the cello with Amaryllis Fleming, Pierre Fournier and Johannes Goritzki. She won numerous prizes and awards and was selected for promotion by Young Concert Artists Trust.
She is a tutor in cello and chamber music at Birmingham Conservatoire.
Helen Sanderson (Plucked Strings) was born in Worcester, and studied guitar at the Royal College of Music with Charles Ramirez, and accompaniment with John Blakely, graduating with the Anthony Saltmarsh Prize and the Madeline Walton Prize for Guitar. Her passion for chamber music has led to partnerships with eminent counter-tenor James Bowman, tenor Mark Wilde and mezzo-soprano Susan Legg. As a founder member of the VIDA Guitar Quartet, Helen has performed at many of the UK’s prestigious concert venues including the Southbank Centre, King’s Place, St. Georges-Bristol, and the Sage Gateshead and in 2010 she made her US debuts in Los Angeles and New York, subsequently touring extensively in USA, Sweden, Germany and France.
Helen is the Director of the National Youth Guitar Ensemble and the Guitar Foundation of America’s International Youth Competition; she is also the founder and Artistic Director of the World Youth Guitar Festival and guitar professor at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Helen recently appeared as the classical industry expert for the Sky Arts series, “Guitar Star” and is a sought-after masterclass artist, adjudicator and international jury member, for competitions such as BBC Young Musician of the Year. In 2014 Helen was awarded a prestigious Winston Churchill Fellowship for her work in guitar education.
Helen plays Christopher Dean guitars and is a D’Addario Strings Classical artist.
George Caird (Woodwind) studied the oboe with Janet Craxton and Evelyn Barbirolli at the Royal Academy of Music, with Helmut Winschermann at the Nordwestdeutsche Musikakademie, and privately with Neil Black. He gained an MA in music at Peterhouse, Cambridge, graduating to pursue a freelance career as an oboist. He worked with many of London’s major orchestras including the London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, City of London Sinfonia and was a member of The Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields from 1983 to 1993. George has also been a member of a number of leading ensembles, notably as a founder-member of The Albion Ensemble, Vega Wind Quintet and Caird Oboe Quartet. and has toured extensively both through Europe and in the east. In addition to many orchestral recordings, he has recorded many CDs of solo and chamber music repertoire. He joined the Royal Academy of Music as professor of oboe in 1984, became Head of Woodwind in 1987 and Head of Orchestral Studies in 1989. In September 1993, George was appointed Principal of Birmingham Conservatoire, a post that he held until August 2010. From 2011-2016, George was Artistic Director of the Rotterdam Classical Music Academy, Codarts in Rotterdam. He continues at Codarts as Artistic Adviser whilst also continuing to teach the oboe at Birmingham Conservatoire and give masterclasses in the UK, Europe and further afield.
George is President of the Barbirolli International Oboe Competition and Festival, a founder and patron of the British Double Reed Society, a patron of the Tunbridge Wells International Young Concert Artists Competition, a Trustee of the Countess of Munster Musical Trust, Chair of the Music Panel for the Sir James Caird Travelling Scholarships Trust and chair of the Schubert Ensemble Trust.
James Gilchrist (Voice) began his working life as a doctor, turning to a full-time career in music in 1996. His musical interest was fired at a young age, singing first as a chorister in the choir of New College, Oxford, and later as a choral scholar at King’s College, Cambridge. James’ extensive concert repertoire has seen him perform in major concert halls throughout the world with conductors including Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Sir Roger Norrington, Bernard Labadie, Harry Christophers, Harry Bicket and the late Richard Hickox. Recent highlights have included Britten’s Church Parables with performances in St Petersburg, London and at the Aldeburgh Festival, Handel’s L’Allegro il Penseroso ed il Moderato with the Mark Morris Dance Group at the Teatro Real, Madrid, Solomon with Les Violons du Roy, Schumann’s Das Paradies und die Peri and Die Schöpfung at the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Britten’s Nocturne with the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo and War Requiem with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. In J.S. Bach’s great Passions of St John and St Matthew, James works consistently at the highest level and is recognised as the finest Evangelist of his generation; as one recent BBC Proms reviewer noted, ‘he hasn’t become a one-man Evangelist industry by chance’.
A prolific and versatile recitalist, James enjoys imaginative and varied programming in collaborations with pianists Anna Tilbrook and Julius Drake, and harpist Alison Nicholls. Recent appearances include a Schubertiade weekend at St John Smith Square and Schwanengesang coupled with Beethoven An die Ferne Geliebte at the Wigmore Hall. James recently returned to the Wigmore Hall to begin his project with Anna Tilbrook, Schumann and the English Romantics, pairing Schumann song cycles with new commissions from leading composers, Sally Beamish, Julian Philips and Jonathan Dove, setting English poetry of the Romantic period.
James’ impressive discography includes the title role in Albert Herring and Vaughan Williams’ A Poisoned Kiss for Chandos, St John Passion with the Academy of Ancient Music, the Finzi song cycle Oh Fair To See, Elizabethan Lute Songs When Laura Smiles with Matthew Wadsworth, Leighton Earth Sweet Earth, Vaughan Williams On Wenlock Edge, Finzi songs and Britten’s Winter Words for Linn Records and the critically-acclaimed recordings of Schubert’s song cycles for Orchid Classics. James and Anna Tilbrook have recently released a new disc of Schumann song cycles.