We are honoured to work with a roster of four world-class musicians who will visit the School several times a year and work with pupils in a variety of guises, including one-to-one lessons, masterclasses, chamber music coaching and as guest performers with the Senior Orchestra.
Since making his London debut in 2009, Mahan Esfahani has established himself as the first harpsichordist in a generation whose work spans virtually all the areas of classical music-making from critically-acclaimed performances and recordings of the standard repertoire to working with the leading composers of the day to pioneering concerto appearances with major symphony orchestras on four continents. He was the first and only harpsichordist to be a BBC New Generation Artist (2008-2010), a Borletti-Buitoni prize winner (2009), a nominee for Gramophone’s Artist of the Year (2014, 2015, 2017), and on the shortlist as Instrumentalist of the Year for the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards (2013, 2019).
As a concerto soloist his partners at the podium have included leading conductors such as Leif Segerstam, François Xavier-Roth, Ilan Volkov, Riccardo Minasi, Ludovic Morlot, Alexander Liebreich, Martyn Brabbins, Thomas Dausgaard, Jiří Rožeň, Antoni Wit, Thierry Fischer, Jiří Bělohlávek, and Andris Poga with major symphony and chamber orchestras and contemporary music ensembles. He also varies his solo engagements with meaningful chamber music partnerships alongside artists such as Antje Weithaas (violin), Emmanuel Pahud (flute), Nicholas Daniel (oboe), Michala Petri (recorder), and Hille Perl (viola da gamba).
Esfahani’s work with new and modern music is particularly acclaimed, with high-profile solo and concertante commissions from George Lewis, Brett Dean, Bent Sørensen, Miroslav Srnka, Poul Ruders, Anahita Abbasi, Laurence Osborne, Gary Carpenter, Miroslav Srnka, Elena Kats-Chernin, Oscar Jockel, Daniel Kidane, Michael Berkeley, and other contemporary voices in forming the backbone of his repertoire. His commitment to exploring the contemporary voice for the harpsichord is reflected in his 2020 Hyperion release ‘Musique?’ – a compilation of electronic and acoustic works including the modern revival of Luc Ferrari’s 1974 Programme commun for harpsichord and tape.
His richly-varied discography for Hyperion and Deutsch Grammophon – including an ongoing series of the complete works of Bach for the former – has been acclaimed in the English- and foreign-language press and has garnered one Gramophone award, two BBC Music Magazine Awards, a Diapason d’Or and ‘Choc de Classica’ in France, and an ICMA as well as numerous Editor’s Choices in a variety of publications including a spot in the Telegraph’s compilation of essential classical music and the New York Times List of Top Recordings.
He can be frequently heard as a commentator on BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4 and as a host for such programs as Record Review, Building a Library, and Sunday Feature, as well as in live programmes with the popular mathematician and presenter Marcus du Sautoy; for the BBC’s Sunday Feature he is currently at work on his fourth radio documentary following popular programmes on such subjects as the early history of African-American composers in the classical sphere and the development of orchestral music in Azerbaijan. Likewise, he is a regular contributor of cultural commentary and reviews for such publications as The Critic, Engelsberg Ideas, The New Yorker, Guardian, Times, and other print media.
Born in Tehran in 1984, Esfahani grew up in the United States and studied musicology and history at Stanford University and worked as a repetiteur and studied in Boston with Peter Watchorn before completing his studies in Prague with the celebrated Czech harpsichordist Zuzana Růžičková. Following several years spent in Milan, Oxford, and London, he now makes his home in Prague.
In recognition of his contributions to the classical music field, Mahan Esfahani was awarded the 2022 Wigmore Hall Prize.
Grammy nominated Ukrainian-British violist and conductor Maxim Rysanov has established himself as one of the worldʼs most vibrant and charismatic musicians. As a violist, he is principally known as a frequent guest of the crème of the international music scene, such as BBC Last Night of the Proms and the festivals of Edinburgh, Salzburg and Verbier.
Among his concerto highlights are the Mariinsky Orchestra (Valery Gergiev), Russian National Orchestra (Mikhail Pletnev), BBC Symphony Orchestra (Jiří Bělohlávek), Residentie Orkest the Hague (Neeme Jarvi), Svetlanov State Symphony Orchestra (Vladimir Jurovsky), Seattle Symphony (Andrey Boreyko), Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León (Vasily Petrenko), Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin (Tugan Sokhiev), Moscow Philharmonic (Yuri Simonov), Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (Vassily Sinaisky), Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne (Sir Mark Elder), Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra (Philippe Herreweghe), NDR Philharmonic Orchestra (Eivind Gullberg Jensen), Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra (Juraj Valcuha and again with Michał Nesterowicz), Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (Arvo Volmer), Danish National Symphony Orchestra (Michael Schoenwandt), Shanghai Symphony (Long Yu), European Union Youth Orchestra (Matthias Bamert), Czech Filharmonic (John Axelrod), Scottish Chamber Orchestra (Olari Elts), Spanish National Orchestra (Josep Caballe Domenech) and Beethovenorchester Bonn (Dirk Kaftan).
Maxim enjoys a busy career as a conductor parallel to playing the viola. Often he combines conducting and directing a concerto from viola. Maxim studied conducting with Alan Hazeldine at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and has taken part in several masterclasses with Gennady Rozhdestvensky and Jorma Panula. Here are some of the orchestras he conducted: Svetlanov State Symphony Orchestra, La Verdi Orchestra Milan, Basel Symphony Orchestra, Russian National Orchestra, Tatarstan State Symphony Orchestra, Spanish Radio Orchestra (RTVE), Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León, Dala Sinfonietta, Danubia Symphony Budapest, London Mozart Players, Southbank Sinfonia, Riga Sinfonietta, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, I Musici de Montreal, Detmold Chamber Orchestra, Musica Viva (Moscow), Voronezh Youth Orchestra, Kiev Soloists, Częstochowa Philharmonic Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra Chaarts, Budapest Festival Academy Orchestra, Classic FM Orchestra (Bulgaria), Georgian National Symphony Orchestra, Plovdiv Philharmonic, Sofia Opera Orchestra and Chorus, Sofia Philharmonic, Pfortseim Theatre Orchestra, Badische Philharmonie, Vivaldi Orchestra Morbegno.
Maxim is a keen chamber musician. His chamber partners include Maxim Vengerov, Janine Jansen, Mischa Maisky, Gidon Kremer, Nicola Benedetti, Vadim Repin, Augustin Dumay, Viktoria Mullova, Alexander Sitkovetsky, Sol Gabetta, Leif Ove Andsnes, Denis Matsuev, Alessio Bax, Michael Collins, Martin Frost, Alice Coote, Freddy Kempf, Yeoelom Son among others.
His enthusiasm for new music generates many exciting collaborations which extend the viola repertoire. This includes world premieres by Dobrinka Tabakova, Pēteris Vasks, Richard Dubugnon, Mate Balogh and Elena Langer. Other composers with whom Maxim has developed a close working relationship include Benjamin Yusupov, Leonid Desyatnikov, Giya Kancheli and most recently Gabriel Prokofiev. Gabriel is planning to write a symphony-concerto for Maxim, where the performer will have to combine skills of both soloist and conductor.
Maxim's recordings have gained numerous award nominations including Gramophone Editor's Choice, ECHO, ICMA. Maxim featured as both soloist and conductor on the debut disc of composer Dobrinka Tabakova (ECM) in 2013 - a disc that reached number 2 in the UK classical charts and was shortlisted for a Grammy Award. His last album “in Schubert’s company” was selected as Gramophone Critic’s Choice of the Year. New CD is planned for a spring 2020 release on BIS. Sinfonietta Riga under Maxim’s direction are performing music by Peteris Vasks. It will include the premier recording of the Viola Concerto written and dedicated to Maxim, coupled with the Symphony no 1.
Maxim is a recipient of various awards, including the Gramophone Young Artist of the Year Award and the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Award. He is also a prize-winner at the Geneva, Lionel Tertis and Valentino Bucchi competitions.
Maxim studied viola with Maria Sitkovskaya in Moscow and John Glickman at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama London.
Alexey Shor was born in Ukraine in 1970, immigrated to Israel in 1991, and now lives primarily in the USA.
His compositions have been performed at some of the most prestigious concert halls, including Wiener Musikverein, Berlin Philharmonie, Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center (Washington DC), Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory, Mariinsky Theatre (St. Petersburg), Kremlin Palace (Moscow), The Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Gasteig (Munich), Wigmore Hall (London), Teatro Argentina (Rome) and many others. Concerts with his music have been broadcast on MediciTV, Mezzo and Euronews. Mr Shor’s music has been showcased on Fox Business News and the websites of Bloomberg News, the New Yorker, Yahoo and the Huffington Post. The Overture to his ballet “Crystal Palace” was performed at the 40th Gramophone Classical Music Awards ceremony in London. In 2018 he has been awarded an honorary professorship at the Komitas State Conservatory of Yerevan. In 2022 Mr.Shor has been appointed as Yehudi Menuhin School’s first associate composer.
Mr. Shor’s scores are published by Breitkopf & Hartel, Universal Edition and P.Jurgenson.
CDs with his compositions have been issued by Warner Classics, DECCA, SONY Classics, Naxos, Delos, Berlin Classics and Melodiya. See here for details.
Mr. Shor is the Composer-In-Residence for the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra.
Many internationally acclaimed artists have performed Mr Shor’s music, including (in alphabetical order) Behzod Abduraimov, Salvatore Accardo, Ray Chen, Steven Isserlis, Evgeny Kissin, Denis Kozukhin, Shlomo Mintz, Mikhail Pletnev, Gil Shaham, Yeol Eum Son, Yekwon Sunwoo, Maxim Vengerov, Nikolaj Znaider and many others.
He also holds a Ph.D. in mathematics.
Alexander Sitkovetsky was born in Moscow into a family with a well-established musical tradition. His concerto debut came at the age of eight, and in the same year he moved to the UK to study at the Menuhin School. Lord Menuhin was his inspiration throughout his school years and they performed together on several occasions.
Highlights of his recent concerto performances include appearances with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Munich Chamber Orchestra, Konzerthaus Orchester Berlin, Royal Northern Sinfonia, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonietta Rīga, Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, European Union Chamber Orchestra, Halle Orchestra, Academy of St. Martin’s in the Fields, Moscow Symphony Orchestra, St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Filarmónica de Bolivia, National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Russian State Philharmonic Orchestra, Residentie Orkest The Hague, Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, Welsh National Opera Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Novosibirsk Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Arctic Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra and the Anhaltische Philharmonie Dessau.
He is also much in demand as a director and has directed and performed as a soloist regularly with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, Amsterdam Sinfonietta, London Mozart Players, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, New York Chamber Players, Camerata Zurich and the Arctic Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra.
He is also regularly invited as guest soloist with orchestras touring the UK and these have recently included the Russian Philharmonic Novosibirsk, Brussels Philharmonic, St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, and the Tonkünstler Orchester.
The forthcoming season will see his debuts with the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra Tennessee and Romanian Sinfonietta, as well as return visits to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, English Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonietta Rīga, Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Youth Orchestra, and Camerata Salzburg. Further highlights will be appearances at various chamber music festivals and venues, tours with the Julia Fischer Quartet and the Sitkovetsky Trio and extensive periods of chamber music in Australia and the USA. His critically acclaimed CPO recording of Andrzej Panufnik’s Violin Concerto with the Konzerthaus Orchester Berlin commemorating the composer’s 100th birthday won an ICMA Special Achievement Award. His most recent recording with the English Symphony Orchestra of the Philip Sawyers’s Violin Concerto was released to great critical acclaim.