Violin & Viola
Around 40 students currently study the violin at the School and all of them will also gain experience at some point in their school careers of playing the viola in chamber or orchestral music. There is also a small number of students for whom the viola is their principal instrument, in most cases having previously studied the violin. Each week all students have two lessons per week from their principal teacher, either one or two lessons from an assistant teacher, and participate in a class lesson.
In addition, some of the pianists receive one lesson in a stringed instrument each week as their supporting study, taught by one of the assistant teachers.
Hailed by Strad magazine as a “strong artistic personality”, Singaporean violinist, Ning Kam has gone on to perform all over the globe both as soloist and chamber musician. She was the Second Prizewinner at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in2001 and was praised by Belgium’s De Standaard as “manifestly the best violinist of the competition”. She also won the Flemish Radio and TelevisionAudience Prize in that year. She has performed under the batons of conductors such as Yehudi Menuhin, Lorin Maazel, Okku Kamu, Lan Shui, Louis Langree and with orchestras such as the Cleveland Orchestra, National Orchestra of Belgium, Liege Philharmonic, Singapore SymphonyOrchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic and City of London Sinfonia. Ning has also collaborated in chamber music with Yehudi Menuhin, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Marie Hallynck, Louis Lortie amongst many others.
As a recording artist, she has released Transatlantic under the Cypres label, Cicada, dedicated solely to the music of Kam Kee Yong and her recording of August De Boeck’s Violin Concerto with the Flemish RadioOrchestra conducted by Marc Soustrot, under the Etcetera label. In 2013, she released Road Movies with pianist Albert Tiu under the Meridian Records label and most recently released her latest recording, Works for Violin and Piano with pianist, Liebrecht Vanbeckevoort under the Etcetera label. Her recordings have been given rave reviews by American Record Guide,Fanfare and Crescendo magazines.
In October 2002, Ning was invited to perform at the National Inauguration of the Esplanade Theatres on the Bay Concert Hall inSingapore and has broadcasted on Singapore’s Symphony 92.4FM, BBC Radio 3,Klara and Musique 3 in Belgium and CBC Radio Canada. As a visionary artist with a reputation for musical integrity and imagination, Ning also has a particular love for contemporary music. Between 2011 and 2017, she was the ArtisticDirector of Het Kamerorkest Brugge, a conductorless chamber orchestra with a focus on 20th and 21st century music. Under her leadership and adventurous programming, the HKOB earned a reputation as an orchestra with innovative energy for a new generation in classical music. She also regularly guest directs the strings of the Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie. As an active chamber musician, Ning is part of the Kheops Ensemble. She is also a founding member of Loco Motive, a bluegrass, jazz and funk trio with cellist, Sebastien Walnier and bassist, LisaDe Boos.
Ning plays on a 1668 Nicolas Amati on generous loan from the Rin Collection, Singapore.
Boris Kucharsky is a solo violinist, chamber musician, recording artist and teacher. He has played with major orchestras worldwide including the Slovak Philharmonic and Radio Symphony, Dortmund Philharmonic, Karlsbad Symphony, European, Vienna and Prague Chamber Orchestras as well as the Gulf Coast Symphony. Kucharsky collaborated with the legendary violinist Yehudi Menuhin, in performances of Bach's Double and Triple Concerto, and was soloist in Beethoven's Violin Concerto with Menuhin conducting. This series of concerts across Germany first laid the foundation for Boris Kucharsky's reputation as one of the most outstanding violinists of his generation. In the last 20 years he has performed extensively in chamber ensembles, (with members of the Munich and Berlin Philharmonic) and collaborated with pianists such as Melissa Marse, Per Rundberg, Elizabeth Hopkins and Helge Kjekshus in concerts across Europe, the US and Asia.
He was also featured as soloist in numerous television and radio broadcasts for the Bavarian Radio Munich, Klassik Plus, WDR Cologne, BBC, Deutschlandfunk, Radio Stephansdom Austria, Slovak National Radio and Television, WQXR and WNYC, USA.Boris Kucharsky has recorded for Trevak, Ars, StarArts, Vipro Classic and KC Classics labels.
His recording of all 10 Beethoven Sonatas, released in 2010, won widespread critical acclaim. Since 2008 he has performed all chamber works written for the violin by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert and Schumann. His repertoire spans from early baroque music to the great works of the 20th century. Recent performances have also included works by the Slovak composer Eugen Suchon, the Russian composer Alfred Schnittke, the contemporary American composer Robert Aldridge and the German composer Jörg Widmann.
In 1999 Kucharsky's recording of Suchon's Violin Concerto "Fantasia and Burleska" was awarded "Best Classical Recording of the Year" by the National Slovak Radio.
His recent recordings of the complete chamber music by Schubert won great critical acclaim. Fanfare Magazine wrote: “Boris Kucharsky plays the Fantasie on the first of the two albums possibly better than anyone I’ve ever heard. His tone is liquid gold. He is unfazed by the technical hurdles, and—I don’t know how else to say it—he makes the most beautiful music where others gloss over some of the score’s finer details in favor of its fireworks"
Kucharsky completed his studies for a Master of Music degree with the legendary violinist Erick Friedman at Yale University in 1997. Kucharsky and Friedman shared the stage on many occasions. A highlight was their rendition of Brahms's Double Concerto in 1996, with Erick Friedman conducting and Kucharsky and cellist Ole Akahoshi as soloists.
As a teenager, Boris Kucharsky studied chamber music at the Yehudi Menuhin School in London with Peter Norris, Sidney Griller (Griller Quartet) and Hans Keller as well as with the Endellion and Chilingirian Quartets. From 1989-1994 he studied at the Musikhochschule in Cologne with Igor Ozim and was coached by the Amadeus and Alban Berg Quartet in chamber music.
Boris Kucharsky has been on the faculty of the J.J.Cali School of Music at Montclair State University since 2008, where he teaches violin, chamber music and orchestral studies. From 2002-2008 he taught at Munich's Music Academy, a class for especially talented young violinists and received the L.O.B. award in 2008 for his extraordinary achievements as a violin pedagogue.
He plays the "Baron Knoop" violin, made by Carlo Bergonzi in Cremona, 1735.
Sebastian Müller currently maintains principal study violin classes at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, at the Yehudi Menuhin School London, as well as at the Royal Northern College of Music. He holds the position of visiting professor of violin at the Escuela Superior de Música in Valencia.
He previously taught at the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover, as well as at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and at various universities in the UK and abroad.
Müller’s extensive performance career has seen him feature as soloist with the major violin concerto repertoire in - and outside Europe. He has acted as principal leader and soloist of the German String Orchestra and worked with the London Symphony Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia and the Oxford Philharmonic.
Many of Müller’s students have won national and international competitions, grants and scholarships. He collaborates with scientists and practitioners in the fields of psychology and movement science and has submitted a patent application on a method of establishing an individual optimal static concept of the violin hold/posture. He regularly coaches the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and the Portuguese National Youth Orchestra and is frequently invited to give masterclasses globally. Since 2017 he is director of the “Pro Corda” Violin Courses in the UK.
Müller trained with I. Goldstein, S. Picard, I. Kertscher and D . Hahn, at the Berlin (Hanns Eisler), London (Guildhall), Amsterdam and Hannover conservatoires and received further education form P. Zukerman, R. Capuçon, A. Weithaas, R. Pasquier and R. Nodel. Following his studies Müller was awarded an Artist Fellowship at the Guildhall School.
Müller plays on a violin made by Stephan Peter Greiner.
Akiko launched her career after winning numerous prizes in prestigious competitions including first prizes at the Yehudi Menuhin (2000),Viotti-Valsesia (2002) and Forval Scholarship Stradivarius Japan (2003). She was also a laureate of the Concours Reine Elisabeth (2001), Paganini (1999) and Szigeti Competition (2002).
Since then she has enjoyed performing with major orchestras such as the Weimar Staatskapelle, Belgian National Orchestra, Lille National Orchestra, Beethoven Academy Orchestra, London Mozart Players, London Chamber Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Polish Radio Amadeus Chamber Orchestra andLithuanian Chamber Orchestra, and collaborating with conductors including Hans Drewanz, George Alexander Albrecht, Shlomo Mintz, Saulus Sondeckis, James Judd,Paul Watkins, Matthias Bamert, Gilbert Varga, Christian Arming, Christopher Warren-Green and Yutaka Sado.
Akiko made her debut with Yehudi Menuhin and the Essen Philharmonic Orchestra at the UNICEF Gala Concer tin Germany in 1998. In the same year, she was invited by Vanessa Redgrave, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, to perform at the UN Headquarters in New York to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rightsw here she performed a Bach Partita.She has performed throughout Europe, the United States, Central America, North Africa, the Middle East and Far East.Venues include Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Queen ElizabethHall, Carnegie Hall, Konzerthaus Vienna, Tokyo Festival Hall, TokyoMetropolitan Hall and Palais des Beaux-Arts Brussels.
Akiko sets great value in outreach activities and educational projects and has worked with the Red Cross,UNICEF and Live Music Now, as well as other institutions. She is one of the appointed artists of the Japan Foundation for Regional Art-Activities since 2006 and is a course leader of the Maiastra Chamber Music, based in Surrey. Akiko also leads the Orpheus Sinfonia which supports the finest young musicians emerging from conservatoires across Britain. Every summer, Akiko coaches and plays chamber music with Yutaka Sado’s Super Kids Orchestra in Japan. InJuly 2016, Akiko launched a new summer violin course Music Space at Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge, in partnership with Cambridge Summer Music. In demand as a soloist and chamber musician, Akiko is also invited as guest concertmaster by various orchestras such as the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Nederlands Symphonieorkest.
Her CD Favourite Violin Pieces, was released in 2008 with Ichiro Nodaira which has received rave reviews. In 2016, Akiko recorded her second album Romance, featuring works including Debussy, Stravinsky, Ysaye and Wagner which has been highly rated by top national music publications and newspapers.
Born in Tokyo, Akiko moved to the UK when she was 12 to study at The Yehudi Menuhin School. She then studied with Dora Schwarzberg and Michael Frischenschlager at the University of Music and performing Arts in Vienna.
Akiko is currently a Professor at the Guildhall of Music & Drama in London and The Yehudi Menuhin School.
Internationally regarded pedagogue, Dr Robin Wilson is Professor of Violin at the Royal Academy of Music London and the Yehudi Menuhin School in the UK. He regularly serves on the faculty of the Keshet Eilon International String Mastercourse in Israel, Valdres Sommersymfoni in Norway and Morningside Music Bridge at The New England Conservatory in Boston. He was Head of Violin at The Australian National Academy of Music in Melbourne for nine years, and previously held appointments as Lecturer in Violin at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, the University of Queensland and the Australian Institute of Music. Robin is regularly invited to serve on juries of international competitions and give masterclasses throughout Australasia, Asia, Israel, Europe, UK and the USA. Current and former students are major prizewinners of many international competitions, including first prize (2018) and second prize (2021) of the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition. They perform internationally as soloists and hold principal and tutti positions with many orchestras in Australasia and around the world, including the Berlin Philharmonic.
Robin has performed at major venues and festivals throughout Australia, USA and the UK, is regularly broadcast on all the major radio stations throughout Australasia, and has released solo and chamber music recordings on Decca, ABC Classics, Vexations840 and VDE-Gallo, including the complete Schubert Sonatas for Violin and Piano and two discs of violin encores. A member of the acclaimed Ironwood ensemble who have toured internationally, he is a former leader of the ARCO Chamber Orchestra and member of the Australian Octet, and has appeared as guest violinist with many leading Australian ensembles such as the Omega Ensemble, Ensemble Liaison, Australia Quartet and Nexus 2MBSFM Virtuosi, and has played with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Opera Australia Orchestra, Orchestra of the Antipodes and Pinchgut Opera.
Holding a PhD from the University of Sydney, Robin’s research into the performance practice of Brahms’s music was awarded the prestigious Geiringer Prize from the American Brahms Society and he has presented lectures and recitals at major institutions throughout the USA and UK, including Stanford and Yale Universities. In 2018 he received a National Award from the Australian String Teachers Association for outstanding services to the Australian string community and in 2022 was made an AUSTA Patron.
Robin studied in Sydney with Alice Waten and Janet Davies, and with James Buswell at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. He plays a violin made by the Gagliano family in Naples in 1784.
Louise Lansdown was appointed Head of Strings at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in 2012, after holding the position of Senior Lecturer in the School of Strings at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester from 2001-2012. Louise is the founder of the Cecil Aronowitz International Viola Competition and Festival, launched at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in October 2014 as well as the founder and President of the British Viola Society.
She is a trustee Quartet of Peace Trust, Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition, the Albion Quartet and directs a viola course at Blisland, Cornwall, as well as teaching on Cadenza and Quattro Corde.
Louise, along with her viola students is the founder of a major distance learning education project that the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire runs in collaboration with the Morris Isaacson Centre for Music in Soweto, South Africa called “ARCO”. The project was launched in July 2015 and was nominated for a guardian internationalization award in 2018. In February 2021, Louise launched ARCO India, a similar project providing 1:1 instrumental teaching for the Sunshine String Orchestra founded by A.R Rahman in Chennai.
Louise plays on a French Viola c.1750 and 1890 Sartory bow, both previously belonging to the South African violist Cecil Aronowitz. She has also recently acquired a beautiful viola made by Antoine Gourdon. Louise plays mostly chamber music and solo concerts, collaborating with violists and other musicians across the world. She commissions new music for the viola and concocts hair brain schemes to perform music by Paul Hindemith and much unknown viola music, bringing the viola to many unsuspecting and innocent people!! Louise was awarded a PhD from the University of Manchester in 2008 with the title: ”The Young Paul Hindemith: Life, Works, Influences and Music Activities until 1922”. She is a member of the South African “Ubuntu Ensemble”.
Elliott grew up in Surrey, UK where he was home educated with his siblings until the age of nine. In 2001 he was awarded a place at the Yehudi Menuhin School, where he studied with Suzie Meszaros, Rosemary Warren-Green and Loutsia Ibragimova on the violin until 2008, when he changed to first study viola. Elliott was a foundation scholar at the Royal College of Music in London where he studied with Andriy Viytovych and was later invited to work with Hatto Beyerle at his residence in Hanover.
On graduating from the RCM, Elliott joined the Maxwell String Quartet with whom he won both First Prize and Audience Prize at the Trondheim International Chamber Music Competition in 2017. Since then the quartet has toured internationally, including the Rheingau Festival in Germany,
Stavanger Festival, Trondheim Chamber Music Festival, Amsterdam String Quartet Biennale, Schiermonnikoog and Wonderfeel Festivals in the Netherlands, Lammermuir Festival and Music at Paxton in Scotland. Its debut tour of the USA in January 2019 garnered critical acclaim from the New York Times (“eloquent performers who bring the same sense of charisma and sense of adventure to their programming”), and performing to sold out venues in New York, Florida, California and Washington. They have since played in over 30 states. The two CDs released by Linn Records, featuring string quartets by Haydn alongside the quartet’s own compositions, based on Scottish traditional folk music, received glowing reviews from international press.
Elliott performs as a soloist and chamber musician in venues around the UK, including The Wigmore Hall, The Royal festival Hall, The Royal Albert hall, The Queen Elizabeth Hall, The Purcell Room, Sadlers Wells, Bradford Cathedral, Snape Maltings, Dorking Halls and The Cadogan Hall. Whenever possible, Elliott joins forces with his broth Oscar to perform under the banner of ‘the Perks Ensemble’.
In 2018, Elliott released his first album, ‘Marchenbilder’ with guitarist, Tom Ellis, which features transcriptions of music by Schubert, Schumann, Wolf and Tchaikovsky, themed around Germanic text. This music was later toured with the Images Ballet Company, with Elliott involved in the choreography process working closely with Jennifer Jackson.
For the past eight years, Elliott has enjoyed developing his career as a teacher, working with Violin and Viola students at the Yehudi Menuhin school alongside Chamber Music coaching.
Elliott plays a J.B Vuillaume viola from 1852, on loan from a very generous benefactor, to whom he is incredibly grateful.
Born in Bulgaria, at the Black Sea Coast of the city of Burgas, Gergana currently lives in Cobham, Surrey, UK where she teaches at the Yehudi Menuhin School, Stoke d’Abernon. A pupil of the famous pedagogue Natasha Boyarsky, Gergana was Natasha’s main assistant for four years as well as Lutsia Ibragimova’s assistant for seven. She currently works with Robin Wilson and has been covering for Boris Brovtsyn at the school. She also coaches chamber music there, most recently for recordings of Orchid Classics Album.
Gergana’s students have gone on to become some of today’s most recognised young violinists, major prize winners of the Menuhin Competition, Indianapolis Violin Competition, Montreal, Joachim and winners of Bartok, Brahms, Jeunesses Musicales and BBC Young Musician Strings. They have gone on to develop international performing careers working with Isserlis, Capucon, Kremmer and have signed with major artists managements. She is currently preparing students for Premio Paganini, Queen Elizabeth and Carl Flesh in the upcoming months. Most recently her students have gotten places at top conservatoires in Berlin, Vienna, New York and London and have won full scholarships to Julliard School, Royal Academy, Royal College of Music, Indiana and Boston Conservatoires.
You can visit gerganaraykova.com for an extensive biography.
Anna Ziman graduated in 2016 with a first class BMus (Hons) degree from the Royal College of Music, London, where she studied with Natasha Boyarsky, supported by the Henry Wood Award. Anna is an annual attendee of a summer school in Italy - Civica Scuola di Musica - where she studies with her current professor Natasha Boyarsky. She also recently participated in a masterclass given by Alina Ibragimova.
Anna has given several solo performances in venues including the Rachmaninov Hall of Moscow State Conservatoire and the Concert Hall of Slobodkin Center in Moscow. She has been invited several times to perform at the Poetry Evenings in the Tsvetaeva House Museum as well as giving solo recitals there twice a year.
Currently she is studying for her MPerf at the Royal College of Music with Natasha Boyarsky where she is generously supported by the Abel Halpern & Helen Chung-Halpern Award.