Jess Gillam

Aaron Akugbo is a versatile and talented trumpet player who freelances with the UK’s leading orchestras as well as having a successful chamber and solo career. Having just finished his Bachelor of Music, with honours, at the Royal Academy of Music, Aaron is currently trialing as principal trumpet with the Philharmonia Orchestra and English National Opera, as co-principal trumpet of BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and as second trumpet with London Symphony Orchestra whilst also freelancing regularly as principal and tutti trumpet with BBC Symphony Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, Sinfonia of London and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Jess Gillam

Described as a "profoundly gifted artist" by Gramophone Magazine, Katya Apekisheva has earned her place as one of Europe's most renowned and gifted pianists.

Born in Moscow, into a family of musicians, she attended the Gnessin Music School for exceptionally gifted children making her stage debut at the age of 12. She continued her studies in Jerusalem at the Rubin Music Academy and later at the Royal College of Music in London.

Gilly French and Jeremy Gray

Bampton Classical Opera was founded in 1993 by its artistic directors, Gilly French and Jeremy Gray.  Their well-established national reputation is founded on a policy of breathing new life into little-known works of the classical period, in lively and accessible productions of exceptional musical standards, with some of the best of the country’s young singers.  The staged operas are always sung in English, often in their own lively new translations.

Jess Gillam

As a young hornist from Edinburgh, Robyn Blair has made her mark in chamber music through playing in the Connaught Brass quintet. She has recently gained funding towards a solo horn commission from the renowned trombonist and composer John Kenny, and aims to put on a trilogy concert of his solo brass works in Edinburgh alongside fellow ex-students of St Mary’s Music School. In February she will be performing and recording a premier of Hornpiece Solo by Luke Bedford.

Jess Gillam

A “thrilling young ensemble at the start of what is sure to be a major international career” (Great Birmingham Brass Fest), Connaught Brass are quickly making a name for themselves as a fresh talent in the chamber music world. Already set to perform at London’s Wigmore Hall and in the Lucerne Festival Debut Series, the ensemble’s ability to manipulate and unify sound earned them 1st Prize in the Inaugural Philip Jones International Brass Ensemble Competition 2019. Vibrant, spirited and bold, Connaught Brass place emphasis on their friendship with one another to showcase their individual musical personalities within a unique collective sound.

Jess Gillam

Chris Brewster began playing the baritone aged 7, keen to eventually play the tuba. He quickly moved onto the euphonium and eventually started to play the trombone aged 12.

Having gained a first class honours degree at the Royal Academy of Music, he is now continuing his studies as a Post Graduate student and scholarship holder at the same institution. He studies trombone with Matt Gee, Ian Bousfield and Pete Moore, and euphonium/bass trumpet with James Maynard.

Jess Gillam

Musical exposure and Central European culture: Alexander Gadjiev owes the first to his family, with both parents being piano teachers and musicians, and the second to Gorizia – his city of origin – a natural crossroads of peoples, cultures and languages. These factors have both had a determining influence on his natural ability to absorb, process and rework, to his own taste, different musical styles and languages. Tutored by his father, a well-known Russian teacher, Alexander played for the first time with an orchestra at the age of nine, and held his first solo recital aged ten. He was awarded his diploma at the age of seventeen, with the highest marks and honours. This allowed him to participate in the Premio Venezia – a competition reserved for the best young talents in Italy – and to win the 30th edition of the award.

Jess Gillam

Founded in 2010, Trio Gaspard are one of the most sought-after piano trios of their generation, praised for their unique and fresh approach to the score. Trio Gaspard are regularly invited to perform at major international concert halls, such as Wigmore Hall, Berlin Philharmonie, Essen Philharmonie, Grafenegg Castle Austria, Salle Molière Lyon, NDR Rolf- Liebermann Hall, Hamburg and Shanghai Symphony Hall as well as making appearances at festivals such as Heidelberger Frühling, Mantua Chamber Music Festival, Boswiler Sommer and PODIUM Festival Esslingen. Important engagements over the past year include recitals in Belfast, Trieste, Naples, Bern, Heidelberg, Grafenegg Festspiele as well as at Berlin’s Pierre Boulez Saal. A highlight of 2018 was performing Beethoven triple concerto twice in Switzerland under the baton of eminent musician and conductor, Gabor Takács-Nagy.

Jess Gillam

Born in London into a musical family, cellist Vashti Hunter is currently based in Berlin and enjoys a versatile career as soloist and chamber musician, being invited regularly to play in some of the world’s leading music festivals and concert halls. She is the first British cellist ever to be awarded a prize at the International Cello Competition ‘Prague Spring’ in its 65 year history.  Next season’s highlights include performances at the Wigmore Hall and LSO St.Lukes in London, a tour of the USA and a return to the Barbican Hall, where she will play Haydn Cello Concerto in C Major. She will also make appearances at the Lockenhaus Festival in Austria and at the Essen Philharmonie in Germany with BBC Young Generation Artist, soprano Katharina Konradi.

Jess Gillam

Jonian Ilias Kadesha has Greek-Albanian roots and lives in Berlin. The young musician not only speaks Greek, Albanian, German and English but also has a keen interest in philosophy and rhetoric.  His playing is characterized by stylistic accuracy in the interpretation of early to contemporary works, and in the exactness of his articulation. With boundless imagination of sound, Kadesha is always in search of something new.  He is a prizewinner of the Deutscher Musikwettbewerb, Windsor International and the Leopold Mozart Violin Competitions.

Samantha Louis-Jean, soprano

French-Canadian soprano Samantha Louis-Jean combines a "superbly projected, luminous" and "supple and intoxicating voice" with her "impressive acting qualities, driven by great sensitivity". At the beginning of 2020, she appeared at the Théâtre de Caen and at the Grand Théâtre der Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg as Céphise in Rameau's Pygmalion and as Vénus in Mondonville's L'Amour et Psyché together with the Ensemble Concert d'Astrée under Emmanuelle Haïm. In the same production she made guest appearances at the Opéra de Lille in 2019 and at the Opéra de Dijon in 2018, where she sang all four female roles in a new production of Les contes d'Hoffmann with great success the year before.

Jess Gillam

Aled Meredith-Barrett, originally from Pembrokeshire, is a tuba player and scholarship holder currently studying at the Royal Academy of Music (RAM), London, with Lee Tsarmaklis (London Philharmonic Orchestra). He recently graduated with BMus (Hons) from RAM in September 2020.

Aled started playing the tenor horn at the age of 7 and quickly joined the Goodwick Brass youth band. Aled progressed through the ranks and joined the senior band in 2009, winning the 1st section national title in 2015.

Jess Gillam

Established in 1987, The Octavian Singers have gained a justifiable reputation for achieving high musical standards and producing ambitious and popular musical events in Woking, Surrey and the surrounding areas.

Our repertoire includes a wide variety of music from baroque to 21st Century, madrigals to major choral works.

Jess Gillam

Harry Plant, born in Eastbourne East Sussex, graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2020 with a first-class honours degree studying classical trumpet performance. He started learning cornet at the age of 3, taught by his father, Marcus Plant. Throughout his childhood, he attended many of the local music service ensembles, as well as many of the local brass bands. As well as being classical trained as a trumpet player, Harry also has a vast amount of experience in the folk, jazz and pop genre, on trumpet and flugelhorn. 

Julian Perkins, conductor

Julian Perkins enjoys a busy and varied career as both conductor and keyboard player. Described as 'exuberantly stylish' by the Sunday Times, he loves bringing his experience as a leading performer on period instruments to his work with both period instrument ensembles and modern orchestras and to singers of varied performing backgrounds. He is Artistic Director of Cambridge Handel Opera and the Founder Director of Sounds Baroque. 

Jess Gillam

Timothy Ridout, a BBC New Generation Artist and Borletti-Buitoni Trust fellow, is one of the most sought-after violists of his generation. This season he appears as soloist with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at BBC Proms, Orchestre de chambre de Paris, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the Hallé Orchestra and makes his Viennese solo debut at the Wiener Konzerthaus with the Graz Philharmonic. In 2020 Ridout won Hamburger Symphoniker’s inaugural Sir Jeffrey Tate Prize and joined the Bowers Program of the Chamber Music Society of the Lincoln Center in 2021.

Jess Gillam

German-English pianist Nicholas Rimmer is passionately committed to exploring the piano in all its musical contexts, whether as solo instrument, in a large array of chamber music formations, accompanying voices or as a vehicle for improvisation. His musical training began as a child at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester studying piano, organ and conducting as a teenager, from where he went on to read Music at Clare College, Cambridge. There he held an organ scholarship and worked with conductors including Ivor Bolton, John Eliot Gardiner, René Jacobs and John Rutter. After moving to Germany he developed his studies with a wide range of musicians including Wolfram Rieger, Hatto Beyerle, the Alban Berg Quartet, Ferenc Rados whilst embarking on a successful career as a pianist with a particular focus on chamber music.

Emma Stannard, mezzo soprano

Cumbrian mezzo-soprano Emma Stannard trained at the Royal Northern College of Music and on the Royal Academy Opera Course.  Upcoming engagements include Olga in Eugene Onegin (Opera Holland Park), Fileno in Clori, Tirsi e Fileno (Bampton Classical Opera) and alto soloist in Mozart Requiem (Really Big Chorus).

On the operatic stage, Emma has performed Idamante Idomeneo and Enrico Elisabetta I (English Touring Opera), Flora La Traviata (Opera Holland Park YAP), Mother Amahl and the Night Visitors (Bampton Classical Opera), Selene Berenice (La Nuova Musica), Minerva Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria and Pepa Goyescas (The Grange Festival).

Caroline Taylor, soprano

Winner of the 2021 Emmy Destinn Young Singers Awards, Caroline Taylor studied as an Oglesby Scholar at the Royal Northern College of Music, generously supported by a Help Musicians UK Maidment Award. She is a recent British Youth Opera Serena Fenwick Young Artist and Emerging Artist at Longborough Festival Opera, a member of the Wigmore Hall French Song Exchange and an Oxford Lieder Emerging Artist for 2022/2023. She studies with Susan Roberts and Louise Winter.