THE PRIMROSE PIANO QUARTET
Susanne Stanzeleit, violin – Dorothea Vogel, viola – Andrew Fuller, cello – John Thwaites, piano
The Primrose Piano Quartet was formed in 2004 by four renowned chamber musicians and is named after the great Scottish violist, William Primrose, who himself played in the Festival Piano Quartet.
The group’s acclaimed discography includes favourites such as works by Fauré, Brahms, Elgar, Strauss and Schubert as well British repertoire featuring neglected masterpieces of the 19th and 20th century and major commissions from Sir Peter Maxwell Davies and Anthony Payne (premièred at the Cheltenham Festival and at King’s Place London).
The Quartet enjoy a busy performing schedule throughout the UK and abroad with recent tours taking them to Denmark, Germany, Romania, Portugal and Bulgaria in addition to regular appearances at London’s Kings Place, Wigmore and Conway Halls.
In 2019 the Primrose released their latest recording, this time of the complete Brahms piano quartets. This was the culmination of years of research into Historically Informed Performance Practice and involved the musicians and recording team travelling to Vienna to record in the historic “Ehrbahrsaal”, where Brahms himself frequently performed, using three different pianos of the period from the famous Gert Hechner collection. The result has been hailed by critics as “revelatory”. Their next project will focus on the French Romantics, and they will record a disc of Fauré, Saint-Saëns and Chausson piano quartets in early 2023.
Their own festival here in West Meon is now in its twelfth year, and they were appointed ensemble-in-residence at the Battle Festival in 2016.
Renowned as a soloist and chamber musician world-wide, Susanne is well known for her unusually challenging and extensive repertoire, featuring many commissions and UK premières of works by composers such as Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Anthony Payne, John Adams, Lou Harrison, Gyorgy Kurtág, Dmitri Smirnov, John Casken, Piers Hellawell, Jacques Cohen, Peter Fribbins, Sally Beamish and many more.
From 2008-2013 Susanne was leader of the Maggini Quartet. She also led the Werethina String Quartet for many years and the Edinburgh String Quartet between 1999-2002.
Susanne has received rave reviews and a Gramophone Award nomination for her long list of commercial recordings, which feature the complete works of Bartók, Enescu, Delius and Dvoràk as well as Beethoven violin sonatas, works by Charles Camilleri and a series of English sonata recordings. Chamber discs include six discs with the Edinburgh Quartet, chamber music by Kenneth Leighton and Mendelssohn Quartets with the Maggini Quartet. A disc of Elgar, Ireland and Bridge Sonatas was released on the Meridian label in 2017.
Susanne Stanzeleit is regularly invited to teach and give masterclasses and has been visiting teacher of violin and chamber music at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire since 2007.
Dorothea was born in Switzerland and studied with Rudolf Weber in Winterthur. After winning first prize in the Swiss Youth Competition, Dorothea won scholarships to study with Paul Coletti at the Peabody Institute, USA, and with David Takeno and Micaela Comberti at the Guildhall School in London, where she graduated with the coveted Concert Recital Diploma.
She was a founder member of the Amar Quartet. Dorothea has played the baroque viola in the Kings Consort and Florilegium and has been both principal viola in the Gustav Mahler Orchestra and the World Youth Orchestra in Israel.
In 2001 she joined the Allegri String Quartet, one of the UK’s longest-standing chamber groups, with whom she enjoys a busy performing, touring and recording schedule.
She teaches viola and chamber music at the Royal Welsh College as well as chamber music at Pro Corda and festivals throughout the UK.
Andrew Fuller has a busy and varied career as a soloist, chamber musician, guest principal, session musician and teacher. His duo partnership with Pianist Michael Dussek has had great success with concerts and recordings, their CDs of Cello works on the Dutton Vocalion label receiving critical acclaim, several being selected as Editor’s Choice in Gramophone Magazine.
He was Associate Principal with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for seven years, leaving in 1997 to concentrate on solo and chamber music. Since then he has regularly worked as guest principal for the RPO as well as many other orchestras including the Philharmonia, BBC Concert Orchestra, the City of London Sinfonia, the Hallé Orchestra, the City of London Sinfonia and the Orchestra of St Johns.
As chamber musician he is also a member of Primavera. He has made many appearances at The Wigmore Hall and at festivals and music clubs around the world. He was a member of the York Piano Trio, the Fibonacci sequence and Aquarius. He has also been a regular guest player with other Groups including the Sorrel, Brindisi and Coull String Quartets, Endymion and the Schubert Ensemble.
He was a visiting teacher at the Birmingham Conservatoire from 1997 to 2003 and regularly coaches at the Royal Academy of Music and for UK youth orchestras.
Professor John Thwaites is best known for his collaborative work with strings. He has worked over decades with cellists Alexander Baillie and Johannes Goritzki, and appeared with Pierre Doumenge, Adrian Brendel, Natalie Clein, Li Wei, Jian Wang and others. A string of recordings with Alexander Baillie for the SOMM label include a Five Star Chamber Music Choice of the Month for BBC Music Magazine.
He has played quintets with the Martinu, Maggini, Dante Schidlof, Emperor and Aurea String Quartets. Theatrical collaborations have included work with Simon Callow, Tony Britton and Tim Piggott-Smith.
His research focus is on Historically Informed Performance Practice in Brahms and British Chamber Music. He has appeared in many major British and International Festivals, the major London concert halls, and many broadcast channels including BBC Radio Three.
John’s teaching career is extensive and he is currently Course Director of the Cadenza International Summer Music School and Head of the Department of Keyboard Studies at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, where he has directed major festivals of Ireland, Delius, Bax, Skryabin and Brahms as well as a celebrity-Gala at Birmingham Town Hall.
This Year's guests (in order of appearance)
Thomas Kelly was born in November 1998. Thomas has won 1st prizes including Pianale International Piano Competition 2017, Kharkiv Assemblies 2018, at Lucca Virtuoso e Bel Canto festival 2018, RCM Joan Chissell Schumann competition 2019, Kendall Taylor Beethoven competition 2019, BPSE Intercollegiate Beethoven competition 2019 and the 4th Theodor Leschetizky competition 2020. In 2021 Thomas was a finalist in the Leeds International Piano Competition. Most recently, he was awarded 2nd prize and special prize for best semi-final performance at Hastings International Concerto Competition 2022.
He has performed in a variety of venues, including the Wigmore Hall, the Cadogan Hall, St John’s Smith Square, Steinway Hall London, Holy Trinity Sloane Square, St James’ Piccadilly, Oxford Town Hall, St Mary’s Perivale, St Paul’s Bedford, the embassies of Russia and Brazil in London, the Poole Lighthouse Arts Centre, the Stoller Hall, Leeds Town Hall, at the North Norfolk Music Festival, Paris Conservatoire, the StreingreaberHaus in Bayreuth and separately at the Teatro Del Sale and the British Institute in Florence.
Jamie Savan is director of the Gonzaga Band and is lucky enough to combine his performing career with an academic position as Professor of Performance-led Research at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. He is also active as a solo recitalist, as a chamber musician with His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts and as an orchestral principal with the English Baroque Soloists under Sir John Eliot Gardiner. He has performed with many other of the world’s leading period-instrument ensembles, including Concerto Palatino, Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, and Bach Collegium Japan to name but a few, and enjoys exploring the many facets of his instrument, ranging from Renaissance improvisation techniques to new music for cornett and live electronics.
Faye Newton enjoys a diverse repertoire spanning some six centuries and embracing many aspects of the solo voice, from medieval song recitals (with Dup Trobairitz), to intimate lute-song recitals, consort singing and baroque opera roles. She has collaborated with leading period instrument orchestras and choirs including: the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, the Taverner Consort, the Monteverdi String Band, Caecilia-Concert and the New London Consort (with whom she performed at the BBC Proms and in acclaimed opera productions by Jonathan Miller). Whilst her musical life is varied, Faye has a particular affection for the virtuosic and expressive music of Monteverdi and his contemporaries.
Steven Devine enjoys a busy career as a music director and keyboard player working with some of the finest musicians. He has been the principal keyboard player for The Gonzaga Band since its formation in 1997 and is also principal keyboard player with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and The Mozartists, and he performs and records regularly with many other groups internationally. He has numerous solo recordings to his credit, including Bach’s Goldberg Variations and Italian Concerto on Chandos, and the complete harpsichord works of Rameau, Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, and a new series of keyboard works by Johann Ludwig Krebs on Resonus Classics. He is Early Keyboard Consultant to the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and teaches fortepiano at the Royal Academy of Music.
Harriet Burns is fast developing a reputation as a “polished, witty, expressive and sweet-toned” (The Times) performer both in recital and on stage. An acclaimed interpreter of song, Harriet has performed at the Wigmore Hall, Philharmonie Luxembourg, Oxford Lieder and Leeds Lieder Festivals, International Lied Festival Zeist, Ryedale Festival with pianists including James Baillieu, Imogen Cooper, Christopher Glynn, Graham Johnson, Sholto Kynoch, Malcolm Martineau, Joseph Middleton and Ian Tindale. Recent debuts include Sage Gateshead with Nicholas McGegan, the Royal Northern Sinfonia and Chorus in Vivaldi’s Dixit Dominus and Bach’s Magnificat.
On the operatic stage, recent roles include Oriana (cover, Amadigi, Handel) for Garsington Opera, Sister Grace (The Angel Esmeralda, Lliam Paterson), Nerina (La Fedeltà premiata, Haydn), and Aminta (Aminta e Fillide, Handel) with Guildhall Opera. Harriet will be covering the role of Sifare (Mitridate, re di Ponto, Mozart) at Garsington Opera, and will perform King Harald’s Saga (Judith Weir) for Waterperry Opera in 2023.
Harriet graduated with a Distinction on the Artist Diploma programme at the Guildhall Opera School in 2020. Competition successes include 2nd prize at the 2022 Concours Musical International de Montréal (Art Song division), 2nd prize at the 2019 Wigmore Hall/Independent Opera International Song Competition.