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.

Susanne Stanzeleit

 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 Vogel

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

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.

John Thwaites

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

Helen Charlston

Helen won First Prize in the 2018 Handel Singing Competition, was a Rising Star of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment for 2017-19 and is a 2018 City Music Foundation Artist. This season she will make debuts with Academy of Ancient Music, Cambridge Handel Opera Company, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra and the Concertgebouw Kammerorchestra, as well as joining Fretwork for a solo recital programme at Wigmore Hall and York Early Music Christmas Festival. She will premiere the role of Anna in the newly completed opera Blue Electric by Tom Smail and will continue her commissioning project of lute songs with duo partner Toby Carr.

Operatic roles include Messaggera & Prosperpina/L’Orfeo (Monteverdi), Penelope/Il Ritorno d’Ilisse in patria (Monteverdi), First Witch/Dido and Aeneas, Olga/Eugene Onegin, Florence Pike/AlbertHerring, Ino/Semele, Sara/Tobias and the Angel (Dove) and Dinah/Trouble in Tahiti (Bernstein). Helen created the role of Dido in the première of a new chamber opera based on Virgil’s writings about Dido: Dido is Dead, by young composer Rhiannon Randle.

JONATHAN MARTINDALE

Jonathan Martindale enjoys a varied career as a chamber musician, soloist and orchestral principal. In 2006 he co-founded the Eblana String Trio, which has since gone on to perform regularly throughout the UK as well as in Europe and South Africa. The trio were City Music Foundation and Park Lane Group artists with recent highlights including performances at Wigmore Hall, St John’s Smith Square, and Bridgewater Hall Manchester, as well as live performances on BBC Radio 3. Their debut CD of British string trios ‘The King’s Alchemist’ was released in 2021 to critical acclaim.  A keen interest in contemporary music has seen the trio work closely with leading composers David Matthews, Kalevi Aho, Sally Beamish, Robin Holloway, and the late Hugh Wood. They have also given the premières of works written specially for the trio by Joel Rust and Grave-Evangeline Mason. 

Away from the trio Jonathan has also performed with pianist Steven Osborne and acclaimed violist Thomas Riebl, as well as in the chamber ensembles of Manchester Camerata, Royal Northern Sinfonia and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.

Jonathan is Associate Leader of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and has appeared with the orchestra at major concert halls and festivals throughout Europe, China, and Japan, as well as at the BBC Proms, Lucerne, and Aldeburgh Festivals. He also regularly leads the orchestra and has performed with them as a soloist on many occasions. Prior to joining the CBSO Jonathan was Principal Second Violin (no.2) of the Royal Northern Sinfonia, with whom he also appeared as a soloist and chamber musician.  With any spare time he has, Jonathan enjoys cooking and eating out, as well as the occasional game of tennis!

John Mills

Born in Kingston upon Thames in 1947, John Mills studied guitar first at the Spanish Guitar Centre, London, and later at the Royal College of Music under the professorship of John Williams. In 1968 he studied at the famous series of master-classes held in Santiago de Compostela in Spain given by the legendary maestro Andrés Segovia, and in 1970 played in classes given by Julian Bream at the University of Warwick.

Following graduation from the RCM in 1969, he was appointed Head of Guitar at the RCM’s Junior Department a position he held for several years. In 1970 he was a prize-winner in the Greater London Arts Association’s Young Performers Competition which resulted in him taking part in a concert at the Purcell Room. John Mills’ official solo London debut took place in 1971 at the Wigmore Hall, and he then made his international debut the following year with a tour of Eastern Canada.

John Mills was a frequent performer on both BBC Radio 2 and Radio 3, including several live broadcasts from centres such as Manchester and Bristol, and recorded a number of albums for several labels in the UK. He has contributed a large number of articles to guitar magazines over the last 30 years, as well as being the author of a best-selling method for the guitar published by Music Sales.

Following a number of years as a soloist during which time he performed in over 25 countries, including Japan, the USA, and Australia, he moved to New Zealand where he was Head of Guitar at the Nelson School of Music from 1985 to 1988. An offer of a professorship at the Royal Academy of Music meant a return to the UK in 1988, an appointment he held for 20 years, and he was appointed Co-ordinator of Guitar at the then Welsh College of Music & Drama in the early 1990s.

John Mills continues to perform internationally, as well as giving frequent master-classes, seminars and workshops. He was also associated for around 18 years with the celebrated International Classical Guitar Summer School & Festival, held at West Dean, eleven of those as Director, finishing in 2012.

As well as teaching and a solo performing career, he also is very active in the field of chamber music with duos consisting of guitar and violin, harpsichord, piano, voice, and of course music for two guitars with his wife Cobie Smit.

EMANUIL IVANOV

Emanuil Ivanov attracted international attention after receiving the First Prize at the 2019 Ferruccio Busoni Piano Competition in Italy. This achievement was followed by concert engagements in some of the world’s most prestigious halls including Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Herculessaal in Munich and the Great Hall of the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic.

Emanuil was born in 1998 in the town of Pazardzhik, Bulgaria. He started piano lessons with Galina Daskalova in his hometown around the age of seven. He later studied in and graduated from the Bertolt Brecht language high school in Pazardzhik and then studied with renowned Bulgarian pianist Atanas Kurtev from 2013 to 2018. He is currently studying on a full scholarship at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire under the tutelage of Pascal Nemirovski and Anthony Hewitt. His participations in masterclasses include those of Dmitri Bashkirov, Dmitri Alexeev, Stephen Hough, Vladimir Ovchinnikov, Peter Donohoe, etc.

Emanuil has won prizes in competitions such as “Alessandro Casagrande”, “Scriabin-Rachmaninoff”, “Pavel Serebryakov”, “Liszt-Bartók”, “Young Virtuosos” and “Jeunesses International Music Competition Dinu Lipatti”. He was also awarded the honorary Crystal lyre and the Young Musician of the Year Award – some of the most prestigious awards in Bulgaria. In 2022 he was received the honorary Silver Medal of the Musicians’ Company, London.

In February 2021, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Emanuil performed a solo recital in Milan’s famous Teatro alla Scala. He also performed at many festivals in Bulgaria and has also given solo recitals in France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Cyprus, the United Kingdom and Poland. He has played with leading orchestras in Bulgaria and Italy.

 

Kirsten Jenson

Kirsten studied in London at the Guildhall School of Music with Louise Hopkins and Leonid Gorokhov, and then in Scotland and Switzerland with renowned soloist and pedagogue Johannes Goritzki. She performed the Schumann Cello Concerto with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in the City Halls, and during her studies won numerous prizes and awards include the RSAMD Concerto Competition, the CSI Concerto Competition in Lugano, the Helen Winning Memorial Prize at the Tunbridge Wells International YCA Competition, and the Scottish A. Ramsay Calder Debussy Prize.

She has taken part in international concert series and festivals throughout Europe, Indonesia, Japan and the US, including IMS Prussia Cove, The London Masterclasses, and the Piatigorsky International Cello Festival. Kirsten was awarded Best British Cellist at the 2016 International Music Competition Grand Prize Virtuoso.

Kirsten has a busy freelance career, combining session work and private teaching with her love of solo and chamber music. In 2014 Kirsten was cellist of the Fontanelli Quartet, who were selected as Park Lane Young Concert Artists. From 2014 – 2016 she was cellist of the Ragazze Quartet in Holland, with whom she released two albums under the label Channel Classics, performed regularly on live TV and radio, and at major venues including the Royal Concertgebouw. Kirsten then joined the London-based Dulcinea Quartet, who held the Carne Fellowship at Trinity College in London from September 2016, alongside multiple tours to Japan and a collaboration with Geidai Music University.

Kirsten has played with the Allegri Quartet a number of times to cover their cellist’s maternity leaves, and has coached on the chamber music senior course at Pro Corda. Alongside other projects, Kirsten plays with various London-based chamber ensembles, including the urban innovative music group Project Instrumental, and Anima, a chamber ensemble playing contemporary music alongside animated films. Kirsten plays with The United Strings Of Europe, and guests regularly with chamber ensembles throughout the UK and Europe.

Huw Daniel

Huw Daniel was a pupil at Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera, South Wales, and was then an organ scholar at Robinson College, Cambridge, graduating with first-class honours in music in 2001.

He studied the baroque violin at the Royal Academy of Music for two years with Simon Standage. In 2004, Huw was a member of EUBO, the members of which formed Harmony of Nations and went on to play together and record two CDs.

He was the leader of Orquestra Barroca Casa da Música, Porto 2004-2021, is one of the leaders of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and is a member of the Dunedin Consort and the Irish Baroque Orchestra.

As guest-leader he has played and recorded with EUBO, the English Concert, the King’s Consort, the Sixteen, and Barokkanerne Oslo.

Huw plays a violin by Jacob Stainer, 1665

Christopher Bucknall

Conductor and harpsichordist Christopher Bucknall’s opera conducting credits include Handel, Alcina (Den Norske Opera), Cavalli, La Calisto (Theater Aachen), Handel, Agrippina, Partenope, Jeptha (Iford Arts), Haydn, Il Mondo della Luna (ETO), Purcell, Dido and Aeneas (Queille Festival) and Monteverdi, L’Orfeo (Silent Opera). He has also worked throughout Europe as an assistant to Ivor Bolton, William Christie, Laurence Cummings, Christian Curnyn and Ottavio Dantone.

On the concert platform, Christopher has appeared directing The English Concert, B’Rock (Belgian Baroque Orchestra Ghent), Instruments of Time and Truth, City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong, Real Filharmonie de Galicia and the Norwegian Wind Ensemble in varied repertoire ranging from Monteverdi through to Mozart. He also regularly collaborates with the UK’s finest vocal ensembles including performances of Bach’s Weihnachtsoratorium with the BBC Singers, and highly praised preparation of the Glyndebourne and English National Opera choruses in works by Purcell and Rameau.

Christopher studied at Lincoln College, Oxford and the Royal Academy of Music and has recently been made an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in recognition of his work.

Norbert Blume

Norbert was born and educated in Germany where, at the age of 18, he won first prize in the national competition ‘Jugend musiziert’. 

A scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service enabled him to study in London with Cecil Aronowitz. After further studies with Bela Katona he joined the English Chamber Orchestra as co-principal Viola. 

Emil Seiler, Norbert’s long-standing teacher in Germany also installed the love for the viola d‘amore in him. 

The ECO gave Norbert the opportunity to appear as soloist with them. Many recordings ensued, such as Hindemith’s Kammermusik No.6 with the Concertgebow Orchestra and Vivaldi’s Concerto for Viola d’amore and Guitar for Decca, Sony RCA and Deutsche Grammophon. Incedentally, Emil Seiler and Paul Hidemith used to play viola d’amore duos.

After ten years with the ECO Norbert joined the LPO as their principal viola, a position he relinquished in 2000 to become Principal viola of the BBCSO. 

Norbert has played with most chamber music groups in London and wants to devote himself entirely to chamber music now that he has left the BBCSO.