Musicians

Daniel Tong

Daniel Tong

Festival Co-Director

Daniel Tong enjoys a varied and diverse career, primarily as a chamber music pianist but also as soloist, song accompanist, teacher, writer and festival director. His first solo CD of music by Schubert was released on the Quartz label, Gramophone magazine describing him as “an extraordinarily sympathetic Schubertian”. He has broadcast many times on BBC Radio 3. As chamber musician, Daniel has collaborated with the Elias, Heath, Navarra, Dante and Callino quartets. His London Bridge Trio is a vibrant presence on the UK chamber music scene. Their second Frank Bridge disc was nominated for a Gramophone award and they have given numerous concerts at the Wigmore Hall. He is founder of the Wye Valley Chamber Music Festival and the Winchester Chamber Music Festival. He has curated series of Dvorak and Elgar at Kings Place in London and Schubert & Brahms at St Georges Bristol. With ‘Music Discovery Live’, Daniel collaborates with musicologist Richard Wigmore on study sessions and concerts exploring a particular theme or aspect of music. ‘Beethoven Plus’ commissioned ten new works to be performed alongside the ten sonatas for violin and piano and has recently premiered at Kings Place. Daniel has been performing this cycle with Krysia Osostowicz at various venues around the UK.

Tristan Gurney

Tristan Gurney

Tristan Gurney enjoys a wide-ranging career as a director, soloist, chamber and orchestral violinist. He established himself on the British chamber music scene as leader of the Edinburgh Quartet (2007-2016). During his time with the quartet, Tristan collaborated with many esteemed artists such as harpist Isobelle Moretti, tenor Andrew Staples, clarinetist Maximilliano Martin and flautist Juliette Bausor and worked closely with composers such as Sir James Macmillan, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Helen Grime, Tom Harrold and Howard Blake. The Edinburgh Quartet released several CDs with Tristan, including, recordings of Matyas Seiber Quartets, Robert Crawford Quartets and Haydn, Shostakovich and Prokofiev Quartets all to great acclaim. Their disc of Sir James MacMillan String Quartets was awarded a ‘Critics Choice’ and included in the list of best recordings of 2014 in Gramophone Magazine.

Tristan currently holds the position of Principal Second of Royal Northern Sinfonia where, alongside the orchestral playing, he enjoys a role as director, soloist and chamber player. Living in London, Tristan combines his responsibilities in Royal Northern Sinfonia with a flourishing freelance career, regularly collaborating with chamber music colleagues and guesting as a principal player with orchestras such as the Royal Philharmonic, Philharmonia, Academy of St Martins in the Fields and Scottish Chamber Orchestra. He is also Principal Second of Scottish Ensemble which performs at prestigious venues and festivals worldwide and has a regular series at Wigmore Hall, London.

Tristan studied the violin at the Royal Nothern College of Music with Yossi Zivoni and then at the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto with Lorand Fenyves and plays on a Ferdinand Gagliano Violin

Robin Michael

Robin Michael

Festival Co-Director

Born in 1976 Robin Michael studied at the Royal Academy of Music with David Strange and Colin Carr and later with Ferenc Rados. He is principal cellist in Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique and solo cellist with Orchestre Les Siecles (Paris).

He also regularly guests as principal cellist with orchestras such as the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, RTE Concert Orchestra, English Baroque Soloists, English National Opera and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Robin was the cellist in the Fidelio trio for over 10 years with whom he toured Europe, North America, Asia and South Africa, recording and commissioning extensively. He has also appeared in collaboration with the Dante and Eroica quartets.

Highlights in his discography include the world premier recording of Joe Cutler’s cello concerto with the BBC CO (NMC), Vivaldi concertos with Barocksolisten München (Hänssler Classics) first recording of the original version of Mendelssohn’s Octet on period instruments (Resonus) and Fidelio trio recordings on Naxos, NMC, Métier and Delphian records.

Philip Higham

Philip Higham enjoys a richly varied musical life: a passionate chamber musician, equally at home in concerto, duo and unaccompanied repertoire, he especially relishes Classical and German Romantic music, in which he is frequently and happily immersed as principal cellist of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. He has appeared frequently in recital at Wigmore Hall – including a notable performance of the six Bach suites there in 2017 – and at other prominent venues and festivals both at home and abroad, and is regularly broadcast on BBC Radio 3. His two solo recordings
for Delphian Records, of the Britten and Bach solo Suites, have received considerable praise, the Britten chosen as ‘Instrumental disc of the month’ in Gramophone Magazine during 2013. He enjoys collaborations with pianists Alasdair Beatson and Susan Tomes, violinists Erich Höbarth and Alexander Janiczek, the Navarra and Benyounes string quartets, Hebrides Ensemble, and, as concerto soloist, with Royal Northern Sinfonia, the Philharmonia, the Hallé and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. He also draws considerably on his musical experiences with conductors Emmanuel Krivine and Robin Ticciati.
Born in Edinburgh, studied at St Mary’s Music School with Ruth Beauchamp and subsequently at the RNCM with Emma Ferrand and Ralph Kirshbaum. He also enjoyed mentoring from Steven Isserlis, and was represented by YCAT between 2009 and 2014. In 2008 he became the first UK cellist to win 1st prize at the International Bach Competition in Leipzig, and followed it with major prizes in the 2009 Lutoslawski Competition and the Grand Prix Emmanuel Feuermann 2010.
Philip plays a cello by Carlo Giuseppe Testore, made in 1697. He is grateful for continued support from Harriet’s Trust.

Cian Ó Dúill

Cian Ó Dúill

Cork born viola player Cian Ó Dúill has performed with the Vanbrugh, Carducci and Calino String Quartets, the Fidelio Trio, the Avalon Ensemble, Chroma and the Crash Ensemble. He has played in chamber music recitals with Anthony Marwood, Finghin Collins, Jorg Widmann, Hugh Tinney, Natalie Clein, Howard Shelley, Kirill Troussov, and Patricia Rozario as well as appearing at West Cork, Killaloe, Ortús, Sligo Spring, Kilkenny Arts, Cheltenham, Warwick Arts, Chichester, Aldeburgh, Wye Valley and Kings Lynn Chamber Music Festivals.
Cian was a founder member of both the Regent String Quartet and the Rothko String Trio, played regularly with the Chamber Players and the London Mozart Players Chamber Ensemble and is currently a member of the period instrument Giordani String Quartet and Prism Ensemble.
Concerto appearances include performances of works by Bach, Telemann, Mozart, Bruch and Hindemith in Ireland, the UK, Spain and Greece.
Cian is a member of the Irish Chamber Orchestra, was co-principal viola of the London Mozart Players and works regularly with the London Symphony Orchestra, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Britten Sinfonia.
Cian teaches viola at both the Cork School of Music and the Royal Irish Academy of Music.

Claire Sterling

Claire Sterling

Australian violinist Claire Sterling studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London and the University of Melbourne, Australia. From 2004-2011 she was Principal Second Violin with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and was a regular performer in the SCO chamber series.  Other chamber appearances include Ireland’s Hard Rain Soloists Ensemble, Kinnordy Chamber Music, Wye Valley Chamber Music, Spitalfields, Arundel and City of London Festivals, as well as CHROMA, Mr McFall’s Chamber and Endymion. She is a regular soloist in London’s popular Bach to Baby series and her most recent performances have been with a newly-established chamber collective at Braishfield Music in Wiltshire.

Currently Co-Principal Second Violin with English National Opera, Claire is also a guest principal with several other UK orchestras. She appears with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and is a founding member of the renowned Australian World Orchestra.

Claire has a keen interest in period performance and is a member of Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique. She also plays with the Academy of Ancient Music, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Australian Romantic and Classical Orchestra.

Nikita Naumov

Nikita is Principal Double Bass with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and has held the position since 2010. He has worked with many of the finest orchestras and played as a guest principal with the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Brussels Philharmonic and the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra.
Nikita regularly appears as a soloist and has won numerous prizes.
His solo performances include, Hallgrímsson’s Sonnambulo for Double Bass with the Reykjavik Chamber Orchestra in Iceland, Tubin’s Double Bass Concerto at the Pärnu music festival, Koussevitzky’s, Bottesini’s Double Bass Concerto with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and with the St Petersburg Camerata at the Musical Olympus festival and Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise with Lars Vogt at Heimbach “Spannungen” Kammermusik Festival. Nikita is a friend of the Scottish Bass Trust who he frequently performs recitals with and who partly commissioned Sonnambulo.
In addition, Nikita is a keen chamber musician. He is a member of the internationally recognised chamber group, the London Concord Ensemble and has featured with them at the BBC lunchtime series at the Wigmore Hall. Nikita performs regularly at the Chamber Sundays Series at the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh and with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, besides appearing in festivals in Norway, Germany, Estonia and Spain.
Nikita plays with strings from Pirastro

Ben Hancox

Ben Hancox

Ben Hancox is the leader and founder member of the Sacconi Quartet. Since their formation at the Royal College of Music in 2001, the quartet has won international competitions and has toured extensively in Britain and abroad.

Having started playing at the age of four, he studied violin with Faith Whiteley and Serguei Fatkouline, and with Felix Andrievsky at the Royal College of Music. At the RCM Ben won both the major violin prizes. He left with a first class honours degree and was awarded a distinction in his postgraduate diploma in performance.

Described by the Observer as ‘Fearless and exciting’, Ben has earned a trusted reputation as a soloist and chamber musician. He regularly participates in the International Musicians Seminar at Prussia Cove, and the Wye Valley Chamber Music Festival, and through these festivals, has formed many friendships and musical partnerships with performers from around the world.

Ben has recorded widely with his quartet, both on the group’s own label, Sacconi Records and for Signum Classics. Their world premiere recording of Jonathan Dove’s chamber music, on Signum was both Critic’s Choice and Recording of the Month in Gramphone Magazine. Ben also records music for film and TV, and has also played the Argentine Tango for BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing!

As well as performing, Ben enjoys coaching chamber music at the Royal College of Music and at festivals around the UK. He plays on a violin by Simone Sacconi from 1932, which is generously on loan from the Royal Society of Musicians.

Ben has a wife and two young children. He has juggled flaming torches (not near his family).