ClefLogo  Concert 8 - Biographical Notes

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Tippett String Quartet and Emma Abbate     

Concert No.8

Saturday 20th March 2021 at 8pm
at Holmes Chapel Leisure Centre

Tippett String Quartet
and Emma Abbate (Piano)

John Mills (Violin), Jeremy Isaac (Violin),
Lydia Lowndes-Northcott (Viola), Bozidar Vukotic (Cello)
and Emma Abbate (Piano)

Sponsored by The Stephen Dodgson Charitable Trust
and Supported by HCMS Members' Donations 

  “The Tippett Quartet’s performances are
little short of astonishing”

- The Times

The Tippett Quartet regularly appear at Kings Place, Purcell Room, Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Bridgewater Hall and frequently perform on BBC Radio 3. They have performed at the BBC Proms and toured Europe, Canada and Mexico. Their broad and diverse repertoire highlights the Tippett Quartet’s unique versatility. Their impressive catalogue of recordings have been released on Naxos, EMI Classics, Signum, Decca, Classic FM, SOMM Records, Vivat, Guild, Real World, Dutton Epoch and Tocatta Classics with universal critical acclaim.

The Tippett Quartet recently worked on a groundbreaking reimagining of Beethoven’s iconic Op. 135 with composer/soundscape artist Matthew Herbert for a BBC Radio 3 broadcast, which was also used as the BBC TV ident. They have also given numerous world and UK premieres including works by John Adams, Howard Goodall and Stephen Dodgson.

In 2013 the Tippett Quartet rediscovered Gustav Holst’s Fantasy on British Folk Songs which, with the help of the eminent musicologist Roderick Swanston, they were able to complete and give a world premiere on BBC Radio 3. They have also worked with Peter Maxwell-Davies for a performance of his 9th Quartet at the South Bank, with Anthony Payne on his Quartet No.1 for a live BBC broadcast from Spitalfields Festival, and Hugh Wood on his String Quartet No.3 at the Presteigne Festival.

2016 saw the quartet commission pianist and composer Alissa Firsova to write her ‘Tennyson Fantasia’ , a project supported by The Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust, Ambache Trust and Nicholas Boas Trust. It was premiered at Kings Place with the actor Finbar Lynch reciting Tennyson’s poems and was subsequently performed on BBC Radio 3 and at various concert venues across the UK. They also appeared on the Decca CD release of Damian Montagu’s music, in which they accompanied the actor Hugh Bonneville narrating his own poetry. A live premiere of both poetry and music was premiered at Chichester’s Minerva Theatre.

In 2011 they celebrated the anniversary of the iconic film composer Bernard Herrmann with a series of concerts and radio broadcasts alongside quartets by Miklos Rozsa and Eric Korngold. They also commissioned a unique string quartet arrangement of the “Psycho” film score, which Norma Herrmann, Bernard’s widow, granted them special permission to make and perform. She also accompanied them on several occasions to give pre-concert talks on Herrmann’s life and music. In 2016, the Tippett Quartet continued their link with film composers when they gave the premiere of Alberto Iglesias’ string quartet No.1 in Madrid.

In 2014 the Tippett Quartet started a collaboration with some of the UK’s finest Jazz musicians with the launch of their ‘Close To You’ project featuring Matt Ford – a tribute to the album that Frank Sinatra made with the Hollywood String Quartet. They are now continuing this collaboration featuring singer and broadcaster Claire Martin OBE. Both projects have lead to performances throughout the UK, a Radio 3 broadcast and concerts at Snape Proms, Ronnie Scott’s and Pizza Express, Dean Street.

Alongside a busy touring schedule, the Tippett Quartet pursues a keen interest in educational work with both schools and universities. They were Ensemble in Residence at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University for 2012-13 and since September 2015 they began two exciting new residencies at Royal Holloway University, London and St Edmund’s School, Canterbury. They are also featured in the new Boosey & Hawkes publication “4 Strings” edited and compiled by Liz Partridge.

John Mills - Violin

John studied at the Royal College of Music as a scholar under professor Rodney Friend, one of the great orchestral leaders. He also participated in master-classes with Hugh Bean CBE, Ida Haendel and Zvi Zeitlin.

John is well known as a chamber musician and for 10 years has been the leader of the highly acclaimed Tippett Quartet, performing, and broadcasting widely across the UK and worldwide. He has recorded extensively, releasing 20 discs with the quartet for EMI, Naxos, Signum, Classic FM, Dutton and Guild record labels. Releases this year include discs of Miklos Rozsa, Lutoslawski and Panufnik for Naxos. The quartet will record Korngold’s tring quartets, also for Naxos in 2014. Tours with the quartet this year include Canada and Mexico.

John is gaining a fine reputation as a soloist, appearing with the English Chamber Orchestra with Maxim Vengerov on tour and Stephanie Gonley around the UK. Over the last 10 years John has been performing and broadcasting the major violin repertoire across the UK and abroad, including performances at the Liszt Hall in Budapest and concerts across New Zealand. Other recent performances include Elgar and Glazunov concertos around the UK.

John is the co-leader of the English Chamber Orchestra and is in demand as an orchestral leader, groups include the ECO, BBC Concert Orchestra, London Mozart Players, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, the John Wilson Orchestra, Rambert Dance Company and others.

John Plays on a c.1735 violin by Januarius Gagliano.

Jeremy Isaac - Violin

Jeremy started learning the violin at the age of five. He was awarded a place at the Royal College of Music Junior Department where he received the Constance Farrington prize and went on to study at the Royal College of Music with Professor Rodney Friend winning the Helen Just and Susan Connell prize.

Jeremy is a member of the Tippett Quartet with whom he has given recitals throughout the UK and Europe as well as recording for Naxos and EMI. As a member of the Tippett Quartet, he performs regularly at the Wigmore Hall, Kings Place, Purcell Room, on BBC Radio 3 and has appeared at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Royal Opera House, Bridgewater Hall, The Sage Gateshead and at the BBC Proms.

In 2012 he was the leader for the Hallé Orchestra’s Production of Leonard Bernstein’s Wonderful Town and was also a featured soloist in Howard Goodall’s BBC Two documentary of the “Story of Music”. In 2013 he was the leader for the National Theatre production of Alan Bennett’s play “Untold Stories” with music by George Fenton at the Duchess Theatre.

Jeremy frequently works with the English Chamber Orchestra – recording, broadcasting and touring. He has been guest principal with the ECO, ENO, City of London Sinfonia, English Sinfonia and City of London Philharmonic. He also regularly plays with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and London Symphony Orchestra Discovery Projects and the ECO Chamber Ensemble.

Jeremy has recorded many film and TV soundtracks like Harry Potter, Atonement and Downton Abbey. He performed for the 40th Anniversary of Monty Python’s “Not the Messiah” and the 25th anniversary of “Phantom of the Opera”.

Jeremy teaches at the Royal Academy of Music, London having previously taught at the Royal College of Music for 10 years. He is a regular visitor to Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, Imperial College and Royal Holloway University London to give masterclasses and chamber music coaching. He plays a Joseph Gagliano violin made in 1785.

Lydia Lowndes-Northcott - Viola

New Zealand born Lydia Lowndes-Northcott began playing at age of 7, soon winning a scholarship to Wells Cathedral School, and later to the Royal Academy of Music in London. During her time there Lydia won many prizes including the Maurice Loban Prize for her outstanding final recital. Other notable performances included Hindermith’s Trauermusik with the Academy Soloists, and the premier of a new concerto for viola by Oliver Weeks commissioned by the Academy.

She has since worked with many professional orchestras including the London Sinfonietta, BBC Symphony Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia, English National Opera, BT Scottish Ensemble, the John Wilson Orchestra, and appearing as guest principle with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Also a full time member of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra from 2007-2009, she is now a regular with the English Chamber Orchestra.

Lydia has performed in major concert venues across the world, including recent trips to Canada, Azerbaijan, Russia, Qatar and Turkey and she has accompanied some of the world’s leading artists such as Joshua Bell, Pinkas Zuckerman, Martha Argerich and Maxim Vengerov. She has also performed with the Nash Ensemble, the Jerusalem Quartet and a quartet concert in the English Chamber Orchestra’s Young Artist Series with Jack Liebeck. She has been a member of the Tippett Quartet since the summer of 2012.

Bozidar Vukotic - Cello

Bozidar Vukotic is the founder member of the Tippett String Quartet. Born in London, he studied as a Goldsmith Company Scholar with the protegé of the great Mistslav Rostropovich, Professor Stefan Popov, at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and was awarded the prestigious Premier Prix. He continued his studies with William Pleeth, teacher of the legendary Jacqueline du Pre, and completed his training with Alexeander Kniazev in Moscow with the aid of Wingate Trust and Hattori Foundation Scholarships.

A prize-winner in the National Federation of Music Societies and Jeunesses Musicales International Cello competitions, Bozidar has performed as a soloist in the UK, USA, France, Italy, Switzerland, Denmark, Serbia and Montenegro. He has also appeared on BBC Radio 3, Classic FM and in 2010 he made his debut for EMI Classics as soloist on Howard Goodall’s ‘The Seasons’.

As a member of the Tippett Quartet, he performs regularly at the Wigmore Hall, Kings Place, Purcell Room, on BBC Radio 3 and has appeared at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Royal Opera House, Bridgewater Hall, The Sage Gateshead and at the BBC Proms. He has recorded extensively to much critical acclaim for Naxos, EMI Classics, Classic FM Records, Signum, Guild, Dutton Epoque and Peter Gabriel’s Real World Records. 2010 saw the Quartet’s highly successful debut in the Gramophone Classical Chart with their recordings of Bax and Bridge Piano Quintets.

Bozidar was the principal cello of the Oxford Philomusica Orchestra for ten years has been invited to play as guest principal with many of this country’s finest orchestras, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, London Chamber Orchestra, the Royal Northern Sinfonia, Birmingham Royal Ballet, John Wilson Orchestra and Spain’s Orquesta Sinfonica de Tenerife.

Bozidar teaches at the Royal Academy of Music in the Junior Department and has given classes at the Royal Colege of Music, Cambridge University and Toronto University. He was made an Honary Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in 2012.

Emma Abbate - Piano

The Neapolitan pianist Emma Abbate enjoys a demanding career as a piano accompanist and chamber musician, working with some of the finest singers and instrumentalists of her generation. She has performed in duo recitals for international festivals and concert societies in Salzburg (Schlosskonzerte Mirabell), Boston (Mozart Society of America), Lisbon, Naples, Ischia, and Poland, and at many prestigious UK venues such as the Wigmore Hall, Southbank Centre, Royal Opera House, St John’s Smith Square, St George’s, Bristol and at the Aldeburgh Festival, in addition to broadcasts on BBC Radio 3.

Described as "an amazingly talented pianist" by the leading Italian magazine Musica, Emma is releasing a series of recordings devoted to 20th century Italian vocal chamber music, the latest of which is the world-première Sera d'inverno: Songs by Ildebrando Pizzetti with the critically acclaimed mezzo-soprano Hanna Hipp for Resonus Classics. She has previously recorded the world-première disc of Shakespeare Sonnets by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco with the BBC New Generation Artist Ashley Riches also for Resonus Classics, and L’Infinito: a musical journey through 20th century Italian songs with the mezzo-soprano Kamelia Kader, including works by Respighi, Casella, Alfano and Malipiero.

Emma cultivates an active interest in historical keyboards, and has performed and recorded on a range of original instruments at Finchcocks, Hatchlands Park and the Russell Collection. Her latest release is the second volume of Mozart's complete piano duets on period instruments with Julian Perkins for Resonus Classics. This album is the first to be recorded on the newly-formed Richard Burnett Heritage Collection of Early Keyboard Instruments. Their first volume was described by Early Music Review as "exemplary".

A keen advocate of contemporary music, Emma has also released two discs devoted to works by Stephen Dodgson for Toccata Classics: world-première recordings of his cello and piano music with Evva Mizerska, and his piano quintets with the Tippett Quartet. The quintets disc has just been named a MusicWeb International Recording Of The Year 2017.

Emma's discography also includes the world-première recording of works for cello and piano by the late-Romantic English composer Algernon Ashton with Evva Mizerska for Toccata Classics. The disc has been highly praised by critics and rated among the ‘Best Finds of 2012’ by Classical Lost and Found. Their previous CD – the world-première recording of complete works for cello and piano by the contemporary Polish composer Krzysztof Meyer – was placed by William Zagorski of the American magazine Fanfare in his “Top 5” of all the CDs published worldwide in 2009.

Based in London, Emma is a professor at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, a staff coach at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and has taught at the Verbier Festival Academy. Following her graduation from the S. Pietro a Majella Conservatoire in Naples and an Advanced Diploma from the S. Cecilia Conservatoire in Rome, Emma studied in London with Yonty Solomon. She completed her studies with Geoffrey Pratley as a scholar at the Royal Academy of Music, from where she graduated with distinction. She was also awarded an Italian Literature and Culture degree cum laude from the Federico II University in Naples, and has been elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in recognition of her ‘significant contribution’ thus far to the music profession.



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