Exceptional musicians performing for Home Concert Club. Let us introduce them to you.
Gemma Sharples is the driving force behind the Home Concert Club and curates the programmes.
Gemma is a chamber musician and violin teacher who performs around the UK and internationally. In 2018 Gemma was made an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in recognition of her contribution to the music profession.
Since 2019 Gemma has been a member of London Mozart Players, one of the UK’s leading chamber orchestras. She is also second violin in the Gildas Quartet and has performed with them at Wigmore Hall, the Purcell Room and live on BBC Radio 3, as well as touring to China, Australia, South Africa and Europe. Recent highlights include working with Harrison Birtwistle at Dartington International Festival in 2019, performing with Joanna MacGregor and Adrian Brendel for a Wigmore Hall recital in February 2020 and launching their project Surround Sound Sessions to critical acclaim in Graz in December 2019.
Gemma studied music at Christ Church college, Oxford, followed by a masters degree in violin performance at the Royal Academy of Music where she was awarded the first Howard Davies Scholarship. Her teachers were Richard Deakin, Remus Azoitei and Yumi Sasaki. For over 10 years she has been a violin teacher at Junior Academy and she also has a thriving private teaching practice.
THE WILLSHIRE DUO - PHILIPPA HARRISON AND JAMES WILLSHIRE
The Willshire Duo is comprised of husband and wife team Philippa Harrison and James Willshire. The internationally acclaimed Duo performs a wide variety of repertoire on one or two pianos, from Saint-Saëns Carnival of the Animals and Britten’s works for two pianos to new commissions such as Duelogue by Rory Boyle. In addition to their performance work Philippa and James are keen educationalists, giving masterclasses and promoting music in schools.
In 2015 the Duo were invited to attend a winter residency at the Banff Centre where they premiered their new commission Duelogue by Rory Boyle. Past concerts include return visits to the Fairfield Halls, recitals at the Bridgewater Hall, the Hebden Bridge Piano Festival and at Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities, and educational concerts with the Lilliput, Concertini and Tiny Tunes concert series.
Gemma Kost studied at the Royal Northern College of Music, and Royal College of Music. Within a month of finishing her studies, Gemma was invited to play on a 10-week European with Sting. After this she worked in London for several years, performing with the Royal Philharmonic, London Philharmonic and Philharmonia Orchestras.
In 2014 Gemma moved to the North East, and has since played with Royal Northern Sinfonia, Opera North, BBC Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Manchester Camerata, Northern Ballet, Scottish Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Royal Shakespeare Company. She plays with folk band The Unthanks and has had the opportunity to tour Europe and Canada with them.
Throughout the year British/Danish violist Jenny Lewisohn performs with a rich variety of distinguished artists which has taken her across Europe, South America and Asia. She regularly attends IMS and OCM Prussia Cove and was invited to join the OCM annual tour culminating at Wigmore Hall. Keen to share her love of chamber music, she is co-founder of the Marryat Players Chamber Music Festival which takes place in Wimbledon each June as well as artistic co-director of the Jigsaw Players Concert Series who bring world-class classical, jazz and educational projects to South West London. Tying in with her fundamental belief that quality music education should be accessible to all, Jenny has been involved in Nicola Benedetti's nation-wide Benedetti Sessions - a weekend of transformative orchestra-based workshops for children. Jenny performs regularly around the UK and abroad with the Aurora and London Symphony Orchestras, and as a member of the award-winning Lipatti Piano Quartet. A movement of a work for solo viola by Raymond Yiu has been dedicated to Jenny as well as a viola concerto by Eloise Gynn.
Rosanna is an award-winning multi-flautist and performer specialising in contemporary classical, improvisation, folk and world music. Described as ‘outstanding’ by the Telegraph and ‘super-charged’ by the Guardian, Rosanna’s performances exude class, personality and virtuosity. She performs as a soloist and with ensembles across the globe. She worked in the West End as a Musical Director on Emilia, performs as an actor-musician in immersive opera (Royal Opera House / ENO / Silent Opera) and works in Germany on cabaret and puppet shows as a musical director, performer and composer.
Rosanna also trained with Spitalfields Music as a workshop leader and continues to work across the UK and Europe creating music with vulnerable groups.
Nick Ireson enjoys a busy career as a performer, working with a variety of orchestras and ensembles across the UK and abroad. He is often to be found under the stage playing for various ballet companies and occasionally ventures above ground onto the concert platform or into a recording studio too. He also teaches the horn and examines for ABRSM.
Born and raised in St Albans, Nick has been a professional horn player for 11 years, having graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in 2009, after reading music at Christ Church, Oxford. Away from playing, he enjoys sports documentaries and walking his dog, preferably to the pub.
SIMON AND SAOKO BLENDIS
Simon Blendis is the leader of the London Mozart Players, and was previously the violinist with the Schubert Ensemble for 23 years, from 1995 until the group ended in 2018. He has also shared the position of first concertmaster with Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa in Japan from 1999, and has appeared as guest leader or director with most of the major symphony and chamber orchestras in the UK. Since 2019 he has been a professor of violin at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Saoko Blendis grew up in Tokyo and moved to London in 1999 to pursue post-graduate studies in piano accompaniment at the Royal Academy of Music. She now mostly accompanies with an emphasis on violin and piano repertoire, and enjoys a number of duo partnerships, including with her husband, Simon.
American-born, London-based pianist Anyssa Neumann has been praised for the “clarity, charm, and equipoise” of her performances, which span solo and collaborative repertoire from the Baroque to the 21st century. Recent pre-lockdown highlights include concerts in Italy, Spain, Sweden, the UK, Canada, and the Pacific Northwest; a Don Quixote-themed recital project with British bass-baritone Timothy Dickinson; and a tour of California and New Mexico with American soprano Rena Harms. She holds degrees from the Manhattan School of Music, University of Oxford, and King’s College London, and additionally studied with Fabio Bidini in Berlin and Paul Stewart in Montreal.
Francesca Ter-Berg is a multi-disciplinary artist. Known for her unique cello playing style, she is a specialist in Klezmer music, a songwriter, composer, sonic-artist, ethnographer and improviser.
Francesca’s work explores the paradigm between the past and the present in her live performances and studio work, using sound and musical narrative to immerse and transport listeners into her musical world.
Francesca performs with critically acclaimed duo Fran & Flora (‘an album of beguiling beauty’ - Clive Bell, The Wire) and produces film scores and site-specific installation works. As a collaborator and improviser Francesca has toured and recorded internationally with artists including Imogen Heap, Talvin Singh OBE, Sam Lee, Portico Quartet, SteamDown Collective, Riz Ahmed, Ashley Paul, Frank London (Klezmatics) and Cosmo Sheldrake and has performed at Glastonbury Festival, Café Oto, Kings Place, The Royal Festival Hall and WOMAD.
Francesca is a specialist in Klezmer and Roma music, which she has studied for over 10 years with some of the top worlds experts. She regularly teaches workshops in the style and creative music making. She is currently working on her debut EP due for release in 2020.