Special Guests

Bernardi Music Group

Bernardi Music Group SG

This warm and committed group of musicians brings together many of the UK’s most distinguished instrumentalists. Members hold principal positions with London orchestras and three of whom are tutors for the Royal Academy, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, and the National Youth Orchestra.

The orchestra first met on 15th October 1987 with the encouragement of the Worth Abbey Monks, the late Lord Menuhin and Hugh Bean CBE. Anna Hill very kindly supported us at the outset through Haslemere Music Club and we are delighted to be working regularly with Anna. The music group has toured Ireland twice to critical acclaim, plus performed and recorded at Glyndebourne and in the Barbican and Cadogan Hall.  The group are in demand and perform an average of thirty concerts per year alongside individual players’ own career’s as soloists and chamber musicians. The Bernardi Chamber Orchestra’s players have remained largely constant for the past ten years as the Ensemble has become increasingly successful in gaining a reputation for innovative programming with grammy nominated composers including James Whitbourn ( Stilled Voices ) Cecilia McDowall ( Great Hills and Descending Blue ) the late  Jon Lord’s ( formerly of Deep Purple ) ’To Notice Such Things’ which reached no.4 in the Classic FM charts.

The Orchestra has developed the hugely successful ‘Shipley Arts Festival’ in West Sussex. We have a all year round String Academy programme which regularly performs in partnership with Windlesham House, Charterhouse, the Yehudi Menuhin School, and a developing exchange with the Chinese Government. The String Academy has been recognised for being an outstanding contributor to both social and musical mobility in the County of Sussex.

The Bernardi Chamber Ensemble’s size ranges from an ensemble up to a full symphony orchestra. The group has a warm and enthusiastic approach to playing music from Bach to Jon Lord and with a focus on English music and notably John Ireland.  The Bernardi Music Group gained the nation’s attention in the Telegraph, Guardian and Times, and with Jon Snow on Channel 4 News blog who kindly describes the Orchestra at the inspirational Sir John Mortimer memorial service in Southwark Cathedral:
“The music came from Jon Lord, formerly of Deep Purple – hauntingly lovely stuff for flute piano and strings, beautifully played by the Bernardi Orchestra.”  Jon Snow, Channel Four newsblog.  For more information visit www.BMGLive.com.

Michael Jennings

Michael Jennings 1

Michael divides his composing life between writing music for television, most recently scoring Harlan Coben’s hit Sky 1 drama The Five, and concentrating on his own concert music. He has received a wide variety of commissions from a choral work for the Royal Maundy Thursday Service from the choir of Liverpool Cathedral and the Chapel Royal, to writing a brass band piece, following in the footsteps of the great Sir Malcolm Arnold, to celebrate the new Padstow lifeboat station. 

As an arranger Michael has collaborated with high-profile bands such as Massive Attack, The Kooks and Andrea Corr.  He has also worked alongside the sound artist Janek Schaefer on a number of projects including the award winning installation Extended Play which won Janek the BBC Composer of the Year (Sonic Arts) 2008.

Michael began his musical education as a chorister at Westminster Abbey. Later he went on to read Music at the University of Edinburgh, studying composition with Nigel Osborne and Marina Adamia.

Nathaniel Mander

Nathaniel Mander

After gaining a BA(hons) in Music from Colchester Institute, Bruce spent two years at the Royal Academy of Music on the postgraduate Advanced Performance Course. His professional playing career started in his last year at the Academy, with Welsh National Opera.

Bruce has extensive freelance experience of a wide variety of musical genres, playing with the BBC Concert Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, London Pro Arte, Southern Sinfonia, Orchestra of St John’s. He was a founder member of the contemporary music group ‘Reservoir’, and has performed in opera (Glyndebourne Touring Opera, Holland Park Opera), ballet (Northern Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet) and theatre (multiple Royal Shakespeare Company productions), West End shows (Miss Saigon, Wicked), TV (BBC’s production of Riot at The Rite, plus televised productions with the BBC Concert Orchestra) and film (‘The Wolfman’). He performed at the Proms with the BBC Concert Orchestra in the first ever comedy prom with comedian Tim Minchin.

As well as being a founder member and soloist for the Shipley Arts Festival, Bruce has performed 5 world premiers for composers Cecilia McDowall (two pieces), Malcolm Singer (Yehudi Menuhin School), Paul Lewis and Jon Lord’s acclaimed flute concerto ‘To Notice Such Things’ which subsequently reached no.4 in the Classic FM charts. 

Bruce Martin

Bruce Martin

After gaining a BA(hons) in Music from Colchester Institute, Bruce spent two years at the Royal Academy of Music on the postgraduate Advanced Performance Course. His professional playing career started in his last year at the Academy, with Welsh National Opera.

Bruce has extensive freelance experience of a wide variety of musical genres, playing with the BBC Concert Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, London Pro Arte, Southern Sinfonia, Orchestra of St John’s. He was a founder member of the contemporary music group ‘Reservoir’, and has performed in opera (Glyndebourne Touring Opera, Holland Park Opera), ballet (Northern Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet) and theatre (multiple Royal Shakespeare Company productions), West End shows (Miss Saigon, Wicked), TV (BBC’s production of Riot at The Rite, plus televised productions with the BBC Concert Orchestra) and film (‘The Wolfman’). He performed at the Proms with the BBC Concert Orchestra in the first ever comedy prom with comedian Tim Minchin.

As well as being a founder member and soloist for the Shipley Arts Festival, Bruce has performed 5 world premiers for composers Cecilia McDowall (two pieces), Malcolm Singer (Yehudi Menuhin School), Paul Lewis and Jon Lord’s acclaimed flute concerto ‘To Notice Such Things’ which subsequently reached no.4 in the Classic FM charts. 

Michala Petri

Michala Petri

Michala Petri has performed more than 4000 concerts in the worlds leading festivals and Concert Halls,and has broken down the boundaries of her instrument, the recorder.

Her recording production counts more than 70 cds. A concert at BBC London when she was 17 let to her first Album for Philips/Polygram in London with Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, followed by an exclusive contract with the company, until years later she signed an equally long term contract with the international RCA/BMG (New York).

Since September 2012 Michala Petri serves as Honorary Professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, and since 2014 as vice- president at Recorder Society UK.

Royal Holloway Choir

Royal Holloway 1

Royal Holloway Choir is one of the finest mixed-voice collegiate choirs in Britain.

Created at the time of the foundation of Royal Holloway in 1886, the choir was originally only for women’s voices. The mixed choir now comprises 24 choral scholars, which are generously funded by Banco Santander as a part of the Santander Universities Scheme. These choral scholars undertake a busy schedule of weekly services, as well as concerts, international tours, recordings and broadcasts.

The Choir is now considered to be one of the finest mixed-voice collegiate choirs in Britain. Their recordings on the Hyperion label have attracted top reviews from all major music publications. Equally at home on the concert platform, the choir gives around 50 concerts a year with a particular specialism in music from the late renaissance and contemporary music, especially from the Baltic States. The choir also benefits from a unique training programme in collaboration with the King’s Singers – the College’s ensemble in residence.

Royal Holloway is also the only university that still maintains a tradition of daily sung morning services.

Malcolm Singer

Malcolm Singer

Malcolm Singer, composer and conductor, teaches Composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and was Director of Music at the Yehudi Menuhin School from 1998-2017.

He read music at Magdalene College, Cambridge before studying in Europe with both Nadia Boulanger and Gyorgy Ligeti. He was later awarded a Harkness Fellowship, spending two years at Stanford University, California. Malcolm’s compositions include Making Music, a commission by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Kaddish for 24 solo voices written for the BBC Singers. A Hopeful Place was conducted by Lord Menuhin in the Royal Albert Hall, London and his children’s cantata Dragons (to poems by Nick Toczek) is published by Music Sales, London. His opera The Jailer’s Tale was premiered by the Finchley Children’s Music Group in 2010.

Malcolm celebrated his 60th birthday with a concert of his music and recent pieces include Chagall’s Violin for 7 violins, commissioned to commemorate Lord Menuhin’s centenary, with performances at King’s Place and at the Wimbledon International Music Festival. He was commissioned to compose The Margrave’s Dream for the 2010 Shipley Festival, and his Suite: from the Shtetl  has been performed several times by the String Academy. This year he has been commissioned to write a piece for choir with solo violin for the Shipley Arts Festival.

Crispian Steele-Perkins

Crispian Steele Perkins

Crispian Steele-Perkins began playing the trumpet at the age of 10 and, after training at the Guildhall School of Music in London, he became a member of the English National Opera, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the English Chamber Orchestra. Today he has been described by Virtuoso magazine as ‘the world’s leading exponent of the Baroque Trumpet’.

As a soloist Crispian’s purity of tone and artistic subtlety have received widespread critical acclaim for more than four decades. On 10th October 2015 the BBC’s CD Review concluded that, of all the available recordings of Haydn’s famous Trumpet Concerto worldwide, his is ‘the one to have’.

Whilst his numerous solo recordings extend from Handel to Glenn Miller, he has featured regularly as a concert soloist in London at the Royal Albert Hall and the Royal Festival Hall, New York’s Carnegie Hall, Boston’s Symphony Hall, the Sydney Opera House and Tokyo’s Suntory Hall.

Stradivarius Piano Trio

Stradivarius Piano Trio

Comprising British musicians Andrew Bernardi, Maria Marchant and Jonathan Few, this virtuoso ensemble has rapidly become in demand for their innovative and engaging performances.

The name is taken from the violinists own instrument, and collectively the trio has extended the repertoire with works such as this year’s commission for composer and baritone Roderick Williams OBE.  Performances have included playing at St John Gate for the Order of St John raising over £10,000 for the Jerusalem Eye Hospital to frequent appearances across the South East.

In 2018 the Stradivarius Trio performances at Music at 22 Mansfield Street, Petworth House for the National Trust Toovey’s sponsored William Blake exhibition, and frequently throughout the Shipley Arts Festival.

Joe Townsend

Joe Townsend

Joe’s work as a composer and performer is around the core themes of folk music and culture through improvised and devised performance in music, theatre and opera.

As a composer he has created works for Opera North (The Gypsy Bible, Foiea Verde, St George), The National Theatre (Oresteia, Macbeth, Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet) and has collaborated with a range of different artists: Gavin Bryars, Laurie Anderson, Roma musicians and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

His work in Education has ranged from work with LPO, Welsh National Opera and Opera North in addition to running workshops in collaborative performance in Japan and the UK. Joe currently works as the leader of Colab and Engaging Audiences at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London.

“Townsend’s music is an authoritative compendium of European folk styles played with thrilling virtuosity” The Guardian.

“Townsend is a wild man in the fiddle. His updated arrangements of traditional tunes expand the envelope while never exceeding the limits of good taste. Rather, they have an organic quality that makes one wonder why these tunes were never done this way before” Rootsworld.

Roderick Williams OBE

Roderick Williams Photo by Benjamin Ealovega

Image © Benjamin Ealovega

Although better known to some as a baritone soloist, Roderick Williams’ reputation as a composer is growing steadily.  His Advent antiphon O Adonai, published by Oxford University Press, has received numerous performances and recordings around the world.

Roderick’s Jazz Choral Evensong service was written in 2006 in homage to Duke Ellington, and was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in June that year.  This was followed by a BBC Radio 4 commission for an accompanying Matins service, broadcast in February 2007.

An expansion of Purcell’s ‘Come ye Sons of Art’ was commissioned by the South Bank Centre and performed by the Sixteen, the OAE and a 200 strong community Gospel choir, in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen in October 2007.

Roderick broadcast his own orchestrated arrangements of Ol’ Man River and Joshua fit de battle of Jericho on the BBC Last Night of the Proms in 2014, accompanied by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Sakari Oramo.  Recent commissions also include O Brother Man – A New England Symphony for Yale Schola Cantorum premiered in Spring 2015 and Ave Verum Re-imagined for Suzi Digby and ORA, premiered in February and released on the choir’s debut album ‘Upheld by Stillness’.  

Roderick has written Goodwood Variations for Bernardi Music Group and Goodwood by the Sea for British pianist Maria Marchant. We are delighted that Roderick has accepted our 2018 commission to write a piece about Turtle Doves, the largest UK population of which is resident at Knepp Castle.

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