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Artistic Director Kathryn Stott
Kathryn Stott is supported by Philip Bacon Galleries
At the age of five, I made friends with the upright piano in our living room. That was the beginning of my musical journey, one which continues as you read this. It would appear that my initial progress was rapid and by the age of eight, I found myself at a boarding school for young musicians, the Yehudi Menuhin School. During my studies there, it’s now clear to me that I was heavily influenced by two occasional visitors to the school; Nadia Boulanger and Vlado Perlmuter. From them, my great passion for French music was ignited and Fauré in particular has remained the musical love of my life.
Further studies at the Royal College of Music in London then led me very abruptly into the life of a professional musician via the Leeds International Piano Competition. It remains the steepest learning curve I’ve ever experienced. After a rollercoaster three years, I realised that I needed to re-connect with chamber music in a bid to feel more connected to other musicians and after all, this had played an important part of my musical existence since being a child. When, quite by chance, I met Yo-Yo Ma in 1978, it turned out to be one of the most fortuitous moments of my life. Since 1985, we have enjoyed a collaboration which has taken us to so many fascinating parts of the world and led to musical adventures with musicians who shared so much from their own traditions. I’ve always considered us to be intrepid musical explorers on our own individual paths but with an incredible bond that unites us on the creative highway.
Presently, I enjoy the challenge of creativity in a different way by bringing many musicians together once a year in my role as Artistic Director of the Australian Festival of Chamber Music. My love of curating and directing began in 1995 and since then I’ve brought to life many of my ideas in events lasting anything from long weekends to two weeks. I continue to push my capacity for exploring music I know nothing about and love bringing together unusual combinations whenever possible. There are too many highlights in my career to mention. Yes, it was a thrill to perform at the Last Night of the Proms to millions around the world, but equally a massive thrill to have lit up twenty small faces in an inner city school while they jumped up and down to energetic piano music! Working with young musicians is something I feel passionate about and presently teach at the Academy of Music in Oslo.
I’ve also had some truly exciting music written for me and enjoyed a particularly close collaboration with composer Graham Fitkin. What an unbelievable privilege it is to be immersed in a language which has no boundaries and has allowed me to share musical stories on a global scale; that little upright piano set me on quite a path! Talking of paths - I’ve also been found trekking in Nepal, Costa Rica, Bhutan or walking my spaniel Archie on the Yorkshire Moors. The journey continues.
2018: this biography should not be edited without permission from Kathryn Stott
Incoming Artistic Director - Jack Liebeck
“His playing is virtually flawless in its technical ease, scintillating articulateness and purity of tone.” (Gramophone)
British/German violinist, director and festival director Jack Liebeck, possesses “flawless technical mastery” and a “beguiling silvery tone” (BBC Music Magazine). Jack has been named as the Royal Academy of Music’s first Émile Sauret Professor of Violin and as the new Artistic Director of the Australian Festival of Chamber Music from 2022. Jack’s playing embraces the worlds of elegant chamber-chic Mozart through to the impassioned mastery required to frame Brett Dean The Lost Art of Letter Writing. His fascination with all things scientific has included performing the world premiere of Dario Marianelli’s Voyager Violin Concerto and led to his most recent collaboration, A Brief History of Time, with Professor Brian Cox and Benjamin Northey. This new violin concerto was commissioned for Jack by Melbourne Symphony Orchestra from regular collaborator and composer Paul Dean, and is written in commemoration of Professor Stephen Hawking; A Brief History of Time received its world premiere in November 2019.
Jack’s latest album, Schoenberg and Brahms violin concertos with BBC Symphony Orchestra, was released in March 2020 on Orchid Classics as part of his 40th birthday celebrations. The album was the May Edition ‘Recording of the Month’ and Concerto Choice Album of the Year for BBC Music Magazine; "Stellar Brahms and an expressive Schoenberg: Jack Liebeck responds with astonishing command, allowing the music’s expression to speak with a real degree of freedom, even fantasy” (BBC Music Magazine). Jack’s next album, Ysaÿe Six Sonatas, will be released on Orchid Classics in 2021 ahead of the Sonata’s centenary in 2024.
In the 25 years since his debut with the Hallé, Jack has worked with major international conductors and orchestras including Andrew Litton, Leonard Slatkin, Karl-Heinz Steffens, Sir Mark Elder, Sakari Oramo, Vasily Petrenko, Brett Dean (Royal Stockholm Philharmonic), Daniel Harding (Swedish Radio), Jukka Pekka Saraste (Oslo Philharmonic), David Robertson (St Louis Symphony), Jakub Hrůša and many orchestras across the world including Belgian National, Queensland Symphony, Moscow State Symphony, Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, Indianapolis Symphony and all of UK orchestras. Upcoming orchestral appearances include Philharmonia with Santtu-Matias Rouvali (Bruch Scottish Fantasy), BBC National Orchestra of Wales with Jac Van Steen (Arvo Pärt Fratres), Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie (Strauss Violin Concerto op. 8), Uppsala with Rebecca Miller (Britten Violin Concerto) and Opera North with David Greed (Bach Double Concerto). Recital touring includes performances across Europe, USA and Australasia for festivals and venues such as Wigmore Hall, Sydney International Piano Competition, and Leeds International Piano Competition.
From 2022, Jack will be the Artistic Director of the Australian Festival of Chamber Music (AFCM). He is also the artistic director of his own festivals Oxford May Music, where programming is centred around themes of music, science and the arts and also Alpine Classic in Grindelwald, Switzerland. As the first Émile Sauret Professor of Violin at the Royal Academy of Music he works as an ambassador helping to recruit future talent both at home and internationally as well as nurturing the next generation of violinists in his class. Jack has a developing relationship with digital teaching app NomadPlay, a unique opportunity for individuals to play alongside renowned musicians and orchestras. He has written and curated pieces for Strad Magazine, guest edited Classical Music Magazine, and presented BBC Radio 3’s Inside Music. Jack is also a member of the Salieca Piano Trio and directs his own ensemble of regular collaborators, ‘Jack Liebeck and Friends’.
Jack has had an acclaimed recording career from albums to soundtracks including Dvorak, which won Jack Classical Brit Young Artist of the Year in 2010, and Brahms Violin Sonatas with pianist Katya Apekisheva on Sony Classics. Jack’s notable relationship with Hyperion Records has included Kreisler with Katya Apekisheva and a complete Bruch concerto series with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Martyn Brabbins which won much praise “delightful mix of charm and bucolic spirit through Liebeck’s remarkable artistry and imagination” (The Telegraph). Other recordings and collaborations for Jack include the world premiere recording of Stuart Hancock’s violin concerto released on Orchid Classics, two chamber discs for Albion Records (Holst and Vaughan Williams with Mary Bevan and Vaughan Williams Folk Songs vol.1 with Nicky Spence and Mary Bevan), Braun’s From the Shtetl with London Chamber Orchestra, The Mozart Question with Michael Morpurgo and the London Philharmonic, Classic FM’s, The Glorious Garden (poetry by Alan Titchmarsh, narrated by Alan with music by Debbie Wiseman), and as BBC Music Magazine’s cover disc in celebration of Paganini, The Virtuoso Violin. He can also be heard in the soundtracks of The Theory of Everything, Jane Eyre and Anna Karenina.
Regular chamber collaborators throughout Jack’s career include internationally acclaimed artists such as brothers Brett Dean & Paul Dean, Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, Gary Hoffman, Gérard Causse, Mary Bevan, Imogen Cooper, Antoine Tamestit, Angela Hewitt, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Piers Lane, Julius Drake, Alexander Madzar, Pascal Moragues, Michael Collins, Nicholas Daniel, Katya Apekisheva, Filipe Pinto-Ribeiro and Mathieu Herzog.
Jack plays the ‘Ex-Wilhelmj’ J.B. Guadagnini dated 1785 and is generously loaned a Joseph Henry bow by Kathron Sturrock in the memory of her late husband Professor David Bennett.
Jack Liebeck is managed worldwide by Percius. www.percius.co.uk