Nadine Benjamin MBE, soprano
British lyric soprano Nadine Benjamin is a charismatic and versatile artist who is in increasing demand on both the operatic stage and the concert platform. She is also developing renown as a recitalist, particularly associated with Verdi, Strauss and contemporary American song.
Nadine made her Royal Opera House debut in 2020 as a soprano soloist in A New Dark Age, with works by Missy Mazzoli, Anna Meredith and Anna Thorvaldsdottir and her Glyndebourne Festival Opera debut in August 2021 in the title role in Luisa Miller. From 2018 to 2020, Nadine was an ENO Harewood Artist and made her debut with the Company as Clara (Porgy and Bess), followed by Musetta (La bohème), Laura (Luisa Miller) and Gerhilde (The Valkyrie) for ENO. She will sing the role of Mimì (La bohème) with ENO in February 2022.
Nadine’s roles to date also include the title role in Aida, Cio-Cio-San (Madama Butterfly), La Contessa (Le nozze di Figaro), Nadia in Tippett’s The Ice Break with Birmingham Opera Company, Desdemona (Otello) and the title-role Tosca (Tosca) with Everybody Can! Opera, Musetta [cover], Mother/Witch (Hansel and Gretel) for Scottish Opera, Tosca and The Countess (The Marriage of Figaro) for English Touring Opera, Ermyntrude in Mascagni’s Isabeau and Amelia (Un ballo in maschera) with Opera Holland Park and Rosalinde (Die Fledermaus) with Iford Arts. Forthcoming operatic engagements include her debut with Welsh National Opera and the role of Maya in Dalia, a new opera by Roxanna Panufnik which will receive its premiere at Garsington in July 2022.
In concert, Nadine has performed Strauss’ Four Last Songs, Verdi’s Requiem, Poulenc’s Gloria, Berg’s Seven Early Songs, Dvorak’s Stabat Mater, Schubert’s Mass no. 5 and the soprano solos in Handel’s Messiah, Eternal Source of Light Divine and Mahler’s Symphony no. 4. Further performances include Barber’s Knoxville – Summer of 1915, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, Dvorak’s Te Deum and Mendelssohn’s Elijah.
Nadine is a mentor, certified High Performance Coach and Mind Coach, and founded her opera and mentorship programme ‘Everybody Can!’ in 2015 to provide a platform to encourage and support others in recognising and achieving their own visions.
An Ambassador for London Music Masters, Nadine was “highly commended” at the 2016 Aviva ‘Women of the Future Awards’ and invited to both Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing Street in recognition of her work as a mentor and singer. Nadine was made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2021.
Suzanne Fischer, soprano
British-German soprano Suzanne Fischer recently understudied and debuted in the role of La Fée (the fairy-godmother) in Cendrillon by Massenet for Glyndebourne on Tour 2018 and Glyndebourne Festival Opera 2019. In recent months she sang Adina in L’Elisir d’Amore for Glyndebourne Education Department and her first Violetta in La Traviata at Schloß Neuhardenberg, Berlin.
Ms Fischer completed her training with a Masters in Voice at the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music in Berlin, following reading Music as an undergraduate at the Universities of Edinburgh and Milan.
Ms Fischer has sung as a principal artist for Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Deutsche Oper Tischlerei Berlin, Tristan & Associates, Longborough Festival Opera, Kammeroper München, and English Touring Opera with roles including Gilda/Rigoletto, Ginevra/Ariodante, Najade/Ariadne auf Naxos and Susanna/Le Nozze di Figaro.
Ms Fischer won first prize at Oxford Lieder Festival’s Young Artist Platform, Förderpreis for most promising artist at Das Lied: International Song Competition, the Pavarotti Prize at the Viotti International Competition in Italy and 4th Prize at the ARD International Competition in Munich.
Playing the piano and ‘cello from the age of 6, Ms Fischer was also an avid dancer of contemporary dance, ballet and jazz into young adulthood. She is passionate about languages, speaking fluent German and Italian and enjoys climbing large hills in the Yorkshire Dales and Scottish Highlands.
Leonardo Pinho, french horn
Leonardo Pinho, Portuguese horn player, started his musical studies at the age of 14. He completed his Bachelors Degree at Academia Nacional Superior de Orquestra (Lisbon, Portugal) in 2019, where he had the opportunity to study with Nuno Vaz.
During his studies Leonardo worked with the following orchestras: Gulbenkian Orchestra (Portugal), Suoni Dal Golfo Festival Orchestra (Italy), Al Bustan Music Festival Orchestra (Lebanon), Metropolitan Academic Orchestra (Portugal), Metropolitan Symphonic Orchestra (Portugal), Lisbon Metropolitan Orchestra (Portugal), Oporto Academic Orchestra (Portugal), Cascais & Oeiras Chamber Orchestra (Portugal), National Youth Orchestra (Portugal).
He had the pleasure to work with maestros like Pedro Neves, Emilio Pomarico, Enrico Onofri, Pablo Urbina, Jean-Marc Burfin, Gianluca Marcianò, Sylvain Gasançon, Magnus Lindberg, and others. He attended masterclasses with Andrew Bain, Abel Pereira, Bernardo Silva, American Horn Quartet.
Leonardo won the 3rd prize at the “Terras de La-salette” International Wind Contest (2019) and had played solo with JOBRA’S Conservatory Wind Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra (Portugal), and now with London City Orchestra.
He is currently studying for his Masters at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama with David Pyatt, Sue Dent and Christopher Parkes.
Aisha Syed Castro, violin
“Virtuoso”- Lietuvos Rytas in Lithuania, Frankfurt Neue Presse in Germany, Time Out Magazine and The National in the UAE, Correo Braziliense in Brazil, Lokal-Nachrichten in Bern, Switzerland
"deeply gifted artist" - Ft. Lauderdale Connex in Florida
"one of the youngest and most talented ambassadors of the violin in the world" – Live Out Loud Magazine in Los Angeles, California
Aisha became the first latina to attend the child prodigy Yehudi Menuhin School in England where she also studied at the Royal College of Music with a full scholarship by the Soirée d'Or committee. She has performed all around the world as a soloist in places such as the Luxembourg Palace in Paris, the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, the Palace of the Grand Duques in Vilnius, the Palacio de Linares in Madrid, the Fontainebleu Palace in Fontainebleu, the National Philharmonic Hall in Vilnius, the headquarters of the Organisation of American States in Washington DC, the Wigmore Hall in London, the Kauffman Hall in New York, the Clairmont Hall in Tel‐Aviv, among many other prestigious venues.
She has also performed as a soloist in many festivals including the Gaida Contemporary Music Festival, where she gave the world premiere of the Alguirdas Martinaitits violin concerto (which he dedicated to her) at the National Philarmonic Hall with the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra in Vilnius, as well as the Fontainebleu Summer Music Festival, by personal invitation of its Artistic Director Phillipe Entremont. She has performed as a soloist with several orchestras, perhaps most notably the National Theater of Brazil Symphony Orchestra and the Dominican Symphony Orchestra. She has worked with numerous conductors including James Brooks, Claudio Cohen, Carlos Piantini, Phillip Entremont, José Antonio Molina, Alvaro Manzano and Mstlav Rostropovich. An accomplished musician, Aisha has won numerous prizes including three Premio soberano Awards in 2013, 2014 and 2015 as Classical Artist Abroad and the Game Changer Award by the Keep Walking worldwide campaign in 2014.
In 2014 she was made the youngest ever Honorary Professor of the Arts Faculty at the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo which was founded in 1538 being the first University of the Americas. In May 2015 she became, along with conductor Gustavo Dudamel, an Ambassador for LEALA, founded to promote the Spanish language and Latin American culture across the United States. In 2010 she co-founded in the Dominican Republic the Music for Life Foundation seeking to bring classical music to those who cannot access it.
The violins she performs on are the extraordinary 1690 "Stephens” Stradivarius and an Antonius Pelizon both kindly provided by Florian Leonhard Fine Violins. Aisha is currently on her Fantasy Tour, performing in Europe, Latin America, the United States and the Middle East throughout the 2015/16 season. Aisha is a devout Christian and dedicates all her performances to God.
Oliver Poole, piano
Oliver believes in making the world a better place through music. Whether it be a world premiere, entertaining millions live on TV or a performance of the iconic Goldberg Variations, he delivers what cannot be taught: the finest inner musicality, intuition of a natural composer and an electrifying drive. He has performed both solo & with orchestra at venues & festivals around the world & has been described as having an electrifying stage presence, charisma, talent for communication & improvisation that makes him a performer of unique entertaining talent. He is a visionary on a mission, a charismatic leader, embracing everyone into the majestic world of sound with his poise, artistry and improvised interaction with audiences.
He first performed with the NYO aged eight, became the subject of numerous press features & live broadcasts aged fifteen, toured Siberia & founded the British registered charity Siberian Appeal at seventeen, was hailed the 21st century Anton Rubinstein after his extraordinary centenary revival of the Russian giant's 3rd piano concerto with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic at nineteen & has since performed at venues, festivals & with orchestras including the Royal Albert Hall, Tuscan Sun Festival, Festival Del Sole, Serenata Festival, Al Bustan Festival, Henley Festival, LPO, City of London Festival, GSO, Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire, London 2012, Royal Festival Hall, EU Culture Week, Cadogan Hall, for the British Royal Family, for various charities including UNESCO, Children in Need, UN World Food Programme, Teenage Cancer Trust, DownsideUp Foundation, HemiHelp, Starlight, Desire Tree Foundation, Siberian Appeal, UNICEF, has composed for award-winning plays, pop stars, global TV campaigns, world-renowned visual artists, international charities & initiatives, frequently holds talks & workshops for educational institutions, pioneers world-firsts in music technology and recently exclusively performed for the global launch of Haig Club by David Beckham.
"A True Master Of His Instrument" - bbc.com
"Oliver Poole Le Magnifique" - lorientlejour.com
Francisco Jimeno, violin
Francisco completed his Masters Degree in music performance under the guidance on Mayumi Fujikawa and followed classes with Manuel Puig, Michael Thomas, Christopher Blezien, Vasko Vassilev and Yossi Zivoni, among others. He has been awarded in solo and chamber music competitions.
His interest in chamber music made him to lead several ensembles, with performances in venues such as St. Martin-in-the-Fields and Wigmore Hall. He participated in master-classes with members of the Wihan String Quartet, the Danish String Quartet and the Carducci Quartet.
He is passionate about contemporary music. His collaboration with David Bozzo has as a result a violin concerto, premiered in London in March 2015, a CD with the pieces for solo violin of this Catalan composer and pieces for violin and piano, already edited. He also enjoys with the music of the Argentinian composer Claudia Montero.
He is developing a freelance career in London. He has been leading some orchestras, played with members of relevant ensembles and in the most important venues. Actually, he is the leader of the London City Orchestra.
Francisco has a Degree in Humanities from the Universitat Jaume I, where he was formerly a lecturer in Spanish Contemporary History. He is now enrolled in further Doctorate studies in Spanish Contemporary History.
Pierre Frapier, violin
Born in France, Pierre Frapier gained his final diploma (first prize) at Montpellier Conservatoire at the age of 15. He has been a pupil of Constantin Bogdanas, (Enesco quartet, assistant professor at Paris Conservatoire) and Rodika Bogdanas. In 2008 he entered the Superior Musical Institute (IMEP) in Namur, Belgium, studying in Marc Danel’s class.
In 2010 he entered the Royal College of Music in London as a Foundation Scholar holder studying with the internationally known pedagogue, Prof. Itzhak Rashkovsky. He has attended masterclasses with Ivry Gitlis, Silvia Marcovicci, Hagai Shaham, Renato Zanettovich, Ani Schnarch and has performed in many different venues around the world, such as Opéra comedie de Montpellier, Théatre de Nancy, Auditorium de Flaine, France; Kuhmo Arts Center, Finland; Teatro Braluz, Italy; Piotr Stoliarsky School Audtorium, Ukraine; Tel-Aviv Opera House, Israel; Studzinsky Hall, US; and Cadogan Hall foyer and other venues in the UK.
Semi-finalist of the 2013 Rodolfo Lipizer and the 2014 Henri Marteau violin competitions, he has been awarded another scholarship and award from RCM to pursue his master studies with Prof. Itzhak Rashkovsky. He currently plays a Jacob Fendt violin c. 1830.
Alicia García-Arroba Muñoz, viola
Born in 1988 in Madrid (Spain), Alicia began playing viola aged 8 at the Conservatory of Music Arturo Soria with Silvia Villamor. In 2007 she completed her studies with the highest qualifications in viola and chamber music. The same year she started her undergraduate at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Madrid with Alan Kovacs, Josep Puchades and Luis Llácer. Last year she finished her Master of Music in orchestra performance in Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Krzysztof Chorzelski. She also took master classes with musicians such as Paul Coletti, Gina Warnik, Thomas Riebl, Pedrac Katanic and Tatjana Masurenko among others.
At 13 she began to participate in various youth Orchestras. From 2006 was a member of the Youth Orchestra of the Community of Madrid, participating in numerous concerts and academic activities including tours around Mexico, El Salvador, Vietnam, Russia, France and Spain. From 2010 she combined her studies playing in professional orchestras like ORCAM (Symphony Orchestra of Madrid) and being part of the musical “Les Miserables”. Last year she had the opportunity of playing with the LSO as part as a collaboration with the GSMD.
Alicia is also a keen chamber musician; co-founder of the Scorrevole Ensemble, she has played live with them for the RNE (National Radio of Spain).
Adrian Somogyi, clarinet
Adrian Somogyi, 26, was born and raised in Hungary. In 2005 he joined the Ernst von Dohnanyi Conservatory of Music, Veszprem, studying under Peter Molnar and Csaba Klenyán. He then continued his studies at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest, where he studied with Gabor Mihaltz and Istvan Varga. In 2013 Adrian gained a Masters in Orchestral Performance from the Royal College of Music. Currently he is completing his Artist Diploma with Timothy Lines, Barnaby Robson, Richard Hosford, Colin Lawson and Janet Hilton in the RCM.
Adrian is a dedicated chamber musician. His wide experience includes many performances with the Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra. In 2012, Adrian played the Prokofiev Quintet at the Festival Hall, as part of the LPO’s Prokofiev Festival. As an active member of the Cataleya Quintet, Adrian had the opportunity to perform in exciting venues i.e. the Elgar Room of the Royal Albert Hall, St Martin-in-the-Fields, the Purcell Room at the Southbank Centre and at the Boconnoc Estate, Cornwall. Adrian also has played the Hans Gal Clarinet Quintet at the Schwerin Music Festival, Germany.
In 2014 February Adrian has performed as a soloist with the RCM Symphony Orchestra in the Arco di vento by Ivan Fedele.
Zoé Saubat, cello
Studying at London’s RCM, Zoé regularly leads the cello section of their Philharmonic Orchestra, String Band and Symphonic Orchestra. After obtaining her Diplôme d’éducation Musicale with Honours from Bayonne Conservatoire aged fifteen, Zoé studied under Romain Garioud and Hélène Dautry at the Paris Conservatoire. She graduated con lauda in June 2011, winning First Prize at the UFAM competition in Paris.
Zoé is passionate about contemporary music and its composition, having worked with composers Philippe Hersant and Edith Canat de Chizy. She also took part in a contemporary dance creation, ‘La Follia’, touring all of France with Compagnie Chantier. As a comitted chamber musician, Zoé created the Kliho duo with pianist Laïla Barnat. The two young musicians have performed in France, Denmark and London in various masterclasses and festivals.
Nazrin Rashidova, violin
Soloist, recitalist, chamber musician and orchestral director, Nazrin Rashidova’s musical acumen is creating a unique place for her in the music world.
The Azerbaijani-born, British violin virtuoso made her solo debut at the age of 3 in Baku and was awarded a Gold Medal by the Cairo Opera House for an exceptional violin recital three years later. And establishing FeMusa in 2008 – Britain’s first female chamber orchestra in 60 years, is merely the latest string to an already accomplished bow.
Nazrin was accepted to the Royal Academy of Music at the age of 15 where the previous principal said she was “one of the most talented musicians to have walked through its doors in 40 years.” She studied with Professors Gruenberg, Andrievsky and Mordkovitch. A prizewinner of several international competitions, she has performed in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and in Japan. She has also played for Royalty and other dignitaries.
Nazrin’s debut CD released on the Naxos label in June 2013 was successful launched at the Wigmore Hall to critical acclaim. Her second CD of Azerbaijani works arranged for violin and guitar is to be launched in King’s Place in March 2014.