Past Concerts

Concerts in 2016


January-July 2016

Church of St Mary the Virgin, Aylesbury

Thursdays, 12.45. £4.00 18 and under FREE


7th January. PANARETOS KYRIATZIDIS, piano.

This versatile Greek-born musician, joint winner of the 2014 Gerald Moore Award, has appeared at St Mary’s as an accompanist, a chamber musician and soloist, and is a great favourite with our regular audience. His programme includes the mightiest of Beethoven’s early sonatas, the Grand Sonata in E flat opus 7. He is also going to give us a little overview of Chopin: ‘The idea is to touch on some of the different worlds of  Chopin’s oeuvre – mazurkas, waltzes, nocturnes and polonaises – plus one of the bigger forms.’


14th January. LONDON CHAMBER COLLECTIVE: Amy Tress, Eloise-Fleur Thom, violins; Felicity Matthews, viola; Samantha Tress, cello; Max Welford, clarinet; James Pillai, horn; Toby Hughes, double bass; Sinéad Frost, bassoon.

Here is a chance to hear the cream of the capital’s young professional musicians in a gloriously joyful and uplifting masterpiece, the Octet by Schubert. The six movements of this one piece will fill the hour. This is our most ambitious venture yet, made possible by the generosity of our audience.

With this music and line-up this concert is self-recommending.


21st January. PHILIP SMITH, baritone, JAMES CHEUNG, piano.

Having programmed one of the Schubert’s most optimistic works, we now offer his bleakest – and arguably his richest. Winterreise / Winter Journey is a cycle of 21 songs about a man fleeing from a lost love; the poems are simple, but Schubert’s extraordinary treatment of them creates a multitude of dimensions. By general consent the work is the peak of western art song. International baritone Philip Smith and pianist James Cheung will give an absolutely authoritative performance. We supply the text and translation free of charge. Allow at least a full 75 minutes for this.


28th January. GIULIO POTENZA, piano.

This native of Palermo, now resident in London, has a whole cache of prizes to his name and has been singled out by the great Martha Argerich as ‘a very gifted and deep pianist’. He is playing the exceptionally difficult Sonata Reminiscenza by the Russian composer/pianist Medtner, Beethoven’s Appassionata, and Mendelsohn’s finest piano work, the Variations serieuses.  



Three more musicians from Italy. Paola, a fine chamber violinist, has already visited us in 2013 with her Apeiron Piano Trio. This is a different grouping, formed to play Brahms’s Horn Trio. This is one of the most immediately appealing of his chamber works, with its unforgettably beautiful Adagio written in memory of his mother and contrasting ‘hunting horn’ scherzo and finale. To round out the hour, Paola and Sabrina will play Richard Strauss’s early testosterone-filled Violin Sonata.  



Cate Martin, soprano, Felicity Davies, soprano, Philip Hayes, tenor, David Broom. Baritone, Anthony McCarthy, piano.

In preparation for their forthcoming production of Weber’s Der Freischütz, this dynamic local group, now with professional guest singers, will give us what will be a hugely entertaining  hour of excerpts not only from  Weber, but Mozart, Delibes, Bizet, Verdi, Donizetti,  Johann Strauss, G&S… including many popular favourites. The previously listed concert has been postponed – another date will be announced as soon a we can.


18th February. ALICE BISHOP, soprano, SIMON MARLOW, piano.

Alice, a violinist turned singer, and Simon, a seasoned accompanist and duo partner, are bringing a programme – the title is Songs of Love and Loss – of fascinating but hardly known songs – two by Schubert the exceptions. We have examples by two British composers: Rebecca Clark, and the very much alive James Francis Brown; also by the richly Romantic Austrian Erich Wolfgang Korngold and the Dutch-born Michael Hageman, both of whom earned fame as Hollywood film composers. But perhaps most fascinating will be the six songs by the Italian Respighi. We hope to supply texts/translations as usual.


25th February. FUMI OTSUKI, violin, PETRA HAJDUCHOVA, piano.

Fumi is a Japanese violinist who has been resident in the UK since 1992, when he came to study at the Royal Academy of Music, and then at Trinity. He has a firm commitment to make classical music as accessible as possible, and to this end has a heavy schedule playing in churches, hospitals and other venues around the UK. With his experienced Czech-born guest pianist, he is presenting music by a variety of composers to celebrate the expressive variety of his instrument: Bach, Beethoven, Smetana, Rebecca Clarke, Kreisler, Elgar…


3rd March. MARSYAS ENESMBLE: Helen Vidovich, flute; Valerie Welbanks, cello; Fei Ren, piano. With PATRICK DAWKINS, violin/viola; MAX WELFORD, clarinet; JESSICA SUMMERS, soprano. Our ability to initiate and present a performance of a work such as Schoenberg’s extraordinary Pierrot lunaire makes this a landmark occasion. This 1912 ‘melodrama’ sets 21 decadent ‘moonstruck Pierrot’ poems, with a voice which hovers between speech and song, just as the work itself hovers between cabaret and concert hall. It requires the utmost in virtuosity from everyone, especially the ‘voice’. Jessica Summers, although performing the piece for the first time, is sure to give one of the most powerful, if bizarre, vocal performances you are ever likely to experience. The instrumentalists are top-drawer, the Marsyas Trio, with its players from Australia, Canada and New Zealand, offering a gold standard in ensemble playing, as you will also hear in the opener, a baroque work by Couperin. Patrick is a member of the brilliant Ligeti String Quartet and Max (see also 14th January, 24th March) one of the UK’s finest young clarinettists. Texts and translations will be provided.



Scottish violinist Charlotte is very much a rising star of her generation, and receives ‘rave’ notices wherever she plays. She studied at the prestigious Peabody Conservatoire in Baltimore, and has been coached by such as the Julliard String Quartet and Midori. So, with another Charlotte as her pianist, we are going to have a jaw-dropping roller-coaster ride of virtuosity in a programme beginning with Wieniawski’s Polonaise de Concert and ending with Vitali’s baroque Chaconne, two great violin warhorses. Her two CDs will be on sale. The Charlottes should not be missed!


17th March. JELENA MAKAROVA, piano.

This Lithuanian-born pianist is well known to us for her fine solo recitals and appearances with the Canorum Trio. In this particularly interestingly programmed recital she is playing, along with a couple Schubert Impromptus, music by Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky and Hindemith. 



This is our Maundy Thursday concert, and it is entirely given over to a performance of Messiaen’s musical meditation on the Revelation of St John the Divine, the Quatuor pour le fin de temps / Quartet for the End of Time, inscribed In homage to the Angel of the Apocalypse. It was written while Messiaen was a prisoner-of-war in 1940, and first performed in the camp. The music contrasts exultant exotic rhythms with melodic rapt contemplation. This great twentieth century classic is capable of making the most profound impression.

This is not the performer line-up previously announced. This group of fine musician friends has come together for this one performance, another indication of how highly our concerts are regarded.


31st March. MADELEINE RIDD, cello, AN-TING CHANG, piano.

We welcome Madeleine for the first time at St Mary’s, partnered by the ever-impressive Korean pianist An-Ting. The programme consists of Beethoven’s Cello Sonata in C opus 102/1, the Sonata Britten wrote for Rostropovich – in fact a kind of twentieth century baroque suite – and Rachmaninov’s evergreen Vocalise.


Generally allow an hour for our concerts. The payment desk opens at 12.15, but do come earlier. Lunch and refreshments are available in the church café.

Our only source of income is our audience – their admission, loyalty, gifts and donations – so your support is really valuable. 

We must thank Fr Doug Zimmerman and the St Mary’s staff for their support and patience. Invaluable background work is done for us by Karen Baker and Colin Alexander.

 If known, changes and updates are announced at the concerts, but we advise joining our email list and checking the website:


7th April. STEPHEN LAIDLAW, cello, KAORU WADA, piano.

Two prize-winning musicians based in London and Manchester respectively. Stephen has visited us before, with huge success. Their recital begins with a brilliant set of variations by Beethoven on an aria from Mozart’s The Magic Flute, and then intriguingly offers miniatures by Webern from 1899 (his first surviving music, from when he was fifteen) and 1914, and, for solo cello, by Lutosławski. On more familiar ground are the Schumann Fantasy Pieces. The ‘big’ work in this terrific programme is the1913-17 Cello Sonata by Frank Bridge, a masterpiece of English instrumental music.


14th April. ARWEN NEWBAND, violin, ANNA LE HAIR, piano.

Two busy, highly regarded locally based musicians who formed the Newband-Le Hair Duo in 2010, and have played nationally. They are also two-thirds of the Icknield Trio. A work by the baroque composer Leclair opens, followed by violin sonatas by Howard Ferguson and Brahms, the lovely second of the three, in A major, and always a treat.


21st April. GENEVIÈVE USHER, soprano, KIRSTY JANUSZ, flute, CHRIS UNDERHILL, piano.

Geneviève’s silvery voice and Chris’s superb playing are well known to us, and they are joined in a distinctively enjoyable and wide-ranging vocal and instrumental programme (including Handel, Falla, Duparc, Puccini, Korngold….) by newcomer Kirsty, well known as a performer and teacher in the Windsor area.


28th April. DRYADS DUO. Carla Santos, violin, Saul Picado, piano.

This outstanding Portuguese London-based duo enjoy coming to Aylesbury, and be assured you will hear some stunning playing. A delightful 1950s Sonatina by the Dutch composer Ton de Leeuw is framed by two of the last century’s most approachable ‘big’ sonatas, the gloriously romantic Respighi, which is at last coming into its own, and the introspective Elgar, one of his three late chamber masterworks written around the time of the Cello Concerto – if you like that piece, don’t miss this concert: this moving work will receive a very fine performance.


5th May. CHI-HOI CHEUNG, piano.

A first visit to St Mary’s by this pianist from Hong Kong, a pupil of Gordon Fergus Thompson at the RCM. He pulls out the stops in a 70 minute recital consisting of Busoni’s version of Bach’s Wachet auf, the first of Beethoven’s last three great sonatas (E major, op 109), Schumann’s evergreen Kinderscenen, and Chopin’s most ambitious work, the B minor Sonata. I think we can call this a feast for lovers of piano music.


12th May. ANERN STRING TRIO. Lisa Ueda, violin, Ian Byrne Brito, viola, Nigel Blomiley. With GUTHRIE LUKE, piano. 

A return of these marvellous musicians, very supportive of our concerts; no recommendation can be too high. Lisa has an international reputation as a violinist, Ian is as authoritative a violist as you will encounter, and Nigel comes with years of experience in the musical world, not least as cello principal in the BBC Concert Orchestra. They will be playing Beethoven’s G major String Trio, the first of his Opus 9. Guthrie’s first teacher in New York, Isidor Philipp, was a pupil of Saint-Saëns, but he went to France and was taught by the great Alfred Cortot, and, remaining in Europe, distinguished himself mainly as an accompanist and chamber musician. Having memorably performed the two Mozart Piano Quartets with his ‘young friends’, he is ‘fired up’ by the idea of playing Beethoven’s Piano Quartet – directly inspired by the Mozart works – for us. As he is now in his mid-80s, the word is it might be his last visit – so don’t miss this on any account. You might feel you’re sitting in on history.


19th May. SHIRLEY SMART, cello, PETER MICHAELS, guitar.

A concert to challenge. Two very distinguished musicians both classically trained and at the top of their game in world music and jazz, will give one of our most extraordinary concerts. Shirley and Peter present a fresh, new approach to the duo recital, taking you on an improvised journey through a programme which brings together music from North Africa, the Middle East and South America, as well as their original compositions. Trained under Raphael Wallfisch and Janos Starker and living for ten years in Jerusalem under the spell of Middle Eastern music, Shirley is one of the UK’s most creative cellists, famed for her improvisations; Peter is a guitarist, producer and film composer and founder of the band Pocket Caravan. This should appeal to all open-minded classical, world music and jazz lovers. See their websites for much more.



This will be the highlight for some of you, for Yorkshire-based Michael, a pupil of Carlos Bonell, is regarded as one of the finest guitarists of his generation. His expressive playing and captivating stage persona has taken him round the world, and here he is in Aylesbury. You have been told! Giuliani, Bach, Yuquijiro Yocoh, Rodrigo, Albéniz: an hour to savour. Guitar enthusiasts should also note Daniel Stachowiak is visiting St Mary’s on 13th October.


2nd June. EMILY ANDREWS, flute and voice, DAVID MASSEY, guitar.

Storytelling. This top-notch duo, well known to us, is bringing a well contrasted programme in instrumentation and styles around the idea of storytelling. Emily and David will perform some of their own arrangements of British folk tunes from their CD …from the Roots, and Emily will sing some of Dowland’s wonderful Jacobean lute songs. Arrangements of songs from Schubert’s Winterreise will help weave the spell. Diverting, different, delightful.


9th June. NJORD WIND TRIO. Emma Burgess, clarinet; Camilla Marchant, flute; Catriona McDermid, bassoon.

We don’t have many wind trios, and these postgraduate musicians from the Royal College of Music come with a high recommendation. A Mozart Divertimento, Charles Koechlin, a good friend to all wind players, the Dane Niels Bentzon, Edward McGuire’s Celtic Knotwork and some arrangements will be included in an enjoyable hour.   


16th June. FELICITY VINCENT, cello, OLIVER DAVIES, piano.

Felicity, a pupil of Janos Starker, Pilates pioneer and an orchestral, chamber and solo cellist of huge experience, joins with Oliver, Professor of Piano at the RCM and founder of the Department of Portraits and Performance History, in what she calls a ‘cracking programme’: Beethoven’s Variations on Handel’s See the conquering hero comes, Schumann’s Three Romances, Vaughan Williams’s Six Studies in English Folksong, and Fauré’s Second Cello Sonata.


23rd June. MARIA RAZUMOVSKAYA, piano.

Maria has deeply impressed us since she was a student at the RAM, and now she’s slowly but surely gaining recognition as a pianist of real international stature. She was going to perform the Liszt Sonata for us – of which she has just made a highly praised recording, likely to become a ‘library choice’ for many – but her busy schedule has now made its re-preparation to her satisfaction untenable: she hopes to perform it for us next year. Instead we are having the British premier of a piece by the (very traditional – fear not!) Swiss composer Bernard Reichel, Pictures for piano (which she will be playing from a photocopy of the manuscript), and continuing that theme Musorgsky’s Pictures from an Exhibition, which might well be the finest live performance you’ve heard or will ever hear of this exciting, colourful work, once considered on the verge of technical impossibility. Again, you have been told!  The Liszt CD will be on sale.  


30th June. ANNA LE HAIR, piano.

A return of this Tring-based pianist (see also 14th April). Her concerts are very popular, and her programme will offer much pleasure: Beethoven’s exciting and demanding Tempest Sonata (D minor, op 31/2), Bagatelles by Howard Ferguson, Études-tableaux  by Rachmaninov and Debussy’s Isle joyeuse.


7th July. ANERN STRING TRIO. Lisa Ueda, violin, Ian Byrne Brito, viola, Nigel Blomiley, cello.

This trio is returning (see 12th May) for a performance of something really special: the huge six-movement Divertimento K563, one of the greatest chamber works Mozart penned. Schubert’s only complete string trio, in B flat D581, will be played as a preface to the Mozart.  


14th July. SALLY QUANTRILL, flute, LYDIA BOSWORTH, piano.

The annual summer visit of this well-established duo (already booked for 2017!) is a guaranteed delight. CPE Bach, Schubert, Malcolm Arnold, Martinů.


21st July. MARTIN SMITH, euphonium, ANNA LE HAIR, piano.

Lyrical Euphonium. Martin’s advocacy of this Cinderella instrument is infectious, and he has become summer feature. Bach, Rimsky-Korsakov, Gossec and Elgar arrangements, and a tribute to Richard Rodney Bennett, plus pieces by Karl Jenkins and John Gollard, and a Simone Mantia flourish at the end. And Anna is back to preside at the piano.


28th July. ARWEN NEWBAND, violin, ANNA LE HAIR, piano

Beethoven, Violin Sonata no. 1 in D and

Lili Boulanger, Nocturne; Cortege

Rebecca Clarke, Misummer Moon

Schubert, vionin Sonata in A



Sunday 17th July, 3pm. £10 admission, £8.50 friends of St Mary’s,

18 and under free.


The distinguished pianist/composer revisits St Mary’s with his superb cellist daughter for a delightful afternoon concert.

Beethoven, Boccherini, Rachmaninov.  More details to follow. 

September – December 2016

8th September. FLORIAN STRING QUARTET. Emmanuel Bach, Naomi Watson, violins; Anna Brigham, viola; Chris Terepin, cello.

An auspicious launch for our 2016/17 season: the Florian Quartet, established in Manchester in 2012, is one of the most versatile and interesting new ensembles in the UK. As we listen, we may hear some fruits of their historical performance style research, based at King’s College London. The concert consists of Haydn’s C minor Quartet op 17/4, the second of the (so far) three hugely enjoyable quartets by Pavel Fischer, called Wild Mountain Thyme – and a more familiar Czech piece, Dvořák’s F major American Quartet. Allow 70 mins.

15th September. ALISON THORMAN, soprano; SIMON HOWAT, piano. Buckinghamshire-based, this well-established and popular partnership (but new to our series) is particularly keen on Lieder and English song, so you will hear well-known settings by Schumann, Mendelssohn, Wolf and Roger Quilter, and some less familiar, of poems by the ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’ Lord Byron. Texts will be provided as usual.


22nd September. STEPHEN LAIDLAW, cello; TYLER HAY, piano.

The exciting mastery of this Manchester-based duo guarantees totally authoritative performances; both Stephen and Tyler are already establishing themselves internationally. No less than three benchmark sonatas are to be played: by Beethoven, in D major opus 105/2 (one of his most personal works, concluding with a powerful and gritty fugue), Debussy (concise, anticipating many of the extended techniques of later cello music), and Shostakovich (his masterpiece of 1934 – intriguing, inexhaustible). Frank Bridge’s 1920 Scherzo completes this hour (or maybe just a little longer) in paradise for cello aficionados.



The prize-winning Greek pianist Marios has assembled a truly international line-up for a performance of one of the best loved of all piano quintets, Dvořák’s opus 81 in A major. The melodic richness of this work has to be heard to be believed. That’s not all: the strings are performing Haydn’s famous Emperor Quartet opus 76/3, with its variations on the Austrian national hymn.


6th October. JOANA LY, violin; REBECCA BREEN, viola; PEDRO SILVA, cello; NATHAN TINKER, piano.

We have brilliant Portuguese violinist Joana to thank for organising this professional international piano and string quartet, all new visitors to St Mary’s. And they bring quite a programme. Frank Bridge’s early (1910) Phantasy Piano Quartet is the calm before the storm of the mighty Brahms C minor Piano Quartet. Brahms said to his publisher that the title page should bear a head with a pistol held to it – and I shall send you the photograph. Quite a work, especially experienced live!


13th October. DANIEL STACHOWIAK, guitar.

Our new guest was born in Belgium of American parents, but brought up in Italy. He studied music at Oxford Brookes, and now works for the Buckinghamshire Music Service. Daniel is dedicated to blowing the dust from the more neglected riches of Spanish guitar music, especially from non-specialist composers, and our regular guitar connoisseurs will be intrigued to see the names of Andrés Isasi, Oscar Esplá, Jaume Pahissa and Salvador Bacarisse.



Natasha – a highly talented violinist (Sir Roger Norrington) – studied at the Royal Academy of Music and Trinity College Cambridge and has degrees in violin performance, philosophy and mathematics. She has performed in many prestigious venues nationally and internationally. Jennifer, who dazzled us at St Mary’s as a RAM student, is now simply one of the best chamber pianists of her generation in the UK, and in very high demand. Two very different 20th century virtuoso pieces, Witold Lutosławski’s Subito (1992) and Franz Waxman’s Carmen Fantasy (1946) frame Schubert’s modest D major Sonata D384 and César Franck’s voluptuously famous A major Sonata.



27th October. RICHARD MACKENZIE, theorbo.

This distinguished early music performer and scholar is returning with something very special: a recital on a baroque lyre, popular at the court of Louis XIV. The music will be by Robert de Visée, Charles Hurel and others, and the sounds beguilingly beautiful, full of intricate and sonorous textures. A treat-and-a-half!


3rd November. ELYSIAN PIANO TRIO. Jennifer Hughes, piano; Emily Sun, violin; Jane Lindsay, cello.

This is quite a new ensemble, formed from prize-winning postgraduate musicians at the Royal College of Music. Knowing the reputation of these performers (Jennifer is a simply a wonderful chamber music pianist [see also 20th October]; Emily has won just about every violin prize available in her native Australia; and Jane – not least in a partnership with Jennifer – is making a considerable impact wherever she plays) this promises to be quite an hour! Not least because they are playing some great chamber works: Haydn Piano Trio in G Major Hob XV 25 ‘Gypsy’; Frank Bridge: Miniatures for Piano Trio H 87-89; and Ravel Piano Trio in A minor 


10th November. ADRIAN OLDLAND, piano.

Another newcomer to St Mary’s, Adrian is establishing a firm international reputation as a performer of Romantic piano music, feeling particularly close to the music of Schumann. And it is Schumann he will be playing for us: two of the Noveletten, and the truly fantastic thinly disguised self-portrait, Kreisleriana.



Galya Bisengalieva, Eloisa-Fleur Thom, violins; Robert Ames, Tadsuke Iijima, violas; Gregor Riddell, Max Ruisi, cellos; Elena Hall, double-bass.  

This flexible group of some of the very finest younger London players is bringing to Aylesbury a late Richard Strauss programme – the extended string sextet prelude to the composer’s last opera Capriccio, and the septet version of Metamorphosen, the aged composers intricately worked and gravely beautiful lament for wartime destruction. Galya, a superb violinist and presence, will also play some solo Bach.



24th November. JULIA ASTRID WAGNER, cello; RYAN DRUCKER, piano.

Two very highly recommended musicians, graduates from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the Royal Northern College of Music respectively. Julia is studying for a doctorate at Guildhall, and was nominated Ardoyne Young Cello Artist 2015. We have a wonderful programme of three sonatas, the Beethoven G minor op 5/2, the Debussy and the lyrical Prokofiev.  


1st December.  ALBA DUO. Samantha Pearce, flute. Francisco Correa, guitar.

These excellent musicians will offer a broad and colourful concert, from Telemann, Giuliani and Poulenc to contemporary evocations of  Latin America from such composers as Máximo Diego Pujol (Suite ‘Buenos Aires’), Francisco González (Danza de los Amantes Efíneros) and Andy Scott (Paputo). If you like this exotic repertoire you won’t do better than this duo.


8th December. GAMAL KHAMIS 

One of our favourite pianists stepped in at short notice to play Beethoven, Piano Sonata no. 16; Liszt, Un sospiro; Debussy Preludes (Book 2, nos 7 and 12); Chopin, Ballade no. 3; Bridge, Lament; Granados, Goyescas. Los requiebros (no. 1).




GRIER PIANO TRIO: Francis Grier, piano; Savitri Grier, violin; Indira Grier, cello

Escape from the Christmas hurly-burly with a concert by these wonderful musicians; the distinguished composer Francis Grier and his exceptionally talented daughters, now carving international careers for themselves. Music by Mendelssohn, Schubert, Fauré. £10, £8.50 Friends of St Mary’s, 18 and under free.

Due to injury Indira was unable to play but we had an excellent violin and piano concert: sonatas by Beethoven (no. 8); Janacek, Debussy and Brahms (no. 1)

15th December. ALICJA FIDERKIEWICZ, piano.

This distinguished Polish-born pianist trained in her native Warsaw, Moscow (playing for Richter, Gilels, Nikolaeva) and at the RNCM at Manchester – where she settled, becoming particularly associated with Chetham’s School of Music. She has a full international career in concertos and solo recitals. Unsurprisingly, Alicja is playing Chopin – but what Chopin! The A flat major Ballade and the F minor Fantaisie are among the summits of his achievement. She is also giving us Debussy’s equally masterly Estampes, along with more Polish music by Paderewski and Szymanowski. Something really memorable to end the year.    

Page Title