Ruth Gerald (piano) - Saturday 27 March and Sunday 28 March.
Ruth Gerald is currently a freelance musician, teacher, adjudicator and examiner. She was Head of Keyboard Studies at the Royal College of Music from 1992 until 1999 having previously been appointed Faculty Adviser for Keyboard Studies in 1987. Her career has always pursued a very wide path - solo and lecture recitals, concertos, chamber music, Lieder recitals, accompanying, adjudicating, examining and teaching. She was Head of Keyboard Studies at the Birmingham School of Music (now the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire) for a period of five years, but relinquished this post in order to devote more time to performing, and teaching at the Royal College where she was a Professor of Piano and Piano Accompaniment for over 30 years She was elected a Fellow of the Royal College in 1985. Born and educated in Australia, Ruth began her musical career there, broadcasting regularly at a very early age. After winning the Elder Overseas Scholarship and gaining a Bachelor of Music degree at Adelaide University she continued with postgraduate studies at the Royal College where she was awarded many prizes, including the Hopkinson Gold Medal. Recently she has given Master classes in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Malta and Greece and conducted many seminars for piano teachers in the UK, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. She has adjudicated at Festivals world-wide and is actively involved in many aspects of the work of the ABRSM.
Joseph Tong (piano) - Saturday 27 March and Sunday 28 March.
Joseph Tong has established a reputation as one of the most versatile and imaginative pianists of his generation. Much in demand as a soloist, duo pianist and chamber musician, Joseph made his Wigmore Hall debut in 1997 as winner of the Maisie Lewis Young Artists Award and gives regular recitals throughout the UK and abroad. He studied at Wells Cathedral School with Hilary Coates and at Christ’s College, Cambridge before completing postgraduate studies with Christopher Elton at the Royal Academy of Music. His recent Sibelius recording project has seen two CDs released on the Quartz label to widespread critical acclaim. Joseph has given regular concerts in Finland, including recitals at Sibelius’s home Ainolaon the composer’s original Steinway, at the Sibelius Museum in Turku, the 2019 Korpo Sibelius Festival, Helsinki Music Centre (Camerata Hall) and Hämeenlinna Town Hall. Other recent highlights have included recitals at St John’s Smith Square in London, St David’s Hall Cardiff, St George’s Bristol and the Jacqueline du Pré Hall in Oxford as well as in Spain and Germany. Joseph’s recent Schumann disc, recorded at the Sendesaal in Bremen, was Instrumental Choicein BBC Music Magazine in November 2019. Upcoming projects include a Sibelius recording with violinist Fenella Humphreys, solo recitals at Fairfield Halls Croydon, St George’s Bristol and a CD launch concert in Bremen in June 2020. Joseph Tong was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music (ARAM) in 2008 and appointed an adjudicator for the British and International Federation of Festivals last year. He is a visiting teacher at Wells Cathedral School, one of the UK’s specialist music schools.
James Kirby (piano) - Saturday 27 March and Sunday 28 March.
James Kirby gives recitals throughout the UK including Wigmore Hall, Edinburgh and Aldeburgh festivals and extensively in Europe. He studied at the Moscow Conservatoire and returns to perform concertos and recitals and lead chamber music courses in the former Soviet Union every year. He has given concerto performances with the English and Scottish Chamber Orchestras and Moscow Symphony Orchestra in venues including the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire. He is a member of the Barbican Piano Trio which has recently celebrated its twenty fifth anniversary and performs regularly throughout Europe and the USA. The Trio has a repertoire consists of over seventy works and an impressive discography. James teaches at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Royal Holloway, University of London and the University of Hull. He is an Honorary Professor of the Rachmaninov Institute in Tambov, Russia, and serves on the juries of many International competitions, most recently in Russia, Latvia, Romania and Slovenia. He has been an ABRSM examiner since 1998 and has worked in Hong Kong, Singapore, China and many European countries. He has recorded the demonstration CD for the Piano Exams syllabus for many years and he is an adjudicator member of the British and International Federation of Festivals.
Maria Jagusz (singing) - Saturday 27 March and Sunday 28 March.
Maria Jagusz trained at the Royal Northern College of Music where she was awarded the Ricordi Prize for Opera. Further scholarships enabled her to continue her studies at the National Opera Studio where she worked with Solti, Dame Janet Baker and Martin Isepp. Since then she has performed as an operatic soloist for leading opera companies in the U.K. and Europe working alongside artists like Freni, Carreras, Domingo, Dame Felicity Lott and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. As a concert artist she has performed in many leading venues including The Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall,St John’s Smith Square, The Barbican and Bonn Cathedral. When she is not performing Maria runs a very busy teaching practise and many past students have gone on to have successful careers in the world of opera and the performing arts. She is a much sought after singing workshop leader for both children and choirs. Her directing credits include Carmen (Swindon Opera and the Playhouse Cheltenham) Little Sweep, Dido and Aneas ,Sweeney Todd ,La Boheme and Orpheus ed Euridice (Longborough Festival Opera), West Side Story, Secret Garden and Jesus Christ Superstar (MJ-UK). Future work includes devising and directing Offenbach’s “Orpheus in the Underworld “ for Longborough Festival Opera's newly formed Youth Opera group.
Fiona McLean-Buechal (strings) - Saturday 27 March and Sunday 28 March.
Fiona McLean-Buechal is a founder member of NYOS and an alumnus of St Mary's Music School, studying at the Royal Scottish Academy in Glasgow and the Royal Academy of Music in London. She is Lead Tutor for Strings at Trinity Laban Junior Conservatoire and has a passion for music in all forms; combining a busy career as a performer with writing creative and collaborative national and international performance projects. She has held teaching posts at the Junior Guildhall School of Music, Colchester Institute, Goldsmith’s College, National Children’s Orchestra, Head of Strings for London Borough of Bexley and as specialist strings examiner and syllabus developer for the Guildhall Examinations board. She has been a visiting professor of violin at Dartington College, Cardiff University, and lectured for the European String teachers Association, Cardiff University, South West Sound and U3A. In 2005 Fiona co-founded and was course director with the Dartington International Summer School on the Dartington Plus Summer Youth Strings Programme. She subsequently founded and is Creative Director of the JUTP Music charity who were nominated for a Royal Philharmonic Society for Education and a cover story for the European String Teachers Association magazine. Fiona has delivered sessions on Mindfulness for Musicians on behalf of the Federation of Festivals, at the 2016 Music Education Expo in Olympia, the Federation of Festivals conference in Edinburgh, The South West Regional Federation of Festivals Forum, Musicians Union, IAPS, Chipping Norton Music Festival and delivered staff development sessions for colleagues at Trinity Laban Conservatoire.