BASIL ATHANASIADIS, COMPOSER / FOUNDERBasil, after completing his piano and advanced theory studies (harmony, counterpoint, fugue) at the National Conservatoire of Athens moved to London. He studied composition at the Trinity College of Music with Daryl Runswick, the Royal Academy of Music with Paul Patterson and finally at the Canterbury Christ Church University where he obtained his PhD under the supervision of Roderick Watkins and Paul Patterson supported by the Research Studentship Award.
In 2010 became the recipient of the JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship Award (2010-2011). Based at the Tokyo University of the Arts as a Special Foreign Researcher, he composed new works for Western and Japanese instruments with a particular interest on the shō (mouth organ) and the 20-stringed koto. Some of those works were presented in a series of concerts culminating to a large-scale performance project that took place at the Sogakudo Hall in 23 January 2011. The same year he was awarded the JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship Award (2011-2013) for the second time to further his research and support the composition of new works for Japanese and Western instruments and their performance in both Japan and Europe.
Athanasiadis’ works are characterised by a strong visual identity; his performances has often been accompanied by dance or stage action. Early influences can be traced in Sergiu Celibidache’s views on aspects of ambience and acoustic space (Athanasiadis attended Celibidache’s Munich seminars in 1994), and in composers such as Christou, Feldman and Takemitsu. His most recent works focus on the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi, which has also been the main subject of his doctoral and postdoctoral research since 2004.
His music has been published by Oxford University Press and United Music Publishers and selected works have been released on CD by Dutton Epoch, Sargasso Records, Regent Records, Fonorum and the Choir & Organ Magazine (cover CD for March/April 2009 issue).
Basil’s works have been performed in Europe, US, Canada and Asia by ensembles such as the London Sinfonietta, Amsterdam Loeki Stardust Quartet, New London Chamber Ensemble, Silk String Quartet, Okeanos, Mondriaan Quartet, Alea III, Shonorities and choirs such as the BBC Singers, Wells Cathedral Choir, Cambridge Chapel Choir of Selwyn College, Montreal Christ Church Cathedral Choir.
SHIE SHOJI, VOICE / CO-FOUNDERShie Shoji studied at Trinity College of Music and the Royal Welsh College of Music, supported by Sir Geraint Evans Scholarship. Prior to commencing her vocal study Shie trained extensively as a dancer. As a vocalist of Shonorities, Shie has been actively collaborating to create new staged works with musicians and other artistic disciplines, in particular –dance, drama, film. Notable collaborators include composers such as Basil Athanasiadis, Evelyn Ficarra, Roderick Watkins, May Kay Yau and the choreographer Sarah Fahie.
Her operatic roles include; SWALLOW in Happy Prince, NANCY in Albert Herring, KATISHA in Mikado, MAD MARGARET in Ruddigore, SHEPERDESS in King Arthur, FORTUNA in L’Incoronazione di Poppea, ZIMA in Les Indes Galantes, and MERCEDES in Carmen. Shie has also sung in the chorus for the National Reis Opera on their productions of Turandot, I Due Foscari and Boris Godoenov, with Cameron Mackintosh Production of the musical Miss Saigon and with Carl Rosa Opera Company in The Merry Widow.
New dance/music theatre works credits include; a solo singer in Love Suicide at Amijima, (Riverside Studios), Evelyn Ficarra/Sarah Fahie’s Submarine (Robin Howard Dance Theatre) and later broadcast on Resonance FM.KAYE in Soap Opera (Albany Theatre), Night bed is in mess (Ficarra/Fahie), Kurtag’s Kafka Fragmente (Greece).
Her recordings of Basil Athanasiadis’ works have been released on two CD under the UK-based label Sargasso.
AISHA ORAZBAYEVA, VIOLINKazakh violinist and musician Aisha Orazbayeva is in demand with a repertoire extending from Bach and Telemann to Lachenmann and Nono. As a soloist she has performed at the Aldeburgh, Radio France Montpellier, Klangspuren and Latitude festivals, and venues including Wigmore Hall in London, Carnegie Hall in New York and La Maison de Radio France in Paris.
Her acclaimed debut album ‘Outside’ features a unique, multi-location recording of Sciarrino’s ‘Six Caprices’ produced with Leo Abrahams, Ravel’s Violin Sonata, and ‘OUR’, a violin-computer concerto composed with VCS3 pioneer Peter Zinovieff. Aisha’s second album ‘The Hand Gallery’, her first for PRAH Recordings – is an album experience dedicated to the process of taking the violin sound apart and putting it back together again, and offers music by Steve Reich, Morton Feldman, Elvis Presley, John Cale and Aisha Orazbayeva. Aisha has worked with ensembles including the London Sinfonietta and Ensemble Modern, and has performed live on BBC Radio 3 and 4, Resonance FM, France Musique and Kazakh National TV.
STELIOS CHATZIIOSIFIDIS, VIOLINAfter graduating from the New Conservatory of Thessaloniki (Greece), at the age of 17, Stelios was accepted and awarded a bursary at the Royal Academy of Music. There he gained his BMus and MMus degrees. For the latter he won a scholarship from the Alexander S. Onassis Scholarship Foundations. During that time he studied with Lydia Mordkovitch and Erich Gruenberg, and received conducting lessons as second study from Denise Ham and George Hurst. In 2012 Stelios completed his PhD studies at Canterbury Christ Church University, (CCCU) where he was awarded the Research Studentship. Since 2006 he has worked at CCCU as a Violin/Viola Tutor and has also lectured in Musicology, Analysis and History. His academic engagements include paper presentations in the ESTA 2009, RMA 2010 and CCCU 2011 Conferences.
Stelios performs regularly chamber music and solo and has appeared in venues such as Wigmore Hall, St. Martin in the Fields and Riverside Studios. His involvement with Shonorities, a pioneering group that specialises in staged performances, has included appearances in the UK, Greece (Thessaloniki and Athens) and Japan (Tokyo University of Arts, Kitara Hall in Sapporo and Kushiro). The group has received prizes from organisations such as British Arts Council, Sasakawa Foundation and has recently released a recording under the Saragasso label. As an orchestral player he free-lances with orchestras such as Southern Sinfonia, Southbank Sinfonia, Branderburg Sinfonia, Guildford Philharmonic and has participated in their recordings with Naxos and Nimbus. Throughout his career he has played under conductors including Sir Colin Davis, Sir Charles Mackerras, Bernand Haitink and Vladimir Ashkenazy. In 2005 he appeared as a soloist with Southbank Sinfonia performing Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto.
NAOMI SATO, SHO / SAXOPHONENaomi graduated from the saxophone class of Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music in 1998. She studied improvisation and composition at Conservatorium van Amsterdam and shō with Ko Ishikawa at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. She has collaborated with many composers and played with Ives Ensemble, Aurelia Saxophone Quartet, Netherlands Vocaal Laboratorium, Nieuw Ensemble, Dansgroep Kriszitna de Chatel (Netherlands), Fontana Mix Ensemble (Italy), East-West Festival Ensemble (Germany), New Music Network Philadelphia, N-JP project (US) and she is the sho player of the Atlas Ensemble (Amsterdam, Netherlands).
Naomi has given chamber music concerts in Japan, Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Finland, America and Australia with member of her chamber music group Duo X Project, the Japanese traditional instrumental trio KODAMA (shō, shakuhachi, koto) and the Vlinder Vangers (shō, electronics). Naomi has given numerous lectures and concerts on the subject ‘Contemporary music scene through Japanese traditional music’ in Conservatorium van Amsterdam (2000), North Eastern University (2005), UM Dartmouth (2005), University Melbourne (2006), UC Davis (2009) and Istanbul Bilgi University (2010). Her compositions were played in Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain, America and Japan.
MAKIKO GOTO, KOTOMakiko Goto, born in Tokyo, Japan 1963, started playing koto with her mother at the age of nine. Since she was twelve years old she studied under Kazue Sawai and Tadao Sawai at the Sawai Koto School where she received the master degree ‘Shihan’. In 1986, she moved to Hawaii (USA), where she was an instructor at the Ethnic Music Department of the University of Hawaii and established a branch of the Sawai Koto School. Since 1992, she is living in the Netherlands. Her repertoire includes both traditional and contemporary music for 13-, 17-, bass and 21-string koto.
Makiko frequently gives premiers of contemporary works for koto. She has collaborated with composers such as Toshio Hosokawa, Makoto Shinohara, Misato Mochizuki, Bernhard Lang, Gerhard Stäbler, Miranda Driessen, Anna Mikhailova and others. Works for koto and ensemble composed for Makiko include Jimmy López’s ‘Varem’ for koto-(13-strings, 21-strings,17-strings bass koto) and orchestra; Annette Schlünz’s ‘Blaulaub’ for two soloists (recorder and bass-koto), orchestra and Live-Electronic with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Munich; and Malika Kishino’s ‘Concerto pour koto et orchestre’ with the l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. She also performed the koto concerto by Maki Ishii ‘GA-EI’, and “Voice of the Phoenix for Koto and Orchestra” by Neil McKay (USA). Her performances have been recorded for the international radio and television programs and she appears on several CD´s either as a soloist of in collaboration with chamber ensembles.
JASMINA SAMSSULI, PIANONoted for her lyrical and passionate interpretations of everything from Bach to contemporary composers, Jasmina has a rare ability to communicate the essence of music. She draws in her audience with a very intimate sound and compellingly open, spirited playing.
She studied the piano in Germany, first in Berlin and later in Hamburg at the Hochschule der Musik. In recognition of her exceptional talent, a German government scholarship took her to London to study with Maria Curcio and Joan Havill (Guildhall School of Music and Drama). She was also invited as a scholar to study at the Mozart Academy in Prague. She obtained her masters degree at the Royal Academy of Music in London where she studied with Joanna MacGregor.
Appearances at international music festivals (including Schwetzinger Musikfestspiele, IMS Prussia Cove and South East Asian music festivals) have led her to perform on concert platforms in Europe, Africa and Asia. Both as a soloist and a chamber musician, she has broadcast widely on German broadcasting stations e.g. SFB, NDR, SWR, and Radio France and ARTE.
EVGENIA VOTANOPOULOU, PIANOEvgenia Votanopoulou was born and educated in Athens, Greece.
She started playing the piano at the age of five and after ten years she won her first award as a young pianist. She studied with L. Boyadjieva, A. Papastefanou and L. Stoyanova and in 1992 she graduated with distinction from the National Conservatory of Athens, Greece, having obtained the Diploma of Piano, Diploma of Advanced Theory Studies (harmony, counterpoint, fugue) and the Diploma of Choir conducting. She has given numerous performances as a soloist, a chamber musician and piano accompanist among others with the Choir of Bank of Greece in Greece, Serbia, Germany and Turkey.
In 1998 Evgenia represented Greece at the ‘Second International Women’s Musical Meeting’ and participated at the recording of the homonymous CD. She has performed for the National Hellenic Radio and recorded two solo piano works in Tokyo, Japan, by the composer Basil Athanasiadis for a CD released under the UK-based label Sargasso (2014). She has also recorded her own music for a book on kinaesthetic activities for children. Evgenia is currently a Professor of Piano and Professor of Music at the Arsakeio School of Athens.
JUNKO NAKAMURA, PIANOBorn in Tokyo, Junko studied at Tokyo College of Music (BMus) and in London afterwards at Royal Academy of Music where she won the Piano Recital Prizeand several scholarships. In Japan she won the first prize at the All Japan Student Music Concours and has performed with Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo New City Orchestra and All Tokyo Symphony Orchestra at prestigious concert halls.
With her study with Clifford Benson at RAM she found a great passion for chamber music as well and had opportunities performing with distinguished flutists such as William Bennett (OBE) , Trevor Wye and Denis Bouriakov. Also the Tunnel Trust invited her to the Chamber Music Course for Young Musicians in Scotland . After returning to Tokyo in 2006, Junko made her solo recital debut at Tokyo Metropolitan Festival Hall. Now based in Tokyo, she teaches and also performs with various ensembles.
RODERICK WATKINS, COMPOSERRoderick Watkins pursued undergraduate degrees in Philosophy and Composition in the US (at Oberlin) before returning to the UK to follow postgraduate study at the Royal Academy of Music, where he won all the main composition prizes and eventually held a Leverhulme teaching fellowship. His composition teachers have included Richard Hoffmann, Paul Patterson and Hans Werner Henze. While completing his PhD he spent a year at IRCAM in Paris, on the Cursus de Composition et Informatique Musicale, and since then several of his compositions have involved both acoustic and electronic instruments. His principal interest in electronics lies in sound synthesis, and he later returned to IRCAM as a “compositeur en recherche,” working with the team developing the physical modelling synthesis programme Modalys.
His compositions include a full-length chamber opera, The Juniper Tree, which was commissioned by the 5th Munich Biennale festival, and premiered in 1997 in Munich and in London (at the Almeida festival) by the London Sinfonietta under Markus Stenz. Electronics played an important role in The Juniper Tree and were combined with opera again in 2003 when Watkins was commissioned by Hans Werner Henze and the Salzburg Festival to produce the electronic material for Henze’s latest opera L’Upupa which was premiered at the Salzburg festival that summer. Since then the production has travelled around several of Europe’s leading opera houses, and been issued on DVD.
Other electroacoustic compositions include The Looking Glass, for chamber ensemble and computer, (produced at IRCAM), and Sound in Space, a computer music installation for the Bath Festival. Instruments and electronics were also combined in a full-length “mime-drama,” Labirinto, commissioned by the Montepulciano Festival (in Italy). Orchestral compositions include Red Light, written for the London Sinfonietta and broadcast by them on Radio 3, Who Walked Between and Still, both pieces written for and premiered by the Britten Sinfonia, and Light’s Horizon commissioned by the Johns Hopkins University Symphony Orchestra in the United States. Chamber music includes A Valediction: Of Weeping (for soprano, microtonal recorders and prepared piano), Last Light (for clarinet and piano), and At the Horizon (for flute and piano). His most recent compositions include a Clarinet Quintet and Breath, a setting for soprano and chamber ensemble of several poems by George Szirtes.
At Christ Church, Roderick Watkins is Programme Director for the undergraduate programmes in Music, and teaches various courses in composition and contemporary music. He currently supervises six MPhil/PhD students working in composition, electroacoustic composition or contemporary music, and has supervised to successful completion several others. In 2005 he was appointed Professor of Composition and Contemporary Music.
He is a founding member of the Sounds New festival’s artistic committee, and regularly directs concerts of young composers’ works in the Canterbury festival. He has acted as a PhD external examiner for the University of London and is currently external examiner for the University of Ulster’s MMus programme.
EVELYN FICARRA, COMPOSEREvelyn Ficarra is a composer and sound artist. Her work finds expression across a range of forms including music theatre, multi media, installation, dance, film and the concert hall. Throughout her career she has enjoyed collaborative work with choreographers, directors, filmmakers, and visual artists. Even in their ‘purest’ forms – say, a solo piano piece – her musical ideas are often co-mingled with, or germinated from, other materials (words, images, sounds) which inform the development and shape of the music and leave their traces in it. In that sense, her work is interdisciplinary at its core. In another sense, she is thoroughly single minded – she stubbornly hears all sounds as music, understands all time based structures (films, dance, theatre) as music, looks at all objects as potential sound sources (music.)
A dual citizen (UK/USA), Evelyn Ficarra studied composition at the University of Sussex in the U.K. and at the University of California, Berkeley. She has several years’ experience as a freelance composer, teacher and sound editor. Her work has received support from the Arts Council of England, the London Arts Board, the Sonic Arts Network, the Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust, the Hinrichsen Foundation, the Djerassi Resident Artist Program, Meet the Composer and Poems on the Underground. Her music has been heard in concert halls, theaters, music festivals, film festivals, on television and in radio broadcasts in the UK, Europe, the Americas, Australia and the Far East. Her solo CD Frantic Mid-Atlantic is available on the Sargasso Label www.sargasso.com. Recent projects include vagues-fenêtres for string trio and electronics, Wild Debris for orchestra, and Endangered, an installation collaboration (sound, sculpture, text) for the Intersection for the Arts Gallery in San Francisco. Current projects include; an on-going music improvisation exploration with composer/performers Myra Melford and Heather Frasch (‘laptop’ improvisation using Max MSP, with amplified prepared piano and flute), and a sound/video/performance collaboration with video design artist Ian Winters, Memory Table, recently performed at Noh Space in San Francisco.
Current preoccupations include explorations of sound objects in various contexts: vocal music theatre, installation and live improvisation. Evelyn has recently been appointed Lecturer in Music Theatre at the University of Sussex, where she will also be Acting Director of the Centre for Research in Opera and Music Theatre.
MAY KAY YAU, COMPOSERBorn on 12 September 1980, in Hong Kong, May Kay Yau entered the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts at the age of 17. There she was the winner of the Concerto Trial and had her first orchestral piece presented in the concert of the 5th Anniversary of the Establishment of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Following that she was awarded a scholarship to pursue a Masters Degree at the Royal Academy of Music in London. In 2011, she completed her PhD study at the University of Bristol, funded by the ORS and the University Research Studentship. Her teachers include Wing-fai Law, Clarence Mak, Paul Patterson, Geoffrey Poole and John Pickard.
May Kay’s compositions have been performed in various music festivals (e.g. the ACL Contemporary Music Festival, Sounds New Festival, Spitalfield Festival etc) in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Israel, Portugal, Greece and UK. She is the composer-in residence with the Wuji Ensemble and has also collaborated with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, the BBC Singers, National Theatre, RAM Harp Ensemble, Shonorities and the Gemini Ensemble.
Her second orchestral piece ‘Alive’ was awarded a Special Prize by the Fondation Francis et Mica Salabert in the “George Enescu International Competition – Edition 2009″ in Romania and her string trio ‘Vernarrtheit’ won the University of Aberdeen Music Prize in 2009.
SARAH FAHIE, CHOREOGRAPHY & MOVEMENT DIRECORAustralian-born Sarah Fahie trained as a dancer at the London Contemporary Dance School following a degree in Performance, Dramaturgy, Culture Studies and Literature at the University of Melbourne and an MA in Choreography. In 2003 she received a Jerwood Foundation Choreography Award.
Sarah Fahie regularly collaborates with director Richard Jones: recent projects together have included The Gambler, Il Tabarro and Suor Angelica at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Peter Grimes at La Scala and David’s Sawer’s music theatre piece Rumplestiltskin with Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. She has provided choreography for Stephen Medcalf’s productions of Capriccio at Grange Park, Aida at the Royal Albert Hall, The Bartered Bride for Mid Wales Opera as well as Le Rencontre Imprévue and Mignon at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Sarah was choreographer for Elaine Kidd’s productions of La Traviata and La Bohème for Opera Holland Park, movement director for Patrick Dickie’s production of Peter Eötvös’ As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams at the Almeida Theatre and John Fulljames’ production of The Birds by Ed Hughes for The Opera Group. She has also worked with Stephen Langridge on Le Nozze di Figaro and Martin Lloyd-Evans on Masquerade at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Sarah’s work has been broadcast by the BBC, Sky and RAI. Il Tabarro and Suor Angelica have been released on DVD by Opus Arte winning both an Opera and a Gramophone award. Sarah’s plans include Rodelinda for English National Opera and The Bolshoi (Jones) and Der Rosenkavalier for Glyndebourne (Jones).