Unfortunately the biographies for various soloists is not yet complete below. Check back later for updates.
Kwesi Edman (Conductor)
A co-founder of Chamber Academy Orchestra in 2007 and its previous Music Director, Kwesi Edman graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in London where he studied with David Strange and Philip Sheppard. Since leaving the Academy his career has branched out to include other art forms such as the spoken word, dance and artists. He performs regularly across the world as a soloist, chamber musician, pop musician and conductor and has collaborated with players from the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-fields, Southbank Sinfonia, the Royal Opera Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. He has worked alongside artists such as Shirley Bassey, Damon Albarn and Elton John and even played on a bus next to David Beckham at the Beijing Olympics. Kwesi is now head of the Performance, Advanced and Alpine courses at Oxford Cello School and teaches privately in North London, closely monitored by his elderly cat Cindy.
Abigail Dance (Leader)
A co-founder of Chamber Academy Orchestra in 2007, Abigail Dance has given solo and chamber music recitals throughout the UK as well as France, Canada, Italy and the Czech Repulic, winning a number of prizes for solo and chamber music performance. As well as a busy performance schedule Abigail is in demand as a teacher and music workshop leader. Currently Abigail is an upper strings musician/teacher with In Harmony Sistema England (Lambeth), and recently travelled to Sri Lanka to help establish a similar project there. Abigail is the co-founder of the Chamber Academy Orchestra, and is leader of the Angel Orchestra London. Further information about Abigail’s upcoming performances and workshops can be found at her website www.abigaildance.com.
Thomas Gregory (Conductor)
Thomas Gregory took over the baton from Kwesi as conductor of Chamber Academy Orchestra. Thomas studied cello at the Guildhall School of Music in London before receiving a scholarship to continue his studies in the US where he lived for four years. His performing career has lead to numerous concertos and recitals in the UK and abroad. Aside from a busy playing and ensemble direction schedule, Thomas is much in demand for his composition and arranging skills. He is also the creator of the popular series of beginner books for string players called Vamoosh. Further information about Thomas’ publications can be found at his website www.vamooshmusic.com.
Olsi Qinami (Conductor)
Olsi Qinami is a Conductor and Pianist based in London and founder of London Thames Orchestra. Olsi holds a Conducting degree from the “Academy of Arts” in Albania. He continued his Conducting studies in the UK, Austria, France & Italy where he actively participated in master- classes and lessons with Jorma Panula, Peter Stark, Howard Williams, Neil Thomson and others. In France he studied with Dominique Rouits at the prestigious conservatoire “Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris” where he received his Conducting Diploma.
Olsi has collaborated with many orchestras inluding “National Opera of Albania” where he premiered “Puccini Messa di Gloria”, “Orchestre Opera de Massy”, “London Classical Soloists”, “I Maestri”, “Kammerphilharmonie Graz” and many others. In October 2015 he was awarded 2nd price from the “London Conducting Competition”.
As a piano accompanist, Olsi has worked with many ensembles, solo instrumentalist and singers in concerts and auditions.
Matt Jelf (Conductor)
Matt Jelf is a music educator and conductor based in South London. Matt completed his BA in Music at the University of York and his PG Dip in Music Education at the IOE. Matt has worked extensively with choirs in and around the London area and currently works as the Director of Music at Aldwickbury School, having previously worked as Assistant Director of Music at St Pauls Preparatory School and as Vocal Animateur for Sing Up Bedfordshire and Rochester Cathedral’s Chorister Outreach Programme. Matt has recently been appointed Director of Music at the Prebendal School, Chichester’s Cathedral Choir School and will be moving to Sussex later this year. Matt conducted us in our Spring 2016 season.
Peter Fender (Conductor)
Having studied in London Peter is currently musical director of the Angel Orchestra, Mid Sussex Sinfonia, Another Opera, the Six Centuries Chamber Choir and Philharmonia Britannica (which he founded in 2007, particularly keen to mix music with other art forms – such as acting, poetry, dance, comedy and video). Aside from his native England he has conducted in Austria, Bulgaria, Italy, and Romania.
Recent highlights for Peter have included a Christmas concert working with a dance school, and conducting the première of his piece ‘Blow, Blow’ for choir and smartphones. Forthcoming projects include operas by Rameau and Milhaud, and returning to south-eastern Sicily for an orchestral course in the summer. Peter also leads conducting workshops in London, including days to introduce conducting to non-musicians.
As well as Peter’s composition ‘Blow, Blow’ he recently wrote ‘In the Bee-Loud Glade’ – songs based on four poems by WB Yeats for choir, soloists and orchestra, commissioned and performed by the Blackheath Choir. Peter has also released a recording of his own orchestral compositions. Entitled ‘Speechless’ it includes works with solo parts for cello, sax, and mezzo-soprano. See his website for details.
A short film has recently been made about Peter – also available on his website.
Andy Tsao (Leader)
Born in Taiwan, Andy Tsao started his violin study at the age of 5. Mentored by Ms Ezster Boda Katona in Trinity College of Music in London, he has been working as a violin tutor as well as a performing artist for the past ten years.
Besides giving violin recitals around Taiwan and the UK, Andy has been involved in numerous orchestras and ensembles – as Co-leader of Akardi Kuchynski String Orchestra in Taiwan, directed by professor Kuchynski and Co-leader of Collaborative Orchestra in London UK . He has performed with the Amadeus Orchestra, and made frequent appearances for the London Classical Soloists.
Andy is also active in Jazz and Rock genre, he is the lead violin in the acoustic rock group -The Vultures, and violinist in Stephano D’Silva’s Jazz Quintet.
Sofia Presta (Leader)
Sofia Presta started to play violin at the age of eight, with Professor Carola Vizioli. In 2007 she entered the JuniOrchestra of Academia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and was soon leading it. She has performed under conductors Simone Genuini, Ciro Visco, Mario Brunello, Fabio Biondi, Diego Matheusz, Antonio Pappano and Joel Levi, taking part in events like “Ravello Festival”, “Festival dei due Mondi”, and “I violini della speranza”.
She played in Prometheus Chamber Orchestra and World Youth Orchestra. From 2009 she also studied at “Conservatorio Santa Cecilia” in Rome with professors Camillo Grasso and Maurizio Pepe, completing with full marks in 2016. She has played first violin in a quartet for the AMREF initiative and as viellist in ensemble. She has won awards in 2015 at the “San Vigilio in … Canto” national competition and the “Premio Clivis” international competition.
She is currently studying a Masters degree in violin performance at Guildhall School of Music and Drama with professor Krysztof Smietana and regularly participates in masterclasses by professors Ruggero Sfregola, Marco Fiorini, Roberto Gonzales-Monjas and Dora Schwarzberg.
Soloist: Chiawen Kiew
Chiawen Kiew is a London-based freelance flautist performing regularly as a soloist, orchestral, and chamber musician. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Chiawen moved to London after spending three years in Paris, France.
Chiawen received his music degree from Stanford University in the United States under the tutelage of Frances Blaisdell and Melody Holmes-Vedder.
In the US, Chiawen was the principal flute of the United States National Youth Orchestra and the California Youth Symphony. He was also the principal flute of the Stanford Symphony Orchestra before moving to Europe.
Chiawen currently maintains an active schedule of concerts throughout London and Paris. He is a founding member of the mixed ensemble chamber group Klassical Kollectiv, and the Paris-based wind quintet Quintitus. Recent highlights include the Mozart Flute and Harp Concerto with the I Maestri Orchestra, the Nielsen Flute Concerto in Paris, soloist performances with the London City Philharmonic, and recitals at the Czech and Slovak Embassies.
Kamila Bydlowska (Soloist)
Polish violinist Kamila Bydlowska graduated from the Royal College of Music with an Artist Diploma in Performance where she was under the tutelage of Ani Schnarch, supported by Jacqueline Ward Award. She previously studied at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington, USA with Mauricio Fuks and Kevork Mardirossian, where she was awarded a full scholarship.
Her solo and a chamber performances include : the Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles, the Elgar Room at the Royal Albert Hall, St. James’s Piccadilly, the National Gallery, St Martin-in-the Fields, Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre, Victoria& Albert Museum in London , National Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh, Grand Hall of the Tbilisi State Conservatory. As a soloist she recently appeared with the Angel Orchestra, Croydon Symphony Orchestra , Ealing Symphony Orchestra , Guilford Symphony Orchestra, London Thames Orchestra, North London Sinfonia and Worthing Symphony Orchestra and the nearest engagements include concertos with the Northampton Symphony Orchestra and Beethoven Chamber Orchestra. She performed at Tengiz Amirejibi International Music Festival in Tbilisi (Georgia ), iPalpiti Festival of International Laureats in Los Angeles, Bowdoin International Music Festival ( USA), Orford Music Festival ( Canada). A winner of multiple awards, she is the recipient of the Ministry of Culture of Poland scholarship and Artistic Excellence Award from Indiana University.
As a soloist she performed in Austria,Canada,Croatia,France,Georgia,Germany,Italy,Israel,Poland, Sicilly,Slovenia, UK, USA.
Helen Winter (Soloist)
Helen has performed for most of the UK opera companies, including the role of Elle in La Voix Humaine (Poulenc), a one act solo opera to huge acclaim.
With a love for G&S, Helen is highly sought after for the roles of Mabel and Yum Yum.
In 2008-2010 Helen was principal soprano at the Thursford Christmas Spectacular, then in 2010 she worked on ITV series Popstar to Operastar, alongside Mexican tenor Rolando Villazon.
Helen performed on the ITV Sound of Music LIVE, broadcast Christmas 2015. She also released a solo music theatre album last year.
Emma Walker (Soloist)
Alfred Kitchin Scholar and recipient of the TCM Trust Silver Medal Award 2015, Emma Walker is studying towards an MMus at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance under Mikhail Kazakevich. She began her studies at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music, Tel Aviv, fuelling an interest in Jewish and Israeli music and is currently working on a series of recitals featuring Jewish vocal music of the early 20th Century. Emma is a frequent prizewinner for both performance and composition and was recently awarded the ‘Prize for the Best Performance of Bach’ at the International Kabalevsky Competition, Russia. She has given solo recitals around the UK and Israel, and is looking forward to a busy performance schedule and completing her studies in the coming year.
Petros Moschos and Dimitris Karydis (Soloists)
Anghard Evans (Soloist)
Semra Kurutac (Soloist)
Chris Goodwin (Soloist)
Stuart Davies (Soloist)
Preshanthi Navaratnam (Soloist)
Florian Mitrea (Soloist)
Anete Graudina (Soloist)
Thomas Hoppe (Soloist)
Chris Stripp (Soloist)
Francesca Barritt (Soloist)
Ashley Mercer (Soloist)
Ian Wilson-Pope (Soloist)
Marcin Gesla (Soloist)
Laura Hudson (Soloist)
Alberto Sousa (Soloist)
Serenna Wagner (Soloist)
Alexa Mason (Soloist)
Jack Holton (Soloist)
Sophia Lisovskaya (Soloist)
Ee Ping (Soloist)
She made her debut at London’s South Bank singing the title role of ‘Mimi’ in Puccini’s La Boheme with the British Youth Opera and has since gone on to sing many operatic roles all over Europe and Asia, including the acclaimed title role of Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly.
Equally comfortable with recitals and concerts, she has made recent appearances with the Warsaw Philarmonic, Pablo Sarasate Orchestra, Schleswig-Holstein Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, and the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra.
In Europe, she has been a prize-winner in many competitions including the Julian Gayarre International Competition, Royal Overseas League Music Competition and the UK National Mozart Competition.
She has been based in London since 1992, but maintains close links with Singapore often returning to perform with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and Singapore Lyric Opera. In 2001, she was awarded the prestigious Singapore Young Artist’s Award.
Ee-Ping is much sought after as an adjudicator and teacher. She dedicates much of her time to passing on her knowledge to other aspiring singers.
For more information, please see her website: www.eeping.co.uk
Norma Ritchie (Soloist)
Natalya Beam (Soloist)
Kirsten Sharpin (Soloist)
Borja Gómez-Ferrer (Soloist)
Frida Backman (Soloist)
Niel du Preez (Soloist)
Niel du Preez has inspired live and radio audiences in the UK, continental Europe, the Far East, Australia and his native South Africa with his expressive and poetic solo playing and performances with leading orchestras. The Badische Neueste Nachrichten newspaper praised him for the profound intimicy that was reached in the music through his strongly expressive playing.
Anna Tetsuya (Soloist)