Varenne Ensemble Clarinet, Cello & Piano

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Varenne Ensemble Clarinet, Cello & Piano
Product Code: 20141031
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Varenne Ensemble Clarinet, Cello & Piano

Brahms Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano in A minor, Op. 114
Phyllis Tate Sonata for Clarinet & Cello (1947)
Frühling Trio for Clarinet, Cello & Piano, Op. 40
Beethoven Piano Trio No. 4 in B flat, Op. 11

Friday 31 October 2014 at 7.30 pm

The Courtenay Centre, Kingsteignton Road, Newton Abbot TQ12 2QA (map)
Elaine Cocks Robin Michael Daniel Tong

Elaine Cocks graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in 1995 where she studied with Angela Malsbury and Richard Addison. Whilst at the Academy, Elaine won the Geoffrey Hawkes Clarinet Price, the Royal Overseas League Sussex Wind Prize and the Malcolm Sargent Award.

During this time, Elaine participated in a televised BBC Young Musician of the Year masterclass with Michael Collins and she also recorded a masterclass entitled ‘The Finishing Touch’ for BBC Radio 3 with David Campbell and Simon Rowland-Jones. Karl Leister also invited her to attend his International Masterclass course in Berlin where she was chosen to perform in the final concert which was broadcast on German radio. Elaine has given many recitals throughout the UK, including appearances at the Chichester, Windsor and High Wycombe Arts Festivals and she was invited to appear at the Paxos Festival in Greece with pianist Julian Jacobson. In 1999 Elaine participated in the Edinburgh Festival both as a soloist and with her ensemble Anime. Since then she has made several returns visits to many of these venues.

As a former member of the European Union Youth Orchestra, Elaine has toured extensively throughout Europe and as far afield as South America. It also gave her the opportunity of playing principal clarinet under renowned conductors such as Rostropovich, Ashkenazy and Sir Colin Davis. In 1997 Elaine was selected to perform in Radio 3’s Young Artists Forum and the following January she made her South Bank debut at the Purcell Room as part of the Park Lane Group’s annual series of concerts, which enabled her to perform one of several works that have been written for her. She has also been involved with editing works for the clarinet written by Paul Patterson and Timothy Bowers.

Since graduating from the Academy, Elaine leads a busy and diverse life as a freelance clarinettist. She works regularly with several small touring opera companies and has been involved with recording new releases of West End show material for Sarah Brightman and Michael Ball as well as touring with Michael Crawford.

Elaine has performed the Mozart Clarinet Concerto with the London Mozart Players as well as giving a performance of it at St Martin in the Fields with the Thames Chamber Orchestra. She has also become a regular guest soloist with the Ten Tors Orchestra with whom she performed the Copland Clarinet Concerto, the Finzi Clarinet Concerto as well as the Mozart Concerto.

Elaine also works regularly with Orchestras such as City of London Sinfonia, the London Mozart Players, London Concert Orchestra and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. She has played on recent recording sessions for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sequel to Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies, and she has even been spotted on Songs of Praise!

Elaine’s playing has been described as “impressive and stylish”, “The sheer joy and enthusiasm in performance was somehow magically special” and “Elaine obtained an astonishing range of colours in all registers of the instrument, lovely warm tone and exemplary control”. The Times and The Sunday Times have described her interpretation of contemporary music as being “delivered with great élan”.

Ashburton born clarinettist, Elaine Cocks, is joined by fellow professional musicians, cellist Robin Michael (principal cello of the Orchestra Revolutionnaire et Romantique) and returning pianist Daniel Tong, to explore some of the surprisingly extensive repertoire for clarinet, cello and piano trio.

Born in 1976, Robin Michael studied at the the Royal Academy of Music with David Strange and Colin Carr and subsequently with Truls Mork, Steven Isserlis and Ferenc Rados. Following a critically acclaimed South Bank recital debut in 2003 he has been much in demand as soloist and chamber musician.

Robin is principal cello of the Orchestra Revolutionnaire et Romantique and regular guest principal of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Academy of Ancient Music, English National Opera, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Les Sciecles and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Michael devotes much of his time to contemporary music and has worked with composers such as Ligeti, Kurtag, Ferneyhough, Maxwell Davies and Birtwistle on their cello works. Recent premiers include Joe Cutler's cello concerto, the U.K premier of Steve Reich's Cello Counterpoint as well as concertos by Roxburgh and Finnissy. He will premier a new concerto by Philip Cashian with the Trondheim Soloists in the 2011/12 season.

Recent concert highlights include touring South Africa with both Haydn concertos, complete Bach and Britten suite cycles at Wilton's Hall, London and the Korean premiere of Harvey's Advaya for cello and electronics. Recent festival appearances include Regello (Italy), Ochrid (Macedonia), Musica Contemporania (Buenos Aires), Spier (South Africa), Cheltenham, Aldeburgh, Huddersfield Festivals and Library of Congress (Washington).

Robin is the cellist in the Fidelio trio with whom he has toured Europe, Asia and South Africa. They have premiered trios by Sciarrino, Nyman, Rolf Hind, Takemitsu and Volans. They recently gave a critically acclaimed Wigmore Hall debut and make their US debut in New York and Washington in the 2010/11 season. Robin also regularly appears with chamber groups such as the Dante Quartet, Eroica Quartet, Lonatano, Gemini and the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.

Recordings include the Cutler Concerto with the BBC Concert Orchestra (NMC records), Ginastera complete cello works (Lorelt), Hallgrimsson chamber works (Delphian), 'Bulb' a disc of contemporary Irish piano trios (NMC) Dorothy Ker's solo cello works (Lorelt), Scottish piano trios- Beamish, Weir and Osborne (Delphian), Nyman complete trios (MN records), 'From Vienna'- Trios by Schoenberg, Korngold, Zemlinsky (NAXOS) and the first recording of the original version of the Mendelssohn Octet on period instruments. Forthcoming recordings include Philip Cashian's new concerto on NMC records.

Robin plays on a cello made for him by the young german luthier Stephan von Baehr 2010.
Daniel Tong was born in Cornwall and studied in London, where he now lives.

His musical life is spent performing as soloist and chamber musician, as well as directing two chamber music festivals, teaching and occasionally writing. Outside the UK he has performed in Sweden, France, Belgium and Portugal. He has recently released his first solo CD of works by Schubert for the Quartz label. He also recorded short solo works by Frank Bridge for Dutton as part of a London Bridge Ensemble disc and broadcast Janacek's piano sonata live on BBC Radio 3.

He has appeared at many of the foremost British venues and festivals - Wigmore Hall, South Bank Centre, St Georges Bristol, Birmingham Town Hall, Queen's Hall, Edinburgh as well as the Cheltenham, Aldeburgh and Edinburgh Festivals. He is frequently heard on BBC Radio and his performances have been broadcast throughout Europe and beyond. His project, 'unravelled' in collaboration with musicologist Richard Wigmore, has seen a series of lecture-recital weekends on Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert amd Schumann piano works. It continues throughout 2013 and 2014 in Oxford and Winchester. In autumn 2012 he was invited to curate an Elgar festival at Kings Place in London and he will curate a Dvorak programme there in 2014. This year he has presented lecture-recitals on Beethoven piano sonatas at St Georges.

His London Bridge Ensemble has established itself as an exciting presence on the UK music scene, combining different combinations of strings, piano and voice to form challenging and inspiring programmes. They were resident for several years at the Ponte de Lima Festival in Portugal and have recorded two CDs of works by Frank Bridge for Dutton (the most recent of which was shortlisted for the Gramophone Chamber Music Award) as well as Schumann and Faure for Sonimage. These releases have each been praised and recommended in the press. The ensemble recently gave performances at the Wigmore Hall and Kings Place in London and broadcast a live concert from Champs Hill in Sussex on BBC Radio 3. In 2009 they established their own festival in Winchester.
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