Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Kudo Saxophone Quartet - Launchpad Winners 2011

The Kudo Saxophone Quartet

The Kudo Saxophone Quartet is comprised of Abraham Mennen, Eleanor McMurray, Amy Green and Rebecca Parrish; a young, lively quartet dedicated to performing contemporary and classical chamber music.

In June 2011 they were awarded the Royal College of Music June Emerson Launchpad Prize. They performed in the Festival of Britain at London’s Southbank Centre in May 2011 and at the Science Museum as part of the 2010 Exhibition Road Music Festival. Other venues have included Somerset House, Lincoln’s Inn and St Stephen’s Church.

The Kudo Saxophone Quartet was formed in September 2008 at the Royal College of Music where they received coaching from Kyle Horch and Martin Robertson and performed in masterclasses with Nobuya Sugawa, Claus Oleson and Frederick Hemke.

For more information and updates join their Facebook Group.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Hafren Wind Quintet - Launchpad Winners 2011

The Hafren Wind Quintet
The Hafren Wind Quintet was formed by a group of friends who began studying as BMus (hons) students at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in September 2007. They came together through a mutual love of ensemble playing and their motivation, drive and determination together with their sense of fun, passion and ambition has proved a winning formula. Following the success of their first recital just a few months after their formation, the Quintet have performed at music societies and in concert series across Wales and England, gaining a reputation for exciting and musical playing. Keen to make the best use possible of their creative music making, the quintet have raised money for many good causes and taken part in outreach projects for the Touch Trust and school children both locally and further afield. Lovers of new music, the quintet have performed premieres of many works, not only for wind quintet, but also in collaborations with string quartets, singers, and other performers.

The Hafren Wind Quintet have played in masterclasses with many renowned artists and coaches, their main coaches being Meyrick Alexander (former Principal Bassoon, Philharmonia Orchestra) and Christopher Vale (Sub-Principal Bassoon, Orchestra of Welsh National Opera). They took part in the Welsh National Opera Elgar Project in 2007 and as a result, were asked to coach ensembles at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama Junior Department. Many members of the Quintet have since been invited to perform as members of the Welsh National Opera Elgar Quintet. In just their second year at the College, the Quintet won second place in the RWCMD Woodwind Chamber Prize. In 2009 they were invited to be the Welsh National Opera Young Players of the Year, culminating in a performance with the National Dance Company of Wales.

The future looks bright for the talented Quintet. They are grateful and privileged to have won the June Emerson Prize, providing them with support at the crucial time when many members graduate from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. With many recitals and outreach projects to come, the Quintet are looking forward to a great deal more years of very enjoyable music making.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bells Up! - Launchpad Winners 2011

Bells Up! Andrew McLean (horn), Cillian Ó Ceallacháin (trombone), Eoin Tonner (trumpet),
Rachel Brown (tuba), Holly Boddice (trumpet)

“Bells Up!” Brass Quintet was formed in 2009 by a mixture of first and second year students studying on the undergraduate BMus course at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. The brass quintet is young and fresh and there is a surplus of ambition and enthusiasm within the ranks. The members all hail from different corners of Scotland and Ireland which include Dunoon, Carnoustie, Glasgow, Mid-Lothian and Cork. Individually, each member of the quintet is a highly experienced ensemble player. They have experience in orchestral, wind band, jazz band, wind ensemble, brass band and symphonic brass playing, to name but a few.

The group's learning environment offers the expertise of the best professional players and teachers throughout Scotland of which Tony Swainson (former Principal Tuba BBCSSO), Nigel Boddice (former Principal Trumpet BBCSSO), Bryan Allen (former Trumpet Fine Arts Brass) and John Wallace (Principal RSAMD) have offered their advice. Bells Up! Brass Quintet have been fortunate to play in many beautiful places in Scotland including Dunkeld Cathedral and "A House For An Art Lover" in Glasgow. As well as this, the group have performed with numerous Choirs and Choral Societies including Les Sirenes and The Bridge of Weir Choral Society.

Bells Up! performing
This brass quintet are also keen enthusiasts of music education in Scotland and have recently started working with primary schools helping to promote instrumental tuition. Bells Up! are the recent recipients of the Mary D Adams prize for Chamber Music from the RSAMD and were finalists in the Academy’s Governor’s Recital Prize for Chamber Music.

The highlight of the quintet's career so far has been appearing on the Christmas Eve television broadcast for the BBC in 2010 where they were chosen to play as representatives of the RSAMD's Brass department. This can be viewed on the Bells Up! Facebook page.