Michael Foyle (violin) and Maksim Stsura (piano), Thursday 25th April 2024 at 6.30 pm, Royal Over-Seas League, London

Michael Foyle and Maksim Stsura

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Beethoven – Sonata in A major Op 30, No 1

Brahms – Sonata No. 3 in D minor Op 108


Fauré  – Sonata No. 1 in A major Op 13

Ravel – Tzigane

Praised for ‘playing of compelling conviction’ (The Daily Telegraph) and ‘astonishing mutual feeling, understanding and responsiveness’ (Seen and Heard International), Foyle-Štšura Duo was formed in 2012 and won the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe Duo Competition and the Salieri-Zinetti International Chamber Music Competition in 2015.

Since then, the Duo has performed in venues such as Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room, Buckingham Palace, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, Usher Hall in Edinburgh, The Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, as well as for the St. Magnus International Festival, Grachtenfestival Amsterdam, New York Chamber Music Festival, Cervantino Festival in Mexico and Evgeny Mravinsky Festival in Tallinn and St. Petersburg. Their performances have been broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, NPO Radio 4 and Estonian Klassikaraadio.

During the 2018–19 season, the Duo released two CDs, The Great War Centenary: Janáček, Debussy and Respighi Sonatas on Challenge Records and Lutosławski and Penderecki: Complete Violin and Piano Works on Delphian Records, both to critical acclaim (‘delivered by both artists in sweeping style’– BBC Music Magazine, ‘richly detailed and impassioned performances’ – The Daily Telegraph, ‘the duo delivers a dream debut, 10/10’ – Luister, ’an extraordinary release, played phenomenally’ – Stretto). Formerly Park Lane Group, Kirckman Concert, Making Music and Live Music Now artists, receiving masterclasses from Stephen Kovacevich and Maxim Vengerov, they are now City Music Foundation Ambassadors. In 2020, the Duo recorded Beethoven’s complete Sonatas for Piano and Violin to mark the composer’s 250th anniversary.

At the age of 30 Michael Foyle is already proving to be a violinist of great class and elegance on the concert platform. His total commitment to the musical integrity of each score combines with a constant pursuit of beauty of expression, resulting in a powerful communication style that has won over audiences internationally.

Praised for playing of ‘compelling conviction’ (The Daily Telegraph) and performances ‘full of sparkling detail, with tonal beauty and incisive rhythmic clarity, balancing wit and poetry’ (The Strad), Michael launched his career by winning The Netherlands Violin Competition 2016. His performance of Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No.1 with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra led to an immediate invitation to give his debut recital in the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam.

His London debut followed with a recital at the Wigmore Hall (‘superlative’ – Seen and Heard International) and since then he has performed recitals in the UK’s most prestigious venues, including Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, Buckingham Palace, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Bridgewater Hall and Usher Hall, regularly being broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

Recent concerto appearances include with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (Mozart), English Chamber Orchestra (Prokofiev), Polish Baltic Philharmonic (Elgar), Youth Symphony Orchestra of Russia (Brahms) and a return to the Rotterdam Philharmonic (Korngold). He gives recitals at festivals worldwide, including St. Magnus International Festival, New York Chamber Music Festival, Grachtenfestival Amsterdam, Cervantino Festival (Mexico) and Mravinsky Festival (St. Petersburg).

In 2018-19 he released his debut CDs, The Great War Centenary – Debussy, Janacek and Respighi Sonatas on Challenge Records and Lutoslawski and Penderecki: Complete Violin and Piano Works on Delphian Records, both to critical acclaim (‘vividly and beautifully conceived and executed – BBC Music Magazine, ‘richly detailed and impassioned performances’ – The Daily Telegraph). In 2021, he released the Complete Beethoven Sonatas with pianist Maksim Stsura (‘Foyle produces an absolutely gorgeous sound … The recording is excellent’ – Fanfare).

Alongside his solo career, Michael is violinist of Trio Balthasar and Professor of Violin at the Royal Academy of Music in London (the youngest appointed in the institution’s 200-year history) and at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz in Cologne.

Michael plays a Gennaro Gagliano violin from 1750 on private loan.

Maksim Štšura is an Estonian pianist, composer and music scholar based in London. He performs extensively as soloist and chamber musician in the prestigious concert halls across the United Kingdom, including St Martin-in-the-Fields, Purcell Room and the Wigmore Hall.

He received his Master of Music degree from the Royal College of Music in 2013, studying under Gordon Fergus-Thompson and has also completed the prestigious Artist Diploma course with him in 2014. He previously graduated from the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre where he studied with Ivari Ilja. In 2008-09, he participated in an Erasmus exchange at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg, where he worked with Volker Banfield. His Masters studies were generously supported by a Somers-Mountfort scholarship, the AHRC Study Award, the Estonian Capital of Culture Study Award and the Kristjan Jaak Scholarship. Maksim was a Mills Williams Junior Fellow for 2013-14. In 2014 Maksim has started his Doctoral course at the RCM where he is a Doctoral Bursary Holder supported by a Neville Wathen Award, Estonian Capital of Culture and Mr Nigel Woolner MBE. His research is focused on the piano transcriptions of the contemporary orchestral scores.

Maksim has performed in masterclasses with musicians including Dmitry Bashkirov, Stephen Hough, John Lill, Barry Douglas, Nina Seryogina, Veera Gornostayeva, Daniel Pollack, Tamas Ungar and Eliso Virsaladze.

He has won prizes in several international competitions, including First Prizes at the 7th Estonian Piano Competition (2008), the Steinway-Klavierspiel-Wettbewerb in Germany (2004), the International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition in Estonia (2000) and other awards including Third Prize at the International ‘Young Musician’ Competition in Estonia (2002) and the Laureate Prize at the International Jevgeny Mravinski Competition in Russia (2001). Additionally, Maksim was awarded both a Yamaha (2008) and a Helmi Valtman (2010) scholarship. In 2013 Maksim the First Prize at the Intercollegiate Beethoven Piano Competition.

Maksim has performed extensively in the UK, Germany, Austria, Holland, Finland, Estonia and Russia. He has appeared as soloist with orchestras such as the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Saint Petersburg State Academic Symphony Orchestra, the National Opera Estonia Symphony Orchestra, The Symphony Orchestra of Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, and Narva Town Symphony Orchestra. He has performed with conductors including Nikolai Alexeev, Paul Magi, Aleksandr Titov, Jüri Alperten, Anatoli Stsura, Mihhail Gerts and Simon Thompson. Maksim was Musician in Residence at the 2015 Deal Festival.

Maksim is also in great demand as a chamber musician. His experience includes performing with ensembles Jakobstad Sinfonietta (Finland), Mediterranean Chamber Brass (Spain), Florin Ensemble (UK) and Wiener Kammersymphonie (Austria) as well as distinguished instrumentalists, most notably violinists Michael Foyle and Soh-Yon Kim. His recent engagements include performances at the Purcell Room, Charlton House, The Royal Academy of Arts, St Mary Magdalene Church, Chappells of Bond Street, Bishopsgate Hall, Elgar Room, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Cadogan Hall and St James’s Piccadilly Church. He has performed at the Stratford-on-Avon, Harrogate, Lichfield and King’s Lynn Festivals as well as the RCM Rising Stars series.

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