Rebecca Clarke: Three pieces for two violins and piano
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Concerto in E flat, K449
Edward Elgar: Piano Quintet in A minor, op 84
Pixels Ensemble is a versatile chamber group with a love of performing the finest repertoire, from the classical period to the present day. Its players are established soloists, chamber musicians, recording artists, orchestra principals and explorers of new music. Formed in 2016 by its pianist and artistic director Ian Buckle, the ensemble appears in a broad range of line-ups and combinations, lending itself to innovative programming and enabling wide variety within individual concerts.
We are delighted to welcome back the violinist Sophie Rosa, together with members of the Pixels Ensemble for this concert of English music, including the great piano quintet by Edward Elgar and a work for two violins and piano by Rebecca Clarke, together with a performance of Mozart’s Piano concerto in E flat K449, arranged by the composer for piano and string quartet.
Ian Buckle maintains a varied freelance career working as soloist, accompanist, chamber musician, orchestral pianist and teacher. He enjoys longstanding associations with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the John Wilson Orchestra, and has appeared with them as soloist on numerous occasions. He has also played concertos with the Royal Philharmonic, the Orchestra of Opera North and Sinfonia Viva. Committed to contemporary music, he has been the pianist in Ensemble 10/10 since the group’s inception in 1997, and he regularly plays orchestral piano with the BBC Philharmonic. Ian is the artistic director and pianist of Pixels Ensemble www.pixelsensemble.org which gives concerts throughout the UK. He frequently collaborates with poets and readers, most recently Andrew Motion, Roger McGough and Deryn Rees-Jones; in recitals of piano music and poetry: Shropshire and Other Lads, a celebration of A. E. Housman; Anthem for Doomed Youth, a commemoration of World War One; and Philip Larkin’s England. Ian teaches piano at the University of Liverpool, maintains a private teaching practice in Manchester and is an examiner with ABRSM. Recordings include Pixels Ensemble’s debut release of sonatas and piano pieces by Debussy, a recital of songs by Stephen Wilkinson The Sunlight on the Garden, and a CD of new works for clarinet and piano Prism with BBC Young Musician winner Mark Simpson. His performance of Gershwin’s New York Rhapsody live at the Royal Albert Hall is featured on Warner Classics’ The Best of the John Wilson Orchestra, and he and regular duo-partner Richard Casey are soloists in Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals with the RLPO and Vasily Petrenko.
Sophie Rosa enjoys a varied career as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral leader. She has performed across the UK as a recitalist in venues including the Royal Festival Hall, the Purcell Room, Wigmore Hall, Kings Place and Bridgewater Hall and has appeared as soloist with orchestras including Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Manchester Camerata. Sophie has broadcast live for BBC Radio 3 and has released CDs on Rubicon Classics, Champs Hill and EM Records labels to critical acclaim. Sophie is leader and artistic director of Sinfonia Viva and has appeared as guest leader with orchestras throughout the UK. As a keen chamber musician, Sophie is a member of Pixels Ensemble and also performs with contemporary music group, Psappha. She teaches at Chetham’s School of Music and The University of Manchester. Sophie plays on a Joseph Gagliano violin dated 1795 and a Claude Fonclause bow made available through the generous support of the Stradivari Trust.
In 2021, Sophie released recordings including sonatas by Montgeroult, Viotti, Weber and Mendelssohn, as well as a digital EP of English short pieces for violin and piano with Ian Buckle on the Rubicon Classics label.
‘finely judged detail, expansiveness and lots of heart’ The Guardian, 2021
Thelma Handy was appointed Joint Leader of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in 2007 and has directed the orchestra and appeared as soloist on many occasions. Previously she toured worldwide as a member of the English Chamber Orchestra and worked extensively with the Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields, the London Mozart Players and the London Symphony Orchestra. She has made guest appearances as Leader with many orchestras including the Hallé, BBC Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National, City of Birmingham Symphony, Manchester Camerata and the Real Filharmonía de Galicia. Recent solo performances include concertos by Glazunov, Sibelius, Bruch, Mendelssohn, Khatchaturian, Brahms; and Mozart’s Concerto no 5 with the Queensland Philharmonic Orchestra as part of a tour of Australia. She has worked in Japan with the Mito Chamber Orchestra and in France with the baroque chamber ensemble Orfeo 55, and is in frequent demand as a chamber music collaborator, most recently giving concerts with Catrin Finch, Julian Rachlin and directing an RLPO string ensemble in Mendelssohn’s Octet. She has recently made a recording of the Kodály Duo with her cellist brother, Lionel Handy. Thelma regularly plays in Ensemble 10/10, with whom she has premiered numerous new works and made several recordings, leading the group in performances nationwide including at Wigmore Hall and on BBC Radio 3.
Vicci Wardman is established as one of the most in-demand and most versatile violists of her generation. She was a string finalist in BBC TV’s Young Musician of the Yearwhile a student at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, and was a founder-member of the Sorrel String Quartetwhich began life at the Royal Northern College of Music and went on to enjoy a busy international career, releasing several award-winning recordings on the Chandoslabel. On leaving the quartet in 2000, she took up the position of Principal Viola in the Philharmonia Orchestra, with whom she also appeared as soloist. She regularly performs as Guest Principal in a variety of orchestras, including the English Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, Oslo Philharmonic, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and London Sinfonietta. A committed and sought-after chamber musician, she is a member of the Eroica Quartet, which is especially interested in research into performance practice; and has worked extensively with Hausmusik London and the Nash Ensemble. Until 2018 Vicci was Joint Principal Viola in the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and she is Principal Viola in the John Wilson Orchestra.
Jonathan Aasgaard was appointed Principal Cello of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in 1999 and has since performed more than 35 works for cello and orchestra with the RLPO. He is regularly invited as a Guest Principal with leading British and European orchestras and is Principal Cello of the John Wilson Orchestra. Chamber music performances have taken him to festivals in Europe, the Middle East, Japan, South Korea and the USA; collaborating with violinists Nigel Kennedy, Henning Kraggerud and Julian Rachlin, violist Laurence Power, cellists Yo Yo Ma and Giovanni Sollima, pianists Simon Trpceski and Boris Giltberg, and clarinetist Martin Fröst. Recordings include From Jewish Life with the RLPO and Gerard Schwarz, an album of music for cello and orchestra by Carl Davis with the Philharmonia, and the Korngold Sextet with the Sinfonia of London Chamber Ensemble. He has given numerous premieres, including the first performance of Carl Davis’s Ballade for cello and orchestra, the European premiere of Giovanni Sollima’s Concerto for two cellos, and the UK premiere of Weinberg’s Cello Concerto. Jonathan studied at the Barrett Due’s institute in Oslo and with the late Prof. Leonard Stehn at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, where he won all the cello and chamber music prizes and was a gold medal finalist. He plays a cello by Celeste Farotti, made in Milan in 1926.