Formed quite recently, this unusual ensemble of instrumentalists started when the three players were engaged to play the Sonata by Debussy. From this first success they have widened their repertoire and now contemporary composers are writing for this fascinating combination of instruments. Marisa Robles (harp) is married to Christopher Hyde-Smith (piano), a partnership which had a musical beginning, as they first met when engaged to play Mozart’s Flute and Harp Concerto at the Royal Festival Hall. John Underwood (viola) is well known throughout the musical world as an outstanding musician, and is a member of the Delme String Quartet.
This is our Young Professionals concert for this season. The Chilingirian Quartet were all awarded scholarships whilst students at the Royal College of Music and the quartet was founded in 1967. The leader, Levon Chilingirian, was born in Cyprus of Armenian parents and has lived in England since 1960. Benedict Cruft recently won the Stoutzker Prize at the RCM. Donald McVay was awarded the joint first prize in the 1968 BBC Viola Competition. Catherine Finnis (cello), who is married to a member of the quartet, is an Australian from Adelaide and has been studying in London since 1965. The Quartet is one of the ‘Young Musicians ’69’ being presented by the Greater London Arts Association in the Purcell Room of the Royal Festival Hall, and will be illustrating lectures to be given at Dartington Hall in August by Hans Keller on the string quartets of Mozart and Schumann.
Denis Matthews started his musical career in 1935 at the age of 16 as winner of the open class at the Leamington Festival and then winning a scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music where he was a pupil of Harold Craxton. He is composer, pianist, lecturer and writer, and his autobiography ‘In Pursuit of Music’ was published last year. In spite of a very busy life, he finds time to come each August to the annual Music Teachers’ Association Course for the piano held at Matlock College of Education, where he is the principal member of staff under Harold Craxton. He has been engaged for this concert as a recitalist but it is hoped he may be persuaded to give a short introduction to each item in his programme.
These brilliant instrumentalists started to play regularly together as the London Oboe Quartet only comparatively recently, and at this concert they will be joined by Janet Craxton’s husband, the pianist and teacher, Alan Richardson. Janet Craxton, daughter of the celebrated pianist and teacher, Harold Craxton, studied the oboe at the Royal Academy of Music with Helen Gaskell and in Paris with Pierre Bajeux. Peak Music Society members may remember her as the principal oboist of the Halle Orchestra a few years ago, and subsequently seeing her with the BBC Symphony Orchestra on television programmes produced by her brother, Anthony Craxton. Her colleagues in the quartet have all made distinguished careers in music, both as leading orchestral players but more particularly in well-known chamber orchestras and string quartets and trios.