I Musicanti

St Laurence’s Church

Sat Jul 27 | 7.30pm
£20 / £10

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I Musicanti

The Programme:

Bottesini – Gran Quintetto in C
Valentina Ciardelli – String Quintet
(This will be the second performance of the quintet commissioned for Bedford Music Club’s Bella Ciao Festival in March 2024)
Dvořák – String Quintet Op 77

 I Musicanti embodies the universally cherished ideal of total artistic freedom and unrestrained self-expression, and it aims to provide a home to creative and imaginative artists who share the ambition of realising this dream.  Leon Bosch

A mixed instrument chamber ensemble, I Musicanti comprises some of the most experienced and respected musicians to be found in the UK, handpicked by the group’s artistic director, international double bass virtuoso Leon Bosch.

Under Bosch’s direction, I Musicanti comes together to present distinctive programmes with a particular emphasis on music that has been lost and found or simply overlooked: great works by unknown composers and unknown works by great composers.

Many of the ensemble’s projects are the result of Leon Bosch’s vivid curiosity and commitment, something for which he is well known as a double bassist. But the ensemble also provides a vehicle for its members to pursue their own artistic projects. And although the musicians of I Musicanti are all soloists in their own right, the group also collaborates with international performers of the highest calibre.

While I Musicanti works with prestigious venues to promote its concerts, its eye-catching programmes and the quality of performers add something unique to festivals and concert series.

About the musicians…

Leon Bosch – Double Bass

Leon Bosch conducts chamber and symphonic ensembles around the world and is one of the few double bass players to direct concertos from the instrument.

During his playing career, he performed concertos around the world and served as a guest with ensembles such as the Lindsays, Brodsky Quartet and Zukerman Chamber Players.

Leon is committed to rediscovering neglected music, as well as expanding and diversifying the double bass repertoire, and has recorded 16 CDs of wide-ranging programmes, with more in planning.

Leon grew up in South Africa, the son of the political activist Jonas Fred Bosch, and spent time in a police cell for organising protests while at school. He left the apartheid regime behind to study at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.

He became a British citizen in 2000. In recent years he has returned to his roots, musically, forming the Ubuntu Ensemble with other UK-based South African musicians, and commissioning music for the South African Double Bass project, the first CD of which was released in 2020. He also acts as a mentor for South African musicians worldwide.

Away from music, he runs marathons and ultra-marathons and holds a Master’s degree in Intelligence and International Relations from Salford University.


Tamás András – Violin

Hungarian violinist Tamás András graduated at the Royal Academy of Music in London. In 1996 he was prize winner of the Carl Nielsen International Violin Competition in Denmark and received third prize at the Joseph Szigeti International Violin Competition in Hungary in 1997. Tamás has appeared as a soloist with the Budapest Philharmonia Orchestra, the Ukraine National Symphony Orchestra and the London Mozart Players among many others and has given recitals and chamber concerts throughout Europe, the USA and Japan. He has also appeared as guest leader of several orchestras in the UK including the London Philharmonic, the Royal Philharmonic and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Tamás is currently a member of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.


Benedict Holland – Violin

Benedict Holland studied at the Royal Academy of Music with Manoug Parikian and was subsequently a prize winner at the Royal Northern College of Music, where he studied with Yossi Zivoni.

As a chamber musician, he was a founder member of the Matisse Piano Quartet and the Music Group of Manchester, broadcasting regularly for the BBC, recording, and undertaking British Council tours. He is also a member of the Victoria String Quartet whose acclaimed début concert took place in 2017. As an experienced orchestral leader, he has guest-led many of the UK’s major orchestras, including the Hallé, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Northern Sinfonia, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Ensemble, Orchestra of Opera North and BBC Philharmonic and was also leader and Artistic Advisor of chamber orchestra Sinfonia Vivia from 2001-2019.

Ben has always been a champion of contemporary music and of working with living composers (e.g. Harrison Birtwistle, Brett Dean, Steven Mackey, Anna Meredith, Duncan Ward) and became Psappha’s violinist in 2010. Personal highlights with Psappha include collaborations with John Casken and Peter Maxwell Davies, taking Klas Torstensson’s Violin Concerto to a two-week residency at Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, premiering Mark Simpson’s chamber opera Pleasure, and a tour to Israel of Maxwell Davies’ Eight Songs for a Mad King.

Ben teaches at the RNCM, where he was awarded a professorship in 2016, Junior RNCM, and Chetham’s School of Music. He gives consultative classes in orchestral and contemporary techniques at Birmingham and Trinity Laban Conservatoires and professional development classes for string teachers throughout the UK.

Ben plays on a rare violin by Rogeri, c. 1710.


Robert Smissen – Viola

Robert Smissen is a long-time colleague of Leon Bosch at the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, where he has been principal viola for over 25 years.
He has often performed and recorded as soloist with the orchestra, notably as soloist in Bosch’s 2013 album of double bass music by Dittersdorf (the composer wrote two works featuring the instruments as unlikely but happy co-soloists).
He has been passionately involved with chamber music throughout his career – performing and recording with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble and the Pro Arte piano quartet, as well as being a regular guest with the Brodsky and Allegri quartets. Recently, Robert has been invited by Julia Fischer to take part in her Julia Fischer and Friends chamber concerts.
Now widely respected as a violist, he was one of the earliest members of the European Community Youth Orchestra and subsequently the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. He was made principal viola of the Northern Sinfonia after leaving the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he studied with David Takeno. He has also been invited to play in the World Orchestra for Peace under Valery Gergiev.
Robert is especially interested in the repertoire for solo viola and future projects involve recordings of solo works by Ernest Krenek and Miklos Rozsa.


Richard Harwood – Cello

Since his concerto debut at the age of ten, the award-winning English cellist Richard Harwood has performed concerti and chamber music in major venues including London’s Royal Albert Hall, Southbank Centre, Wigmore Hall, Musikverein (Vienna), Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Alte Oper (Frankfurt), Thomaskirche (Leipzig), Auditorium du Louvre (Paris) and Alice Tully Hall / Lincoln Center (New York).
As concerto soloist, Richard has worked with numerous orchestras including The Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic, Bournemouth Symphony, RTÉ National Symphony, RTÉ Concert and the Auckland Philharmonia.
As chamber musician, he has collaborated with the Jerusalem and Endellion Quartets, Gidon Kremer, Yuri Bashmet, Chen Halevi, Julian Bliss, Martin Roscoe, Peter Donohoe, Gottlieb Wallisch and Julius Drake, among others. Richard was cellist of the Sitkovetsky Trio from 2014-2016.
Richard’s discography includes a debut disc for EMI Classics, recorded with pianist Christoph Berner, Composing Without The Picture (Resonus); a solo album of concert works written by film composers; and Christopher Gunning’s Cello Concerto recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. On screen, Richard can be seen and heard in Phil Grabsky’s 2009 documentary In Search of Beethoven and is regularly featured as a soloist on movie soundtracks, most recently in Patrick Doyle’s score to Kenneth Branagh’s Murder On The Orient Express.
Richard was appointed principal cellist of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the beginning of 2018. He has also been a principal of the John Wilson Orchestra and guest principal at the London Symphony and RTÉ Concert orchestras.
Richard began his studies with Joan Dickson, before continuing with other eminent teachers such as Steven Doane, David Waterman, Heinrich Schiff (University of Music and Dramatic Art, Vienna) and Ralph Kirshbaum (Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester). He complemented his studies by taking masterclasses and lessons with Mstislav Rostropovich, Janos Starker, Steven Isserlis, Boris Pergamenschikow, Miklós Perényi, Bernard Greenhouse, Valentin Erben (Alban Berg Quartet), William Pleeth, Zara Nelsova and Ferenc Rados.
Richard plays a cello by Francesco Rugeri, dated 1692.

I Musicanti has a Website .


Photo credit (Leon Bosch): Juno Snowdon Photography

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