Graeme Humphrey has been a teacher of piano all his professional life, both at the Royal Academy of Music for thirty-six years from 1974 – 2010, and privately. He has also been very actively involved in festival adjudicating and examining – work which has taken him all over the world.
He was awarded an Associated Board Scholarship on the piano from New Zealand to study at the Royal Academy of Music. He regularly teaches in Hong Kong and China, and was external examiner at National Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore from 2009 – 2011. In 1988 he founded the Blackheath Music Festival in London. From 1993 – 2010 he tutored at the Shrewsbury International Summer School and was Music Director of the Summer School from 2004 – 2010. In 1997 he was elected Warden of the Private Teachers’ Section of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, and in 2002 was elected President of the Royal Academy of Music Club. He has recently been involved in the selecting and editing of a major new piano duet project that is republishing long out-of-print beginner and intermediate level duet material, primarily for the pupil/teacher. This can be seen at www.fourhandsplus.com Graeme Humphrey is an Adjudicator member of the British and Internal Federation of Festivals and in 2013 was made a Fellow of British and International Federation of Festivals.
Virginia began her music career in earnest when, aged 17, she played Beethoven’s 3rd piano concerto with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in Birmingham Town Hall. Having won numerous piano competitions, she then won the FE Beckett piano scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music (RAM) in London.
At the Royal Academy she developed her piano skills under Gordon Green and harpsichord under Geraint Jones. Virginia studied piano for 4 years as her principal instrument, winning the Lillian Davies Beethoven Prize and the Dove Prize; she also gained the inter-college Raymond Russell Prize for harpsichord performance and was awarded DipRAM for her final recital.
During her long career at the RAM, Virginia has continued to nurture many talented musicians as professor of harpsichord, chair of postgraduate diploma studies and senior postgraduate tutor. She developed a reputation amongst students for the practical intensity of her performance classes!
In addition to, and in parallel with her teaching work, Virginia has pursued a dazzling worldwide performing career, initially specialising in the virtuoso harpsichord repertoire (“… one of the world’s finest harpsichordists” – Daily Telegraph) and has made many critically acclaimed recordings, TV and radio appearances.
As a performer, she has now returned to her roots as a pianist and has a busy concert schedule playing solo recitals and concertos, with a repertoire encompassing Bach, Schubert, Haydn, Rameau, Soler, Scarlatti, Mozart and Beethoven, together with some more contemporary works. For more information and to listen to Virginia play, please visit www.virginiablack.net.
Virginia has judged many music competitions and continues to influence and mentor rising musicians. She has given numerous external masterclasses and performance classes for specialist music schools and academies, universities and conservatoires around the world.
Virginia is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music (FRAM) an honour limited to 300 members. It is “awarded to those musicians who have distinguished themselves within the profession”.
“… a communicative artist, extrovert, colourful, spontaneous but with a deep sense of poetry.” Gramophone
Timothy Barratt studied on a Scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music, winning many major awards, and completed his studies with Vlado Perlemuter in Paris and Geoffrey Parsons. He has toured and broadcast extensively in the UK and abroad as soloist, accompanist and chamber music player. Whilst still a student he developed a special interest in song accompaniment through playing for Masterclasses at Aldeburgh, subsequently partnering such artists as Dame Felicity Lott and Robert White. In addition, instrumentalists he has worked with include Jack Brymer, Bradley Creswick and Haaken Hardenberger. Teaching forms a major part of his musical life and he works with pupils of all ages and levels from beginner to post-graduate. He was Head of Keyboard at Dulwich College for almost 25 years whilst also teaching at the RAM and TCM and now pursues a busy freelance career.
An ABRSM examiner since 1991, he is also a Trainer, Moderator and Mentor. Other work for the AB includes selecting the graded Piano pieces and presenting Seminars. He frequently directs Masterclasses for performers and teachers’ workshops and is in demand as a Competition and Festival adjudicator.
As a soloist and chamber musician James performs regularly throughout the UK and Europe. His recital work includes appearances at major concert series in France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Holland, the Czech Republic, Bermuda, Hong Kong, China, Singapore and Malaysia and in the UK at Wigmore Hall and the Edinburgh and Aldeburgh festivals. Having studied at the Moscow Conservatoire (during which time he reached the semi finals of the International Tchaikovsky Competition) he frequently returns to perform in the former Soviet Union. Highlights have included performances at the Sakharov Festival in Nizhny Novgorod and the Omsk Festival. His orchestral performances include concertos with the Moscow, Khazakh and Belorussian Symphony Orchestras, and the Arad and Oradea Philharmonic Orchestras (Romania), and the English and Scottish Chamber Orchestras, at venues including the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Symphony Hall, Birmingham, the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire and Astana Opera House. He has performed both Brahms Concertos in Russia and Romania.
He has been a member of the Barbican Piano Trio since 1992, performing regularly at Wigmore Hall and in major UK festivals and concert series, and throughout Europe and the USA. Highlights include Carnegie Recital Hall and many cycles of Beethoven’s complete Piano Trios including the Master Concert Series at Wigmore Hall. The Trio’s repertoire consists of over seventy works and their discography includes trios by Lalo, Tchaikovsky, Taneyev, Rachmaninov and Schnittke.
James has worked with the Vanburgh Quartet, BBC Singers, Lydia Mordkovitch and the mezzo soprano Sarah Connolly and has made several recordings for Chandos. He is a dedicated teacher and enjoys posts at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff and Royal Holloway, University of London. He is also an Honorary Professor at the Rachmaninov Institute, Tambov, Russia where he makes frequent visits to perform concertos, give recitals and masterclasses and lead chamber music courses.
He has served on the Juries of several international Piano competitions, notably in Romania, Latvia, Russia and Slovenia and gives many masterclasses, both in the UK and overseas, most recently in China and Hong Kong. He is in considerable demand as an adjudicator and is a member of the ABRSM examining panel, which has taken him to Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Indonesia and many European countries.