Chamber Musicians 

Meet the chamber musicians accompanying our Semi-Finalists during their performances between 12-14 September at the Great Hall, University of Leeds.

Jack Liebeck VIOLIN 

British/German violinist, director and festival director Jack Liebeck, possesses “flawless technical mastery” and a “beguiling silvery tone” (BBC Music Magazine). Jack has been named as the Royal Academy of Music’s first Émile Sauret Professor of Violin and as the new Artistic Director of the Australian Festival of Chamber Music from 2022. Jack’s playing embraces the worlds of elegant chamber-chic Mozart through to the impassioned mastery required to frame Brett Dean The Lost Art of Letter Writing. His fascination with all things scientific has included performing the world premiere of Dario Marianelli’s Voyager Violin Concerto and led to his most recent collaboration, A Brief History of Time, with Professor Brian Cox and Benjamin Northey. This new violin concerto was commissioned for Jack by Melbourne Symphony Orchestra from regular collaborator and composer Paul Dean, and is written in commemoration of Professor Stephen Hawking; A Brief History of Time received its world premiere in November 2019. 

Jack’s latest album, Schoenberg and Brahms violin concertos with BBC Symphony Orchestra, was released in March 2020 on Orchid Classics as part of his 40th birthday celebrations. The album was the May Edition ‘Recording of the Month’ and Concerto Choice Album of the Year for BBC Music Magazine. Jack’s next album, Ysaÿe Six Sonatas, will be released on Orchid Classics in 2021 ahead of the Sonata’s centenary in 2024. 

Jack plays the ‘Ex-Wilhelmj’ J.B. Guadagnini dated 1785 and is generously loaned a Joseph Henry bow by Kathron Sturrock in the memory of her late husband Professor David Bennett. Jack Liebeck is managed worldwide by Percius 

Laura van der Heijden CELLO 

Laura van der Heijden has already made a name for herself as a very special emerging talent, captivating audiences and critics alike with the sensitivity of her sound and interpretations. This soulful and evocative artist can already look back on a number of exceptional achievements, among them being the winner – at the age of just 15 – of the BBC Young Musician competition. 

Her 2018 debut album “1948”, featuring Russian music for cello and piano with pianist Petr Limonov, won the 2018 Edison Klassiek Award (broadcast live on Dutch television), and the 2019 BBC Music Magazine Newcomer Award. The CD has been hailed as a “dazzling, imaginative and impressive” debut recording. 

In 2019, Laura graduated from Cambridge University. The 2019/20 season saw her perform with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in Aldeburgh, the Tchaikovsky Symphony in Moscow, the Prague Symphony in the UK, the London Philharmonic and BBC Philharmonic Orchestras in the UK, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the US. 

Other highlights include performing the Saint-Saëns Concerto in the opening concert of the inaugural BBC Proms Australia with Sir Andrew Davis and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra; recitals at Wigmore Hall, Tonhalle Zürich, and Musashino Cultural Foundation in Japan; as well as her participation in the music festivals of West Cork, OCM Prussia Cove, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, and Krzyzowa Music. 

Collaborative music-making is immensely important to Laura, and she regularly participates in international chamber music courses and festivals. She is a member of the Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective, frequently performs with the Brodsky Quartet, and her chamber music partners have included Nicholas Daniel, Krzysztof Chorzelski, Radovan Vlatkovic, Midori, Nils Moenkemeyer, Mark Simpson, Amy Harman, Matthew McDonald, and Fazil Say. In her duo recitals, Laura collaborates with pianists Tom Poster, Jâms Coleman, Petr Limonov, Katya Apekisheva, Finghin Collins, and Huw Watkins. 

Castalian Quartet 

The Castalian String Quartet was the recipient of the inaugural Merito String Quartet Award & Valentin Erben Prize and a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship Award in 2018. 

Over the past year, the Quartet has given its debut North American recitals at The Philips Collection (Washington D.C.), Lincoln Center (N.Y.), Middlebury College (Vermont), Salle Bourgie (Montreal), Vancouver Recital Series and Banff International String Quartet Festival. 

Other 2018/19 highlights included a return to the Aldeburgh Festival, the complete Haydn Op.76 quartets at Wigmore Hall (recorded for future release on the Wigmore Live label) and recitals at Konzerthaus Vienna, Auditorium du Louvre (Paris), Flagey (Brussels) and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. 

This season they will perform a Brahms and Schumann chamber music cycle at Wigmore Hall, collaborating with Stephen Hough, Cédric Tiberghien, Michael Collins, Nils Mönkemeyer, Isabel Charisius and Ursula Smith. 

They have performed widely throughout Europe, with highlights including the Hamburg Chamber Music Series, International Musikfest Goslar, Sommerliche Musiktage Hitzacker, “Quartetaffairs” in Frankfurt (broadcast by NDR), the Queille Festival and Conques Lumière du Roman in France.  UK appearances include the Bath, Cheltenham, East Neuk, North Norfolk, Peasmarsh and Winchester Festivals. They have also been the resident ensemble at the Esbjerg International Chamber Music Festival in Denmark and Festival Musique d’Été à Suzette, near Avignon. Further afield, they have undertaken tours of China and Colombia. 

The Quartet has collaborated with with Aleksander Madzar, Alasdair Beatson, Simon Rowland-Jones, Daniel Lebhardt and Olivier Stankiewicz, among many others. 

Formed in 2011, the Castalian String Quartet studied with Oliver Wille (Kuss Quartet) at the Hannover University of Music, Drama and Media, graduating with a Masters degree. Awards include 1st Prize at the 2015 Lyon Chamber Music Competition and 3rd Prize at the 2016 Banff International String Quartet Competition. 

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