Royal Philharmonic Society prizewinners and resident ensemble at Oxford University, the Castalian Quartet is in-demand on the world stage.
Named the inaugural Hans Keller String Quartet in Residence at the University of Oxford and 2019 Royal Philharmonic Society Young Artist of the Year, their recent and forthcoming highlights include debut invitations to Carnegie Hall, the Library of Congress, San Francisco Performances, Emerald City Music Seattle, Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, Vienna Konzerthaus, Paris Philharmonie, Auditorium du Louvre, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Lucerne Chamber Music Society, Brussels Flagey, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Saffron Hall, and the Aldeburgh, East Neuk, Spoleto, Rockport and Heidelberg Spring festivals. In 2022 they will give world premieres of works by Charlotte Bray and Mark Simpson. The Quartet’s 2019-2020 Wigmore Hall cycle of Brahms and Schumann featured collaborations with Stephen Hough, Cédric Tiberghien, Michael Collins, Nils Mönkemeyer, Isabel Charisius, and Ursula Smith. In 2018, they recorded the complete Haydn Opus 76 quartets for the Wigmore Live label.
Formed in 2011, the Castalian String Quartet studied with Oliver Wille at the Hannover Hochschule für Musik, soon winning 1st Prize at the 2015 Lyon Chamber Music Competition and 3rd Prize at the 2016 Banff International String Quartet Competition. Their mentors include Simon-Rowland-Jones, David Waterman and Isabel Charisius. In 2016, the Quartet were selected by the Young Classical Artists Trust, and more recently were named recipients of the inaugural Merito String Quartet Award/Valentin Erben Prize and a 2018 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship.
In only a few seasons, the Quartet have made critically-acclaimed debuts at New York’s Lincoln Center, Banff International String Quartet Festival, the Vancouver Recital Series, Montreal’s Salle Bourgie, and The Philips Collection in Washington D.C. Other highlights include performances at the Hamburg Chamber Music Series, International Musikfest Goslar, Sommerliche Musiktage Hitzacker, and the Bath, Cheltenham and. North Norfolk, festivals. Their many notable collaborators have included Aleksander Madzar, Alasdair Beatson, Simon Rowland-Jones, Daniel Lebhardt and Olivier Stankiewicz.
When not on stage, Finnish first violinist Sini Simonen can be found hiking in the hills, Welsh second violinist Daniel Roberts follows his beloved Liverpool Football Club, Irish violist Ruth Gibson teaches yoga and English cellist Christopher Graves makes bows. Based in London, the quartet take immense pleasure in performing for diverse audiences everywhere, from great concert halls to maximum security prisons and even a rainforest.
Our name is derived from the Castalian Spring in the ancient city of Delphi. According to Greek mythology, the nymph Castalia transformed herself into a fountain to evade Apollo’s pursuit, thus creating a source of poetic inspiration for all who drink from her waters. Herman Hesse chose Castalia as the name of his futuristic European utopia in The Glass Bead Game. The novel’s protagonist, a Castalian by the name of Knecht, is mentored in this land of intellectual thought and education by the venerable Music Master.
Olivier Stankiewicz oboe
Appointed principal of the London Symphony Orchestra in 2015, Olivier Stankiewicz joined the RCM Woodwind Faculty at the same time.
He has given masterclasses at the Juilliard School, at the Manhattan School of Music, the Sibelius Academy, the Voksenåsen Summer Academy, in Hong Kong and in Japan.
Over the last year Olivier has given recitals at Wigmore Hall, Snape Maltings and the Louvre collaborating with Alasdair Beatson, the Doric and Castalian String Quartets. He performed Benjamin Attahir’s Concerto Nur with the Orchestre de Lille and took part in the Aix-en-Provence Easter Festival with Renaud Capuçon.
Previous solo highlights include recitals at the Isabella Gardner Museum in Boston, the Merkin Concert Hall and Morgan Library in New York and Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in Germany.
He has performed Berio’s Chemins IV with the Orchestre National du Capitole Toulouse, Bernd Alois Zimmerman’s Concerto with the French National Orchestra broadcast by Radio France Musique, and appeared as soloist with the Barcelona Wind Symphony in L’Auditori and Tokyo Sinfonietta in Suntory Hall.
Committed to new music, Olivier premiered in 2019 a new concerto by Laurent Durupt in Paris and London, with a windband composed of RCM and Paris Conservatoire students. He also premièred Tonia Ko’s Highwire, for oboe and electronics, in 2017. Together with composer Ted Moore (synthesizers), Tonia Ko and Olivier Stankiewicz form an improvisation trio.
Awards include 1st Prize at the Young Concert Artists international auditions in Leipzig and New York, and at the International Oboe Competition in Japan. He was selected by Young Classical Artists Trust in London in 2016.
In demand as guest principal Olivier has appeared with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Mahler Chamber, London Sinfonietta, Philadephia Symphony, Bayerischer Rundfunk and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestras. He was principal oboe of the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse between 2011-2015.
Born in Nice, Olivier studied oboe and theory at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris (2009-2014). In 2013 he was named “classical revelation” by the French association ADAMI.
He was a founder member of the WARN!NG Collective in 2011, a group that frequently commissionned new works, experimenting with sound painting, improvisation and innovative performance experiences. Their work has included concert-installations at the Gaîté Lyrique, Printemps des Arts of Monaco, and several broadcasts on France Musique. He is currently a member of Berlin Counterpoint.
Charlotte Bonneton violin and viola
Born in Grenoble, Charlotte Bonneton is a soloist and chamber musician who plays both the violin and the viola.
As a violinist she has performed as soloist in venues including the Maison de Radio France, the Auditorium du Louvre, the Salle Cortot, the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, the Festival Radio-France in Montpellier and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.
As a concerto soloist she has appeared with orchestras including Orchestre National de Lorraine, Jyväskylä Sinfonia, Kazakh State Philharmonic Orchestra, Wroclaw Chamber Orchestra Leopoldinum and the London Contemporary Orchestra.
As previous violist in the Castalian Quartet, they have performed widely throughout Europe and North America.
In amongst this very classical work, cross-genre music making is particularly important to Charlotte. A lover of dance, she is an ex member of both the Scottish Ballet Orchestra and Northern Ballet Sinfonia, and is as inspired by physical movement as she is by sound. Charlotte is also a member of The Storyteller’s Ensemble–a group of musicians who put music to the written and spoken word of the acclaimed children’s author, Michael Morpurgo.
Usha Kapoor violin
Violinist Usha Kapoor made her solo debut with the Phoenix Symphony in 2011, and has since performed extensively as a soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician throughout North America and Europe.
Kapoor recently won the 2020 Tunnell Trust Award and First Prize at the 2018 Birmingham International Piano Chamber Music Competition alongside frequent recital partner Edward Leung.
The 2021-22 season brings Kapoor to the United Kingdom for her Wigmore Hall recital debut and an extensive tour throughout Scotland performing Brahms’ complete works for violin and piano with Edward Leung. She will perform Haydn’s Sinfonia Concertante in Asschafenburg (DE) with conductor Thomas Jung, as well as give recitals at the Ulverston International Music Festival, Winchester Chamber Music Festival, Marden House Sunday at Three Series, Wye Valley Music, the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, and Chamber Circle, Brussels. In the summer of 2022, Kapoor will spend a week in residence at the experimental TONALiSTEN Labor in Hamburg, which will culminate in an interactive concert of works for two violins with Mayumi Kanagawa. Additionally, she will release a CD featuring works by 20th-century American composers on the Resonus Classics label and will collaborate with conductor and composer Henry Cheng and the Very Berlin Ensemble to record for the luxury Korean cosmetic company Isamuae.
Highlights of recent seasons include solo engagements with the Studio-Orchester Duisburg, the Culver City Chamber Orchestra, the Culver City Symphony Orchestra, and the San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra, as well as recitals with Leung at the Birmingham International Piano Chamber Music Festival, the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s November Chamberfest, and at Sophie’s Barn in Banbury, England. As chamber musician, Kapoor has performed at the Miesbach Kammermusik Festival, the 14th Rolandseck-ARP Museum Festival, the Krzyżowa-Music Festival, Prussia Cove Open Chamber Music, and on the Colburn Chamber Music Society with musicians Martin Beaver, Paul Coker, Paul Coletti, Friedemann Eichhorn, Clive Greensmith, Konstantin Heidrich, Matthias Kirschnereit, Eckart Runge, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet.
Kapoor is a current recipient of the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) Grant in the Field of Music and is further supported by the Yehudi Menuhin Live Music Now Deutschland e.V. Previously, she was the recipient of a U.S. Fulbright Grant in the Arts and a Career Grant from the Rachel Barton Pine Foundation. In addition, Kapoor has won top prizes in the International Schmidbauer Young Artist Competition, the Edith Knox Peninsula Symphony Competition, the Parness Concerto Competition, and the Phoenix Symphony Concerto Competition. Kapoor has been featured on the United Kingdom’s radio station ClassicFM, Arizona’s 89.5 KBAQ, National Public Radio (NPR)’s StoryCorps Archive, and Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)’s “Arts District” segment.
Kapoor was raised in Phoenix, Arizona where she studied with Dr. Katie McLin and Phoenix Symphony concertmaster Steven Moeckel. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree and an Artist Diploma from the Colburn Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Robert Lipsett. She recently received a Master of Music degree and is currently completing her Konzertexamen with Mihaela Martin at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln. She is grateful for additional support and guidance from Tasmin Little, Alexander Rumpf, and Daniel Tong.
Kapoor plays on a B.S. Fendt violin, made in London c. 1840. When she is not playing violin, Usha loves hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, writing, cooking, and playing with her cat, Luna.
Edward Leung piano
Lauded as one of '16 Incredibly Impressive Students at Princeton University’ by Business Insider, American pianist Edward Leung has performed solo recitals and appeared with orchestras across North America, Europe, and Asia.
Most recently, he won First Prize and the Felix Marr Award at the 2021 Stratford and East London Music Festival. He has performed concertos with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in America, Filarmonica Mihail Jora Bacau in Italy, and Music of the Spheres Ensemble in London, and will be performing with the Orchestra of the Swan next season. He is represented by The Keyboard Charitable Trust in London and Live Music Now UK, and has upcoming engagements at the Laeiszhalle in Hamburg, as well as concert venues across London. He has won all the major prizes at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. As a keen advocate for new music, Edward has worked with Louis Andriessen, Samuel Adler, Chris Rogerson, and Nick DiBerardino on their solo and chamber works.
A sought-after chamber musician, Edward is a member of the award-winning duo, Kapoor-Leung Duo, with violinist Usha Kapoor. The Duo has won the 2020 Tunnell Trust Awards, and joined the ChamberStudio scheme as the first ensemble to be mentored by Tasmin Little. Upcoming engagements include Wigmore Hall, Winchester Chamber Music Festival, Ulverston International Music Festival, Wye Valley Music, Marden House Concerts, and a debut commercial recording with Resonus Classics. Edward has also collaborated with some of the most important chamber musicians of today, including members of the Artemis, Lindsay, Elias, and Daedalus String Quartets, as well as Viviane Hagner, Charles Neidich, and Rafal Zambrzycki-Payne.
As an entrepreneur, Edward is the founder of Opus 21, an innovative chamber music collective dedicated to bringing an eclectic repertory of chamber music to Princeton University and beyond. He has curated programmes juxtaposing contemporary works of living composers with traditional repertoire, organised high-profile concerts throughout New York and New Jersey, and managed the financial and logistical elements of operating the ensemble. Hailed by The Daily Princetonian for its ‘dramatic, exciting performances’ and ‘a true need in the Princeton arts community’, Opus 21 has formed chamber music collaborations with Harvard and Columbia Universities, and has performed at the Harvard Club of New York, Richardson Auditorium, and the APAP|NYC for the North American premiere of Sam Wu’s ‘dolphin song’.
Edward received a Bachelor of Arts in the School of Public and International Affairs from Princeton University, where he studied with Francine Kay. Afterwards, he was named the inaugural Aske-Princeton International Fellow at The Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School in Hertfordshire, England. He received a Master of Music and Advanced Postgraduate Diploma from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, where he studied with Pascal Nemirovski.
Lenny Sayers animateur
Lenny Sayers is an accomplished clarinet player and is currently Principal Bass Clarinet with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales
His role in BBC NOW involves regularly playing principal and second clarinet as well as Basset Horn. Before joining the BBC NOW in October 2011 Lenny worked for ten years as a freelance clarinet player and teacher based in Manchester. Having worked for over two decades as a professional musician he has performed with many of the UK’s leading orchestras and ensembles.
Lenny is an active chamber musician, and from 1999 to 2011 was a member of the Fell Clarinet Quartet with whom he performed throughout the UK and recorded two CDs. Since moving to Wales he has performed with Cardiff Winds and the Flourish Wind Quintet.
Lenny is becoming increasingly well known as a presenter and animateur. He has presented and devised the Family Concerts for the Penarth Chamber Music Festival since it began in 2013. He has also presented concerts for BBC NOW and the Corbridge Chamber Music Festival.
Isobel Adams viola young artist-in-residence
Born in 2003, Isobel Adams began playing the violin at the age of 6, guided by her father David Adams. She converted to the viola at 12, drawn by the deep sound of the C string!
She studied with Louise Brodrick and Nancy Johnson, and recently began studying with David Takeno. Currently on a gap year, Isobel will begin reading music at Oxford University in October 2022 and is excited about the university association with the Castalian Quartet.
Isobel’s passion for chamber music developed through her participation at MusicWorks chamber music courses, fuelling her desire to be a musician. At these courses, Isobel has had influential coaching with Catherine Manson, Robert Max and Katharine Gowers. In April 2022 she will be participating in the Festival Resonances chamber music academy in Belgium where she will work with Amy Norrington, Michael Gurevich, Martijn Vink and Philippe Graffin. She played with the National Youth Orchestra of Wales from 2018-19, the BBC Proms Youth ensemble in 2019 and is now a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, with whom she has played principal viola.~
Another passion of hers is opera, she sang with the children’s chorus of the Welsh National Opera for Hansel and Gretel and Carmen and goes to as many operas as she can. She is honoured to be part of WCMF, and especially happy to be in Winchester where her grandfather Martin Neary was cathedral organist.