Artists



Susana Gaspar : Soprano




Portuguese soprano Susana Gaspar was a member of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme in 2011/13 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, singing Barbarina Le nozze di Fìgaro, Contessa Ceprano Rigoletto, Giannetta L’elisir d’amore, First Innocent Minotaur, Papagena Die Zauberflöte, Voce dal Cielo Don Carlo and Aurore Le Portrait de Manon (Meet the Young Artists Week). She studied at the Lisbon Music Conservatoire, Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the National Opera Studio. She represented Portugal in the 2013 Cardiff Singer of the World Competition. Her operatic roles include: Mimì La bohème at Grange Park Opera, Gilda Rigoletto at Nevill Holt Opera, Azema Semiramide with Opera Rara at the BBC Proms (also recorded), Violetta La Traviata for Hawke's Bay Opera (New Zealand), First Nymph/Foreign Princess Rusalka for Valladolid Opera Project, Paride Paride ed Elena  with Os Musicos do Tejo, Contessa Ceprano/Paggio Rigoletto with the LSO, opera galas for Barrandov Opera, concerts with Le Cercle de l'Harmonie under the baton of Jérémie Rhorer at Deauville Festival, BBC Philharmonia, Brighton Philharmonic, CBSO, Colchester Symphony Orchestra, Royal Tunbridge Wells Symphony Orchestra, City of Bristol Choir and for Raymond Gubbay, at Teatro Nacional de Sao Carlos, at Setúbal Music Festival and with Orquestra XXI in Portugal and with Simon Bolivar Orchestra in Venezuela. She has also given recitals in the UK and Portugal. Recordings include Portugal Matinas do Natal for Paraty, Fanny Mendelssohn songs with Malcolm Martineau and opera arias and duets with the RPO and Renato Balsadonna.

Future and current engagements include: Mimì La Bohème for Diva Opera, Clarice Il mondo della luna (P.Avondano) with Os Músicos do Tejo (to be recorded), recording of Portuguese songs by Fernando Lopes-Graça, premier recordings of Te Deum (M. Portugal) and Missa (Baldi) with mpmp, Vier Letzte Lieder with Hertford Symphony Orchestra, Manon Manon for Valladolid Opera Project and Verdi’s Requiem with Hastings Philharmonic.




Ellie Lovegrove



Originally from Ware, Hertfordshire, Ellie grew up in a musical family and started the trumpet aged 7. She later played principal trumpet with the Hertfordshire County Youth Orchestra, and went on to study with Paul Benniston and Michael Laird at the Royal College of Music.

 

As a soloist, Ellie has performed Shostakovich Concerto No. 1 at St John’s, Smith Square, London, and her trumpet and organ duo with Richard Moore, Illumina, have enjoyed giving recitals at St Paul’s Cathedral, Fairfield Halls Croydon and St Martin-in-the-Fields. They released their first album, 'Illuminations, Dances & Poems', on Convivium Records last year. Ellie recently visited the Far East, where in addition to giving Masterclasses, she performed a recital in Hong Kong, and World Premieres at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore. 

 

As a freelancer, Ellie performs with a large variety of orchestras, including the BBC Concert Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, English National Ballet, and Britten Sinfonia. As a chamber musician, she has performed at The London Handel Festival on period instrument, and regularly performs with brass quintet Chaconne Brass in recitals and recording across the country. Commercially, Ellie regularly plays for Les Miserables in the West End, London, and has worked with pop artists Sister Sledge and Seal. She currently teaches trumpet at Benenden School in Kent, and when isn't playing the trumpet, enjoys cooking curries from scratch and trying to keep up with Cece, the Spanish Greyhound.



Rhys Watkins




Born in Cardiff, Welsh violinist Rhys Watkins currently enjoys touring the world as a member of the London Symphony Orchestra. After graduating from the Royal Academy of Music in 2005, Rhys began his professional career as a member of the Artea string Quartet. Having been awarded a Fellowship at the RAM they continued their studies with the Amadeus, Alberni and Wihan quartets and went on to forge a successful career, winning many awards and performing at festivals throughout the U.K. including the BBC Proms, and at venues such as the Wigmore Hall and Purcell Room as well as live broadcasts for BBC Radio 3. Their most recent disc, released on the Champs Hill label was met with great critical acclaim.

In 2008, Rhys joined the LSO and has since enjoyed playing under Sir Colin Davis and Valery Gergiev amongst others. Rhys is greatly looking forward to Sir Simon Rattle taking over the role as principal conductor in September, 2017.

Rhys has performed as a soloist with the LSO on numerous occasions in the Barbican Centre and LSO St. Luke's. He has also performed recitals on behalf of the orchestra across the world including Japan, Korea, Europe and America.

Rhys has been a finalist and prize winner in several international competitions, including the Jeunesses Musicales International Violin Competition (Belgrade) and the Paganini International Violin Competition (Moscow). He currently plays on a violin by Lorenzo Storioni.


Rowena Calvert


Rowena's professional career began when she co-founded the Cavaleri Quartet who were regarded as one of the leading European string quartets since its formation in 2008. They won second prize at the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition 2014 and first prize at the 2012 Hamburg International Chamber Music Competition. At Hamburg, they were also awarded the Brahms Society Prize and Mendelssohn prize from the Oscar and Vera Ritterman Foundation. In 2011 they were recipients of the ‘Special Prize’ at the Premio Paolo Borgiani International String Quartet Competition.

The Cavaleri Quartet first came to prominence in the UK after winning the Royal Over-Seas League Ensemble Competition in 2011, following their Wigmore Hall London debut in 2010 and Southbank debut at the Purcell Room in 2008 (as Park Lane Group Young Artists). The quartet were “RCM Rising Stars” 2008 and were also selected for the Countess of Munster Recital Scheme and both the Kirckman Concerts Society and Musicians Benevolent Fund Ensembles Awards. They recently completed three years as the Quartet in Residence at Oxford University and were Ambassadors for the European String Teachers’ Association. They performed and broadcast on the radio frequently in the UK and abroad, including concerts and tours of New Zealand, Australia, South America, Japan and Europe.

As a soloist, Rowena is the recipient of the RNCM Gold Medal, the Sir John Barbirolli Prize, the Busenhart Morgen Evans Award from the Worshipful Company of Musicians, the Tillett trust Education Award, The Haworth Trust award for Cellists, the Ian Fleming Award from the MBF, Countess of Munster Star Award, The Jellineck Award, The Myra Hess Award and The Oglesby Education Award.

Rowena has performed solo in the Wigmore Hall, the Royal Festival Hall, (London) the Queens Hall (Edinburgh), Manchester Cello Festival, Kronberg Cello Festival, the UNESCO celebrations (Paris), the British Council (Mumbai), Haydn C major concerto which was broadcast on Classic FM, Haydn C major with the London Mozart Players, BBC Young Musicians String Final and a performance of Saint - Sean's 'The Swan' in the Royal Albert Hall as part of Carlos Acosta's Classical Farewell in the Royal Albert Hall.

Rowena studied in St Mary's Music School with Ruth Beauchamp, Leonid Gorokhov in the Yehudi Menuhin School, Paul Watkins in the RAM and Hannah Roberts in the RNCM. In addition to these studies the received masterclasses from Mstislav Rostropovich, Steven Isserlis, Bernard Greenhouse, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi and Steven Doane.

She is the founder and Artistic Director, with her husband Rhys Watkins, of the Hertford International Concert Series. She also performs regularly with the John Wilson Orchestra and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields Orchestra.